Fall 2018

13/13 Seminar Series
1/13 | PRAXIS & CRITIQUE

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

This year’s 13/13 seminar series will take this problem as its task: to buck centuries of contemplative complacency and return praxis to its proper place in the order of things. In doing so, the seminar will strive to address the most critical question today: What is to be done? And what exactly is critical praxis today?

New Books in the Society of Fellows Celebrating Recent Work by Maggie Cao, Dalia Judovitz, and William Sharpe

NY Indie Guy: Ira Deutchman and the Rise of Independent Film

Friday, September 14, 2018 - Sunday, September 23, 2018

A retrospective of the career of Film Professor and Producing Concentration Supervisor Ira Deutchman. Organized by Rob King and Jack Lechner, Film  

Educating for Justice

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Learn about mass incarceration and the challenges and rewards of working with incarcerated populations.  All volunteers working with vulnerable populations, especially incarcerated people, are encouraged to attend.  People considering committing to this important work are also invited.

New Books in the Arts & Sciences: Celebrating Recent Work by Joseph Howley

What does it mean to be a Muslim philosopher, or to philosophize in Islam? In Open to Reason, Souleymane Bachir Diagne traces Muslims’ intellectual and spiritual history of examining and questioning beliefs and arguments to show how Islamic philosophy has always engaged critically with texts and ideas both inside and outside its tradition. Through a rich reading of classical and modern Muslim philosophers, Diagne explains the long history of philosophy in the Islamic world and its relevance to crucial issues of our own time.

In order to translate others, translators and interpreters must locate themselves within the translation process, doing their best to recognize the stories it is their task to represent. Professor Inghilleri’s lecture will discuss the challenges they face putting into words the structures of feeling underlying different types of migration experience. She will be proposing a commonality between translators and interpreters who struggle to represent and express human complexity in words and visual artists who strive to reflect the human condition in their art, taking as examples two mid-twentieth century New York artists, Jacob Lawrence and Willem De Kooning, who in different ways explored the experience of migration. She will also present historical and recent examples of migrant-produced art that fall under the category of citizen media by migrants held in long term detention facilities. The paper will conclude by arguing for an expansion of the horizon of translation practice to wider forms of symbolic expression, to allow language in all its forms to serve as a better tool to capture complex meanings.

Launch of Exile, Statelessness, and Migration: Playing Chess with History from Hannah Arendt to Isaiah Berlin by Seyla Benhabib

In current debates about Brexit, right wing populism, the crisis of democracy and the future of Europe Switzerland does not feature much, although it provides an intriguing case from a variety of angles. It is praised for its direct democracy and hailed as a model for Europe, yet it also receives sustained criticism as an opportunistic and self-serving tax haven for dictators and drug barons. It has one of the biggest and loudest right-wing populist parties in Europe, yet it integrates it fairly successfully into its system of consensus politics. One of its intriguing, yet under-discussed contradictions is that while it is arguably among the most untraumatized countries in history, it very effectively mobilizes the rhetoric of cultural trauma for its isolationist and xenophobic policies and for its wider identity narratives. 

New Books in the Arts & Sciences: Celebrating Recent Work by Adam Tooze

A Conversation with Cory Doctorow

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Cory Doctorow will join Dennis Tenen, Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature, in a conversation about science fiction, the changing material conditions of contemporary authorship, copyright, and surveillance.

Why did a philosopher whose life was dedicated to reading, writing, and teaching decide so late in his life to engage himself in the world?

Journalist and science fiction writer Cory Doctorow will talk about the millennia-old social compact of the book, and the arbitrary renegotiation of that contract in the age of ebooks, where prior restraint, restrictions on lending, donation and gifting, and invasive, surveillant technologies have become the norm. He will investigate how technology and license agreements have gone on to colonize our relationships with other devices and systems, from voting machines to tractors, insulin pumps to thermostats.

The techlash marks the end of complacency over Big Tech: in a single instant, states have gone from being completely blase about the risks of a monopolized digital world run by high-handed CEOs who answer only to their shareholders, to being certain that the answer involves limiting the excesses of the digital monopolists…by enshrining them as permanent monarchs of the internet and then extracting some regulatory promises from them.

Caught within the both/and of late colonial collapse and the fantasies of revolutionary upheaval, American futurities often reproduce themselves through nineteenth-century signs of Indianness within the ongoing context of colonial domination. This talk close reads HBO's Westworld alongside work by Indigenous women writers including LeAnne Howe and Rebecca Roanhorse to consider how antiblackness and indigeneity function within the logics of settler colonialism and how Indigenous futurisms and their pessimisms anticipate ruin as radical resistance.

How can we imagine justice, practice solidarity and create change across barriers of social difference in today’s political landscape? As the acceptance of inequality has become the new norm to a degree we might have deemed unthinkable, and as public dialogue has reached an impasse, protest and resistance continue. This conference brings together scholars, artists, and activists from around the globe whose work can inspire new ways of thinking, seeing and listening, and productive strategies of intervention for our time.

New Books in the Arts & Sciences: Celebrating Recent Work by Tey Meadow

New Books in the Arts & Sciences: Celebrating Recent Work by Ana Paulina Lee

This year’s 13/13 seminar series will take this problem as its task: to buck centuries of contemplative complacency and return praxis to its proper place in the order of things. In doing so, the seminar will strive to address the most critical question today: What is to be done? And what exactly is critical praxis today?

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Sawyer Seminar with Moria Paz.

Break out of your comfort zone and stretch your imagination to envision new ways of thinking about justice.

LES HISTORIENNES

Monday, October 8, 2018 - Friday, October 12, 2018

LES HISTORIENNES:  a series of special events with Jeanne Balibar and three French historians who inspired Jeanne Balibar’s performance of “Les Historiennes” at FIAF on October 13

BCRW and Small Axe: A Journal of Caribbean Criticism hosts a reading and conversation between authors Erna Brodber (Nothing’s Mat and The Rainmaker’s Mistake, among others)  and Nicole Dennis-Benn (Here Comes the Sun) in the newly expanded series Critical Caribbean Feminisms. In this series, authors discuss issues related to Caribbean and its diaspora, method, feminism, and gender in their work. The conversation with be followed by a discussion moderated by Kaiama L. Glover.

Exhibition | Ground Truth: Testimonies of Destruction and Return in Al-Araqib

Wednesday, October 10, 2018 - Friday, November 2, 2018

The Center for Palestine Studies, in partnership with the NGO Zochrot and the Italian Academy, will host a three-week-long exhibition on the theme of Bedouin ownership of Negev lands and the ongoing Israeli state campaign to uproot the Palestinian Bedouin from the northern threshold of the desert.

Embodied cognition theorists emphasize the role of the body and the environment in constituting mental processes. Through examining how our brains interact with the rest of our bodies and how our entire bodies interact with the environment, we can learn much about human behavior and the human mind. Tools can be understood as extensions of the body, and in some cases as becoming part of the body. Does our mind extend to our tools? How does this change our world? How should we understand this relationship? In order to help us think through these fascinating questions, we will hear from an archaeologist who has theorized about the evolution of this human capacity, a biomedical engineer who uses computers to make robotic prostheses more fluidly extend human bodies, and a music theorist who shows how musical instruments become part of our bodies.

New Books in the Arts & Sciences: Celebrating Recent Work by Wael Hallaq

Global Ambedkar

Thursday, October 18, 2018

B. R. Ambedkar is one of Columbia University’s most illustrious alumni, and a political thinker and constitutional lawyer whose thought and activism has shaped the world’s largest democracy.  In 2018, the Inaugural Ambedkar Lectures have been planned as a series of two public events to recognize Ambedkar’s continuing relevance for social justice activism and democratic thought in global frame

Black-Palestinian Solidarity 1968 / 2018

Thursday, October 18, 2018

The late 1960s saw the emergence of a militant Black-Palestinian solidarity, epitomized by the meeting between members of the Black Panthers and members of the Palestinian Liberation Movement at the Pan-African Cultural Festival in Algiers in 1969. Fueled by anti-imperialism, they saw their struggles as revolutionary, militant, and internationalist. Fifty years on, new forms of solidarity and new politics on the ground have emerged. How should we understand these solidarities across different historical moments, sites, and racial formations?

Ambedkar Now

Friday, October 19, 2018

B. R. Ambedkar is one of Columbia University’s most illustrious alumni, and a political thinker and constitutional lawyer whose thought and activism has shaped the world’s largest democracy.  In 2018, the Inaugural Ambedkar Lectures have been planned as a series of two public events to recognize Ambedkar’s continuing relevance for social justice activism and democratic thought in global frame

As a part of the CCA’s research project and in conjunction with the Buell Center’s “Power: Infrastructure in America” research initiative, this afternoon event will offer new directions and agendas for environmental histories of architecture that combine a planetary perspective with an assertion that national centers of power, particularly those in the United States, continue to hold outsize influence and responsibility. 

IMAGINING EVERYDAY LIFE: ENGAGEMENTS WITH VERNACULAR PHOTOGRAPHY

Friday, October 19, 2018 - Saturday, October 20, 2018

What is vernacular photography? Generally defined as the most ordinary or utilitarian form of imagery, vernacular photography ranges from early ethnographic records to family photo albums to today’s social media. The aim of this symposium is to reconsider the uses and meanings of these frequently overlooked photographic practices, ones that often reinforce conventions of social identity but can also become crucial sites of creative resistance and transformation. Speakers from a wide range of academic disciplines will consider vernacular representations of everyday life, offering new ways to think about photography in relation to our political communities, cultural identities, social agency, and daily personal rituals.

Wikipediathon: Rewriting Dalit History

Saturday, October 20, 2018

B. R. Ambedkar is one of Columbia University’s most illustrious alumni, and a political thinker and constitutional lawyer whose thought and activism has shaped the world’s largest democracy.  In 2018, the Inaugural Ambedkar Lectures have been planned as a series of two public events to recognize Ambedkar’s continuing relevance for social justice activism and democratic thought in global frame

2018 marks the two-hundredth anniversary of Mary Shelley’s classic novel Frankenstein – a book about birth, death, fragmentation, monstrosity, and knowledge that continues to haunt contemporary thought and culture. In the two centuries since its publication, readers have variously interpreted Frankenstein as a cautionary tale of scientific hubris, an allegory of motherhood, a political commentary, and a gothic horror. Meanwhile, the loquacious monster at the heart of the novel has left the book to become a figure of inarticulacy and terror in the popular imagination. Recent scholarship on Frankenstein juggles between these polarities, while also considering manuscript evidence of a collaborative writing process shared by Mary Shelley and her poet husband Percy.

New Books in the Arts & Sciences: Celebrating Recent Work by Alan Stewart

This year’s 13/13 seminar series will take this problem as its task: to buck centuries of contemplative complacency and return praxis to its proper place in the order of things. In doing so, the seminar will strive to address the most critical question today: What is to be done? And what exactly is critical praxis today?

Edward W. Said remained, for over forty years, concerned with Conrad. A fascinating conversation emerges between the two men’s work, one concerned with aesthetics, displacement and empire, and sheds an interesting light on the present moment.

The Sojourner Project: Dialogues on Black Precarity, Fungibility, and Futurity

Tuesday, October 30, 2018 - Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Formed in fall 2015 by co-conveners Tina Campt and Saidiya Hartman, The Practicing Refusal Collective was created to initiate a new exploratory dialogue on antiblackness in the twenty-first century. Our point of departure is a set of overlapping interests and investments in theorizing the contemporary circumstances of imperiled blackness and vulnerable black bodies. The Collective aims to think through and toward refusal as a generative and capacious rubric for understanding everyday practices of struggle often obscured by an emphasis on collective or individual acts of resistance. To inaugurate the fourth year of this project, the Collective will convene a series of expanded conversations under the title “The Sojourner Project: Dialogues on Black Precarity, Fungibility, and Futurity,” on October 30-31, 2018. 

Undead Texts: Grand Narratives and the History of the Human Sciences

Thursday, November 1, 2018 - Friday, November 2, 2018

They are the undead texts. Once they bestrode disciplines like colossi: assigned on every reading list, cited in almost every book and article, endlessly discussed and debated. They were often the only college texts students could recall decades after graduation; they recruited a whole generation of scholars to their respective fields. Most were composed between 1920 and 1970: in literary studies, Erich Auerbach’s Mimesis (1953); in the history and philosophy of science, Thomas S. Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962); in anthropology, Mary Douglas’s Purity and Danger: An Analysis of the Concepts of Pollution and Tabu (1966); in sociology, Erving Goffman’s The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life (1956); in gender studies, Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex.

Steps to Liberty (Les Marches de la liberté)

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Opening night of the film series "Blackness in French and Francophone Film" organized by the Columbia Maison Française and co-sponsored by the School of the Arts.

Roxane Gay, award-winning author of Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body (2017), Difficult Women (2017), and Bad Feminist (2014) and Katia D. Ulysse, Haitian poet, essayist and author of Drifting (2014), among other works, will join us for a reading and conversation in the Critical Caribbean Feminisms series. Following the reading, Gay, Ulysse, and BCRW Associate Director Tami Navarro will discuss various forms of writing–including novels, memoir, and social media interventions–and examine how these create space for conversations around and advocacy for social justice.

Black Girl (La Noire de…)

Thursday, November 8, 2018

A film by Ousmane Sembène (1966, 65 min.). Screening followed by a conversation with Souleymane Bachir Diagne, Mamadou Diouf, and Maboula Soumahoro. Ousmane Sembène was one of the world's greatest and most groundbreaking filmmakers, as well as the most renowned African director of the twentieth century—and yet his name still deserves to be better known in the rest of the world. He made his feature debut in 1966 with the brilliant and stirring film Black Girl.

New Books in the Arts & Sciences: Celebrating Recent Work by Nicole B. Wallack

MASTER CLASS BY AMANDINE GAY: "A CHILD OF MINE" ON INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION  Amandine Gay is the new name in  “French guerilla cinema” and Afro-feminist cinema. She wrote, directed, produced and distributed Speak Upherself, as her first full length documentary, and it was a necessary and urgent film (Speak Up is being screened at the Lenfest Center on November 10 at 2:00 P.M.). For this master class, Amandine Gay will be talking about her work on her next film project on international adoption, a phenomenon that is rarely spoken about by those who have experienced it personally, as she has.

During the Cold War era, an array of new economic, cultural, religious, and military ideas circulated among Latin America’s ruling elites and conservative middle classes. Against a backdrop of vertiginous social change, these concepts drove new forms of repression within and across the countries of the region, and they continue to shape its societies today. Unlike the region’s revolutionary movements, however, Latin America’s fundamentally transnational counterrevolution is only starting to be treated as a distinct and multivalent object of study. This two-day conference will help consolidate a deeper understanding of the role that transnational right-wing networks played in molding authoritarian ideologies and practices during Latin America's Cold War.

Speak Up (Ouvrir la voix)

Saturday, November 10, 2018

A film by Amandine Gay (2017, 122 min.). Screening followed by a Q&A with Amandine Gay, Farah Griffin, and Maboula Soumahoro What does it mean to be a black woman in francophone Europe today? Rather than turning to “expert” sociologists, Afro-feminist filmmaker Amandine Gay renews the art of the interview and lets her subjects speak for themselves

Towards Tenderness (Vers la tendresse)

Saturday, November 10, 2018

A film by Alice Diop (2016, 38 min). Screening followed by Q&A with director Alice Diop, Brent Edwards and Nora Philippe. Alice Diop’s short film charts the ragged terrain of masculinity as it follows a band of young men pacing through a modern city, acting in the way society and their friends expect “men” to act. Their interior monologues, however, reveal other desires.Alice Diop deservedly took home the Cesar Award (France's version of the Oscars) for best short film for Vers la tendresse.

This talk will address the only two extant oil portraits of enslaved women produced during the periods of emancipation in the French- and Spanish-speaking Caribbean. By underscoring the conflictive political and ideological forces, affective dynamics, and aesthetic principles at work in their composition, it will focus on the conditions that made possible the visual configuration of black people as subjects of freedom and on its problematic re-articulation of the boundaries between the human and the animal.

 Master Class with Director Alice Diop and screening of On Call (La Permanence). In this master class, Alice Diop will talk about the creation of her 6th film, a poetic and political road trip via train. The intertwining portraits of people living in the towns and neighborhoods served by the RER B, from a nurse living in a segregated neighborhood to an aficionado of fox hunting, offer a moving portrait of French society in 2018, and of the possibilities and impossibilities offered by the city of Paris itself. 

This Roundtable invites historians Marwa Elshakry, Michael Gordin, Malgosia Mazurek, and Carl Wennerlind to discuss Osiris 33, a special issue on “Science and Capitalism: Entangled Histories,” with the co-editors of the volume, Will Deringer, Eugenia Lean, and Lukas Rieppel.

Like Dolls, I'll Rise is a film by Nora Philippe that breathes life into rag dolls made by anonymous Afro-American women in the 19th and early 20th centuries for their own children or for the white children they were looking after. In Le bleu blanc rouge de mes cheveux (2016, 20 min.) Josza Anjembe protrays a teenager from Cameroon who is passionate about the history of France, the country where she was born and which she loves deeply. In Les Indes Galantes (The Amorous Indies) (2017, 6 min.), Clément Cogitore created and filmed a performance of "krumping" to Les Indes Galantes, music that was composed for opera-ballet by Jean-Philippe Rameau in 1735. Krumping is an urban dance form born in black neighborhoods in Los Angeles after the 1995 riots. 

13/13 Seminar Series
4/13 | THE ALT-RIGHT

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

This year’s 13/13 seminar series will take this problem as its task: to buck centuries of contemplative complacency and return praxis to its proper place in the order of things. In doing so, the seminar will strive to address the most critical question today: What is to be done? And what exactly is critical praxis today?

In this personal journey through the memory of slavery, A Country Upside Down follows Dampierre while she researches for the first time the history of her name in Guadeloupe. Her father left the island to study in France, and he surely conveyed to his daughter a sense of heritage and pride – but it takes the help of a local genealogist, thousands of pages of forgotten archives, and a choreographer to understand the intricate history of the Dampierre family. 

Keywords for Today: A 21st Century Vocabulary, due out this fall, is the result of years of work by a collective of scholars (https://keywords.pitt.edu/) from the UK, the US, and elsewhere. Working on the basis of Raymond Williams' 1976 classic Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society, the new volume extends and updates 40 of the original entries and adds 85 more short essays on the twists and turns, emphases and omissions, contests and usages: love along with network, truth along with youth, democracy along with violence.  This afternoon event features the volume's two head editors, Colin MacCabe and Holly Yanacek, as well as two members of the editorial collective, Jonathan Arac and Arjuna Parakrama.

Ouaga Girls

Friday, November 16, 2018

A group of young women tweak machines and hammer away at a school for auto mechanics in Ouagadougou in this poetic story about life choices, sisterhood and the endeavor to find one’s own way.

Palaces for the People

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

In Palaces for the People, Eric Klinenberg suggests a way forward. He believes that the future of democratic societies rests not simply on shared values but on shared spaces: the libraries, childcare centers, bookstores, churches, synagogues, and parks where crucial, sometimes life-saving connections, are formed. These are places where people gather and linger, making friends across group lines and strengthening the entire community. Klinenberg calls this the “social infrastructure”: When it is strong, neighborhoods flourish; when it is neglected, as it has been in recent years, families and individuals must fend for themselves.

How International, Transnational, and Global History Conquered the World

Friday, November 30, 2018 - Saturday, December 1, 2018

During his all-too short career, Adam McKeown had a major impact on the study of Asia, and helped to reorient “area studies” scholarship to explore cross-regional connections in a more global context. He also changed the way scholars understand migration, especially how legal and regulatory regimes affect -- and are affected by -- the movement of millions of individual people.  And he had a lasting influence on how we research and teach international and global history more generally, such as by creating innovative new masters and Ph.D. programs, while at the same time connecting historical scholarship with multiple disciplines, especially sociology and international law. His decision to leave the academy in 2012, when his influence was just beginning to help bring about institutional change, compels us to consider how pressures for professionalization can discourage scholars from undertaking bold and important work.

This roundtable event brings together a panel of playwrights whose innovative work has stimulated the expanding corpus of “war plays” -- Judith Thompson (Palace of the End), George Brant (Grounded), and Maurice Decaul (Dijla Wal Furat, Between the Tigris and the Euphrates). They will reflect on the enduring power of live dramatic performance for thinking through contemporary culture's relationship to war, and consider what new forms and strategies are needed to face war's new realities.

13/13 Seminar Series
5/13 | THE COMMONS

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

This year’s 13/13 seminar series will take this problem as its task: to buck centuries of contemplative complacency and return praxis to its proper place in the order of things. In doing so, the seminar will strive to address the most critical question today: What is to be done? And what exactly is critical praxis today?

New Books in the Arts & Sciences: Celebrating Recent Work by Brinkley Messick

On this occasion, Fabrizio Cilento (Messiah College) will present his most recent book, published by Palgrave Macmillan in Fall 2018 and titled An Investigative Cinema: Politics and Modernization in Italian, French, and American Film. After Cilento’s presentation, Elizabeth Leake (Columbia, Italian), Giancarlo Lombardi (CUNY, Comparative Lit.), and Richard Peña (Columbia, Film and Media) will act as respondents. A wine and cheese reception will close the event.

Rafiki

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Kena helps her father John Mwaura run a small convenience store in Nairobi as he campaigns for a local election. Kena lives with her mother, who isn't really on speaking terms with John. Kena starts flirting with Ziki, a neighbourhood girl with colourful hair, who also happens to be the daughter of Peter Okemi, John's political rival

A Tribute to Pete Hamill

Monday, December 10, 2018

Reflecting on the auspicious literary career of Pete Hamill we invite you to pay tribute to a dear friend of Glucksman Ireland House NYU who has framed outlooks on America and New York for over five decades.

The New Humanities Faculty Salons

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Please join Division of Humanities Dean Sarah Cole in welcoming our newest colleagues from across the division.  Hosted by the Division of Humanities in the Arts and Sciences and co-sponsored by the Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities, the New Humanities Faculty Salons are an opportunity to meet the twelve new faculty members joining Columbia during the 2018-19 school year.  They will share their new research over drinks and snacks, opening conversations across the wider Humanities community.  All interested faculty and graduate students are encouraged to attend.

A memorial for former Dean of the College Steven P. Marcus ’48, GSAS’61, who died on April 25, 2018, will be held on Thursday, December 13, at 4 p.m. in the Faculty Room of Low Library. All are welcome.

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