Past Research Workshops
"Classical receptions” is an emerging field of research that examines the complex relationships between, on the one hand, the literary and material record of classical antiquity and, on the other, its uses by various authors and actors working in a wide array of media and civic contexts at specific moments in later periods (e.g., visual artists, journalists, political activists, academics, drama, fiction, television, film, etc.). Its aim is twofold: to illuminate the peculiarities and concerns of the receiving culture (by reading uses of antiquity in rich context) and to generate fresh insights into the meaning of the ancient sources in their own time (by stripping away layers of expectations and readings that have colored interpretations). Our Kaplan workshop follows up on the Classics Department’s two years of seminars on ancient drama from a reception studies standpoint (2008-10 Mellon Sawyer Series). In 2010-11 we will move away from drama to focus on examining the methodological underpinnings of receptions work in general and on supporting faculty and graduate students' interests in gaining familiarity with the possibilities for receptions work on other forms of cultural production (esp. politics and literature). We will host meetings on topics such as the reception of Greek sources in (later) antiquity, black classicism, the fraught relationship between classical learning and class politics, and the Northwestern Classicizing Chicago project (a web-based database recording and interpreting various engagements with antiquity across media but specifically in Chicago from the antebellum period to today).
Convener: J. Daniel Elam
The symposium follows on the success of last year’s workshop series, “Freire Forty Years Later,” which asked what the political stakes of recuperating Paulo Freire’s work meant in 2010. “Tricontinentalism, Dialogue, Politics” simultaneously expands and focuses these questions. “Tricontinentalism” highlights the need to look at the global contexts of Global South solidarity movements across South America, Africa, and South Asia, from the 1950s to today. “Dialogue” refers to our commitment to understanding the circulation of global thought – ranging from pedagogical and personal moments to tracking the transnational movement of people, texts, and political philosophies. Finally, “politics” brings these two concerns together as a way of exploring what Franz Fanon called, at the end of The Wretched of the Earth, the possibility of a new humanism.
Convener: Peter Fenves
Graduate Convener: Christian Pinawin
The purpose of this workshop on Nietzsche and Morality is to provide an interdisciplinary forum for a conversation on Nietzsche’s contribution to, and influence on, the ways in which morality has been thought about across a wide variety of fields, among them literature, philosophy, politics, the history of religions, sociology, and intellectual history. The workshop will be of interest to students and faculty in a variety of fields, including but not only German, Comparative Literary Studies, Philosophy, the History of Religions, French, Anthropology, History, Sociology, Political Science, and Art History.
Convener: J. Michelle Molina
Graduate Convener: Kristi Keuhn
This workshop is a small, intensive workshop on the writings of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, which grew out of last year's Kaplan workshop on "the senses." In that workshop, the authors read were indebted to phenomenology but did not engage it directly. This year we are aiming toward a more sustained engagement with this twentieth-century movement, especially the writings of Maurice Merleau-Ponty. This fall we are reading selections from his work, including those that detail his fraught relationship with Sartre. Other authors we will read this year are Gilles Deleuze and Sara Ahmed, among others, and some members of the group will share their own works in progress.
Convener: John Márquez
The goal of this workshop is to provide a scholarly space to study hip hop as a transnational phenomenon, a global youth culture impacting the lives of an emerging generation of young people especially in Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. We will be sponsoring monthly scholarly roundtables as well as providing interlinkages between Chicago's local hip hop scene and the scholarly community through our listserv. In the spring, we will be convening a Workshop on African Hip Hop, attracting scholars of hip hop studies, history, literature, sociology, anthropology, and Africana Studies.
Convener: Rob Linrothe
Tibet’s significance in global international relations is growing; so too is its role in the Chinese state’s anxious projection of itself as harmoniously multiethnic. The expansion of Tibet’s significance calls for greater attention on what it means to be Tibetan and how that is defined by Tibetans and by others. The question of identity is especially complex for Tibetans living in regions outside the Tibetan Autonomous Region. The proposed workshop will bring in leading specialists with extensive field experience in one of the critical zones of interaction within the larger Tibetan culture, the northeastern Tibetan region of Amdo (now administratively divided among the Chinese provinces of Qinghai, western Gansu, and northwest Sichuan). As the recent earthquake in southern Qinghai literally illustrated, Amdo is located along active cultural, ethnic, and religious, not to speak of geological fault lines. Located on the Sino-Tibetan frontier, the Amdo region incorporates Buddhist Tibetans, Mongols and Monguors, Han Chinese, and Muslim Hui, agriculturalists and nomadic herders, some of the largest Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, revived local autochthonous mountain cults, active traditions of bardic epic performances, and distinctive regional religious and artistic traditions. The workshop will address a series of issues from interdisciplinary perspectives on contemporary and historical Tibetan culture and religion in Amdo and their impact on identity formation and expression.
The Engaged Humanities Scholar as Public Intellectual
Convener: Professor Michael J. Kramer
The Engaged Humanities Scholar as Public Intellectual Research Workshop, cosponsored by the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities, the Center for Civic Engagement, and the Graduate School, investigates debates about the humanities and public intellectuals to explore potential connections between specialized scholarly research and civil society as a whole. We pay particularly close attention to the emerging role of digital technologies in mediating between the humanities and communities beyond campus. Our 2009-2010 program includes Michael Bérubé, David Theo Goldberg, Robert Hariman, Bill Ivey, Bill Ferris, and others. We have also formed a partnership with HASTAC (the Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory). We invite participation from faculty, graduate students, and advanced undergraduates and we welcome suggestions for future seminars, guests, events, and activities. For more information, announcements of events, and to join our email list, visit our blog, The Engaged Humanities Scholar as Public Intellectual.
Freire Forty Years Later
Convener: J. Daniel Elam
2010 marks the fortieth anniversary of the English translation of Paulo Freire's vastly influential book, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, and this year provides an opportunity to highlight its continued relevance and importance. Pedagogy of the Oppressed has remained in print across the world and in many languages since, and has had significant impact on university and community pedagogy, theory, theatre, and activism. The Freire Forty Years Later Symposium honors this significant contribution to pedagogy, but also recognizes and hopes to explore the work within the changing social, cultural, economic, and political environments of the past forty tumultuous years. In light of the last forty years, however, we must update Paulo Freire's work. How do we read Pedagogy of the Oppressed after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the disillusionment with communism? How can we think theoretically about the concepts of "oppression" and "freedom"? How can we engage Freire within the current global economic, political, and cultural flows of transnationalism, neoliberalism, privatization? How do we read Pedagogy of the Oppressed alongside current critical thought on cultural studies, cosmopolitanism, universalism, and ethics?
Poetry and Poetics
Convener: Professor Reginald Gibbons
The Post Racial Turn
Convener: Professor Barnor Hesse
In each these four research workshops, two invited scholars, one from the humanities and the other from the social sciences, will develop dialogues around formations, representations, and interpretations of the of the western contemporary as a ‘post-racial era’. Surveying this deeply conflicted conjuncture, the workshops will examine distinct material and discursive modalities through it has become possible to simultaneously embrace and contest the meaning of a ‘post-racial turn’, or a series of turns, in politics, culture and intellectual life. Of particular interest will be the relation of a ‘post-racial turn’ to contemporary understandings of globalization, nationalism, racism, terrorism, consumerism, democracy and neo-liberalism. The dialogues include:
February 26, Mimetics: David Goldberg (Director of California, Humanities Research Institute, University of California Irvine) and Salman Sayyid (Director of Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Racism, Department of Sociology, University of Leeds)
19 March, Mobilities: Kathryn T. Gines (Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy, Penn State University) and Renisa Mawani (Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, University of British Columbia)
16 April, Memories: Nikhil Singh (Associate Professor, School of Social and Cultural Analysis, New York University) and Lanita Jacobs-Huey (Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Southern California)
28 May, Mutualities: Inderpal Grewal (Professor of Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program, Yale University) and Eduardo Bonilla-Silva (Professor of Sociology, Duke University)
The Senses in Interdisciplinary Perspective
Convener: Professor Christina Traina
This new discussion and reading group will meet approximately two times each quarter and will bring together faculty and students from across disciplines, schools, and campuses to address questions related to the senses, a subject currently enjoying renewed focus in a number of fields. We will necessarily traverse several intellectual terrains, including social history, cognitive and biological sciences, and phenomenology, but we invite you to help us in further deciding whither we will wander in our discussions this year.
Early Modern Colloquium
Convener: Professor Jeffrey Masten
East of California, Across Ethnic Studies: Comparative and Interdisciplinary Ethic Studies Workshop
Convener: Nitasha Sharma
This yearlong research workshop series advocates the necessity collaboration between discrete Ethnic Studies scholarships and disciplines and aims to open dialogue for faculty and graduate students whose work advances comparative and relational approaches to the study of race and diaspora. Our [workshop] arises from the interests and commitments of faculty, administrators, and graduate students representing a number of disciplines who are dedicated to the development and growth of both individual Ethnic Studies programs and Comparative Ethnic Studies as an intellectual and methodological endeavor. In addition to theorizing the impact and continued importance of institutional development experienced by the first Ethnic Studies departments in California, this set of four research workshops will present work that cuts across discrete Ethnic Studies paradigms and contributes to analytical, relational and comparative studies of race.
Literature, History, and the Stakes of Interdisciplinarity
Convener: Julia Stern
This workshop seeks to explore the links and gaps between literary and historical projects in American Studies. “English” and “History” share a concern with interpreting culture by examining written archives, yet they bring markedly different methodologies to bear on their shared interests. The question of how to negotiate between these two fields has a powerful impact on research, at both the personal and the institutional level. Thus this workshop will provide a forum for rigorous dialogue about our methodological convergences, divergences, and questions. Rather than treat “interdisciplinarity” as an unmitigated good, we ask not only how history and literary study, as disciplines, can inform one another, but also when and why they might want to assert their differences.
Political Theory and the Bible
Convener: Michael Loriaux
The premise for the workshop is the importance of biblical references and readings in much contemporary political philosophy, both American and European. Examples of scholars who have developed new perspectives on political possibilities and pathologies through the medium of biblical readings include Michael Walzer, Michael Sandel, William Connolly, Jan Assmann in Germany, Talal Assad, Jean-Luc Nancy, Jacques Rancière, Jean-Luc Marion in France, as well as our colleagues Bonnie Honig and Charles Taylor. The workshop would build on and in some sense extend the very successful graduate student workshop that examined philosophical readings of the letters of St. Paul.
Kaplan Scholars Program
Are you an incoming freshman? Check out our Kaplan Humanities Scholars Program, a year-long investigation of the overarching theme "Humanities in the World"
Upcoming Institute Events
Open Studio Video Exhibition and Reception--Nanty: Summerstock (Part 1)
May 29, 2013 • 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM