Tag Archive for humanities

Humanities Hosts Queer Art Poetics Conference April 23-25

queerartconference(By Lily Baggot ’15)

Later this month, scholars from across the country will gather on campus for the Queer/Art/Poetics Conference. The conference, which will run from April 23-24, is sponsored by the Center for the Humanities and will address questions such as “What does theory do when it takes queer art seriously?” and “How does queer theory remain artful while unpacking the objects, strategies and politics of queer aesthetics?”

Faculty, Distinguished Guest Discuss Tragedy and Revolution

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Matthew Garrett, David Scott and Lily Saint led a discussion on “Tragedy and Revolution” in the Russell House.

On March 5, the Certificate in Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory supported a discussion on “Tragedy and Revolution.” Matthew Garrett, assistant professor of English, assistant professor American studies and director of the Certificate, moderated the discussion.

Assistant Professor Matthew Garrett, visiting distinguished guest David Scott and Assistant Professor Lily Saint led a discussion on “Tragedy and Revolution” March 5 in the Russell House.

David Scott, professor of anthropology at Columbia University and editor of the journal Small Axe, spoke about his recent book, Omens of Adversity: Tragedy, Time, Memory, Justice (Duke University Press, 2014). Lily Saint, assistant professor of English, provided a response to Professor Scott’s book.

Omens of Adversity

High School Humanities Program Celebrates 40 Years

At left, Peter Frenzel, professor of German Studies emeritus; Marjorie Rosenbaum; and Wesleyan President Michael Roth, welcome local high school students, teachers, and Wesleyan faculty to the High School Humanities Program celebration, May 4 in the Center for Film Studies.

At left, Peter Frenzel, professor of German Studies emeritus; Marjorie Rosenbaum; and Wesleyan President Michael Roth, welcome local high school students, teachers, and Wesleyan faculty to the High School Humanities Program celebration, May 4 in the Center for Film Studies.

Every spring semester, more than 80 students attend lectures on Hemingway’s writing, music and social movements, romantic poetry, Greek tragedies and French essays at Wesleyan. But these students aren’t working on a college degree – yet. They’re still in high school.

As part of the Community and University Services for Education’s High School Humanities Program, high school students from six area schools spend six Fridays on the Wesleyan campus, taking classes from Wesleyan faculty. On May 4, Wesleyan hosted a celebration of the program, which is more than 40 years old.

“We’re essentially offering high school students college courses in the humanities. They’re getting a good taste of the college experience,” says program coordinator Peter Frenzel, professor of German Studies emeritus.

Thousands of local high school students have benefited from the Wesleyan program.

This semester, Wesleyan faculty Ellen Nerenberg, Andy Curran, Stephanie Weiner, Sean McCann, Rob Rosenthal and Andrew Szegedy-Maszak are teaching the morning classes. In the afternoon, students watch a film on the same theme as the morning’s lecture.

For example, after a reading, lecture and discussion on Homer’s epic poem, The Odyssey the students watched O Brother, Where Art Thou? with their professor, Andrew Szegedy-Maszak, the Jane A. Seney Professor of Greek.

Established in 1967 by Marjorie Daltry Rosenbaum, Community and University Services for Education (CAUSE) has existed to identify and facilitate the implementation of cooperative programs and projects between Wesleyan University, the Middletown community and the public and private schools in the Middletown area.

The foocus of these programs has been on intellectual and cultural enrichment. Thousands of students have benefited over the years.

Between 80 and 100 students from local public (Middletown High School, Vinal Technical High School, Portland High School and Haddam Killingworth High School) and parochial schools (Mercy and Xavier) participate in the High School Humanities Program every year.

Andrew Szegedy-Maszak, the Jane A. Seney Professor of Greek, spoke about his experience teaching ancient Greek literature in the High School Humanities Program. Szegedy-Maszak teaches the students about Homer's Odyssey or two tragedies by Sophocles (Antigone and Oedipus the King).

Another unique project supported by CAUSE is The Art Show, which exhibits over 1,200 artworks of Middletown students in grades K-12 at Wesleyan’s Zilkha Gallery. This annual showcase, reflecting the art curriculum in the Middletown Public Schools, draws hundreds of students and their families to campus each spring.

CAUSE also collaborates with Middletown Public Schools and Wesleyan’s Center for the Arts on a project called Silent Sounds. The focus is to encourage young people to explore, enjoy and create literary arts. For eight years now, students in Middletown Public Schools submit poetry and prose for juried evaluation, and winning entries (roughly 30 each year) are compiled into a printed publication.

For more information about CAUSE, contact Frank Kuan, at 860-685-2245.

‘War’ Topic of Ongoing Humanities’ Lecture Series

Sally Bachner, assistant professor of English, spoke on “Rape Trauma, Combat Trauma, and the Making of PTSD: Feminist Fiction in the 1970s” Feb. 15 in the Russell House. Bachner's talk was part of the ongoing Center for the Humanities Spring Lecture Series on "War." (Photo by Stefan Weinberger '10)

Sally Bachner, assistant professor of English, spoke on “Rape Trauma, Combat Trauma, and the Making of PTSD: Feminist Fiction in the 1970s” Feb. 15 in the Russell House. Bachner's talk was part of the ongoing Center for the Humanities Spring Lecture Series on "War." (Photo by Stefan Weinberger '10)

In the 1970s, veterans, activists and psychiatrists were hard at work getting the disorder that came to be called post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) included in the upcoming edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders III. During the same period, feminists were building a successful anti-rape movement that crucially insisted that rape is a form of violence.

On Feb. 15, Sally Bachner, assistant professor of English, spoke on “Rape Trauma, Combat Trauma, and the Making of PTSD: Feminist Fiction in the 1970s” during the Center for the John E. Sawyer Spring Lecture Series on War.

The public is invited to all CHUM lectures. (Photo by Stefan Weinberger '10)

The public is invited to all CHUM lectures. (Photo by Stefan Weinberger '10)

Bachner proposed that while both of these groups sought to bring suffering – of combat veterans and rape victims, respectively – into speech, many feminist novelists of this period instead turn to the figure of the soldier to figure rape as unspeakable. PTSD functions in these texts as a technology for figuring what was initially conceived of as suppressed speech about violence against women as a putatively “unspeakable” trauma.

Bachner, who is currently completing a book on violence in contemporary American fiction titled, The Prestige of Violence: American Fiction, 1962-2002, is among a dozen guests speaking in CHUM’s ongoing lecture series. Past topics this spring include robots and war, the war between international law and politics, U.S. foreign policy with Iraq and Afghanistan and war and the nation. Most recently, Trevor Paglen, artist and

Critical Theory Addressed at Humanities Symposium

The Center for the Humanities and the Theory Initiative Sponsored a symposium titled "Adorno and America" Dec. 4 in Russell House. Many of the major works of the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory were written in the United States during the World War II. Critical theory’s dislocation from its European origins is significant not only historically but also philosophically: the exiled intellectuals were convinced that an effective theory of culture and society could be realized only in America, where capitalism had reached its most advanced state. The symposium reflected on how the American experience of the Frankfurt School’s most prominent representative, Theodor Adorno, informed the evolution of critical theory.

The Center for the Humanities and the Theory Initiative, a faculty group that is currently seeking to add a "Certificate in Theory" to Wesleyan’s curriculum, hosted a symposium titled "Adorno and America" on Dec. 4 in Russell House. The speakers discussed how the American experience of the Frankfurt School’s most prominent representative, Theodor Adorno, informed the evolution of critical theory. Adorno, a prolific philosopher, sociologist, critical essayist, and musicologist, lived in New York and Los Angeles during the late 1930s and the 1940s. It was during his time in America that he wrote many of his major works of lasting importance, such as Minima Moralia, Dialectic of Enlightenment, and The Philosophy of New Music. Adorno shared with his fellow exiles—among them Bertolt Brecht, Hanns Eisler, Max Horkheimer, and Thomas Mann—the conviction that an effective theory of culture and society could be realized only in America, where capitalism had reached its most advanced state.

Ulrich Plass, assistant professor of German studies, introduced the symposium's topics and guest speakers. These included Joshua Rayman of the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD); Matt Waggoner of Albertus Magnus College; Ryan Drake of Fairfield University; and David Jenemann of the University of Vermont.

Ulrich Plass, assistant professor of German studies, introduced the symposium's topics and guest speakers. These included Joshua Rayman of the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD); Matt Waggoner of Albertus Magnus College; Ryan Drake of Fairfield University; and David Jenemann of the University of Vermont. Extended versions of the papers presented will be published in issue 149 of the journal Telos, guest-edited by Plass and Rayman.

At left, Ethan Kleinberg, associate professor of history, associate professor of letters, chair of the College of Letters, and Arne Hoecker, visiting assistant professor of German studies, listen to Plass's introduction.

At left, Ethan Kleinberg, associate professor of history, associate professor of letters, chair of the College of Letters, and Arne Hoecker, visiting assistant professor of German studies, listen to Plass's introduction.

Joshua Rayman spoke on "Adorno’s American Reception," during the symposium. Rayman is a professor for SCAD's eLearning Program.

Joshua Rayman spoke on "Adorno’s American Reception," during the symposium. Rayman is a professor for SCAD's eLearning Program.

Joshua Rayman, Ryan Drake and Sara Brill from Fairfield University, enjoy the symposium. (Photos by Stefan Weinberger '10)

Joshua Rayman, Ryan Drake and Sara Brill from Fairfield University, enjoy the symposium. (Photos by Stefan Weinberger '10)

Center for the Humanities Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Wesleyan President Michael Roth speaks on "The Humanities and Their Aftermath: Three Tales of Protection, Sophistication, and Connection" during the Center for the Humanities 50th Anniversary Conference Oct. 9 in Russell House. Roth was one of several speakers who discussed the pursuits, temporalities, obligations and limitations of the humanities of the 21st century.

Wesleyan President Michael Roth speaks on "The Humanities and Their Aftermath: Three Tales of Protection, Sophistication, and Connection" during the Center for the Humanities 50th Anniversary Conference Oct. 9 in Russell House. President Roth was one of several speakers who discussed the pursuits, temporalities, obligations and limitations of the humanities of the 21st century.

Victor Gourevitch, professor of philosophy, emeritus (pictured), and Nancy Armstrong, the Gilbert, Louis and Edward Lehman Professor of English, Duke University, delivered comments following Roth's talk.  The conference was titled "After the Humanities."

Victor Gourevitch, professor of philosophy, emeritus, delivered comments following President Roth's talk. Founded in 1959, the Center for Humanities is among the oldest in the United States.

Sean McCann, professor of English and American studies, speaks on "Ordeals of Liberal Humanism: The Center for the Humanities and the Cold War University."

Sean McCann, professor of English and American studies, speaks on "Ordeals of Liberal Humanism: The Center for the Humanities and the Cold War University."

Ethan Kleinberg, associate professor of history and letters (pictured); introduced McCann and the topic of liberal humanism. Elizabeth Traube, professor of anthropology, and Richard Stamelman, director of The Montgomery Foundation at Dartmouth College, professor of French, emeritus at Williams College offered comments on McCann's talk.

Ethan Kleinberg, associate professor of history and letters (pictured); introduced McCann and the topic of liberal humanism. Elizabeth Traube, professor of anthropology, and Richard Stamelman, director of The Montgomery Foundation at Dartmouth College, professor of French, emeritus at Williams College offered comments on McCann's talk.

In front, from left, Demetrius Eudell, associate professor of history, associate professor of African American studies, director of the Center for African American Studies; Jerry Wensinger, the Marcus L. Taft Professor of German Language and Literature and Professor of the Humanities, emeritus; Helen Reeve, professor emeritus from Connecticut College; and Joe Rouse, the Hedding Professor of Moral Science, professor and chair of the Science in Society Program, professor of philosophy; were among the conference's attendees. Eudell also led a talk titled "After the Humanities? Or After the episteme?: Toward a Humanism Made to the Measure of the World."

In front, from left, Demetrius Eudell, associate professor of history, associate professor of African American studies, director of the Center for African American Studies; Jerry Wensinger, the Marcus L. Taft Professor of German Language and Literature and Professor of the Humanities, emeritus; Helen Reeve, professor emeritus from Connecticut College; and Joe Rouse, the Hedding Professor of Moral Science, professor and chair of the Science in Society Program, professor of philosophy; were among the conference's attendees. Eudell also led a talk titled "After the Humanities? Or After the episteme?: Toward a Humanism Made to the Measure of the World."

Four faculty guests from other universities spoke during the conference, including Nancy Armstrong, the Gilbert, the Louis and Edward Lehman Professor of English at  Duke University.

Four faculty guests from other universities spoke during the conference, including Nancy Armstrong, the Gilbert, the Louis and Edward Lehman Professor of English at Duke University.

Cary Nelson, president of the American Association of University Professors and the Jubilee Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, led the keynote discussion on "The Last Humanist and the Perfect Storm: The Budgetary and Ideological Threats to Life as We Have Known It."

Pictured in foreground, Cary Nelson, president of the American Association of University Professors and the Jubilee Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, led the keynote discussion on "The Last Humanist and the Perfect Storm: The Budgetary and Ideological Threats to Life as We Have Known It."

Lori Gruen, associate professor of philosophy, associate professor of feminist, gender and sexuality studies, listens to a talk by Cary Nelson, president of the American Association of University Professors and the Jubilee Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Nelson spoke on "The Last Humanist and the Perfect Storm: The Budgetary and Ideological Threats to Life as We Have Known It." Gruen also led a discussion on "Humanities' Others" during the conference.

Lori Gruen, associate professor of philosophy, associate professor of feminist, gender and sexuality studies, listens to a talk by Cary Nelson. Gruen also presented her paper titled "Humanities' Others" during the conference.

(Photos by Stefan Weinberger ’10)

For more information on the Center for the Humanties go to: http://www.wesleyan.edu/chum/