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Robert Penn Warren Center

Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities

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Warren Center Seminars


The following is a list of seminars and reading groups that will be hosted by the Warren Center. For more detailed information please contact the seminar coordinators or the Warren Center. For the most up-to-date information on upcoming seminar events, please visit the calendar.

Warren Center Seminars

The following is a list of seminars and reading groups for the fall semester. For more detailed information please contact the seminar coordinators or the Warren Center.

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. Guest speakers include Seth Koven (history, Rutgers University)on Friday, September 30 and Orrin Wang (English, University of Maryland) on Friday, October 28, both at 2:00 p.m. at the Warren Center.Seminar coordinators: Rachel Teukolsky (English) and Scott Juengel (English)

Brazilian Studies Reading Group: In its fourth edition, the group will focus on increased political instability and deepening social inequalities in Brazil. Monthly meetings consist of discussions among attendees and invited speakers based upon pre-circulated papers that reflect current research related to the topic. Guests come from a variety of disciplines, including—but not limited to—history, anthropology, political science, literature, Latin American studies, international education policy and management, and African diaspora studies. Guest speakers include Celso Castilho (history, Vanderbilt University) on September 30 at noon at the Warren Center and Katrina Dodson (author and translator) on Monday, October 24 (location TBD). More to be announced soon. Seminar coordinators: Cory Weaver (Latin American Studies), Tiago Maranhão (history), and Kalliopi Samiotou (Spanish and Portuguese)

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. Guest speakers include Pablo Gómez (history of science, University of Wisconsin, Madison) on October 27at 1:00 p.m. in Buttrick 123 and David LaFevor (history, University of Texas, Arlington), date and time TBA. Seminar coordinators: Celso Castilho (history) and Jane Landers (history)

The Contemporary in Theory Seminar: Faculty and graduate students from different disciplines and methodological backgrounds will collaborate to foster innovative approaches to the contemporary.  Areas of inquiry include global capitalism, the end of ideology, the development of media and technology, and subsequent questions about the definitions and boundaries of the human. Meetings are set for Fridays, September 23, October 21, November 16, and December 9,all at noon at the Warren Center. Seminar coordinators: Ben Tran (Asian Studies) and Alex Dubilet (English)

Environmental Humanities: This working group brings together faculty and graduate students in the humanities and creative arts, the social sciences, the natural sciences, engineering, and law to study and forge robust interdisciplinary approaches to ecological issues. Through shared readings and research as well as collaborative projects, the group will explore the conjunctions and conflicts between scientific, social, cultural, creative, philosophical, political, and legal understandings of and engagement with the environment. The seminar seeks to foster new models for how humanistic inquiry can shape ecological questions, both inside and outside of the humanities, as well as participate in public discourse about urgent environmental problems. Meetings to be announced soon. Seminar coordinators: Teresa Goddu (English) and Catherine Molineux (history)

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 interested in theories of the image, philosophies of perception, aesthetic and critical theory, media histories, and the history of vision. The group will meet monthly to discuss readings, share work, and engage the research of invited scholars. Guest speakers include Johannes von Moltke (German, University of Michigan), on September 9, Davide Panagia (political science, UCLA) on October 7, and Lutz Koepnick (German and cinema & media arts, Vanderbilt) on December 2, all at noon at the Warren Center,and Laura Mulvey (film and media studies, Birkbeck, University of London) on November 10 at 2:00 p.m. at the Warren Center. Seminar coordinators: Jennifer Fay (cinema & media arts, English) and Lutz Koepnick (German, cinema & media arts)

Gender and Sexualities 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. Meetings are set for Fridays, September 2with Sandra Barnes (human development), October 28 with Michelle Murray (Spanish and Portuguese), November 4 with Patrick Grzanka (psychology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville), all at 12:30 p.m. at the Warren Center. Seminar coordinators: Katherine Crawford (women’s and gender studies) and Melanie Adley (women’s and gender studies)

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. Guest speakers include Paul Fischer (religion, Western Kentucky University)on September 16th at noon in Buttrick 123, and Jane O. Newman (comparative literature, UC, Irvine) on November 11th at noon at the Warren Center. Seminar coordinators: Bill Caferro (history) and Jesse Hock (English)

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. Seminar coordinators: Robert Barsky (French and Italian) and Daniel Gervais (law)

Marx: Foundations and Contemporary Applications: This seminar brings together faculty and graduate students from across campus to explore central Marxist concepts by tracing a path from their inception, through some of the most enduring responses and reworkings, to their most recent applications. Beginning with Karl Marx’s own work, the seminar will examine the way in which Marxist conceptual frameworks have travelled across time and disciplinary boundaries. Readings will include selections from Karl Marx’s Capital, Francis Fukuyama’s The End of History and the Last Man, Jacques Derrida’s Specters of Marx, Fredric Jameson’s An American Utopia, and various texts to be determined by the interests of the group. Meetings are set for Thursdays, September 22, October 6 and 27, November 10, and December 1, all at noon at the Warren Center. Seminar coordinators: Kira Braham (English) and Kylie Korsnack (English)

Reading Between the Sheets: Sex, Desire and the Erotic:This multi-disciplinary seminar will explore the embodied, lived experiences of sex and sexuality through monthly readings and discussions. Possible topics include, but are not limited to: desire; pleasure; consent; kink/BDSM; the orgasm; the politics of talking about sex with young people and sex education; sex and difference; sex, ability and disability. Meetings are set for Wednesdays, August 31, September 28, October 26, and November 9and 30, all at 11:00 a.m. at the Warren Center. Seminar coordinators: Elizabeth Lanphier (philosophy) and Leah Roberts (human and organizational development, Peabody College)

Science Studies Seminar: This seminar brings together members of the Vanderbilt community with interests in the humanistic and social studies of science and technology. Activities include sharing work-in-progress, reading recent publications in the field, and hosting invited speakers. Faculty members and graduate students from across the university are welcome. Meetings set for September 12, October 4 (or 11), November 8 and November 29, all at noon at the Warren Center.  Seminar coordinators: Ole Molvig (history) and Alistair Sponsel (history)