Tag Archive for Center for the Humanities
by Olivia Drake •
Two Wesleyan faculty received NEH Public Scholarships to encourage new research and support their upcoming publications. Only 36 writers in the country received the award.
The Public Scholar program, a major new initiative from the National Endowment for the Humanities, is designed to promote the publication of scholarly nonfiction books for a general audience. On July 29, the NEH awarded a total of $1.7 million to 36 writers including Wesleyan’s Jennifer Tucker, associate professor of history, and Andrew Curran, the William Armstrong Professor of the Humanities and professor of French.
Tucker received a grant worth $50,400 to support her book titled Caught on Camera: A History of Photographic Detection and Evasion.
by Lauren Rubenstein •
On May 2, the Wesleyan Symposium on Risk brought together faculty and students for an interdisciplinary discussion of risk. The event was sponsored by American Studies, the Center for the Humanities, the College of Letters, Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies, the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship, the Neuroscience and Behavior Program, the Science in Society Program, and the Huffington Foundation Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies support funds. (Photos by Hannah Norman ’16)
by Olivia Drake •
Over the past decade, a new approach to the study of mobilities has emerged involving research on the combined movement of peoples, animals, objects, ideas and information. This can be viewed through the lens of complex networks, relational dynamics, and the redistribution or reification of power generated by movement.
This fall, Wesleyan’s Center for the Humanities will offer 10 lectures on the theme of “Mobilities” as part of its lecture series. Five of the speakers are from Wesleyan.
All talks begin at 6 p.m., are open to the public, and are held at Daniel Family Commons. The dates, topics and speakers are:
Ecological Poetics, or, Wallace Stevens’ Birds
Cary Wolfe, professor of English, Rice University
Beyond Synthesis: The Return of Micro History in Global Contexts and the “Relationing” of History
Angelika Eppel, professor of history, Bielefeld University, Germany
The Roma Question in France and the Return of Race
Éric Fassin, professor of sociology, École Normale Supérieure, Paris
by Gerpha Gerlin '16 •
On Friday, May 9, the Center for Humanities held its last theory salon for the 2013-2014 academic year. The intimate faculty-student presentation revealed ground-breaking research on the Stanley Milgram “shock” obedience experiment, led by Jill Morawski, the Wilbur Fisk Osborne Professor of Psychology, professor of science in society, professor of feminist, gender and sexuality studies, and assistants Ethan Hoffman ’14 and Nick Myerberg ’14.
Stanley Milgram, a psychologist from Yale University, is known for his experiment on obedience to authority figures. In the 1960s, Milgram measured the willingness of participants to obey an authority figure who instructed them to perform acts conflicting with their conscience. In the experiment, a subject is asked to deliver painful electric shocks to a learner, who is actually and actor. The subject believes the learner was receiving shocks, however there was no physical pain inflicted on the learner.
“Body Resistance: Mapping Power and Defiance in the Milgram Experiments” re-imagines the ways in which dissonance, power, and human behavior are taught and thought about. Rather than challenge the extent of Milgram’s contributions and their applications, the team was more interested in using archival information—largely based on Milgram’s observational notes and recordings—to analyze previously overlooked nuances. Much of the research draws on the construction of agency and, as suggested by Hoffman, Milgram’s own suspicions.
“Milgram did a lot of double-talk,” Hoffman explained, “and this led us to believe that he was attentive to the problematic nature of the work.”
Interest in these classic findings has been persistent throughout the years and, recently, is becoming more interdisciplinary. Milgram’s findings have extended outside of the realms of social psychology and have incited studies in cognitive psychology, neuroscience and legal theory.
“There is great demand for understanding behavior in terms of implicit attitudes,” Morawski said.
by Olivia Drake •
“Audience(s)” is the theme of the Center for the Humanities’ Spring 2014 lecture series.
“Audience(s)” asks us to explore the phenomena of the audience from multiple perspectives. How does audience shape the form and function of our work? Is the desire to reach a wider audience consistent with our academic or artistic goals? How should we reflect on the relation of intellectuals to their audience or audiences in general? What can the audience tell us about past or present works of scholarship, theater, music, politics or art?
Speakers also will explore the ways in which audience behavior is changing in the new media environment and the ethical and social ramifications associated with measuring audience behavior on new media platforms.
All lectures begin at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted, and are held in the Daniel Family Commons. The first lecture, delivered by Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, professor of modern culture and media at Brown University, is Feb. 3.
Topics include Habits of Leaking, Politics of Forgivin;, Escape Strategies and the Art of Non-Pragmatic Thinking; Disinterested Interest: Toward A Theory of Political Publics; Empress Jingū’s Magical Conquest of Korea: A Legend of Multiple Uses; The Afterlives of Edgar G. Ulmer: Rediscovering a Filmmaker at the Margins; The Readers’ Eye and the Land of Godlessness: How Atheism Changed the Spiritual Life of Soviet Society; The Black Circuit: Race, Performance, and Spectatorship in Black Popular Theater; Shakespeare’s Audients; and Auto-Tune, The Earth, and the Politics of Frequency.
Several Wesleyan faculty will lead the discussions including Javier Castro-Ibaseta, Jonathan Best, Victoria Smolkin-Rothrock, Rashida Shaw and Natasha Korda.
View the full schedule online here.
by Bill Fisher •
In this video, Ethan Kleinberg, director of the Center for the Humanities, professor of letter, professor of history, talks with Hayden White, professor of comparative literature at Stanford University, about history, theory and the humanities. White is the former director of the Center for the Humanities at Wesleyan. Watch this video and many more on the Video @ Wesleyan website.
by Olivia Drake •
by Kate Carlisle •
Thanks to a matching grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and substantial gifts from generous supporters, Wesleyan’s Center for the Humanities has secured $6 million in endowment as it celebrates 54 years of scholarship.
The $2 million Mellon grant was announced in October 2011 (see story here); Wesleyan succeeded in raising the $4 million required for the match in two years, less than half the time required by Mellon when the grant challenge began in 2011. Fifteen Wesleyan alumni, parents and friends supplied leadership gifts to win the matching funds.
“At a time when one hears so much rhetoric about the humanities in retreat, Wesleyan’s Center for the Humanities is pressing forward,” said Ethan Kleinberg, director of the CFH. “The case for the importance and relevance of the humanities in the 21st century will not be made by pointing backwards to that which has been done, but instead by pointing to that which we are doing.”
The CFH funds, raised as part of Wesleyan’s $400 million “This is Why” campaign, will support engagement with the undergraduate curriculum, scholarly research, work with scholars and organizations outside Wesleyan, and the connection of humanities research to public life.
Since the establishment of its forerunner, the Center for Advanced Studies, in 1959, the Center for the Humanities has a distinguished record of promoting interdisciplinary scholarship. Collaborations with the College of Social Studies, the College of Letters, the Science in Society Program and the recently adopted Certificate in Social, Cultural and Critical Theory will continue that tradition. Yet Kleinberg said the center also will pursue work reflecting the changes and influence of the digital age.
“Support from the Mellon grant and the matching funds has certainly allowed us to build the best of our longstanding traditions … while also reinventing ourselves as a virtual and actual hub for experimentation in new media and the digital liberal arts,” he said.
The signature CFH event this year will take place Sept. 26-28, as the Center hosts a conference commemorating the 50th anniversary of the publication of Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil. The influential and controversial work was completed by political theorist Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) while she was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies. The conference will reflect on the reverberating repercussions of Arendt’s work, which asks important and abiding questions about personal responsibility under dictatorship, the moral judgment of evil, and the historical conditions that shape our understanding of the Holocaust. Read more about the conference in this past Wesleyan Connection article.
For more information about the Center for the Humanities, visit its website.
by Olivia Drake •
Fifty years ago, political theorist Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) published Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil, a work she completed while she was a Fellow at Wesleyan’s Center for Advanced Studies (now the Center for the Humanities). On Sept. 26-28, Wesleyan will host a conference to honor this achievement and reflect on the reverberating repercussions of Arendt’s work, a trial report that asks important and abiding questions about personal responsibility under dictatorship, the moral judgment of evil, the juridical prosecution of genocidal crimes of an international nature, and, more broadly, the historical conditions that shape our understanding of the Holocaust.
The conference, titled “Exercising Judgment in Ethics, Politics, and the Law: Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil, Fifty Years Later,” is organized by Sonali Chakravarti, assistant professor of government; Ethan Kleinberg, director of the Center for the Humanities; and Uli Plass, associate professor of German studies and Center for the Humanities faculty fellow.
Arendt’s book comments on the trial of SS-Lieutenant Colonel Adolf Eichmann, who was responsible for organizing the deportation of European Jews to Nazi death campus during World War II. At his trial, Eichmann was found guilty of 15 criminal charges in an Israeli court and was executed in 1962. In a lecture at Wesleyan in January 1962, Arendt explained that Eichmann had been found guilty of “crimes against humanity,” a new category of crime to be distinguished from war crimes: “[Eichmann’s] crime was international in nature. It has been called, properly, crime against humanity. Only if such a crime exists can there be international law, criminal law, and an international court which deals with individuals.”
“Eichmann in Jerusalem continues to be one of the most famous and controversial works of political theory ever written,” Plass said. “The book immediately caused a controversy that has not fully subsided to this day; it also opened up a new chapter in the public awareness and understanding of genocide and played a crucial role in the emergence of the academic field of Holocaust studies.”
To acknowledge the intellectual range of Arendt’s book in particular and her political philosophy more broadly, this interdisciplinary conference will feature speakers from the U.S., Israel and Germany representing the fields of political theory, moral philosophy, intellectual history, law, Holocaust studies, feminist and gender studies, and literary theory.
by Benjamin Travers •
by Bill Holder •
Ethan Kleinberg, professor of history and letters, will serve as the next director of the Center for Humanities (CHUM), beginning July 1, 2012.
Rob Rosenthal, provost, vice president for Academic Affairs, John E. Andrus Professor of Sociology, made the announcement in Novemeber.
Kleinberg has served Wesleyan as director of the College of Letters and director of the Vassar-Wesleyan Program in Paris. He is currently associate editor of History & Theory and will be assuming the role of executive editor in the coming year.
Kleinberg’s wide-ranging scholarly work spans across the fields of history, philosophy, comparative literature and religion. His current research interests include European intellectual history, critical theory, educational structures, post-colonialism and the philosophy of history. He is the author of Generation Existential: Martin Heidegger’s Philosophy in France, 1927-61, which was awarded the 2006 Morris D. Forkosch prize for the best book in intellectual history, by the Journal of the History of Ideas. Kleinberg is presently in the process of completing his second book, The Myth of Emmanuel Levinas, on the Talmudic Lectures the French-Jewish philosopher Emmanuel Levinas presented in Paris between 1960 and 1990, as well as an edited volume comprised of interdisciplinary scholarship on the theme of “Presence.”
While Director of COL, Kleinberg’s research into the origins of Wesleyan’s 1959 “College Plan” led him to author a piece on the challenges facing interdisciplinary programs and departments in the 21st century,