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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.
2012/2013 Fellows Program. "The Age of Emancipation: Black Freedom in the Atlantic World," co-directed by Richard Blackett (history), Teresa Goddu (English), and Jane Landers (history) with funding from the John E. Sawyer Seminars program at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Participants in the program are Celso Castilho (history), Herbert Marbury (divinity), Catherine Molineux (history), and Daniel Sharfstein (law). Also participating are two graduate students: Emily August (English) and Caree Banton (history). The 2012-2013 Andrew W. Mellon Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow is Nihad Farooq (American Studies, Georgia Tech). (More info)
2012/2013 Warren Center Graduate Student Fellows. Eight graduate students are participating in the Warren Center's seventh dissertation completion fellowship program. They are Michael Alijewicz (English), Elizabeth Barnett (English), Cory Duclos (Spanish & Portuguese), Lara Giordano (philosophy), Caroline Hovanec (English), Paddy McQueen (philosophy, Queen's University, Belfast), Rosie Seagraves (Spanish & Portuguese), and Jennifer Vogt (anthropology). Elizabeth Barnett is the American Studies Fellow, Lara Giordano is the George J. Graham Jr. Fellow, Caroline Hovanec is the Elizabeth E. Fleming Fellow, and Rosie Seagraves is the Mary and Joe Harper Fellow. (More info)
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). More information about this fellows program will be released later this fall.
Black Atlantic History Lecture
James Sweet, Professor of History at University of Wisconsin-Madison, will present the Warren Center's annual Black Atlantic History Lecture on Wednesday, January 23 at 4pm. Professor Sweet's talk, "Inconvenient Truths: The Hidden Histories of African Lisbon During the Era of the Slave Trade" is hosted by the Warren Center's Circum-Atlantic Studies Group and the Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center in honor of Black History Month. His talk will take place in the Black Cultural Center, followed by a reception at the Warren Center.
The Warren Center and the Program in Career Development are co-sponsoring a panel discussion on journal publishing on Thursday, February 28 at 4:10pm in Buttrick 123. The talk will be geared primarily to junior faculty members and advanced graduate students (though anyone, of course, is welcome to attend). Speakers will be Mary Hawkesworth, editor of Signs, and David Schalkwyk, editor of Shakespeare Quarterly. Panelists will address issues related to journal publishing in general and will talk about issues specifically related to their journal editing experience as well. Hawkesworth is Professor of Women's and Gender Studies and a member of the Graduate Faculty in Political Science at Rutgers University. Her recent works include Political Worlds of Women: Activism, Advocacy, and Governance in the 21st Century and War and Terror: Feminist Perspectives. Schalkwyk is the director of research at the Folger Shakespeare Library and is the author of Hamlet's Dreams: The Robben Island Shakespeare and Shakespeare, Love and Service.
Warren Center Graduate Student Fellows Lecture Series
This spring, each of the Warren Center's eight graduate students will present a public lecture on his or her research. All lectures take place in the conference room of the Warren Center at 4:10 p.m. and are followed by a reception. More details will soon be available on our website. The presenters and dates are: Paddy McQueen (philosophy, Queen's University Belfast),March 12; Rosie Seagraves (Spanish & Portuguese), March 15; Cory Duclos (Spanish & Portuguese), March 26; Caroline Hovanec (English), April 2; Michael Alijewicz (English), April 15; Elizabeth Barnett (English), April 17; Jennifer Vogt (anthropology), April 23; Lara Giordano (philosophy), May 2.
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 7 at 2pm with guest speaker Rachel Ablow (English, SUNY Buffalo). Other guest speakers include Saree Makdisi (English, UCLA) on Wednesday, November 14 at 4pm in the Warren Center and Sara Guyer (English, University of Wisconsin) on Friday, December 7 at 2pm in the Warren Center. Seminar coordinators: Rachel Teukolsky (English) email@example.com, Scott Juengel (English) firstname.lastname@example.org, and Humberto Garcia
Affective Inquiries: Embodiment in Language and Culture Seminar. Beginning with an Aristotelian definition of affect as the "capacity to be acted upon and the capacity to act," this graduate student led seminar will work through philosophical reflections on affect to consider what it is and how it has been used. Paying particular attention to race, gender, and belonging, the seminar will examine how affective investments play a critical role in these areas of inquiry, and will also extend and challenge individual group member's work by bringing forth these reflections in conversation with poetry and film. First meeting: TBD. Seminar coordinators: Geoffrey Adelsberg (philosophy) email@example.com and Hubert Cook (English) firstname.lastname@example.org.
Between Persons and Things: Human Beings and the World of Material Production and Consumption Seminar. This graduate student led seminar seeks to delve into the uneasy relationship between subjecthood and objecthood by looking critically at the study of persons—especially in terms of slavery and colonialism—in conjunction with the study of objects, things, and material culture—an area of inquiry that is particularly fraught in our current post-modern and capitalist world. They also seek to understand how the human might become object or possession, inactive or inanimate, as well as how materiality itself can become sensuous, affective, and vibrant. Discussion topics may include how human beings relate to or react against their material surroundings; the concept of ownership and property; classifications and descriptions of the human and the non-human; and the cultural and social lives of material objects. First meeting: Wednesday, September 12 at 4pm in the Warren Center. Seminar coordinators: Jennifer Bagneris (English) email@example.com and Dan Fang (English) firstname.lastname@example.org.
Caribbean Studies Reading Group: This seminar focuses on the study of literature, history, politics, culture, and society in the Caribbean Basin, or the nations bordering and surrounded by the Caribbean Sea, including the Bahamas and parts of Central and South America, as well as its diaspora in the Americas, Africa, and Europe. This graduate student led seminar will provide a forum for the reading and discussion of seminal Caribbean writers, as well as recent scholarship emerging from and about the region. First meeting: Thursday, September 6 at 1pm in the Warren Center. Seminar coordinators: Annette Quarcoopome (French) email@example.com Megan Mishler (Spanish firstname.lastname@example.org Petal Samuel (English) email@example.com and R.J. Boutelle (English) firstname.lastname@example.org
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. The first speaker will be James Walvin (history, University of York) at 4pm on Tuesday, September 25 in Buttrick 123. Other speakers include Celia Cussen (history, Universidad de Chile) on Wednesday, November 7 at 4pm in Buttrick 123 and Jennifer Anderson (history, SUNY – Stony Brook) on Thursday, November 15 at 4pm in Buttrick 123. Seminar coordinators: Celso Castilho (history) email@example.com and Jane Landers (history) firstname.lastname@example.org
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. The first meeting will be on Wednesday, October 3 with Jacob Thornton (GIS Coordinator, Vanderbilt Library) at noon in the Warren Center. Other events include "Teaching with Blogs" on Tuesday, October 16 at 4pm in the Center for Teaching, THATCamp on November 2-3, and "How to Wiki" on Tuesday, November 6 at 4pm at the Center for Teaching. Seminar coordinators: Lynn Ramey (French) email@example.com and Mona Frederick (Warren Center) firstname.lastname@example.org .
Exploring the "Religious Turn" in Early Modern Studies. This graduate student led seminar explores the scope and significance of the "religious turn" which has marked a shift in research methodologies and explanatory paradigms across the humanities, particularly in work relating to the early modern period (c. 1500-1720). The seminar will broaden participants' understanding of this movement and encourage them to discuss ways that addressing religious themes might enhance their own reading and research. In addition, this seminar seeks to bring heightened attention to the polysemous term "religion" as it is utilized in the humanities and a more nuanced understanding of religious studies within scholarly practice. First meeting:
Wednesday, September 12 at noon in the Warren Center. Seminar coordinators: Amy Gant Tan
(history) email@example.com and Chance Woods (English) firstname.lastname@example.org .
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 28 at noon in the Warren Center. Guest speakers include Alison Griffiths (media studies, Baruch College) on Friday, November 16 at noon in the Warren Center and Jan Mieszkowski (German and humanities, Reed College) on Friday, December 7 at noon in theWarren Center.Seminar coordinators: Jennifer Fay (Film Studies and English) email@example.com , James McFarland (German) firstname.lastname@example.org , and Paul Young (Film Studies and English) email@example.com .
Food Politics Seminar. This graduate student led seminar aims to continue a transdisciplinary conversation about the
political, economic, ecological, cultural, spiritual, and nutritional dimensions of foodways, agricultural practices, and consumption habits. Each month will include a meeting focused on a discussion of selected readings, as well as a second meeting oriented toward praxis, engaging with the principles discussed through shared physical or community activities. First meeting: Tuesday, August 28 at 6pm in the Warren Center. Seminar coordinators: Tristan Call (anthropology) firstname.lastname@example.org and Jonathan Coley (sociology) email@example.com .
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 spring meeting: TBD. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to be on the mailing list. Seminar coordinator: Katherine Crawford (women's and gender studies) 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 meeting: Tuesday, September 11 at noon in the Warren Center. Seminar coordinator: Bill Caferro (history) firstname.lastname@example.org .
Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life. The Warren Center and the American Studies Program are co-sponsoring this group to provide opportunities for exchange among faculty members and graduate students who are interested in or who are currently involved in projects that engage public scholarship. Vanderbilt is a member of the national organization, "Imagining America," a consortium of colleges and universities committed to public scholarship in the arts, humanities, and design. First meeting: TBD. Seminar coordinators: Teresa Goddu (American Studies) email@example.com and Mona Frederick (Warren Center) firstname.lastname@example.org .
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 meeting: TBD. Seminar coordinator: Robert Barsky (French and Italian), email@example.com .
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: TBD. Seminar coordinators: Helena Simonett (Latin American Studies), firstname.lastname@example.org and Edward Wright-Rios (history) email@example.com .