Fall 2014

The “future of the study of French” has a long past. Since the creation of language departments in American Universities at the end of the nineteenth century, the importance of the field has had to be reaffirmed at crucial junctures.

  • Téa Obreht, Author,
  • Mark Mazower, Ira D. Wallach Professor of World Order Studies, Department of History
    Columbia University

As part of The Writing Lives Series, the Heyman Center welcomes Téa Obreht, author of the bestseller The Tiger's Wife. Obreht will read from her work and be in conversation with Mark Mazower, Director of the Heyman Center.

  • Souleymane Bachir Diagne, Professor of French, Columbia University
  • Vincent Debaene, Associate Professor of French, Columbia University

Professor Bachir Diagne discusses his latest book, L’encre des savants (The Ink of the Scholars). The book examines African philosophy and the rich literature it has produced, which is presented and discussed through four major questions: ontology and African art, orality and literacy, the concept of time, and African socialisms and human rights.

  • Joseph E. Stiglitz, University Professor, Columbia University
  • Bruce Greenwald, Robert Heilbrunn Professor of Finance and Asset Management, Columbia University

It has long been recognized that an improved standard of living results from advances in technology, not from the accumulation of capital. It has also become clear that what truly separates developed from less-developed countries is not just a gap in resources or output but a gap in knowledge. In fact, the pace at which developing countries grow is largely a function of the pace at which they close that gap.

Liberalism and Its Critics

Thursday, October 2, 2014
  • Fred Siegel, Scholar in Residence, St. Francis College in Brooklyn
  • Eric Foner, DeWitt Clinton Professor of History, Columbia University
  • Ira Katznelson, Ruggles Professor of Political Science and History, Columbia University
  • Anne Kornhauser, Assistant Professor of History, City College of New York, City University of New York
  • Judith Stein, Distinguished Professor of History, The Graduate Center, City University of New York

In his recent book The Revolt Against the Masses, Fred Siegel indicts modern American liberalism for elitism toward ordinary Americans, their values and culture, and blames liberals for many of the problems plaguing American Society today. Taking off from Siegel's book, the panelists will respond to his critique, discuss liberalism's history, and evaluate its future prospects.  

  • Hilary A. Hallett, Assistant Professor of History, Columbia University
  • Sarah Cole, Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University

In this talk, Columbia Professors Sarah Cole, Hilary Hallett, and Sharon Marcus will discuss three 19th-century European artists whose work had a large influence on literature and film in the Belle Époque. Attendees who are not Columbia University faculty or students must RSVP by September 29 at [email protected].

  • Magali García Ramis, Author,
  • Luis Negrón, Author,
  • Frances Negrón-Muntaner, Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University
  • Arnaldo Cruz-Malavé, Professor of Spanish and Comparative Literature, Fordham University

On the occasion of the Columbia University Libraries Acquisition of the Archives of Manuel Ramos Otero, Columbia hosts a discussion of the writer's work with Arnaldo Cruz-Malavé, Professor of Spanish and Comparative Literature at Fordham University; author Magali Garcia Ramis; author Luis Negrón; and Frances Negrón-Muntaner, Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature and Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race at Columbia University.

  • Karen Green, Librarian for Ancient & Medieval History, Columbia University

The exhibition "Comics at Columbia: Past, Present, Future" presents art, manuscripts, and ephemera from Columbia's Rare Book & Manuscript Library, including items associated with the university's history. The exhibition opening night on October 7 will include presentations by influential comics figureheads, celebratory reception, and viewing of the exhibition. The exhibition will be on display through January 23, 2015.

  • Karen Russell, Author,

Author and School of the Arts alumna Karen Russell will discuss the craft of writing. The event is part of the Heyman Center for the Humanities Writing Lives Series and the Columbia School of the Arts Creative Writing Lecture series.

Rethinking Knowledge: Global Governance

Wednesday, October 8, 2014
  • Mark Mazower, Ira D. Wallach Professor of World Order Studies, Department of History
    Columbia University
  • Partha Chatterjee, Professor of Anthropology, Columbia University
  • Katharina Pistor, Michael I. Sovern Professor of Law, Columbia Law School

Rethinking Knowledge: Global Governance will address the past, present, and future of attempts to "govern the world" (Mark Mazower) from a variety of perspectives and at a number of scales. From taking stock of past and present efforts, to examining the assumptions built into the very premise, to speculating on the necessary reconfiguration of academic disciplines, this Think-In aims at a free flowing exchange in which the contours of the problem are sketched and possible models are tested.

The economic aftermath of World War II in Europe is normally studied through the lens of reconstruction. However, many contemporaries saw “backwardness” as the main social and economic issue in several European regions.

  • Dan Hoyle, Actor, Playwright, and Writer ,
  • Pratim Sengupta, Assistant Professor, Learning Sciences & Science Education,

"Each and Every Thing" is the newest solo show from award-winning actor/playwright Dan Hoyle about how we experience the world in the digital age. From a showdown with a violent felon in small-town Nebraska, to a childhood listening to anti-conformist rants in San Francisco; from the hard-scrabble corner boys of Chicago to the intellectual temple of Calcutta’s famed coffeehouse; from a Digital Detox retreat in remote Northern California to an intimate confession in Manhattan, join Dan in his search for true community, spontaneity and wonder in our fractured and hyper-connected world.

  • Richard Falk, Albert G. Milbank Professor of International Law and Practice Emeritus, Princeton University

Professor Richard Falk will deliver the annual Edward W. Said Memorial Lecture. His talk will focus on the present reality and future direction of the Palestinian struggle, taking account of the continuing relevance of Edward Said's views of the grounds of a sustainable peace and proceeding from his prophetic premise that the two-state approach should no longer becloud our judgment. This event is at capacity and we are no longer accepting registration. Doors will open at 5:15 p.m. and registered guests will be seated on a first-come, first-served basis. At 6:15 pm, any available seats will be filled by Columbia faculty, staff, or students in the waiting line who have a valid Columbia University photo ID. This event will be live-streamed on the Italian Academy webpage.

  • Mariam Said, Vice President , Barenboim-Said Foundation USA
  • Fiamma Arditi, Writer and Journalist,
  • Paul Smaczny, Filmmaker,

In 1999, the Israeli Jewish conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim and the Palestinian literary theorist Edward Said founded the West-Eastern Divan as a workshop for Israeli, Palestinian and other Arab musicians. “With his documentary portrait "Knowledge is the Beginning," filmmaker Paul Smaczny chronicles the pair's awe-inspiring accomplishments,” writes Nathan Southern in The New York Times.

  • David Rosner, Lauterstein Professor of Sociomedical Sciences and Professor of History, Columbia University

Over the past twenty years a vast public negotiation has taken place over the causes of, and responsibility for, disease. For the most part this discussion has flown under the radar of doctors, historians and public health professionals. To the extent they have participated, professionals and scholars have been called in as "experts," as witnesses, to be either listened to, or rejected, by juries and judges.

  • Ana Mariella Bacigalupo, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York
  • Laurel Kendall, Adjunct Professor of Anthropology, Columbia University
  • Jennifer Cole, Professor, Department of Comparative Human Development, University of Chicago

Mapuche oral shamanic biographies and performances—some of which take the form of “Bibles” and shamanic literacies—play a central role in the production of indigenous history in southern Chile. Professor Bacigalupo explains how and why a mixed-race Mapuche shaman charged her to write about the shaman's life and practice in the form of a “Bible.”

  • Panayotis Yatagantzidis, Human Rights Lawyer,
  • Geraldine Downey, Professor of Psychology, Columbia University

In this talk, Panayotis Yatagantzidis will present tentative definitions of the concept of human rights as delineated in different schools of thought and will define a constitutional cartography of the right to health in nations-members of the European Union.

Is Evil Still a Meaningful Concept Today?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014
  • Simona Forti, Professor of History of Political Philosophy, Università del Piemonte Orientale
  • Adriana Cavarero, Professor of Political Philosophy, Università degli studi di Verona
  • Miguel de Beistegui, Professor of Philosophy, University of Warwick

Simona Forti will discuss her work and her new book, The New Demons. Rethinking Evil and Power Today, published by Stanford University Press. She will be in conversation with Adriana Cavarero, Professor of Political Philosophy at the Università degli studi di Verona.

  • Shamita Das Dasgupta, Cofounder, Manavi
  • Sayantani DasGupta, Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics and Faculty, Master's Program in Narrative Medicine, Columbia University
  • Vaishali Sinha, Filmmaker and Producer,

Shamita Das Dasgupta and Sayantani Dasgupta will discuss the increasingly commercial practice of transnational surrogacy, with a particular focus on India. Filmmaker and producer Vaishali Sinha will show clips from her film "Made in India."

The Heyman Center hosts an all-day conference celebrating the twenty-fifth anniversary of Gauri Viswanathan's Masks of Conquest: Literary Study and British Rule in India. Viswanathan’s book changed the way we think about English Literature as a "discipline" -- both educational and colonial.

Michel Foucault: The Late Lectures

Friday, November 7, 2014
  • Seyla Benhabib, Eugene Meyer Professor of Political Science & Philosophy, Yale University
  • François Ewald, Professor Emeritus, Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers
  • Bernard E.  Harcourt, Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law and Director, Columbia Center for Contemporary Critical Thought, , Columbia University
  • George Kateb, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Politics, Emeritus, Princeton University
  • Emmanuelle Saada, Associate Professor of French and Romance Philology; Director of the Center for French and Francophone Studies, Columbia University

In his late Collège de France lectures, Michel Foucault opened up new paths for research, what he so often referred to as "des pistes de recherche," many of which have only come to light now as a result of the recent publication of the lectures.

  • Geraldine Downey, Professor of Psychology, Columbia University
  • Frances Negrón-Muntaner, Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University
  • Robin McGinty, Doctoral Canidate , CUNY Graduate Center’s Earth and Environmental Sciences (Geography)
  • Carl Hart, Associate Professor of Psychology, Columbia University

How do we change the current criminal justice system, one defined by mass incarceration, a paradigm of punishment, and racial discrimination? Changing how we achieve justice through policing, courts, jails, prisons and reentry must include changing the public narrative about people who become involved with the criminal justice system.

Thinking with Balibar

Thursday, November 13, 2014 - Friday, November 14, 2014

This conference on “Thinking with Balibar” will explore the influence of Etienne Balibar's work, not paying tribute to Étienne Balibar per se, but showing how certain concepts, arguments, and methods that he applies in his work can be and are being used by scholars in different fields working on crucial issues of our time.

  • David Armitage, Lloyd C. Blankfein Professor of History, Harvard University
  • Jo Guldi, Assistant Professor of History, Brown University

Leading historians David Armitage and Jo Guldi, authors of The History Manifesto, identify a recent shift back to longer-term narratives, following many decades of increasing specialization, which they argue is vital for the future of historical scholarship and how it is communicated. The authors' work makes an important intervention in the debate about the role of history and the humanities in a digital age.

  • Jo Guldi, Assistant Professor of History, Brown University

How do you summarize millions of books with a single tool? The question is relevant to literary scholars, but especially to historians of political institutions and the "official mind." Paper Machines is a toolkit that works with minimal code on the texts that historians and other scholars are already using, visualizing them as their subjects change over time and space.

  • Matthew L. Jones, James R. Barker Professor of Contemporary Civilization, Columbia University
  • David Armitage, Lloyd C. Blankfein Professor of History, Harvard University

We cannot understand the programs revealed by Edward Snowden and other whistleblowers without understanding a broader set of historical developments before and after 9/11. With the growing spread of computation into everyday transactions from the 1960s into the 1990s, corporations and governments collected exponentially more information about consumers and citizens.

  • Hermione Lee, Author,
  • Ellis Avery, Author and Assistant Professor of Writing, Columbia University
  • Alexander Chee, Author,
  • Margot Livesey, Author,

Please join Hermione Lee, the acclaimed biographer of Edith Wharton and Virginia Woolf, and award-winning novelists Ellis Avery, Alexander Chee, and Margot Livesey, in celebrating the life and writing of Penelope Fitzgerald at an event that showcases Lee's masterful new biography, Penelope Fitzgerald: A Life.

  • Bryonn Bain, Poet and Artist in Residence, New York University Gallatin
  • Jamal Joseph, Professor of Professional Practice, School of the Arts, Columbia University
  • Soffiyah Elijah, Executive Director, Correctional Association of New York
  • Asha Rosa Ransby-Sporn, Student, Columbia College

One man. One mic. 40 characters. Two unbelieveable true stories of wrongful imprisonment. Written and performed by Bryonn Bain. Tickets for this event have sold out.

  • Katharine Park, Samuel Zemurray, Jr. and Doris Zemurray Stone Radcliffe Professor of the History of Science, Harvard University
  • Joel Kaye, Professor of History, Barnard College
  • Pamela H. Smith, Seth Low Professor of History, Columbia University

Thomas Laqueur’s important book, Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud (1990), is almost twenty-five years old, and his governing narrative, that the late eighteenth century saw a shift from a “one-sex” to a “two-sex” body in Western society, has gained broad acceptance among modern historians and scholars in literary and cultural studies. At the same time, it has come under increasing attack by historians of ancient, medieval, and early modern law and medicine. “Rethinking the ‘One-Sex’ Body” brings together this new research to ask if Laqueur is wrong, and, if so, how he’s wrong and what difference it makes.

  • Jules Feiffer, Artist and Writer,
  • Alex Melamid, Artist,
  • Art Spiegelman, Artist and Writer,

Legendary artists and authors Jules Feiffer, Art Spiegelman, and Alex Melamid will discuss the history and achievements of aging artists, with a focus on artists whose best-known works were completed in the later years of their lives. The discussion will use as its starting point what renown critic Barbara Herrnstein Smith called “the senile sublime.” This event is at capacity and we are no longer accepting registration. Doors will open at 5:15 p.m. and registered guests will be seated on a first-come, first-served basis. Please bring your printed Eventbrite ticket to show at the door of the event. At 6:15 pm, any available seats will be filled by waitlist attendees. The event will be Livestreamed at the Italian Academy event page. Art Spiegelman will be back with us in the spring for WORDLESS! with composer Phillip Johnston. Tickets on sale now at Miller Theatre box office for the March 13 event!

  • Fania Davis, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth (RJOY)
  • Danielle Sered, Director, Common Justice at the Vera Institute of Justice
  • John Valverde, Associate Executive Director for Program Operations, Osborne Association
  • Michelle Fine, Distinguished Professor, The Graduate Center, City University of New York
  • James Gilligan, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, New York University

There is a growing consensus across the country about the devastating consequences of mass incarceration and criminal justice policy. Increasingly, scholars, clinicians, educators, politicians and activists are examining the ways in which punishment is used in many facets of our society including schools, courts, jails and prisons. Many have found that the use of punishment as the core of the criminal justice system is more damaging than useful. This roundtable brings together scholars, educators, clinicians, activists and community members to critically examine the utility of punishment in our society and discuss alternative approaches to justice, accountability and safety.

Ebola - Field Histories

Monday, December 8, 2014
  • Mauricio Ferri, Physician,
  • Megan Vaughan, Distinguished Professor, Graduate Center, City University of New York
  • Cristobal Silva, Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University
  • Kavita Sivaramakrishnan, Associate Professor, Sociomedical Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University

This panel discussion begins with Mauricio Ferri, who spent several weeks as a doctor in Kenema this summer, discussing his experiences of the impact of Ebola on the local society and his reflections on the international response.

  • Chad Wellmon, Associate Professor of German Studies, University of Virginia

If the recent diatribes against the digital humanities have done anything, they have demonstrated how truncated and ahistorical most of our conceptions of the humanities are. We need a history and vision of the humanities capacious enough to see them not as a particular method or set of disciplines but as a disposition, as a way of engaging the world. 

  • Alain Badiou, Rene Descartes Chair, European Graduate School

Eminent French philosopher Alain Badiou will deliver a public lecture on the topic of the fundamental contradictions of the contemporary world.


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