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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 Elizabeth Miller (English, University of California—­­Davis)on Friday, January 27 at 2:00 p.m. and Anahid Nersessian (English, University of California—Los Angeles) on Friday, March 24, at 12:00 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. Meetings 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 Teresa Cribelli (history, University of Alabama) on Thursday, January 26at 12:00 p.m. in 301 Garland Hall 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 February 10, March 1, March 31 and April 28 all at noon at the Warren Center. Seminar coordinators: Ben Tran (Asian Studies) and Alex Dubilet (English)

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 Jean Ma (art & art history, Stanford), on February 3Karl Schoonover (film & television studies, University of Warwick) on March 17, and Sara Blair (English, University of Michigan) on April 7, all at noon 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 FridaysJanuary 13with Kimberly Welch (history), February 24 with Stacey Simplican (women’s and gender studies), March 17 with Alexis Wells-Oghoghomeh (religious studies),  and April 21 with Carwill Bjork-James 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. They will be holding a Classical Reception Roundtable on Wednesday, January 25at 4:00 p.m. in Buttrick 123. Participants are Lynn Enterline (English), Elsa Filosa (French and Italian), Kathy Gaca (classics and Mediterranean studies), Choon-leong Seow (divinity), and Betsey Robinson (art history). Other guest speakers include Elizabeth Moodey (history of art)on February 15, Bill Engel (English, University of the South) on February 24, and Melissa Sanchez (English, University of Pennsylvania) on March 22, all at noon at the Warren Center. Seminar coordinators: Bill Caferro (history) and Jessie 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. Guest speakers include Gabriella Sanchez (security studies, University of Texas—El Paso) on February 13Ari Bryen (Mediterranean and classical studies) on March 3David Maraniss (political science) on March 30Sarah Koellner (German) on April 7, all at 4:00 at the Warren Center. Other speakers include Kristina Touzenis (International Organization for Migration) on March 20, in Buttrick 123 at 4 p.m and Julius Grey (law, McGill University) on April 12, at 5 p.m. at the Warren Center. 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 ThursdaysJanuary 19, February 9, March 2, March 23 and April 13, 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. Guest speaker Cricket Keating (women’s and gender studies, University of Washington) will present on February 17 at 2:30 p.m. at the Warren Center. Other meetings to be announced soon. 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 to be announced soon. Seminar coordinators: Ole Molvig (history) and Alistair Sponsel (history)