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Programs and Events
The Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities promotes interdisciplinary research and study in the humanities and social sciences and, when appropriate, the natural sciences. Members of the Vanderbilt community representing a wide variety of specializations take part in the Center’s programs, which are designed to intensify and increase interdisciplinary discussion of academic, social, and cultural issues.
2013/2014 Fellows Program. "Diagnosis in Context: Culture, Politics, and the Construction of Meaning," co-directed by Vanessa Beasley (communication studies) and Arleen Tuchman (history). Participants in the program are Gregory Barz (musicology), Laura Carpenter (sociology), Kenneth MacLeish (Medicine, Health, and Society), and Mark Schoenfield (English). The 2013-2014 William S. Vaughn Visiting Fellow is Susan Cahn (history, State University of New York at Buffalo).
2013/2014 Warren Center Graduate Student Fellows. Eight graduate students are participating in the Warren Center's eighth dissertation completion fellowship program. They are Emily August (English), Whitney Laster (sociology), Aoife Laughlin (history, Queen's University Belfast), John Maddox (Spanish & Portuguese), Paul Morrow (philosophy), Aubrey Porterfield (English), Ansley Quiros (history), and Jamie Shenton (anthropology). Emily August is the American Studies Fellow, Paul Morrow is the George J. Graham Jr. Fellow, Aubrey Porterfield is the Elizabeth E. Fleming Fellow, and John Maddox is the Mary and Joe Harper Fellow.
2014/2015 Fellows Program. "Public Scholarship in the Humanities," co-directed by Joel Harrington (history) and Holly Tucker (French; Medicine, Health, and Society). More information about this fellows program will be released later this fall.
Sacred Ecology: Landscape Transformations and Ritual Practice Symposium.
The 2011/2012 Faculty Fellows Program at the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities will host a symposium titled "Sacred Ecology: Landscape Transformations and Ritual Practice" on August 30, 2013. The symposium serves as the culminating project of the Fellows' year-long seminar, led by Betsey Robinson (Department of History of Art), Tracy Miller (Department of History of Art), and John Janusek (Department of Anthropology). The guest speakers are Veronica Della Dora (geography, Royal Holloway, University of London), James Robson (East Asian languages and civilizations, Harvard University), Deena Ragavan (independent scholar), and Lindsay Jones (comparative studies, Ohio State University). The symposium will take place in the Sarratt Student Center, Room 189, with a reception afterwards at the Warren Center. Please check our website for more information.
The Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities 25th Anniversary Celebration. The Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities will mark its 25th Anniversary this fall with a series of events to be held September 19 and September 20. On September 19 at 4:10 PM in Sarratt Cinema we will screen a documentary film highlighting programs and projects sponsored by the Warren Center over the past 25 years. On Friday, September 20 a series of panels exploring ways that discourse in the humanities has changed over the past 25 years will be featured at the First Amendment Center. Panel members are all former William S. Vaughn Visiting Fellows at the Warren Center. Please see our website for more details about the program.
"Taking Our Pulse: Promises and Pitfalls of 21st-Century Medicine." In conjunction with the Southern Festival of Books and its sponsor, Humanities Tennessee, the Warren Center's 2013/2014 Fellows are planning a series of talks to take place during the book festival (October 11-13) that will highlight recent publications on this theme.
The Humanities and Technology Camp (THATCamp). To help facilitate conversations on digital scholarship, the Warren Center's Digital Humanities Seminar, the Center for Second Language Studies, the Curb Center, the Vanderbilt Institute for Digital Learning, and the Center for Teaching are co-hosting THATCamp Vanderbilt University on November 1-2, 2013. Workshop sessions on Friday, November 1 will feature hands-on instruction on various digital humanities tools and topics. Sessions will continue on Saturday, November 2. More information will soon be available.
The following is a list of seminars and reading groups for the spring semester. For the most up-to-date information on upcoming seminar events, please visit the calendar.
18th-/19th-Century Colloquium. The colloquium brings together faculty, graduate students, and visiting scholars to explore ground-breaking scholarship on the arts, cultures, and histories of the 18th and 19th centuries. While loosely focused around British culture, the group also invites scholars from other linguistic and geographic fields to share work and join in the discussion. The group will hold their first meeting in the Warren Center on Friday, September 13 at 2pm with guest speaker Gerard Cohen-Vrignaud (English, University of Tennessee Knoxville). Other guest speakers include Mary Favret (English, Indiana University) on Friday, October 25 at 2pm in the Warren Center and Daniel O'Quinn (English, University of Guelph) on Friday, November 15 at 2pm in the Warren Center. Seminar coordinators: Rachel Teukolsky (English) firstname.lastname@example.org, Scott Juengel (English) email@example.com, and Humberto Garcia (English) firstname.lastname@example.org.
Behind Bars: The Complex Politics of Incarceration. In this seminar, participants will seek to have conversations with scholars in a wide range of fields and disciplines about a major social and political concern in the 21st century: the prison industrial complex. Through an examination of critical race and queer theory, transnational feminisms, and the work of grassroots activist organizations, participants will engage discourses of prison reform and prison abolition as two distinct methodologies that attempt to address the same pervasive social problem. Reading scholarly work as well as the work produced by activists, we hope to explore how the academy can engage these issues productively and materially. First fall meeting: TBD. Seminar coordinators: Alex Chambers (religion) email@example.com and Tatiana McInnis (English) firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brazilian Studies Reading Group. This graduate student led seminar provides a forum for the discussion of contemporary Brazilian topics. Each semester the group will facilitate interdisciplinary dialogues with pre-circulated readings, discuss works-in-progress by graduate students and faculty, and invite recognized scholars to present new work. We will consider issues in the context of the recent protest movements, which began in São Paulo as a response to increased bus fares, before spreading through most urban centers across the country. Topics for discussion may include traditional power structures, social movements, access to equal education, workers' rights, political corruption, race relations, and income disparity. Meetings and lectures will sharpen our analyses and understanding of contemporary Brazilian problems and the issues facing its citizens. The first meeting will be Friday, September 6 at 3:30pm in the Warren Center. Seminar coordinators: Ashley Larson (Latin American Studies) email@example.com, Max Pendergraph (history) firstname.lastname@example.org, and Guilherme Russo (political science) email@example.com.
Circum-Atlantic Studies Seminar. This group reads and treats scholarship that is interdisciplinary in nature, focuses on at least two of the following regions – Africa, Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean, and North America – and treats some aspect of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, colonialism, and/or postcolonialism. First fall meeting: TBD. Seminar coordinators: Celso Castilho (history) firstname.lastname@example.org and Jane Landers (history) email@example.com.
Digital Humanities Discussion Group. Digital humanities projects are rich new additions to the intellectual life of humanities scholars. If you are currently working on a digital humanities project or hope to do so in the near future, please join this discussion group to learn more about resources and innovations in this area. The direction of the group will be determined by the interests of those who participate. First fall meeting: TBD. Seminar coordinators: Lynn Ramey (French & Italian) firstname.lastname@example.org and Mona Frederick (Warren Center) email@example.com.
Exploring Boundaries: Race and Ethnicity in the 21st-Century United States. How racial and ethnic boundaries continue to shift and transform is an exciting and important topic of intellectual pursuit for scholars of all disciplines. This year-long seminar is designed to facilitate discussion, debate, and collaboration among individuals across campus who are interested in contemporary issues of race and ethnicity. At each of our monthly meetings, participants will bridge theory with practice, engaging with foundational texts in the field as well as with the work of their peers and that of invited speakers. Thematic topics of discussion will include methodological issues in studying race, heterogeneity within racial and pan-ethnic groups, and contemporary social problems. The first meeting will be Tuesday, September 17 at noon in the Warren Center. Seminar coordinators: Samantha Perez (sociology) firstname.lastname@example.org and Courtney Thomas (sociology) email@example.com.
Film Theory & Visual Culture Seminar. This seminar aims to foster dialogue among faculty and graduate students across campus working in film, visual culture, art history, literature, and cultural studies, as well as anyone interested in theories of the image, philosophies of perception, aesthetics and critical theory, media histories, and the history of vision. The first meeting is Friday, September 27 at noon in the Warren Center with guest speaker Lutz Koepnick (German and film). Other scheduled guest speakers include Paul K. Saint-Amour (English, University of Pennsylvania) and Karen Beckman (History of Art, University of Pennsylvania) on Friday, October 25 at noon in the Warren Center, Lesley Stern (visual arts, UC-San Diego) on Friday, November 8 at noon in the Warren Center, and Ackbar Abbas (comparative literature, UC-Irvine) on Friday, December 6 at noon in the Warren Center. Seminar coordinators: Jennifer Fay (Film Studies and English) firstname.lastname@example.org, James McFarland (German) email@example.com, and Paul Young (Film Studies and English) firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gender and Sexuality Seminar. This seminar provides an interdisciplinary forum for the development of critical perspectives on gender and sexuality. The seminar examines how gender and sexuality shape human experience within and across cultures, in different time periods, and as part of social practice. Participants will choose the format with an aim toward balancing new scholarship by graduate students and established scholars, as well as exploring topics of particular interest to the group. First fall meeting: TBD. Please email email@example.com if you would like to be on the mailing list. Seminar coordinator: Katherine Crawford (women's & gender studies; history) firstname.lastname@example.org.
Geographic Imaginations and the Spatial Humanities. The spatial humanities, extending from the spatial turn in geographic studies and overlapping with digital humanities, were born of the promise of innovative humanities research that reaches beyond demonstrative mapmaking to spatial analysis of humanities data. Scholars have used Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to document historic and literary action through space and time, map linguistic and cultural relationships, and model or predict behavior based on specific parameters. In this Robert Penn Warren Center seminar, we will collaboratively explore the historical contexts and theories of the spatial turn, examine specific case studies of spatially-oriented humanities research, and practice mapping our own data with existing spatial technologies. The seminar will include a monthly reading group and complementary workshops, along with visits from two scholars in the field of spatial humanities. The first fall meeting will be Friday, September 6 at noon in the Warren Center. Seminar coordinators: Courtney Campbell (history) email@example.com, Beth Koontz (anthropology) firstname.lastname@example.org, and Scotti Norman (anthropology) email@example.com.
Group for Pre-modern Cultural Studies. The purpose of the group is to serve as a forum for those with interests in pre-modern studies, including not only history but language and literature, chiefly, though not exclusively, Greek, Hebrew, and Latin, as well as music, art, and culture. The group meets monthly to discuss ongoing research by a faculty member, recent publications in the field, or the work of a visiting scholar. First fall meeting: TBD. Seminar coordinators: Bill Caferro (history) firstname.lastname@example.org and Leah Marcus (English) email@example.com.
Literature and Law Seminar. This reading group will meet to discuss current approaches, new challenges, and new possibilities that are offered to legal and literary scholars when they use insights from both fields to illuminate their work. The seminar welcomes anyone interested in the many topics now addressed in this field, including the use of obscenity laws to regulate creative work, the representation of law in literature,
law as literature, the application of literary methods to legal texts, the challenges of
constructing "characters" appropriate to literary and legal settings, and the revitalization of law through reference to humanistic texts and approaches. First fall meeting: TBD. Seminar coordinator: Robert Barsky (French & Italian and English), firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mexican Studies Seminar. The goal of this group is to raise the profile of research related to Mexico on the Vanderbilt campus and support members' individual scholarly endeavors regarding this important nation bordering the United States. The group brings together faculty and graduate students from history, political science, literature, sociology, art, anthropology, music, and Latin American studies. At monthly meetings the group will discuss work-in-progress authored by members and invited scholars from beyond Vanderbilt. First meeting will be on Friday, September 13 at noon in the Warren Center with guest speaker Arturo Santamaría Gómez (Professor of Sociology, Universidad Autónoma de Sinaloa, Mazatlán). Seminar coordinators: Helena Simonett (Latin American Studies) email@example.com and Edward Wright-Rios (history) firstname.lastname@example.org.