Panel Discussion

September 8, 2014
3:00 P.M. - 5:00 P.M., Banquet Room, University Club Building

Guillermina De Ferrari, Spanish and Comparative Literature, Center for Visual Cultures, UW-Madison
Sara Guyer, English, Center for the Humanities, Center for Jewish Studies, Department of Comparative Literature and Folklore Studies, UW-Madison
Caroline Levine, English, UW-Madison
David Loewenstein, English and the Humanities, Religious Studies, UW-Madison
Daegan Miller, Institute for Research in the Humanities, Center for the Humanities, History, Center for Culture, History, and Environment, UW-Madison
Lynn Nyhart, History of Science, Holtz Center for Science and Technology Studies, Center for German and European Studies, and Gender & Women’s Studies, Institute for Research in the Humanities, UW-Madison

'What’s the Value of Humanities Research?'

We in the humanities face widespread clamor for STEM fields, public demand for measurable and monetary value for research and majors, and rapidly changing landscapes of knowledge in the unfolding Digital Revolution and globalized Information Age. With the humanities “in crisis”—yet again—many are effectively defending the importance of the humanities for a college education.

But what about research in the humanities? Does it matter? How and why?

Visit the panel page for more information.


September 15, 2014
3:30 P.M., 212 University Club Building

Bethany Moreton
History and Women's Studies, University of Georgia

'White-Collar Discipline and the Theology of Work'

The "revenge of God"—the broad failure of the secularization thesis after World War II—is in part the story of religious responses to the feminization of work; the commodification of reproductive labor; the restructuring of the household; and the growth of "occult economies" whether they involve witchcraft, Ponzi schemes, or mortgage-backed securities. Rather than a zero-sum showdown between "jihad and McWorld" theorists of alternative modernities suggest that we have been witnessing their recombination in unexpected ways. Emphasizing the apparent contradiction of liberal, secular economic policies embraced by orthodox adepts of demanding Catholic spiritual disciplines, for example, Chilean intellectual Arturo Fontaine Talavera has asked whether Latin America "will develop an alternative modernity that is morally conservative and family oriented, but at the same time free and open in its economics."

This research into a specific transnational combination of professional training, economic liberalism, and Catholic devotion seeks to understand how the labor of service—whether white-collar, pink-collar, or domestic—is consciously practiced as spiritual discipline and, in turn, how that spirituality has cultivated the virtues demanded by the postindustrial workplace and the social networks in which it is embedded, virtues like concentration, detail-orientation, self-discipline, and cheerful "people skills." Given the extraordinary psychic demands of post-industrial labor, what kinds of spiritual practice have been effective for those coping with the high-tech, "high-touch" stretch-out in offices, hospitals, schools, and cyberspace? How have these practices articulated with a religious worldview that combines moral traditionalism and economic innovation?

Bethany Moreton is an Associate Professor of History and Women's Studies at the University of Georgia and a series editor for Columbia University Press’s Studies in the History of U.S. Capitalism. Since receiving her doctorate in history at Yale University in 2006, she has been a Visiting Scholar at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in Cambridge and at the Harvard Divinity School. Her first book, To Serve God and Wal-Mart: The Making of Christian Free Enterprise (Harvard University Press, 2009) won the Frederick Jackson Turner Prize for best first book in U.S. history and the John Hope Franklin Award for the best book in American Studies. She is a founding member of the Tepoztlán Institute for the Transnational History of the Americas and a founding faculty member of Freedom University, which offers college coursework without charge to qualified Georgia high school graduates regardless of immigration status.

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.


September 22, 2014
3:30 P.M., 212 University Club Building

Alexander Dressler
Classics, UW-Madison

'Art and Life in Latin Literature: Emergences of a Dualistic Structure in an Ancient Archive'

Dressler's current project, Art and Life in Latin Literature, argues that, from an early "pagan" comic playwright to a subsequently sainted Christian poet, through "classic" Classics of the early Empire, Latin literature presumes a dialectic of "Greek" idealism and "Roman" materialism; while neither tendency adequately describes or determines social practice, their very inadequacy opens a space for under-determined and spontaneous, even countercultural activity: materialist demystification (Plautus), aesthetic autonomy (Horace, Ovid), sexual revolution (Ovid), and altruism (Seneca, Paulinus). While the results of the Romans' "social aesthetics" are partly inadvertent, their very inadvertence proves their spontaneity and makes them instructive models for enduring explication of the interrelation of aesthetics and politics.

Alex Dressler is an Assistant Professor of Classics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He teaches the Greek and Roman Classics as an evolving canon rooted in European tradition but aimed at redefining the modern sense of past and present, life and art, politics and personal flourishing. Publications include articles in journals such as Helios, Ramus, and Classical Antiquity on feminism and the ancient novel, exemplarity and ancient rhetoric, deconstruction and the sociology of literature, and aesthetic thought and psychoanalysis. Entitled Personification and the Feminine in Roman Philosophy, currently undergoing final revisions, is forthcoming from Cambridge University Press. This book argues that the Roman philosophers Lucretius, Cicero, and Seneca, use metaphors and other forms of figurative language to "do philosophy by other means," thereby integrating problematic conceptions of personhood, gender, and property into philosophical texts aimed at transforming the reader's emotional, social, and aesthetic existence. He is at work on a book project entitled Art and Life in Latin Literature: Emergences of a Dualistic Structure in an Ancient Archive.


September 29, 2014
3:30 P.M., 212 University Club Building

Aida Levy-Hussen
English, UW-Madison

'Reading African American Literature Now: History, Fiction, and the Problem of Desire'

Since the late twentieth-century decline of the modern Civil Rights Movement, African American literary studies has been consumed with an increasingly contentious debate about whether the task of black literature is to memorialize the slave past, or to put it behind us. Levy-Hussen puts this debate in new perspective, by foregrounding the questions of how critical fantasies of memory and forgetting are constituted, and why they have accrued such powerful currency in contemporary black literary discourse.

Aida Levy-Hussen is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her areas of specialization include twentieth and twenty-first century African American literature, trauma and memory studies, and feminist and queer theory. Her scholarly articles and reviews have appeared in African American Review, South Atlantic Quarterly, and Modern Fiction Studies. She is currently completing a book about the post-Civil Rights proliferation of black historical fiction and the critical idiom of historical memory. She is at work on a book entitled Reading African American Literature Now: History, Fiction, and the Problem of Desire.

Burdick-Vary Symposium

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

Lynda Barry, UW-Madison
Peter Bovenmyer, UW-Madison
Sonya Clark, Virginia Commonwealth University
Kathryn Linn Geurts, Hamline University
Darryl Harper, Virginia Commonwealth University
Ray Hernández-Durán, University of New Mexico in Albuquerque
Marguerite E. Heckscher, UW-Madison
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.


October 6, 2014
3:30 P.M., 212 University Club Building

Benjamin Marquez
Political Science, UW-Madison

'Legalizing a Social Movement: The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and the Evolution of an Ethnic Identity'

This project examines the role of cause lawyers in the history of Mexican American identity politics by analyzing the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF). Created in 1968, MALDEF has emerged as the legal voice of Latino rights, yet little is known of this elite organization and its impact on the working class groups and individuals it represents. Marquez analyzes the way its cause lawyers and community activists understood and negotiated their relationship. This research locates that negotiation within the confines of the judiciary, limited social assimilation, anti-immigration politics, and the influence of MALDEF’s financial supporters.

Benjamin Marquez is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research interests include social movements, urban politics, and minority politics. He has published numerous articles and books on the relationship between race, political power, social identities, and public and political incorporation. He is the author of Power and Politics in A Chicano Barrio: A Study of Mobilization Efforts and Community Power in El Paso (Lanham: The University Press of America, 1985), LULAC: The Evolution of a Mexican American Political Organization (Texas 1993), and Mexican-American Political Organizations: Choosing Issues, Taking Sides (2003: University of Texas Press), which won the 2004 Best Book Award by the Race, Ethnicity and Politics (REP) Section of the American Political Science Association. His recent book, Democratizing Texas Politics: Race, Identity, and Mexican American Empowerment, 1945-2002, was published by the University of Texas Press in 2014. He is at work on a book entitled Legalizing a Social Movement: The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and the Evolution of an Ethnic Identity.

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.


October 13, 2014
3:30 P.M., 212 University Club Building

Shelly Chan
History, UW-Madison

Shelly Chan is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, holding the new position of Asian diasporas since 2011. Her work focuses on diaspora in the Chinese experience, asking how it created and transformed Chinese history, culture and identity in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. With articles soon to appear in The Journal of Chinese Overseas and The Journal of Asian Studies, Chan is also the recipient of a Junior Scholar Grant from the Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange in 2014-15. Chan received her Ph.D. from the University of California-Santa Cruz in 2009, where she trained in modern Chinese, East Asian and world history. Her other interests include gender, ethnic, postcolonial and cultural studies, as well as Southeast Asia. Before coming to UW, she was Assistant Professor of Pacific and Asian Studies at the University of Victoria in Canada. She is at work on a book entitled Diaspora’s Homeland: Modern China in the Age of Global Migration.


October 20, 2014
3:30 P.M., 212 University Club Building

Scott Trudell
English, University of Maryland, College Park

Scott A. Trudell is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Maryland, College Park, where his research and teaching focus on early modern literature, media theory and music. In addition to his current book project about song and mediation from Sidney and Shakespeare to Jonson and Milton, he has research interests in gender studies, digital humanities, pageantry and itinerant theatricality. His work has been published in Shakespeare Quarterly, Studies in Philology and edited collections. He is at work on a book entitled Song and Mediation in Early Modern England.

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.


October 27, 2014
3:30 P.M., 212 University Club Building

Alexander Angelov
Spanish & Portuguese, UW-Madison

Severino J. Albuquerque is a Professor of Portuguese at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in Portuguese language and Brazilian literature and culture. His main area of research is contemporary Brazilian theatre and gender. He is the author of Violent Acts: A Study of Contemporary Latin American Theatre (1991); Tentative Transgressions: Homosexuality, AIDS and the Theater in Brazil (2004); co-author of the revised edition of Português para principiantes (1993); editor of Joaquim Nabuco: Conferências nos Estados Unidos (2010); and co-editor of Performing Brazil: Essays on Identity, Culture, and the Performing Arts (forthcoming 2015). He has also published numerous articles in journals and critical anthologies. He is the co-editor of the Luso-Brazilian Review (Brazilian literature and culture); Brazilian literature drama editor for the Handbook of Latin American Studies; and an editorial board member of Hispania and the Latin American Theatre Review. Professor Albuquerque's book, Tentative Transgressions, has received the 2005 Roberto Reis Award of the Brazilian Studies Association (for best book on Brazil published in English between 2003 and 2005) and the 2008 Elizabeth Steinberg Award for best book published by the University of Wisconsin Press between 2003 and 2008. He is at work on a book entitled Cruising the Ruins: Sex, Performance, Displacement, and Race in Tulio Carella’s Recife Diaries.


November 3, 2014
3:30 P.M., 212 University Club Building

James Bromley
English, Miami University

James M. Bromley is an Associate Professor of English at Miami University. He is the author of Intimacy and Sexuality in the Age of Shakespeare (Cambridge, 2012) and the co-editor of Sex before Sex: Figuring the Act in Early Modern England (Minnesota, 2013). He won the 2011 Martin Stevens Award for the Best New Essay in Early Drama Studies from the Medieval and Renaissance Drama Society. He is currently working on a book project entitled Style, Subjectivity, and Male Sexuality in Early Modern Drama.


November 10, 2014
3:30 P.M., 212 University Club Building

Louis Betty
Languages and Literatures, UW-Whitewater

Louis Betty is an Assistant Professor of French at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where he teaches courses in French and Humanities. He has written extensively on French novelist Michel Houellebecq, with articles appearing in Nottingham French Studies, Literature and Theology, and L'Érudit franco-espangol. He has also recently completed a book-length manuscript on Houellebecq and is awaiting decisions on several other articles. In addition, he has published opinion pieces in The Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed as well as reviews of Houellebecq’s recent fiction and poetry. He received his Ph.D. in French from Vanderbilt University in 2011. He is at work on an article entitled "Spiritism and Progress: A Study in Otherworldly Utopia," which focuses on the Spiritist movement in Second Empire France and its relation to other religious-utopian philosophies of the nineteenth century.

Burdick-Vary Lecture Series

November 13, 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.


November 17, 2014
3:30 P.M., 212 University Club Building

Stephen Pierce
History, UW-Madison

Stephen Pierce is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research explores the historical development of Islamic institutions of charity, especially along the East African coast, but also focuses on how cosmopolitanism, the multiple trajectories of Islam among its many adherents, and the intersection of culture and religion with these histories challenge traditional definitions of charity and philanthropy. His doctoral work has been funded by a Mellon-Fulbright Doctoral Dissertation Research Fellowship, a UW-Mellon Summer Dissertation Fellowship, a UW Chancellor’s Fellowship and the Dana-Allen Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship. He received a B.A. in history and social studies from Cedarville University and an M.A. in world history from Northeastern University in Boston. He is at work on a dissertation entitled "Charity, Cosmopolitanism and Culture in coastal East Africa, 1750s to 1940s."


November 24, 2014
3:30 P.M., 212 University Club Building

Yongming Zhou
Anthropology, UW-Madison

Yongming Zhou is a Professor of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He received his Ph.D in cultural anthropology from Duke University. In 2001-2002, he was a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars. He is the author of books Anti-Drug Crusades in Twentieth-Century China: Nationalism, History, and State-Building (Rowman & Littlefield, 1999) and Historicizing Online Politics: Telegraphy, the Internet, and Political Participation in China (Stanford University Press, 2006). He has also been a Mellon Fellow at the Needham Research Institute at Cambridge and a visiting fellow at the East Asian Institute at the National University of Singapore. He served as the president of the Midwest Conference on Asian Affairs in 2012. His latest “roadology” project focuses on the socio-cultural impacts of transnational road building on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau and in the Great Mekong Subregion, where he has conducted fieldwork since 2006. He is at work at a project entitled Chasing Happiness: The Unhappy Life of a Western Ideal in China, 1890-2010.


December 1, 2014
3:30 P.M., 212 University Club Building

Adam Mandelman
Geography, UW-Madison

Adam Mandelman is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Geography at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His work draws from scholarship in environmental history, cultural and historical geography, political ecology, ecocriticism, and science studies. His research has been supported by a Wisconsin-Mellon Summer Dissertation Fellowship; the Department of Geography’s Whitbeck and Trewarth Awards; a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship; and a University Fellowship from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He received his M.Sc. in 2008 from UW-Madison’s Department of Geography for research on indigenous identity and historic preservation in Hawai’i. He received his B.A. in 2003 from Sarah Lawrence College. He maintains a blog about watery places and other themes in nature-society geography. He is at work on his dissertation entitled "Wet/Land: People, Water, and Environment in Louisiana's Deltaic Plain, 1845-2010."

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'


December 8, 2014
3:30 P.M., 212 University Club Building

Luke Whitmore
Philosophy, UW-Stevens Point

Luke Whitmore received his M.T.S. from Harvard Divinity School in 1999 and his Ph.D. in West and South Asian Religions from the Graduate Division of Religion at Emory University in 2010. He also studied for two years at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. Broadly, his research and teaching interests include South Asian and Himalayan religions, Shaivism, Judaism, theory and method in religious studies, pilgrimage, myth, visual culture, network theory, phenomenological anthropology, and the study of place and space. His research focuses on the Hindu pilgrimage place of Kedarnath, and the mountainous region of Garhwal (located in the north Indian state of Uttarakhand) in which it is found. He is at work on a book entitled Mountain, Water, Rock, God: Shiva's Abode of Kedarnath in the Twenty-First Century.

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.

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'
Follow us on Facebook Support the IRH UW-Madison Center for the Humanities

Institute for Research in the Humanities | UW - Madison | 432 East Campus Mall, Room 221 | Madison WI 53706
Phone: 608 - 262 - 3855 | | Fax: 608 - 265 - 4173

©  Copyright Institute for Research in the Humanities