Spring 2019

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?

Reframing Transgender Violence

Thursday, January 24, 2019 - Friday, January 25, 2019

Reframing Transgender Violence is the final public workshop of the Reframing Gendered Violence project at the Center for the Study of Social Difference at Columbia University. Reframing Gendered Violence opens up a critical global conversation among scholars and practitioners that recasts the problem of violence against women as it is currently discussed in a wide range of fields, both academic and policy-oriented, including human rights, public health, journalism, law, feminist studies, literature, sociology, religious studies, anthropology, and history.

A talk by Ben Etherington, Associate Professor in the School of Humanities and Communication Arts and a member of the Writing and Society Research Centre at Western Sydney University. The consideration of the totality of verbal arts (“world literature”) risks being separated into brute data and incommensurable particulars. To understand the unity which recent developments have rent apart this paper will revisit the tradition of critical humanist scholarship dedicated to thinking literary totality. 

Today, predicting the impact of human activities on the earth’s climate hinges on tracking interactions among phenomena of radically different dimensions, from the molecular to the planetary. Climate in Motion shows that this multiscalar, multicausal framework emerged well before computers and satellites. Extending the history of modern climate science back into the nineteenth century, Deborah R. Coen uncovers its roots in the politics of empire-building in central and eastern Europe. She argues that essential elements of the modern understanding of climate arose as a means of thinking across scales in a state—the multinational Habsburg Monarchy, a patchwork of medieval kingdoms and modern laws—where such thinking was a political imperative. Led by Julius Hann in Vienna, Habsburg scientists were the first to investigate precisely how local winds and storms might be related to the general circulation of the earth’s atmosphere as a whole. Linking Habsburg climatology to the political and artistic experiments of late imperial Austria, Coen grounds the seemingly esoteric science of the atmosphere in the everyday experiences of an earlier era of globalization. Climate in Motion presents the history of modern climate science as a history of “scaling”—that is, the embodied work of moving between different frameworks for measuring the world. In this way, it offers a critical historical perspective on the concepts of scale that structure thinking about the climate crisis today and the range of possibilities for responding to it.

The New Humanities Faculty Salons

Thursday, January 31, 2019

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.

New Books in the Arts and Sciences: Celebrating Recent Work by Sheri Berman

The event will be a public conversation between the artist Mickalene Thomas and writer/activist Darnell Moore, moderated by Columbia Professor Kellie Jones.

Scholars have typically characterized Italy’s decolonization as abrupt and having little resonance in the peninsula at the time or subsequently. In this paper, I challenge this interpretation by demonstrating the visible and deeply felt impacts of repatriation by Italian settlers to the metropole at the time of events and the continued, if selective, visibility of these experiences in public debates during succeeding decades. In particular, I examine films and novels, arenas for which most scholars (with notable exceptions, e.g. Ben-Ghiat and Baratieri) posit an explicit silence about imperial defeat and repatriation that instead become displaced onto other themes. Re-reading such cultural artefacts, I argue, raises the possibility of what Michael Rothberg has deemed the work of multidirectional memories, “subject to ongoing negotiation, crossreferencing, and borrowing.”

New Books in the Arts & Sciences: Celebrating Recent Work by Hamid Dabashi

13/13 Seminar Series
9/13 | LEFT POPULISM

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

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?

What is the relation between biodiversity and linguistic diversity?  Why are the two concentrated in the same parts of the planet?  Languages disappear only through a process of being replaced by other languages. Can species extinction be thought of this way?  What makes it possible/impossible, or desirable/undesirable for collectivities to retain their languages? What does linguistic justice consist of? Does it include the right of access to languages of power, even if that access endangers “mother tongues”? How do people who have experienced language loss talk about it?

New Books in the Arts & Sciences and Justice Forum: Celebrating Recent Work by Bruce Western

Talk by Dr. Kim Tallbear (title TBA)

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Description to come.

New Books in the Arts & Sciences: Celebrating Recent Work by Adam Reich and Peter Bearman

Legacies of Leftism in Film and Media Theory: East Asia and Beyond

Thursday, February 28, 2019 - Saturday, March 2, 2019

How have Leftist traditions inspired film and media theories across the world, and what can we learn from these traditions today as we explore new methodologies in film and media studies and new political possibilities in the contemporary world? 

New Books in the Arts & Sciences: Celebrating Recent Work by Pier Mattia Tommasino and Konstantina Zanou

Narrative in the Natural Sciences and Humanities

Thursday, February 28, 2019 - Friday, March 1, 2019

While all disciplines employ narrative in their work to summarize and communicate their theories, methods, and results, the realm of narrating (more colloquially known as storytelling) has traditionally been considered a literary or historical endeavor under the purview of the humanities and social sciences. This is no longer the case. As evidenced by the burgeoning fields of narrative medicine and science communication, narratives and narrating are also important tools for the natural sciences. Neuroscientists have even recently proposed that “narrative” may be a better way of theorizing about the processes by which the brain represents the context used to sort and order memories in order to create a timeline of events.

New Books in the Arts & Sciences: Celebrating Recent Work by Saidiya Hartman

New Books in the Arts & Sciences: Celebrating Recent Work by Nico Baumbach

Description to come.

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 Will Slauter

The Caine Prize for African Writing is a literature prize awarded to an African writer of a short story published in English. The prize was launched in 2000 to encourage and highlight the richness and diversity of African writing by bringing it to a wider audience internationally. The focus on the short story reflects the contemporary development of the African story-telling tradition. Columbia University will host the 2018 Caine Prize winner, Makena Onjerika, for her short story ‘Fanta Blackcurrant’ published in Wasafiri (2017).

Transnational Feminist Futures

Monday, March 25, 2019

On March 25, 2018 from 4:15-6:16 pm,  IRWGS will bring together scholars and activists for our annual Transnational Feminist Futures roundtable conversation on transnational feminist theorizing and activism. This roundtable will feature Professors Laura Briggs (UMASS-Amherst), Paige West(Columbia/ Barnard College), Amina Mama (UC-Davis), among others.  Participants will explore the ways that transnational feminist theorizing and practices transform and reimagine contestations over issues such as human rights, constructions of patriarchies, and inclusionary/exclusionary practices of race, sexuality, and class.  

13/13 Seminar Series
11/13 | ASSEMBLIES

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

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?

This event is the first in the Explorations in the Medical Humanities series to feature an original creative piece, Krista Knight’s new play Lipstick Lobotomy (2018). Knight is currently the Writer-in-Residence in Cinema & Media Arts and Theatre at Vanderbilt University, and the play has never been fully staged. Drawing on Columbia’s institutional history, we will host a dramatic reading of the play in Buell Hall, the only remaining building from the psychiatric institution formerly located on the University site. This one-off production will feature a dramatic reading of Knight’s play by local actors, commentary from the playwright and director, and a brief history of Columbia’s architectural/institutional history as a psychiatric facility. The reading is intended to present the gendered and political history of lobotomy as a widely-performed psychiatric procedure in the mid-20th century, and, more generally, to explore the ways in which dramatic performance can engender new ways of thinking about medical testimony.

Ovidius Philosophus

Friday, March 29, 2019 - Saturday, March 30, 2019

An international conference on philosophy in Ovid and Ovid as a philosopher.

As a set of disciplines, the humanities face the challenge of how to write about embodied experiences that resist easy verbal categorization such as illness, pain, and healing. The recent emergence of interdisciplinary frameworks such as narrative medicine has offered a set of methodological approaches to address these challenges. Conceptualizing a field of medical humanities provides a broad umbrella under which to study the influence of medico-scientific ideas and practices on society.  Whether by incorporating material culture such as medical artefacts, performing symptomatic readings of poems and novels, or excavating the implicit medical assumptions underlying auditory cultures, the approaches that emerge from a historiographical or interpretive framework are different from those coming from the physician’s black bag. This two-day workshop will continue the work of the Explorations in the Medical Humanities lecture series from 2017-2018, with a new emphasis on creating an interdisciplinary conversation between scholars from a variety of institutions. 

New Books in the Society of Fellows: Celebrating Recent Work by Murad Idris, Jordanna Bailkin and Ilana Feldman

The New Humanities Faculty Salons

Thursday, April 4, 2019

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.

Empire By Its Other Names

Friday, April 5, 2019 - Saturday, April 6, 2019

"Empire By Its Other Names" aims to map the political formations of violence that organize and govern contemporary political life. Following Trump’s election, questions emerged about how to best typify this regime: Is it fascism, authoritarianism, or populism? A new or old form of white supremacy? The truth of American democracy, or its betrayal? The essence of neo-liberalism, or a backlash against it? On the other hand, do these questions presuppose a form of American exceptionalism, accounting for it by discounting its global contexts? And is the perplexity and urgency surrounding Trump not itself symptomatic of American exceptionalism? By thinking through some primary orders of violence, this conference will systematically place these questions and themes within a wider global history.

The 2019 Edward W. Said Memorial Lecture will be given by Viet Thanh Nguyen. 

Dan Hoyle’s Border People

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Based on conversations and interviews from the South Bronx housing projects, Refugee Safe Houses on the Northern Border with Canada, and travels along the Southwestern Border and into Mexico, Dan Hoyle's newest piece of "journalistic theater" is his freshest and most urgent. Ten monologues of people who live on or across borders both literal and metaphorical, an intimate, raw, poignant, funny look at the borders we all negotiate in our everyday lives.

New Books in the Arts & Sciences: Celebrating Recent Work by Beth Berkowitz

New Books in the Arts & Sciences: Celebrating Recent Work by Maria Victoria Murillo

13/13 Seminar Series
12/13 | HUMAN WEAPONS

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

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?

with Michele Moody-Adams (Philosophy - Columbia University), Akeel Bilgrami (Philosophy - Columbia University), and Jane Anderson (Anthropology and Museum Studies - NYU)

New Books in the Arts & Sciences: Celebrating Recent Work by James Zetzel

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?

CHCI Medical Humanities Summer Institute: “Health Beyond Borders”

Friday, June 14, 2019 - Saturday, June 15, 2019

This conference explores the interdisciplinary facets of the border, from the metaphorical to the political: What counts as a border in an embodied, geographical, legal, or artistic context? What are the debates around borders in medical practice, from hospitalist medicine to epidemiology? How and why do health practitioners refer to the border for its rhetorical power, and how does the border work productively as a figure in narrative medicine, medical memoirs, and creative literature? What are the processes and structures that define well-being across borders, from nationalist immigration policies to environmental protections? How do we understand efforts to confront, dismantle, or transcend borders in healthcare? What role do borders play in the formation of state-sanctioned health policies, and how might these enable or obstruct initiatives in global health? And how might the concept of the boundary reshape our visions of a future health beyond borders? 

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