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Current Workshops

Arts + Justice

The Arts + Justice Workshop explores the relationship between the arts and justice using the arts to understand the symbiotic cultural life of law: culture shapes law and laws determine cultural practices. The arts are frequently celebrated for their capacity to evoke empathy and activate ethical responsibility. While artists have turned to forms of cultural expression to express a sense of voicelessness, this workshop cautions against romantic celebrations of arts as a panacea for social suffering. Cultural productions intended function as an antidote to injustice may also unintentionally entrench dominant ideologies. Conversely, to ensure a balanced perspective, the workshop is critical of an almost reflexive suspicion of law, which excoriates law as an a priori terrain of injustice, perpetuating existing discriminations. This workshop imagines the legal terrain as culturally constituted, suffused with its own practices, and as a powerful force shaping our subjectivity, social relations, and political institutions. Releasing law from text and realizing it in performance provides a kinetic, dynamic mode of thinking about legal scripts activated in embodied and aesthetic form. Arts + Justice expands the frame to include exciting new work in performance studies, art history, music, and sound studies, affect theory, critical race theory, new materialism, environmental humanities, and queer theory.

Coordinators

Faculty:

Jisha Menon, Aileen Robinson

Graduate Student:

Anna Kimmel
Meeting Schedule: (click to expand)

  • October 8, 2021 - Virtual: Panel on "Rap, Law and Critical Race Theory"

    October 15, 2021 - Virtual: Panel on "Sexual Archives, Law, and the Politics of Shame"

Humanities Center Fellows Research Workshop

Concerning Violence: A Collaborative Research Group

Violence continues to serve as the primary lens through which scholars and activists from varied intellectual traditions theorize legacies of (and resistance to) colonialism, slavery, and state power. Such theorizations remain integral to our current understandings of culture and literature. The global scale of European colonialism and transatlantic slavery account for violence remaining as a powerful analytic for developing a grounded yet comprehensive theory of globalized modernity, as well as the social movements and competing sovereignties that have emerged in its wake. Concerning Violence: A Collaborative Research Group challenges the political and economic, ontological, and epistemic violence of coloniality and racial capitalism with the goal of rethinking the premises of cultural and literary scholarship, towards the practice of transformational knowledge production. The workshop’s theme for this year “Afterlives of Violence: Coloniality and Racial Capitalism in Global Perspective” will explore different aspects each quarter. Since decolonial theory has historically been a focus of the workshop, the Autumn quarter will be dedicated to considering its capacities and limitations in untangling the production of knowledge from a primarily Eurocentric episteme and attending to the particular ontological conditions and lived experiences of racialized subjects. Winter quarter will orient our attention to how violence has been theorized within scholarship on racial capitalism and (anti-) Blackness; and Spring quarter will think through violence in the archive, and the intersection of coloniality, violence, and law. 

Coordinators

Faculty:

Jose Saldivar, Kabir Tambar

Graduate Student:

Noor Amr
Meeting Schedule: (click to expand)

  • October 26, 2021 11:00 AM - Virtual: Sara Salem on "Encountering Anticolonial Traces: On the Impossibility of Archiving"

Critical Data Practices in Humanities Research

This workshop explores the unique challenges that face the arts and humanities as we ground data-driven insights in real-world human complexity, and in various social, cultural, and historical contexts. Digitization and computational methods provide new opportunities for understanding the cultural implications of data, its meaning, and its significance to the long history of recorded human experience. We must therefore carefully consider the ways that we derive meaning from data through critical attention to methods and sources. The workshop gives particular attention to what the humanities have to say to data practices in the current moment and urges us to critically examine the issues of representation, equity, accessibility, and discoverability. Computational and Data Sciences approaches are running against the tensions between the urge to generalize data for the purposes of standardization and prediction, and the need to recognize the significance of the individual and the specific. Recently published work in art history looks to medieval Italy to reveal how measurement itself molds our understanding of truth and accuracy, while work on the long history of all forms of human communication demonstrates from massive datasets how particular events in society, and the effect of one group’s decision-making, can change the course of technological evolution. Stanford, now home to the Institute for Human-centered AI and the Stanford Data Science Institute, as well as the leading Digital Humanities center, CESTA, is uniquely positioned to foster cross-disciplinary conversations on these critical issues.

Coordinators

Faculty:

Mark Algee-Hewitt, Giovanna Ceserani, Laura Stokes

Graduate Student:

Matt Warner
Meeting Schedule: (click to expand)

  • October 20, 2021 5:30 PM - Hybrid: Data collection - the takes and stakes on its ethical, intellectual, and social implications

    November 10, 2021 5:30 PM - Hybrid: What do we do about outliers - is there a tension between a humanistic interest in the unusual and a data-driven interest in the regular?

    December 1, 2021 5:30 PM - Hybrid: How to balance our immediate needs for data that works for our current project against the potential needs of future scholars - what are the ethics of data preservation? 

Decolonizing Archives, Rethinking Historical Methods

“What if the story was not recorded from the start? What if the ghost of the past are spirits that are doomed to wander precisely because their stories have not been told” (Sharpe, 2003)? Jenny Sharpe, writing about the histories of Black women in the Caribbean, reminds us that the archive is a site of unverifiable claims, replete with erasures and hauntings. Through a series of cross-disciplinary dialogs, mobilizing approaches from decolonial theory, Black and indigenous studies, postcolonial studies, queer theory, etc., this workshop will examine the relationship between the archive and the writing of marginalized, vernacular, subaltern histories. A critical archival approach will help examine how the archive is animated, unmade, and reconstituted through historical amnesia, invite new modes of reading ephemera and fragments, and consider the implications for minoritized histories when we move beyond the language of loss, paucity, and recovery, and engage with the generative possibilities of fractures and absences. The workshop considers the epistemic violence of historical erasures and new ways of reading incomplete archives, so that we may write rich, intersectional histories that engage deeply with complexities of race, ethnicity, class, caste, gender, and sexuality. We hope to initiate dynamic exchanges on the methodological possibilities of absent, fragmentary, and irrecoverable archives across, but not limited to, the disciplines of critical race studies, postcolonial studies, queer, and feminist scholarship. It is not incidental that these disciplines have played a signal role in theorizing failure, loss, and absence as foundational to radical historical methods.

Coordinators

Faculty:

Usha Iyer

Graduate Student:

Ankita Deb
Meeting Schedule: (click to expand)

  • October 19, 2021 4:30 PM - Virtual: Kaveh Askari on "Circulation Worries"

    November 17, 2021 12:00 PM - Virtual: Weihong Bao on "Archaeology of a Medium, The Agri(cultural) Techniques of a Paddy Film Farm"

Claire and John Radway Research Workshop

Education and the Humanities

Education is one of the most contested spaces in American society today. The humanities historically has shaped these educational discourses and institutions, but has recently lost its authoritative influence on the public debate. Education and the Humanities (E&H) aims to provide a space to reinfuse the conversation with rigorous and resonant scholarship on education from across disciplines and to develop new directions for the humanities. Humanists have a uniquely valuable perspective on the history, literature, and philosophy of education. However, many of us work across disciplines and schools in distinct subfields and rarely talk to one another. Drawing on the unique interdisciplinary community that E&H provides, we will uncover the roots of current debates about educational institutions and ideas, engage pathbreaking scholarship in educational philosophy, history, and other subdisciplines, and create opportunities for collaboration to make a bigger impact on the public conversation. The field of education is uniquely suited as the object of interdisciplinary analysis. As a sector that connects with politics, medicine and public health, and the law, education has the ability as a topic to bring together unlikely conversation partners. 

Coordinators

Faculty:

Emily Levine, Caroline Winterer

Graduate Student:

Caitlin Murphy Brust
Meeting Schedule: (click to expand)

  • September 24, 2021 - Hybrid: Emily J. Levine on "Allies and Rivals"

    October 8, 2021 - Hybrid: Mitchell L. Stevens on "Whose Higher Education Is It?"

    Oxtober 29, 2021 - Hybrid: Rob Reich on "System Error: Where Big Tech Went Wrong and How We Can Reboot"

Eurasian Empires

Eurasian Empires explores the connected and comparative history of empires in Eurasia, including ancient Greek and Middle Eastern empires, through early modern and modern Russian, Ottoman, Safavid/Qajar, Uzbek, Mughal, and Chinese empires. We have traditionally focused on early modern history to about 1800; after a year’s hiatus and with new faculty in our field, we will consider imperial legacies up through the twentieth century. Our work is comparative and interdisciplinary, united around an overarching theme: early modern Eurasian empires as “empires of difference” and their multiform transformations to modern states. We will focus on how imperial centers governed these diverse, multi-confessional and multi-ethnic expanses of space, how the constituent peoples of empire interacted with the metropole, and how these dynamics shifted in the global age of capital expansion and nation state formation in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We will organize our workshop around three broad and interrelated sub-themes, one per quarter: (1) law, politics, and administration; (2) space and environment; and (3) mobility, exchange, and economic life.

Coordinators

Faculty:

Nora Barakat, Nancy Kollmann

Graduate Student:

Merve Tekgürler
Meeting Schedule: (click to expand)

  • October 18, 2021 5:30 PM - Hybrid: Anubha Anushree on "Discreditable but…not Disgraceful, Corruption in Late Nineteenth-Century India"

    October 25, 2021 12:00 PM - Hybrid: Alexander Morrison on "The Russian Conquest of Central Asia: Understanding the fall of Tashkent in 1865"

Feminist, Queer, and Trans Studies Colloquium

The Feminist, Queer and Trans Studies Colloquium (FQTSC) will cultivate discussions focused on multiplicity within feminist, queer, and transgender scholarship. A theorization of multiplicity activates notions of interdisciplinary scholarship while also making room to consider methodologies across cultures, geographies, and temporalities. Through workshops with prominent feminist, queer, and transgender scholars, FQTSC members will be encouraged to consider the following questions: In what ways have interdisciplinary methodologies shaped feminist, queer, and transgender scholarship? How do intersectional identities—such as race, gender, class, ethnicity, disability, and sexuality—shape these emerging fields? How does the study of multiplicity point to current blind spots in feminist, queer, and transgender history and theory? Finally, how can we, as scholars, use these insights and perspectives to expand the limits of feminist, queer, and transgender scholarship in the future? By making multiplicity the focus of this year’s colloquium, we hope to generate conversations

Coordinators

Faculty:

Richard Meyer

Graduate Student:

Marco Antonio Flores
Meeting Schedule: (click to expand)

Marta Sutton Weeks Research Workshop

History of Political Thought

Our interdisciplinary workshop brings together scholars across multiple departments who share an interest in the history of political thought. The historical study of political thought is doubly distinct from political theory which tends to focus on normative and ethical questions, frequently with a contemporary emphasis. Historical political thought study 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. The workshop continues to provide an opportunity for faculty and graduate students scattered across different departments to examine similar topics of interest from different methodological perspectives. While we take an expansive and global view of political thought, scholars in this field generally focus on a set of common concepts, such 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. For this reason, we are confident that scholars working on different periods and in different geographical contexts will continue to find value from all the discussions.

Coordinators

Faculty:

David Como, Jonathan Gienapp, Alison McQueen

Graduate Student:

Avshalom Schwartz
Meeting Schedule: (click to expand)

  • October 28, 2021 1:00 PM - Virtual: W. Tanner Allread on "The Origins of Indigenous Constitutionalism: Choctaw Law and Governance, 1826-1830"

Marta Sutton Weeks Research Workshop

Matters of Voice

There is an inherent excess in voice—it resounds both within and outside meaningful speech. For Roland Barthes, what lies outside meaningful speech in a voice is “the cantor’s body, brought to your ears in one and the same movement from deep down cavities, muscles, cartilages and language.” For the philosopher Adriana Cavarero, who spoke at a workshop event last year, voice does not simply resound within meaningful speech, it enables it. Speech is inherently relational and given voice “communicates one’s own uniqueness to another unique being,” it ensures speech is occurring between two different people. Departing from these two premises, the Matters of Voice workshop aims to support research agendas that engage with both the embodied nature of voice (drawing from the disciplines of music, film, sound studies, performance studies, and gender and sexuality) and its relational nature (drawing from the disciplines of literature, linguistics, anthropology, and philosophy). Ultimately, we hope this workshop will enable these seemingly parallel running research tracks to frequently crisscross and benefit from one another.

Coordinators

Faculty:

Alexander Key, Charles Kronengold

Graduate Student:

María Gloria Robalino
Meeting Schedule: (click to expand)

  • October 28, 2021 12:00 PM - Virtual: Sugata Ray on "Art History and the Political Ecologies of Vital Breath"

Postcolonial Spatialities: Spatial Concepts

Colonialism is conventionally defined as the control of external territories by European nations. However, another definition is that it entails the management of heterogenous populations under the elusive rubric of the nation. Under this second definition China’s treatment of their Moslem Uighur population is as colonial as Britain’s long history in India and Jamaica. Both definitions of colonialism carry spatial implications. The objective of this workshop is to focus on the spatial concepts that might be rigorously applied to studies of colonial and postcolonial societies. Spatial concepts such as chronotope, cartography, spatial fix, centre/periphery, and globalization will be augmented with newer ones such as spatial traversal, means of locomotion, and geocriticism to generate a comprehensive and flexible set of terms for application to different contexts. The workshop will be designed to bring disciplines from the humanities and social sciences from Stanford and beyond into dialogue on different epochs and spaces. The central contribution of this workshop will be to bring conceptual rigor to the intersections between spatial theory and Postcolonial Studies. Also, the interdisciplinary perspective that will be adopted will serve to animate both methodological and conceptual domains to deliver clearer analytical procedures than have hitherto been available. Furthermore, the workshop will also take a comparative and historically nuanced Global South/Global North perspective on the central spatial concepts and problems, thus ensuring that a wide range of disciplinary, historical, and geographical interests are covered.

Coordinators

Faculty:

Ato Quayson

Graduate Student:

Christine Xiong
Meeting Schedule: (click to expand)

  • October 6, 2021 5:30 PM - Hybrid: Concepts and Collectivities

    October 27, 2021 5:30 PM - In Person: Vilashini Cooppan on "Time-Maps: A Field Guide to the Decolonial Imaginary"

    November 17, 2021

Producing Knowledge In and Of Africa

Knowledge Production in Africa is a highly contested topic. Recent calls have been made—both within the academy and outside it—to “decolonize” the production and circulation of knowledge about Africa. This controversy has involved new attention to institutional power dynamics in both the African and the Euro-American academy, as well as efforts to reconceptualize key epistemological categories in Afrocentric terms. This workshop brings together scholars within the humanities, social sciences, and the sciences to investigate these pressing contemporary concerns. This year the workshop will focus on three key themes: 1) How might we bring scholarship on Africa and scholarship on the African diaspora into more productive conversation with each other? 2) Howe does knowledge production about Africa and its diaspora manifest both in different and in convergent ways across disciplines? 3) What are the ethical implications and responsibilities of scholars researching Africa and its diaspora in the Euro-American academy?

Coordinators

Faculty:

Joel Cabrita, Vaughn Rasberry

Graduate Student:

Elizabeth Jacob
Meeting Schedule: (click to expand)

  • October 6, 2021 12:00 PM - Virtual: Panel on "African Literature & Publishing Platforms"

    October 20, 2021 12:00 PM - Virtual: Byfield and Zimmerman on "Gender and Sexuality in the African Diaspora"

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. 

Coordinators

Faculty:

Emanuele Lugli

Graduate Student:

Linden Hill, Ann Marguerite Tartsinis
Meeting Schedule: (click to expand)

Blokker Research Workshop

Standardization in Ancient Economies

This workshop explores standardization in pre-modern economies. Although typically associated with industrialization and modernity, standardization appears across the temporal and spatial breadth of antiquity and up to the modern era, signaling the scaling up of production, the streamlining of commercial interaction, and the emergence of complex political economies. Our workshop interrogates where, when and in what forms standardization appears in historical contexts, and by contrast, when diversity advanced economic growth and change. Through this lens, our series seeks to identify self-organizing bottom-up processes, top-down impositions, and their complex intersections that generated new structures. We explore material and non-material manifestations of standardization ranging from container volumes and prefabricated architecture to coinage controls, dissemination of measures, and mass copying of canonical texts. These case studies provide insights into historical economic mentalities, the limits of rationality and efficiency, and the political, social, and technological webs in which production and interaction were embedded.

Coordinators

Faculty:

Justin Leidwanger

Graduate Student:

Matthew Previto
Meeting Schedule: (click to expand)

The Future of the Past: Classics & Technology

This workshop series explores cutting-edge scholarship and new methodological approaches at the intersection of Classics and technology. Presenters from a variety of institutions and Classical disciplines will speak on new technologies relevant to the study of archaeology, Latin and Greek literature, reception, and Ancient History. Each event will provide insight into applications of these approaches and technologies in research, pedagogy, and/or related careers beyond the academy. One of the great problems facing Classics today is a persistent issue with accessibility and perceived relevance: as a field that explores niche elements of the ancient past, Classics struggles to attract and retain students who are looking for more immediate applicability in their own lives. Technological advancements are a means of addressing this issue by helping us collect and diffuse information in more accessible ways while also staying current as scholars and teachers. This series will consist of theoretical and practical workshops featuring new and underrepresented speakers who have developed and used these diverse tools and approaches. Our hope is that increasing awareness of the available tools will normalize their use even among more ‘traditional’ Classical scholars.

Coordinators

Faculty:

Hans Bork

Graduate Student:

Rachel E. Dubit, Annie K. Lamar
Meeting Schedule: (click to expand)

Linda Randall Meier Research Workshop

The Medical Humanities

The Medical Humanities workshop goals are to develop a shared sense of purpose among faculty stakeholders to create a useful institutional structure infused with good will and trust. This workshop examines and hopes to answer two questions: What is Stanford’s approach to Medical Humanities? What particular resources and opportunities might our local community offer to those interested in Medical Humanities? Within the Stanford community the Medical School has the “Medicine and the Muse” program that serves as its home for arts and humanities, supports medical student scholarly concentration in Biomedical Ethics and Medical Humanities, and provides the base for current internal and external collaborative work in the health humanities. Within the School of Humanities and Sciences there is a strong Medical Anthropology program and considerable interest in the history and literature of medicine. We have a substantial group of novelists, poets and non-fiction writers concerned with medicine across campus. The Medical Humanities workshop intends to develop a rich network of scholars from diverse backgrounds and disciplines that will also enhance Stanford’s national and international presence in this emerging field. The topics foremost in today’s conversations—including systemic racial bias and inequality—underscore the need to create space for scholarly conversations around medicine and health care that cross all parts of our campus and equip graduate students, faculty, undergraduates, fellows, and trainees to do the best possible work in the world. 

Coordinators

Faculty:

Tanya Marie Luhrmann, Daniel Mason, Audrey Shafer, Laura Wittman

Graduate Student:

Elix Colon
Meeting Schedule: (click to expand)

The Workshop in Poetics

The Workshop in Poetics is concerned with the theoretical and practical dimensions of the reading and criticism of poetry. Oriented toward work in progress by PhD students, the workshop accommodates talks by visiting speakers and discussion of both classic and neglected works in the eclectic critical landscape called “poetics.” Over the workshop’s history, the exposure to multiple perspectives and the atmosphere of mutual investment have been essential to the success of many dissertations. The workshop’s agenda is driven by a transnational and transcultural range of interests, providing a forum where 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. The multilingual and interdisciplinary nature of the workshop has enriched the perspective that members and presenters have on their work. Over its fourteen years, the workshop has become a central venue at Stanford and in the Bay Area for sharing projects in a conversation outside of conventional disciplinary and departmental boundaries.

Coordinators

Faculty:

Marisa Galvez

Graduate Student:

Jonathan Atkins, Katherine Whatley
Meeting Schedule: (click to expand)

  • November 5, 2021 2:00 PM - Hybrid: Lucía Martínez Valdivia on "Audiation: Listening to Writing"

    November 19, 2021 1:00 PM - Hybrid: Nigel Smith on "Purity of Diction in English Verse, Dissenting Poetics and the Student Revolution"

    December 3, 2021 1:00 PM - Hybrid: Radhika Koul on "Beyond Foucauldian Hermeneutics, Didacticism and Rasadhvani in Lalla’s Poetics"

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. Essential and transformative interdisciplinary perspective introduces questions, secondary material, and objects a single researcher would not likely encounter alone or within the confines of their discipline. We place a strong emphasis on collaboration across fields and historical periods to ensure lively and challenging interchange and path-breaking interdisciplinary work.

Coordinators

Faculty:

Emanuele Lugli, Tom Owens

Graduate Student:

Lora Webb
Meeting Schedule: (click to expand)