Video / Audio  Heyman Center For Humanities

This discussion comes in the wake of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and statements by the current administration characterizing the press as "the enemy of the people." This panel will address attacks on individual journalists, as well as the fourth estate in general, in order to better understand the contemporary context and also to put recent incidents in historical perspective Panelists: Kerry Paterson (Committee to Protect Journalists), “Press Freedom Under Fire” Bruce Shapiro (Columbia), "Journalists, Authoritarians and Democratic Repair" Chair: Rachel Nolan (Columbia)

The ancient world has always been used as supporting evidence for modern arguments - pro and anti democracy, pro and anti slavery, pro and anti various stances on colour, gender, labour, government etc. What has changed recently is the extreme polarisation of opinion in many places in the world, particularly in the US, and the manifestly unacceptable assumption that if the Greeks or Romans did or said something, it is by definition fine for us. So, instead of supporting evidence for a point of view, the ancient world becomes a weapon. This panel will explore the misuse of the Classics as well as identifying models from the ancient world that really might be helpful in addressing modern problems.

The panel will address the role of “strongmen” in escalating or, indeed, provoking democratic crises. There will be an emphasis on the relationship between the representations of modern leaders and the political actions such figures advocate and implement. How can we interpret Putin’s umbrella scene during the world cup final or the praises during Trump’s first cabinet meeting in the context of rituals of power? What does Viktor Orbán’s stadium-building obsession in Hungary or Erdogan’s monumental presidential palace tell us about the nature of those regimes? How do academic disciplines—history, political science, art history, cultural anthropology, cultural studies or psychology—help us understand and explain the complex relationship between representations and the exercise of power? Curiously enough, the relationship between political action and the (self-) representations of leadership has generally escaped the attention of journalists and analysts thus far. The panel aims to bring that relationship to the limelight and to show that the myths and rituals supporting the imagery of the “strong leader” are often indicative of the emergence of authoritarian political practices in a democratic environment. Panelists: Balazs Apor (Trinity College Dublin), "The Return of the King? The Crisis of Democracy and the Rebirth of the Leader Cult" Ruth Ben Ghiat (NYU), "Strongman Body Politics" Ido de Haan (Utrecht University), “Bonapartist leaders and the imaginary people” Chair: María González Pendás (Columbia)

Sasha Turner (Quinnipiac U), Contested Bodies: Pregnancy, Childrearing and Slavery in Jamaica (2017) Deirdre Cooper Owens (CUNY, Queens College), Medical Bondage: Race, Gender and the Origins of American Gynecology (2017) Respondents: Christopher Florio (SoF/Heyman) & Cristobal Silva (English and Comparative Literature) Chair: Arden Hegele (SoF/Heyman)​

Rob Boddice (Freie Universität Berlin / McGill University), “Representing Experiment: Medical Science and the Art of Public Relations, 1908-14” Respondent: Thomas Dodman (French) Chair: Warren Kluber (SoF/Heyman Graduate Fellow)

Roanne Kantor (Stanford, Comparative Literature) Nicole Wallack (University Writing Program) Rishi Goyal (ICLS-Medicine, Literature and Society) Chair: Lan Li (CSS/PSSN)

Beyond Physicians: Health and Individual Responsibility in History

Steven Marcus (1928–2018) was instrumental in the conception and realization of the National Humanities Center, and his intellectual leadership and continuous devotion helped nurture and guide the Center for most of the past 40+ years.