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Humanities Center Offers Spring Symposia
The Humanities Center will bring several renowned scholars to campus this semester to explore a wide range of contemporary issues.
“This year’s HC Spring Symposia bring people and ideas into dialog with one another, not only across the humanist disciplines but also between the humanities and sciences,” says Dympna Callaghan, William L. Safire Professor of Modern Letters in The College of Arts and Sciences and interim director of the Humanities Center. “Our faculty and graduate fellows have organized their events so as to put their own work in conversation with some of the most influential thinkers in their fields.”
For example, dissertation fellow from religion Kandace Geldmeier has organized her symposium with the eminent Linda L. Layne, while Mihnea Capraru is presenting his own work alongside that of the acclaimed philosopher of language Ruth Garrett Millikan.
“These clusters of scholars generate enormous intellectual energy and excitement in the entire university community,” says Callaghan. “All of our events this spring involve bringing scholars together to explore extant ideas and to generate new ones, from the interdisciplinary project on the queer archive, to the discussion of disability studies in relation to Nazi science, to the representation of the Weimar Republic, as well as the landscapes of the Manhattan project and Hollywood cinema. Bringing minds together across boundaries is the goal of Cathryn Newton’s ‘Studying Shipwrecks.’ This event convened a diverse group of scientists and humanists to discuss the U.S.S. Monitor as both an historical artifact and a fossil. Such engaged, dynamic programs demonstrate not simply that humanist scholarship remains relevant, but rather that it has become indispensable.”
Lectures are free and open to the public. HC Mini-Seminars are by reservation; call Karen Ortega at 315-443-5708.
This semester’s featured presentations are:
HC Faculty Fellow Symposia
“Experimental Philosophy and White Male Intuitions”—Edouard Machery, professor of history and philosophy of science at the University of Pittsburgh, will explore the implications of the intuitions that philosophers have relied on throughout the course of history. Machery will give a public lecture on Thursday, Feb. 13, at 4 p.m. in the Kilian Room, 500 Hall of Languages. A HC Mini-Seminar will be held Friday, Feb. 14, at noon in 304 Tolley Humanities Building. These presentations are co-sponsored by the Department of Philosophy in The College of Arts and Sciences. HC Faculty Fellow Kevan Edwards will lead and moderate the mini-seminar.
“Viewing Weimar: Photographic and Journalistic Representations of the Weimar Republic”—This lecture will examine the photomontages of Hannah Höch (1889-1978), one of Germany’s most innovative visual artists, against the backdrop of Weimar-era debates on photography. A public lecture will be held Friday, Feb. 21, at 10 a.m. in 304 Tolley. Patrizia McBride, associate professor and chair of the Department of German Studies at Cornell University, will speak on “Cut with the Kitchen Knife: Photomontage and Gender Critique in Weimar Germany.” Elizabeth Otto, executive director of the Humanities Institute and associate professor in the Department of Visual Studies at the University at Buffalo, will be the respondent. Karina von Tippelskirch, HC Faculty Fellow and assistant professor of German in SU’s Department of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics, will speak on “Ours is the Age of the Reporter: The American Journalist Dorothy Thompson in Weimar Berlin.” Laurie Marhoefer, assistant professor of history in SU’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, will be the respondent.
HC Dissertation Fellow Symposia
“Embedding Language Understanding in the World”—Ruth Garrett Millikan, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy Emerita at the University of Connecticut, and Mihnea D.I. Capraru, HC Dissertation Fellow and Ph.D. candidate in SU’s Department of Philosophy, will investigate the contribution of context to linguistic representation. An HC Mini-Seminar will be held Thursday, April 24, at 9:30 a.m. in 304 Tolley. Capraru will speak on “Unintended Constituents and the Sundial Tribe” at 12:45 p.m. in 300 Tolley. A public lecture will be held at 5 p.m. in 304 Tolley. The co-sponsors of this event are the Department of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics, and the departments of philosophy and psychology in The College of Arts and Sciences.
“Stillbirth in the Spotlight: Negotiating New Narratives of Pregnancy Loss”—Linda Layne, program director of science, technology and society and ethics education in science and engineering for the National Science Foundation (on loan from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where she is Hale Professor of Humanities and Social Sciences and professor of anthropology in the Department of Science and Technology Studies) will present her paper “Spectacular Pregnancy Loss—The Public Private Lives of the Santorums and Duggars at the Intersection of Politics, Religion and Tabloid Culture” in “Motherhood, Markets and Consumption: The Making of Mothers in Contemporary Western Culture.” A public lecture will be held Monday, April 28, at 5 p.m. in the Kilian Room, 500 Hall of Languages. Respondents will be M. Gail Hamner, professor of religion and graduate director in SU’s Department of Religion; Cecelia Van Hollen, associate professor in SU’s Department of Anthropology; and Janet Press, perinatal bereavement coordinator at Crouse Hospital. HC Dissertation Fellow Kandace Geldmeier, a Ph.D. candidate in SU’s Department of Religion, will moderate the event.
Humanities Faculty Fellow Lecture Series
“Monuments of a New Frontier: The Landscape of the Atomic Bomb”—Arts and Sciences Humanities Faculty Fellow Deanna Sheward will explore the landscape of the Manhattan Project, the sites constructed to produce atomic bombs during World War II. The talk will analyze the design and construction of the geographically dispersed, yet highly interconnected, sites and illustrate the centrality of this new frontier to the conceptions of postwar aesthetics and monumentality. A public lecture will be held Tuesday, March 18, at 4 p.m. in 304 Tolley. Respondents will be Jonathan Massey, Meredith Professor for Teaching Excellence in the School of Architecture, and Matthew T. Huber, assistant professor in the Department of Geography.
Humanities Center Symposiums
“That’s Entertainment!: Valedictory Symposium for Steven Cohan”—This event will honor Steven Cohan, professor of English in The College of Arts and Sciences and president elect of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies. This symposium will examine his significant contributions to our understanding of Hollywood cinema and explores new perspectives on American film history. Cohan will speak on “The Manic Bodies of Danny Kaye” in a public lecture on Thursday, March 6, at 5 p.m. in the Peter Graham Scholarly Commons in E.S. Bird Library and in a colloquium on Friday, March 7, at 1 p.m. in 304 Tolley. This event is a joint presentation of the Department of English and The College of Arts and Sciences.
“The Practices and Politics of LGBT Archives”—Over the past two decades, archives specifically dedicated to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer histories have been burgeoning across the globe. This symposium brings together key participants in this growing archival movement to discuss and explore the practices and politics of LBGT archives. A public lecture will be held Thursday, April 10, at a time to be determined, in 220 Eggers, followed by a mini-seminar on Friday, April 11, at 9 a.m. in 220 Eggers. This event is organized by the LGBT Studies Program and the Department of History, and is co-sponsored by The College of Arts and Sciences’ Co-Curricular Fund; the Departments of English, Geography, Communication and Rhetorical Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies; the School of Information Studies; the Museum Studies Program in the College of Visual and Performing Arts; the Documentary Film and History Program in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications; and the LGBT Resource Center.
HC Co-Sponsored Lectures
“Shipwreck, History, and Paleontology”—Cathryn R. Newton, dean emerita of The College of Arts and Sciences and a world-renowned paleontologist, brings the humanities and sciences together in the presentation of her recent work on the shipwreck of the ironclad Monitor, discovered on the ocean floor 111 years after it was lost at sea. Her research combines captivating stories, rigorous science and creative insights to show that once we recognize the thousands of shipwrecks on the ocean floor as the array of fossils they are, we can ask and answer new questions that transform our understanding of many aspects of science and of cultural history. A lecture took place on Jan. 31.
“Lives Worth Living”—William J. Peace, the spring 2014 Jeanette K. Watson Distinguished Visiting Professor, will host a daylong symposium on disability, bioethics and contemporary medicine. He will deliver a lecture on disability, bioethics and healthcare on Friday, April 4, at 9 a.m. in Rooms 304 A, B and C of the Hildegarde and J. Myer Schine Student Center. Barbara Farlow and Brenda Brueggemann will join the symposium to address issues of life, death and disability. The closing event of the symposium will be a keynote presentation by Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Sheri Fink, who will read from her book “Five Days at Memorial.” The co-sponsors of this event are the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies; the Renée Crown University Honors Program in The College of Arts and Sciences; the Center on Human Policy, Law and Disability Studies; the School of Education; and the David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics.