Video / Audio  Heyman Center For Humanities

A case study in the textual architecture of the venerable legal and ethical tradition at the center of the Islamic experience, Sharīʿa Scripts is a work of historical anthropology focused on Yemen in the early twentieth century. There—while colonial regimes, late Ottoman reformers, and early nationalists wrought decisive changes to the legal status of the sharīʿa, significantly narrowing its sphere of relevance—the Zaydī school of jurisprudence, rooted in highland Yemen for a millennium, still held sway.

Since Edward Said’s foundational work, Orientalism has been singled out for critique as the quintessential example of Western intellectuals’ collaboration with oppression. Controversies over the imbrications of knowledge and power and the complicity of Orientalism in the larger project of colonialism have been waged among generations of scholars. But has Orientalism come to stand in for all of the sins of European modernity, at the cost of neglecting the complicity of the rest of the academic disciplines?

The first volume to offer an integral theory of love poetry that explores why poetry is consistently associated with romantic love.

In AD 60/61, Rome almost lost the province of Britain to a woman. Boudica, wife of the client king Prasutagus, fomented a rebellion that proved catastrophic for Camulodunum (Colchester), Londinium (London), and Verulamium (St Albans), destroyed part of a Roman legion, and caused the deaths of an untold number of veterans, families, soldiers, and Britons. Yet with one decisive defeat, her vision of freedom was destroyed, and the Iceni never rose again. Boudica: Warrior Woman of Roman Britain introduces readers to the life and literary importance of Boudica through juxtaposing her different literary characterizations with those of other women and rebel leaders. 

Living in the shadow of death may enhance the gift of life.

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.  

Full Title: Fire, Water, Moon: Supplemental Seasons in a Time without Season, If the Anthropocene names the geological epoch defined by the radically destabilizing effects of human activity on geophysical processes, this talk asks about the continued relevance of other, relatively unchanged seasonal cycles and patterns of fluctuating intensities and regulated dearth and abundance (both cultural and geophysical). According to recent work on the Anthropocene, petro-extraction economies have messed up our relationship to the sun by liberating capital from dependence on the “yield of present photosynthesis” (Andreas Malm). At a time when climate scientists are declaring the end of “seasonality,” and when technology appears to have caught up with lyric’s power to expand and compress, accelerate and distort the diurnal rhythms determined by the earth’s relation to the sun, I turn toward the moon and the micro-seasons afforded by its monthly cycles as well as to other comparably stable, cultural modes of distributing abundance and scarcity across time. What is to be gained by opening up the concept of seasonality to these pluralizing, supplemental seasons within seasons, and what healing powers might they still afford?

Full Title: Fire, Water, Moon: Supplemental Seasons in a Time without Season. If the Anthropocene names the geological epoch defined by the radically destabilizing effects of human activity on geophysical processes, this talk asks about the continued relevance of other, relatively unchanged seasonal cycles and patterns of fluctuating intensities and regulated dearth and abundance (both cultural and geophysical). According to recent work on the Anthropocene, petro-extraction economies have messed up our relationship to the sun by liberating capital from dependence on the “yield of present photosynthesis” (Andreas Malm). At a time when climate scientists are declaring the end of “seasonality,” and when technology appears to have caught up with lyric’s power to expand and compress, accelerate and distort the diurnal rhythms determined by the earth’s relation to the sun, I turn toward the moon and the micro-seasons afforded by its monthly cycles as well as to other comparably stable, cultural modes of distributing abundance and scarcity across time. What is to be gained by opening up the concept of seasonality to these pluralizing, supplemental seasons within seasons, and what healing powers might they still afford?