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Current Workshops

Cognition and Language Workshop

The Cognition and Language Workshop creates a thriving community of language researchers by bringing a cognitive perspective to the exchange of new ideas about language. This year, the workshop focuses on the role of prediction in language processing and use. Some of the workshop’s questions include: To what extent do language users predict upcoming linguistic or extra-linguistic information? At what levels of linguistic representation does prediction occur? How do predictions change in response to novel input and learning?

Coodinators

Faculty:

Judith Degen, Dan Lassiter

Graduate Student:

Brandon Waldon
Meeting Schedule: (click to expand)

Concerning Violence: A Decolonial Collaborative Research Group

Concerning Violence: A Decolonial Collaborative Research Group challenges the political and economic, ontological, and epistemic violence of coloniality with the goal of rethinking the premises of cultural and literary scholarship towards the practice of transformational knowledge production. The concept of coloniality refers to the logics that empowered modern colonialism and that persist today through material and ideological legacies of violence. These legacies of violence remain integral to our current understandings of culture and literature. Decoloniality, as a mode of thinking, praxis, and sociality, has provided a new generation of intellectuals and activists the tools to uncover the logics that link global political and economic regimes of domination; systems of oppression that target minoritized peoples; and structures privileging Eurocentric knowledge production. 

Coodinators

Faculty:

Angela Garcia, José David Saldívar

Graduate Student:

Jameelah Morris
Meeting Schedule: (click to expand)

Humanities Center Fellows Research Workshop

Critical Orientations to Race and Ethnicity

“Race” and “ethnicity” are terms used so commonly throughout American society that their meaning—even among scholars—is often taken for granted. This interdisciplinary workshop interrogates how different academic fields approach these concepts and re-examine the key questions that animate research on race and ethnicity.  Through exposure to the latest scholarship and debates in the humanities, social sciences, and interdisciplinary work, this workshop challenges participants to hone analytical approaches to race and ethnicity in their own work.

Coodinators

Faculty:

Ana Raquel Minian

Graduate Student:

Vannessa Velez
Meeting Schedule: (click to expand)

Linda Randall Meier Research Workshop

Digital Aesthetics: Critical Approaches to Computational Culture

From IBM punch cards to digital census forms, from ASCII art to Oculus Rift, how do we think and feel on screens and online, on disk or in the cloud, at the keyboard or off-the-grid? How do digital objects and code blur boundaries between text, image, and performative acts? How do they challenge our understanding of the distinctions between a medium and its content? This workshop hosts conversations about material culture studies, performance theory, technology history, and aesthetics to explore a partnership between engineering and the humanities by bringing technological objects into critical humanities research and introducing new vocabularies into discussions of the design and production of our digital future.

Coodinators

Faculty:

Shane Denson

Graduate Student:

Jeff Nagy
Meeting Schedule: (click to expand)

Marta Sutton Weeks Research Workshop

Ethics and Politics, Ancient and Modern

The Ethics and Politics, Ancient and Modern (EPAM) workshop explores topics with broad interdisciplinary appeal, especially in the areas of classics, philosophy, and political theory. The workshop examines possibilities for reuniting classical and classically-influenced ideas about ethics with political theorizing that is applicable to the modern world. With a focus on classical moral and political philosophy, this workshop creates a common ground for an interdisciplinary discussion among graduate students and faculty.

Coodinators

Faculty:

Chris Bobonich, Josiah Ober

Graduate Student:

Jonathan Matthew Amaral
Meeting Schedule: (click to expand)

Eurasian Empires

Eurasian Empires explores the connected and comparative history of early empires from the Mediterranean to China, defining time and space broadly. We focus on themes and problems common to the many empires that asserted control from ancient Greek and Middle Eastern empires to early modern Russian, Ottoman, Safavid/Qajar, Uzbek, Mughal and the Chinese empires from Han to Qing. This year’s thematic focus is Empire, Nature, and Crisis. Workshop questions include: What was the relationship between the imperial organizations of the Medieval and Early-Modern Empires of Asia and Europe and their physical environments? How did environment of the empires shape their social, political, and economic structures? How did merchant, scholar, and spiritual networks operate within and beyond the empires? How was crisis—political, social, institutional, and spiritual—perceived and negotiated by different groups?

Coodinators

Faculty:

Nancy Kollman, Ali Yaycioglu

Graduate Student:

Morgan Tufan
Meeting Schedule: (click to expand)

Feminist/Queer Colloquium

This year’s colloquium will cultivate discussions on multiplicity within feminist, queer, and transgender scholarship. Multiplicity activates notions of intersectionality but also makes room to consider discursive threads and methods that run parallel to one another and those that, perhaps, never intersect at all. Through workshops with influential feminist, queer, and transgender scholars and discussions with emerging scholars, participants will be challenged to consider the following questions: In what ways have multiple cultural contexts, time periods, locations, research methods, and the like come together to shape contemporary feminist, queer, and transgender studies? In what ways have they remained separate? Why and to what end? Further, how does the study of these convergences and divergences point to blind spots in current feminist, queer, and transgender history and theory? Finally, how can we, as scholars, use these new insights to expand the limits of feminist, queer, and transgender scholarship in the future?

Coodinators

Faculty:

Adrian Daub

Graduate Student:

Cyle Metzger
Meeting Schedule: (click to expand)

Marta Sutton Weeks Research Workshop

History of Political Thought

The History of Political Thought workshop takes an expansive and global view of political thought, including such common concepts as constitutions and political order, rights provisions, suffrage, theories of representation, legislation, legitimate resistance, the role of religion in politics, and the dissolution of government. Instead of a focus on contemporary normative and ethical questions, the historical study of political thought considers ideas and beliefs that are typically no longer current, and sometimes brackets their normative value. This approach has more in common with intellectual history than with political philosophy.

Coodinators

Faculty:

Jonathan Gienapp, Alison McQueen

Graduate Student:

Avashalom Schwartz
Meeting Schedule: (click to expand)

Reframing Fashion Studies: Performance, Gender, and the Body

In the 1997 inaugural issue of the academic journal Fashion Theory: Journal of Dress, Body, & Culture, Valerie Steele defined “fashion” as the “cultural construction of an embodied identity.” Two decades later, in their edited volume Thinking Through Fashion, Agnès Rocamora and Anneke Smelik only modestly expanded the definition to identify “fashion as referring to dress, appearance, and style” and “a material culture and symbolic system.” To trouble these constrictive interpretations, this workshop orients fashion within a broader study of the body itself, a discursive site upon which fashion studies and its attendant disciplines of visual culture, anthropology, sociology, and history overlap. Central to this inquiry are theoretical practices more traditionally situated within performance, gender, and critical race studies. The objective is to reconceptualize the field of fashion as something more than a cultural construction by unearthing the interwoven set of corporeal, social, and theoretical operations that structure fashion’s logic and foster its material manifestations.

Coodinators

Faculty:

Usha Iyer, Nancy J. Troy

Graduate Student:

Ann Marguerite Tartsinis
Meeting Schedule: (click to expand)

Claire and John Radway Research Workshop

Renaissance Worldmaking

What is a world? Even today, the question invites conflicting responses from scientific, political, literary, philosophical, and geographic perspectives. How we choose to answer it reveals much about our own self-understanding and sense of place in the world. This workshop situates the Renaissance as a transatlantic, transnational experiment in generating worldmaking concepts—the globe, the world, the human, empire—viewing it as an “early modernity” that is foundational for our present and yet more experimental, less systematic, than the Enlightenment legacy through which modernity is often understood. As such, it is a crucial site not only for understanding and critiquing modernity but also for imagining alternative conceptions of the world. This workshop also explores new definitions of the spatial and temporal boundaries of early modernity, emphasizing the transatlantic and Mediterranean Renaissances alongside the more familiar Florentine and English accounts, while viewing cartography, literature, translation, philosophy, and science as interwoven practices constitutive of Renaissance worldmaking.

Coodinators

Faculty:

Patricia Parker

Graduate Student:

Nicholas Fenech
Meeting Schedule: (click to expand)

  • No meetings assigned to this workshop yet.

Blokker Research Workshop

Standardization in Ancient Economies

This workshop explores standardization in pre-modern economies, particularly in the ancient Mediterranean. It interrogates where, when, and in what forms standardization appears in ancient contexts, and by contrast when diversity advanced economic growth and change. Through this lens, this workshop seeks to identify self-organizing bottom-up processes, top-down impositions, and their complex intersections that generated new economic structures. Our approach examines the social and political landscape of antiquity and draws on case studies from not only traditional fields of classics, but anthropology, history, and art history, bringing in themes from political science, sociology, philosophy, and religious studies. We challenge our colleagues to investigate widely through the humanities, arts, and social sciences, creating the potential for fruitful new avenues of exploration.

Coodinators

Faculty:

Justin Leidwanger

Graduate Student:

Sarah Toby Wilker
Meeting Schedule: (click to expand)

Varieties of Agency

We know much about action simply by virtue of constantly engaging in it. We act so as to affect changes in ourselves, one another, and the world at large. We also make confident use of reasons for action in deciding, explaining, and assessing actions. Yet closer looks at action, agency, and reasons for them show them to be puzzling. In choosing how to act, do we settle things left unsettled by the causal order prior to our choice? When and how can our interactions with others add up to joint action? How is explaining actions in terms of agential reasons related to explaining it in terms of causes? In what way do we know what we’re doing when doing something intentionally? Disciplines across the humanities and sciences have their own ways of tackling these hard questions about agency; this workshop brings them together for focused collaborative investigation.

Coodinators

Faculty:

Barry Maguire

Graduate Student:

Nathan Hauthaler
Meeting Schedule: (click to expand)

Research Workshop in Honor of John Bender

Working Group in Literary & Visual Culture

How do ways of seeing and reading inform our sense of history or place? What is the relationship between close reading, an essential tool for literary critics, and close looking, central to art history? These are some of the animating questions for the Working Group in Literary & Visual Culture. We consider projects that transcend disciplinary boundaries in terms of both content and form, considering materials often overlooked in more conventional scholarship. We engage a wide range of urgent and emerging research agendas, such as the representation of gender and sexuality, race and class, colonial and postcolonial studies, the histories of science and technology, and environmental humanities. We place a strong emphasis on collaboration across fields and historical periods to ensure lively and challenging interchange and path-breaking interdisciplinary work.

Coodinators

Faculty:

Gavin Jones, Marci Kwon

Graduate Student:

Rachel Heise Bolten
Meeting Schedule: (click to expand)

Worlds of Work and the Work of Networks

What is work? What kinds of labor can be registered as work? How is a worker made? In considering these questions, this workshop combines two discrete lines of academic inquiry across social sciences—the burgeoning discourses around networks, nodes and connections in contemporary everyday economic life related to embodied and affective forms of precarious labor, and the transdisciplinary scholarship on how work is refracted by social relations of kinship, ethnicity, religion and caste, and lubricated by networks of migration and mobility. This workshop understands proliferation of networks both as an analytical category, an amalgamation of everyday practices, and self-conscious narratives.

Coodinators

Faculty:

Sharika Thiranagama

Graduate Student:

Nethra Samarawickrema
Meeting Schedule: (click to expand)