The Institute regularly hosts the Germaine Brée Lecture and the Nellie Y. McKay Lecture to honor two distinguished and pioneering former members of the Institute. With the Center for the Humanities, the Institute sponsors 2-5 Focus on the Humanities Distinguished Lectures given by UW-Madison faculty members each year. Senior Fellows at the Institute deliver a Focus lecture near the end or after their terms. The Institute also organizes or co-sponsors lectures series and individual lectures on selected topics. All lectures are open to the public.





Burdick-Vary Lecture Series

September 17, 2014
4:00 P.M., Banquet Room, University Club

Atina Grossmann
Humanities & Social Sciences, Cooper Union


'Distance and Intimacy: Close Encounters between Jews and Germans in the Aftermath of Catastrophe'

Part of the War and Intimacy Series. Convened by Lou Roberts. Click here for full program.

Burdick-Vary Symposium

October 3, 2014
9:00 A.M. - 5:00 P.M., DeLuca Forum, Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, 330 N. Orchard St.

Faisal Abdu'Allah, UW-Madison
Lynda Barry, UW-Madison
Peter Bovenmyer, UW-Madison
Sonya Clark, Virginia Commonwealth University
Tom Dale, UW-Madison
Kathryn Linn Geurts, Hamline University
Marvin Gutierrez, UW-Madison
Mary Hark, UW-Madison
Darryl Harper, Virginia Commonwealth University
Marguerite E. Heckscher, UW-Madison
Ray Hernández-Durán, University of New Mexico in Albuquerque
David Howes, Concordia University
Chris Walker, UW-Madison
Sheron Wray, University of California, Irvine


'Embodied Knowledge: Sensory Studies in the 21st Century'

Convened by Henry Drewal. Click here for the conference program.

Burdick-Vary Lecture Series

October 23, 2014
4:00 P.M., Banquet Room, University Club

Lucy Noakes
Arts and Humanities, University of Brighton


'Burying the People of "the People's War": Death, the State and Intimacy in Second World War Britain.'

Part of the War and Intimacy Series. Convened by Lou Roberts. Click here for full program.

Burdick-Vary Lecture Series

November 20, 2014
4:00 P.M., Room 212, University Club

Terry Peterson
History, UW-Madison


'Fighting For Intimacy: Counterinsurgency, Gender Politics, and Colonial Utopianism in the Algerian War'

Part of the War and Intimacy Series. Convened by Lou Roberts. Click here for full program.
Please note the updated lecture date.

Burdick-Vary Lecture Series

December 11, 2014
4:00 P.M., Room 212, University Club

David Harrisville
History, UW-Madison


'Holding the Hands of Dying Men: Wehrmacht Chaplains on the Eastern Front, 1941-45'

Part of the War and Intimacy Series. Convened by Lou Roberts. Click here for full program.

Focus on the Humanities Distinguished Faculty Lecture

December 3, 2014
5:30 P.M., Conrad A. Elvehjem Building, L140, 800 University Avenue

Craig Werner
Department of Afro-American Studies, UW-Madison


'For What It's Worth: Towards a New History of the Sixties'

Focus on the Humanities Distinguished Faculty Lecture

February 18, 2015 - February 18, 2015
5:30 P.M., Conrad A. Elvehjem Building, L140, 800 University Avenue

Tejumola Olaniyan
English, UW-Madison


'Enchantings: Modernity, Culture, and the State in Postcolonial Africa'
Germaine Brée Lectures

October 29, 2014
7:00 P.M., 212 University Club Building

Simon Gaunt
French, King's College London


'French Literature Abroad: Towards an Alternative History of Literature in French'

Traditional literary histories tend to be centrifugal, tracing trajectories that move outwards from a strong and identifiable center towards peripheral zones. This lecture suggests an alternative history of medieval literature in French, one that is centripetal rather than centrifugal. Focusing initially on three key places and epochs in the development of literature in French outside France (England in the 1130s and 40s; Flanders in the 1200s; Italy in the late thirteenth century), this lecture will ask how the traditional cannon looks different when a more diverse geographical arena and a less Franco-centric optic is taken into account.

Simon Gaunt has taught at the University of Cambridge and King's College London, where he has been Head of French and Dean of Arts and Humanities. His books include Gender and Genre in Medieval French Literature (1995), Martyrs to Love: Love and Death in Medieval French and Occitan Courtly Literature (2006) and Marco Polo's Le Devisement du Monde: Narrative Voice, Language and Diversity (2013). He is co-editor of The Troubadours: an Introduction (1999), Marcabru: a Critical Edition (2000) and The Cambridge Companion to Medieval French Literature. He is currently working on the cultural value and contours of French outside France in the Middle Ages.

Event contact: Marion Vuagnoux, Department of French and Italian.

Germaine Brée Lectures

October 30, 2014
4:30 P.M., French House, 633 N. Frances St.

Simon Gaunt
French, King's College London


'French Outside France'

A roundtable discussion with UW-Madison faculty Vlad Dima, Névine El-Nossery, Jennifer Gipson, and Ullrich Langer. French and Italian Departmental Colloquium.

Free and open to the public.

Simon Gaunt has taught at the University of Cambridge and King's College London, where he has been Head of French and Dean of Arts and Humanities. His books include Gender and Genre in Medieval French Literature (1995), Martyrs to Love: Love and Death in Medieval French and Occitan Courtly Literature (2006) and Marco Polo's Le Devisement du Monde: Narrative Voice, Language and Diversity (2013). He is co-editor of The Troubadours: an Introduction (1999), Marcabru: a Critical Edition (2000) and The Cambridge Companion to Medieval French Literature. He is currently working on the cultural value and contours of French outside France in the Middle Ages.

Event contact: Marion Vuagnoux, Department of French and Italian.

Nellie Y. McKay Lecture in the Humanities

October 9, 2014
7:30 P.M., Conrad A. Elvehjem Building, L160, 800 University Avenue

Saidiya Hartman
Department of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University


'A Serial Biography of the Wayward'

This lecture explores themes from Hartman's current book project, entitled Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments, which examines the social upheaval and radical transformation of everyday life that took place in the slums in the years between 1890-1920.

Saidiya Hartman is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University and has served as the director of the Institute for Research on Women, Gender & Sexuality. She is the author of Lose Your Mother (Farrar, Straus & Giroux 2007) and Scenes of Subjection (Oxford University Press 2007). She has published several articles on slavery, including "Venus in Two Acts" and "The Time of Slavery."

The Nellie Y. McKay Lectures are co-sponsored by the Center for the Humanities.

Nellie Y. McKay Lecture in the Humanities

October 10, 2014
9:00 A.M. - 10:30 A.M., 212 University Club

Saidiya Hartman
Department of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University


'Conversation with Saidiya Hartman Friday Morning'

Informal conversation (9:00-10:30 A.M.) and breakfast (quiche, oatmeal, fruit, and beverages available in Room 212 after 8:30 A.M.). Hartman will open the conversation with a few brief remarks. Susan Friedman will moderate a wide-ranging discussion that may incorporate questions and comments about Hartman's McKay Lecture, past work, current work, and/or the status of the fields in which she works.

Saidiya Hartman is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University and has served as the director of the Institute for Research on Women, Gender & Sexuality. She is the author of Lose Your Mother (Farrar, Straus & Giroux 2007) and Scenes of Subjection (Oxford University Press 2007). She has published several articles on slavery, including "Venus in Two Acts" and "The Time of Slavery."

The Nellie Y. McKay Lectures are co-sponsored by the Center for the Humanities.

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