Skip to main content

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 Susan Zieger (English, University of California, Riverside) on September 15, Nicholas Rogers (history, York University)on October 6, and Devin Griffiths (English, University of Southern California) on November 3, all at 2:00 p.m. at the Warren Center. Seminar coordinators: Rachel Teukolsky (English) and Scott Juengel (English)

Brazilian Studies Reading Group: In its fifth 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: Jacob Brown (Spanish and Portuguese), 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 Yesenia Barragan (history, African and African American studies, Dartmouth) and Marcela Echeverri (history, Yale University) in conversation at noon on September 21 in Buttrick 123. More meetings to be announced soon.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 September 15, October 6, November 10 and December 8, all at noon at the Warren Center. Seminar coordinators: Alex Dubilet (English), Haerin Shin (English), and Ben Tran (Asian studies)

The Erotics of Race: This seminar explores various currents within critical race theory and black studies that have focused upon the relationship between structures of racial identification and desire. Thinkers working through the interactions between race and desire demonstrate that material interests—such as wealth, property, capital, and other tangible metrics—are not the only motivating factors behind racial inequality and violence. These theorists argue that discourses of race also produce associations of “identification,” “belonging,” and “obligation,” which, in turn, create and naturalize a social and cultural mythos based around the fiction of biological race. Readings will include Sharon Holland’s The Erotic Life of Racism, texts by Christina Sharpe, and literary non-fiction from writers such as James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, and Elizabeth Alexander. There will be a meeting on September 14 at 12:15 p.m. in Buttrick 140. Other meetings are set for September 28, October 19, November 9, and November 30, all at 12:15 p.m. at the Warren Center. Seminar coordinators: Leonard Curry (graduate department of religion) and Terrell Taylor (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 Michael Gillespie (black studies, City Colleges of New York) on September 22, Rob King (film, Columbia University) on October 20, and Joseph J. Jeon (English, Pomona College) on December 1, all at noon at the Warren Center. Seminar coordinators: Jennifer Fay (cinema & media arts, English) and Lutz Koepnick (German, cinema & media arts)

French/Francophone Cultural Studies Seminar: In this multi-disciplinary seminar, graduate students and faculty from across the College come together to read and discuss new scholarship on the literature, history, art, and politics of France, the (former) French Empire, and the Francophone world. This group will meet several times a semester to read works-in-progress or recent publications and to host guest speakers. Meetings are set for September 25, October 23, and December 4, all at noon at the Warren Center. Seminar coordinators: Lauren Clay (history) and Holly Tucker (French and Italian)

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 Rhiannon Graybill (religious studies, Rhodes College)on October 2 and Richard Eaton (history, University of Arizona) on November 8, both at noon at the Warren Center. Another meeting will be held on September 18 at noon at another location to be announced. Seminar coordinators: Bill Caferro (history), Jessie Hock (English), and Bryan D. Lowe (department of religious studies)

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 James Hathaway (law, University of Michigan) on October 2 at noon (co-sponsored by Vanderbilt University Law School international legal studies program, location TBA). Other meetings to be announced soon. Seminar coordinators: Robert Barsky (English, French and Italian, Jewish studies, law) and Daniel Gervais (French and Italian, law)

Making Knowledge in Early Modern Europe : This seminar focuses on 16th and 17th century epistemological changes that enabled the human body to become more than just an object for analysis but an agent through which experiences are registered and knowledge is created. This group will read and discuss recent scholarly work on scientific treatises and legal cases from early modern England, France, and Italy. Specifically, participants will attend to forensic questions involving bodies that preoccupied early modern courts concerning rape, murder, and allegations of impotence. Ultimately, the politics and ethics of knowledge creation will be at the core of this seminar. Participants will have the opportunity to share works-in-progress and to reflect on the stakes that our research raises for scholarly communities and beyond. Meetings are set for August 30 and September 27, both at 11:30 a.m. at the Warren Center. Seminar coordinators: Kirsten Mendoza (English) and Anna Young (history)

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 works-in-progress, reading recent publications in the field, and hosting invited speakers. Faculty members and graduate students from across the university are welcome. Meetings are set for September 8, October 27, November 17, and December 15, all at noon at the Warren Center. Seminar coordinators: Ole Molvig (history), Tasha Rijke-Epstein (history), and Alistair Sponsel (history) 

Sports and Civil Rights Reading Group:  This seminar will explore the issue of American civil rights through the lens of sports. Seminar participants will read and discuss works examining themes such as pioneering, protest, exploitation, equality, and triumph in the athletic world and will explore how these themes emanating from the world of sports influenced American society as a whole. An organizational meeting will be held on  September 14 at  noon  at the  Warren Center Louis Moore,  associate professor of history at Grand Valley State University and author of  I Fight for a Living: Boxing and the Battle for Black Manhood, 1880-1915 , will meet with the seminar on  October 16 (time and place TBA ). Seminar coordinators: Andrew Maraniss (Visiting Scholar and Writer-in-Residence, The Commons); Candace Storey Lee (Associate Vice Chancellor for University Affairs and Deputy Athletic Director); and Mona Frederick (Warren Center) 

Taking Play Seriously : This group will focus on two questions: what are games and play, and what makes some forms of games and play good, ethically or politically? The group will host two types of events. First, reading groups will discuss four books that draw on media studies, history, psychology, and neuroscience. Second, public talks will focus on specialized themes, twice as digital colloquia (lectures and discussions with experts in the field) and once as a panel on exclusion in gaming communities. Meetings are set for September 26, October 24, and November 14, all at 11:30 a.m. at the Warren Center. Seminar coordinators: Derek Price (German, Russian, and East European studies, comparative media analysis and practice) and Boomer Trujillo (philosophy)