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Current Workshops

African Nostalgias

This workshop explores the influences – historical, technological, and social - that are reshaping African imaginations of the future. It is said that there are now more smart phones than toilets on the African continent. While this radical divergence from paths of imagined development is nonetheless welcomed, many on the continent still await the promised effects of economic and political democratization. Furthermore, “Africa” is typically imagined, both outside and in, as a single entity, with little regard for not only the nuances of city and country, but of colonial influence. In explicitly placing Anglophone, Francophone, and Lusophone Africa in dialogue, this workshop will interrogate disjunctures between modernity imagined and modernity experienced.

Coodinators

Faculty:

Grant Parker, Jill Rosenthal

Graduate Student:

Jess Auerbach
Meeting Schedule: (click to expand)

Linda Randall Meier Research Workshop

Approaches to Capitalism

Well before the 2008 global economic crisis, historians and anthropologists explored the “market” or “capital” as agents of social, cultural, and economic change. This workshop provides clarity to the study of capitalism by bringing together architects of an emerging subfield to explicate methodological approaches for telling histories and ethnographies of people, space, and resources in the context of capitalism’s development. The goal is to contribute to a larger debate over using capitalism as a synthetic lens to comprehend modern history and anthropology.

Coodinators

Faculty:

Jennifer Burns, Sylvia Yanagisako

Graduate Student:

Branden Adams
Meeting Schedule: (click to expand)

Blokker Research Workshop

Approaches to Data Scarcity in Ancient History

This workshop will explore the combination of social scientific and humanistic approaches to the Ancient world and the way in which methods drawn from political science, network theory, and statistics can inform the debate over data scarcity in Antiquity and subsequent periods of history. While archaeology has produced impressive datasets in recent years, ancient historians have started to systematize the collection of data in projects such as the Stanford-led POLIS project. The assumption of this workshop is that we need to move a step further and complicate our understanding of social scientific models and their implications to better use and shape these emerging datasets. 

Coodinators

Faculty:

Justin Leidwanger, Josiah Ober

Graduate Student:

Matthieu Abgrall
Meeting Schedule: (click to expand)

Cognition and Language

This workshop encourages interdisciplinary insight among the fields of linguistics, philosophy, psychology, anthropology, and computer science to answer questions central to each of these disciplines. Language plays a central role in the coordinated activity that shapes our culture and is crucial to forming abstract thought.  Questions to be considered include: How does language work? How does it interact with the other cognitive processes that shape the human experience?

Coodinators

Faculty:

Hyowon Gweon, Daniel Lassiter

Graduate Student:

Simon Todd
Meeting Schedule: (click to expand)

Feminist/Queer: Critiques and Synergies

Do identity politics require a coherent identity? And to what extent do contemporary feminist and queer theoretical frameworks allow for one? As queer and feminist theory engage with and incorporate one another’s insights and criticisms, what distinctions remain between the two? This workshop will challenge participants to clarify both queer theory’s and feminism’s independent and mutual agendas as they are practiced in the contemporary academy. It will provide a forum for inquiry into how both movements have influenced disciplines across the humanities, in part through understanding how the theoretical models should and do narrate their own entangled histories.

Coodinators

Faculty:

Sianne Ngai

Graduate Student:

Annie Atura
Meeting Schedule: (click to expand)

French Culture

The French Culture Workshop brings together participants from a wide range of disciplines, including French literature, History, Comparative Literature, and Art History, to examine questions relevant to French culture and society from the modern period (1650 to the present). Topics of discussion include political and intellectual history, imperialism and colonialism, nationalism and national identity, immigration and minorities, gender, religion, and francophonie.

Coodinators

Faculty:

James P. Daughton, Dan Edelstein

Graduate Student:

Derek Vanderpool
Meeting Schedule: (click to expand)

Claire and John Radway Research Workshop

Interdisciplinary Approaches to Consciousness

Conscious experience is a phenomenon that each of us knows intimately well, yet explaining consciousness has proved to be exquisitely difficult. This workshop explores the nature of conscious experience from a variety of viewpoints that cross boundaries in the humanities and sciences. This year the workshop addresses the “Hard Problem of Consciousness” (aka the problem of qualia), consciousness and literature, consciousness and the brain, and possibly consciousness and quantum mechanics.

Coodinators

Faculty:

John Perry, Paul Skokowski

Graduate Student:

Natalie Deam
Meeting Schedule: (click to expand)

Humanities Center Fellows Research Workshop

Interdisciplinary Working Group in Critical Theory

This workshop brings together faculty and graduate students from across the humanities and qualitative social sciences to address current theoretical debates by reading and discussing texts that both define and disrupt disciplinary thinking. With the goal of facilitating ongoing interdisciplinary inquiry, we have chosen three thematic foci that tie together the disciplinary concerns and latent research agendas of workshop participants: Materialisms, Affect, and Transitions. By providing a sustained platform for cross-disciplinary dialogue, the workshop aims to provoke discussions that allow participants to test disciplinary assumptions within a sympathetic yet serious scholarly environment.

Coodinators

Faculty:

Paula Moya, Vaughn Rasberry

Graduate Student:

Cam Awkward-Rich
Meeting Schedule: (click to expand)

Marta Sutton Weeks Research Workshop

Minority Communities, Rights, Political Economies and States in the Modern Middle East and Central Asia

This workshop addresses the transition from empires to modern nation states in the Middle East and Central Asia. This transition disrupted previously existing political, religious, and economic networks and transformed ethnic and religious communities into permanent minorities and majorities within political boundaries imposed by European powers. This became a source of tensions between public politics based on civic rights and obligations and communal politics based on religious or ethnic solidarities and greatly complicated the development of democratic polities. Western scholars commonly understand conflicts over these issues as an aspect of primordial backwardness or a “democratic deficit” in the Arab or Muslim world. However, they have an important political economy dimension.

Coodinators

Faculty:

Joel Beinin

Graduate Student:

Kristen Alff
Meeting Schedule: (click to expand)

Research Workshop in Honor of John Bender

Oral Literature and Literate Orality

This workshop explores from a multidisciplinary standpoint how oral literature stands alongside and engages with texts in literate societies. While the study of oral literature has transformed many disciplines in the last century, the label of “true” orality was originally granted only to pre-literate traditions. We bring together a variety of perspectives as to how different disciplines have bridged the perceived gap between verbal art and artistic text. To that end, this workshop builds an ongoing conversation on topics such as the transmission and textualization of folk literature, the interplay between spoken word and written text, and the sociology of reading and performance. For more information, visit the workshop’s website.

Coodinators

Faculty:

Richard Martin

Graduate Student:

Sienna Kang
Meeting Schedule: (click to expand)

Seminar on the Enlightenment and Revolution, 1660-1830

This workshop excavates the long eighteenth century: the period of western European and American history from 1660 through 1830. Enlightenment and Revolution broadly describe the epochal transformations in religion, economics, art, literature, science, and philosophy over the period. The aftershocks of these seismic shifts are still felt today throughout the humanities, and can only be fully apprehended with a multi- and cross-disciplinary approach. In 2015–16, we will use the thematic lens of “Transmission” to bring together scholars to imagine the period’s morphological shifts from a synthetic perspective.

Coodinators

Faculty:

John Bender, Adrian Daub

Graduate Student:

Anastasia Martine (Tasha) Eccles
Meeting Schedule: (click to expand)

Techniques of Mediation

This workshop explores how technologies of inscription, mediation, information, and archives create the social world, by examining a wide range of historical and contemporary assemblages of people, machines, and organizations that have shaped complex diagrams of power and of social life. From index cards to databases, from the alphabet to ASCII, and from the abacus to the algorithm, the workshop will explore concrete cases of mediation’s effectivity, and by doing so expand our assessment of mediation to the status of technically - and materially - determinate processes of world-making and knowledge production.

Coodinators

Faculty:

Miyako Inoue, Thomas Mullaney

Graduate Student:

Firat Bozcali
Meeting Schedule: (click to expand)

The Material Imagination: Sound, Space, and Human Consciousness

This workshop explores how attention to the materiality of sound opens up new questions about history, art, architecture, religion, and society. In contrast to established research on music and language that emphasizes textual meaning of sounds, this workshop engages with the materiality and physical presence of acoustic phenomena in order to consider the sensuous space through which human experience takes place. From the medieval to the modern, the corporeal to the technological, and the historical past to the imagined future, this workshop fosters innovative scholarship across disciplines that include art history, architecture, music, anthropology, English, history, classics, and religious studies. For more information, please see the workshop's website.

Coodinators

Faculty:

Bissera Pentcheva

Graduate Student:

Justin Tackett
Meeting Schedule: (click to expand)

Marta Sutton Weeks Research Workshop

Varieties of Agency

Action is fundamental; we relate to the world and each other. Yet how is it to be understood? How do agents relate to their actions, explaining them, giving reasons for them? And how do they relate to each other, act together? This workshop assembles philosophers, linguists, classicists, and literature scholars to work on topics related to these many varieties of agency, including conceptions of action, the self and agential self-knowledge, and shared agency.

Coodinators

Faculty:

David Hills

Graduate Student:

Nathan Hauthaler
Meeting Schedule: (click to expand)

Workshop in Poetics

The Workshop in Poetics is concerned with the theoretical and practical dimensions of the reading and criticism of poetry. Within the eclectic critical landscape called "poetics,” the workshop offers a forum in which scholars with distinctive methods and historical concerns can test their claims and assumptions about poetic objects against the broad linguistic and historical knowledge of the workshop’s members.

Coodinators

Faculty:

Roland Greene, Nicholas Jenkins

Graduate Student:

Mary Kim
Meeting Schedule: (click to expand)