AKIH Research Workshops, interdisciplinary groups brought together by shared interests, comprise faculty and graduate students from Northwestern and other local institutions. Workshop conveners organize all meetings (at least two per quarter) as well as any special lectures or events.
Research Workshop Applications for 2013-14
Applications are now available for download. Click on the links below. The deadline for applications is Friday, May 3. Please submit to email@example.com.
2012-13 Institute Research Workshops
In its second year, the After-life of Phenomenology Workshop will study the dynamic and highly varied manner in which recent French thinkers have responded to early twentieth-century phenomenology. By the middle of that century, phenomenology stood as one of the dominant paradigms of thought in French intellectual life. But for the generation of theorists who rose to prominence in France in the second half of that century—theorists like Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, and Gilles Deleuze—the pervasiveness of phenomenological thinking presented both a resource to draw on and an established system of thought to critique and overcome. The work of this generation of post-phenomenological French thinkers, in turn, had a profound influence on American academia in the last decades of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first, not only in philosophy, but also in sociology, literary theory, cultural and media studies, political theory, critical theory, and gender studies. Thus the complex question of the role played by phenomenology in the formation of these French theorists’ thought—a question that has largely gone understudied, though it is beginning to gain attention—appears particularly exigent for an understanding of our contemporary intellectual moment. At the same time, very recent developments in French philosophy and social science continue to take up in new ways the challenges and problems posed by phenomenology, in some cases by appropriating its methodologies and insights, in other cases by contesting its assumptions and conclusions. In short, phenomenology has had and continues to have a vibrant and multifarious after-life in twentieth- and twenty first-century French thought and its offshoots. By examining the various forms that this French after-life of phenomenology has taken, we hope to gain an understanding of its emergence from early twentieth-century phenomenology, the relations among its several manifestations, and its significance for contemporary intellectual life in the humanities and social sciences.
We will organize our examination of the French response to phenomenology around three themes:
- Vitalism and materialism. In the work of Gilles Deleuze one finds an encounter orchestrated between the phenomenology of Edmund Husserl and Maurice Merleau-Ponty and the vitalism of Henri Bergson, opening a path toward a new form of materialism, which Deleuze calls “transcendental empiricism.” This Deleuzian empiricism, in turn, has been taken up in the last decade by Michel Serres, Quentin Meillassoux, and others. Thus a line can be traced from Bergson to Deleuze to today’s new empiricists and “speculative materialists,” which passes directly through phenomenology.
- Logic, language, and technics. In the deconstructive philosophy of Jacques Derrida, we find a rigorous critique of the logic of Husserl’s and Martin Heidegger’s phenomenologies, exposing the paradoxes and aporias that underlie the phenomenological project. Derrida’s approach has been deployed in recent decades in a number of new ways, most interestingly for our purposes in the work of Bernard Stiegler, who returns to Husserl and Heidegger, developing from them an analysis of human technology and its temporal dynamics.
- Life, aesthetics, and politics. In its emphasis on sensation and perception, phenomenology provides a fecund framework for thinking about art. In the aesthetics of Deleuze, we find phenomenological methods both deployed and critiqued. Similarly, the genealogical work of Michel Foucault can be read, at least in part, as a kind of critical phenomenology of both the aesthetics of self-formation and modern bio-power. Here, canonical phenomenological concepts—e.g., Merleau-Ponty’s “flesh”—take on new, politically and socially complex meanings. In recent years, Foucault’s approach has been put to use in new ways by thinkers like Judith Butler and Giorgio Agamben in their treatment of contemporary biopower. At the same time, Jacques Rancière’s recent efforts to understand the relation between aesthetics and politics critically engage traditional phenomenological methods.
"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 moved 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). The 2011-12 year will allow our core participants to develop their research and teaching projects. We will host sessions on the works-in-progress of our own members as well as invite outside scholars to address similar issues in their own research. The workshop will also create an NU-based website, up and running September 2011, that will function as the North American hub for the international classical reception studies e-network.
Much of the most vital new scholarship on aesthetic modernism is driven by the imperative to rethink modernism in a more capacious, transnational perspective than has been available to scholars working within the national and linguistic traditions that often continue to organize the field. In the past several years, Northwestern has experienced a groundswell of interest in collaboration on modernism across disciplines and traditional national specializations. However, the geographic and linguistic expansiveness of this new field present considerable challenges to even the most ambitious of scholars. Comparative Modernisms Workshop aims to address these concerns by fostering a vibrant dialogue among Northwestern professors and graduate students working in diverse national and artistic traditions, encouraging participants to work outside their comfort zones, and generating a broader, comparative conception of modernism from the standpoint of world literary history.
Organized as a set of “advanced” introductions to understudied modernist traditions, the 2011-2012 Comparative Modernisms Workshop asked how modernism looks from different global foci. Fall quarterʼs emphasis on Brazilian modernism included talks from two preeminent Brazilianists, David Jackson (Yale) and Earl Fitz (Vanderbilt). Winter turned to Chinese and Japanese modernisms, with talks by Eric Hayot (Penn State), Jing Tsu (Yale), Christopher Hill (Columbia), Michael Bourdaghs (U Chicago). Spring quarter has highlighted Turkish modernism, with presentations by Erdag Göknar (Duke) and Nergis Ertürk (Penn State). These quarterly, national rubrics sustained in-depth, multi-polar comparisons as the year progressed, while enabling a common body of knowledge to reshape conversation around particular areas of expertise that participants brought to the workshop.
For 2012-13, the comparative modernisms workshop will continue to rove flexibly across a broad array of world societies and zones of modernist contact. The workshop will directly engage the comparative aims, assumptions, and problems of comparative modernist studies through the regular presentation of working papers by Northwestern faculty and graduate students, the strengthening of an interdisciplinary social network of modernist scholars on campus, and a speaker series.
I) Speaker Series. Each quarter we will bring one major speaker to share new work addressed to the areas of interest described below.
II) Working Papers. This new aspect of the workshop will offer Northwestern faculty and graduate students the opportunities to share work in progress. Readings (either the text of the paper to be presented or a related text) will be circulated beforehand. Discussions will provide an opportunity for participants to learn about modernist scholarship being done on campus, and will offer presenters the crucial opportunity to receive feedback from a lively community of peers and mentors beyond their national or regional area of expertise.
III) Social Network. We will continue to develop an interdisciplinary social network of modernist scholars at Northwestern. We have set up an informal network via Blackboard Learn, which we used for the immediate needs of the reading group and the speaker series. This year, we will be experimenting with new digital knowledge sharing and working paper formats, strengthening the network already established with the aim of encouraging participants to share work, forward links and resources, make announcements about events of interest to the group, and carry on discussions outside of scheduled meetings.
The exact contents of the yearʼs readings and speakers will ultimately be determined in dialogue with those who join the workshop, but as a sample program we propose to explore work under two interconnected, conceptual rubrics, which the workshop sees as urgent: 1) questions of metageography, and 2) material circulation and its alternatives. 1) Geographical and spatial models for comparative literary scholarship have exploded in the past several years, leading some to describe a “spatial turn” in the field. As scholars seek to examine places and voices outside of canonical modernism or cultural formations identified as modernist, they have evoked a variety of overlaid, larger-than-nation units (including the hemispheric, transnational, global, planetary, and inter-imperial). While these models respond to local and historical problems of various kinds, they also invite a meta-geographical conversation about scope, scale, polycentrism, transculturation, and cartographic impulses. 2) Concurrently, the workshop will address the material circulation of modernist ideas, texts, forms and techniques shuttling dialectically between local complexity and large-scale vision, as well as commercial, technological, and political modes of connectivity and exchange. This discussion will center around source materials, conceptual frameworks, and methodological approaches to understanding contact. A further dimension of our programming in this area will be a consideration of what we might call non-materialist comparative methodologies of modernist studies, which seek to critically reformulate concepts of periodization, genre, or even “unannounced affinities.”
Northwestern University Digital Humanities Laboratory
Please follow this link to access online readings for the workshop.
The goal of this workshop is to create an interdisciplinary space for investigating the emerging role of digital humanities. The workshop will include discussions of recent scholarship in the field and presentations of research-in-progress by workshop participants. We seek to cultivate an ongoing conversation that helps members explore how to bring to bear the digital on their own research agendas.
The group will convene three times a quarter to explore topics in the digital humanities during the 2012-2013 academic year. Additionally, the group will create a public WordPress blog, which will serve as a space for additional interaction, discussion, and elaboration of face-to-face gatherings. The blog address is: http://sites.weinberg.northwestern.edu/nudhl/. Our Twitter hashtag is #nudhl.
There will be two reading-based discussions each quarter. The third quarterly meeting will provide an opportunity for faculty and graduate students engaged in digital humanities-related research to share work-in-progress and enrich conversations of this emerging field in relation to specific studies.
Each reading-based session will focus on the following questions:
- What are the digital humanities?
- What are the current central issues critical to the digital humanities?
- What is the history of the digital from multidisciplinary perspectives?
- How might digital possibilities assist or even reshape individual and collective research agendas?
- How can we interpret the archive in the digital age?
How might the digital invigorate the research process by illuminating or even altering the connections between evidence and argument?
- Other possible topics for exploration: digital natives; race and digital inquiry; questions of social equity; big data; collaboration; process and product; annotation and transcription.
- Future developments? A concluding meeting and formulation of topics for future investigation.
Graduate students participants will be eligible for HASTAC Scholar fellowships of $300 each and will be responsible for posting entries on the NUDHL website and connecting NUDHL proceedings with the online community at HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Sciences, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory, hastac.org), a MacArthur Foundation-funded center of digital humanities discussion and exploration.
The Institute hosts the weekly Culture and Society workshop, led by Wendy Griswold. For more information, please see the Culture and Society web site or contact the culture and society at firstname.lastname@example.org
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