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Seminars

Institute fellows present their work in weekly seminars for IRH fellows and other interested faculty and students at UW-Madison during the academic year. Seminars take place every Monday from 3:30-5:00pm with a follow-up discussion on Tuesday from 12:00-1:15pm. Seminars are held in room 212 of the University Club Building unless stated otherwise. 

Upcoming Seminars

September 25, 2017 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Yuhang Li
Art History, UW-Madison

What did lay Buddhist women actually do in order to forge a connection with the bodhisattva Guanyin after he underwent a sex-change and became a female deity during late imperial China? How did a shared gender identity between the worshipper and worshipped enable practitioners to establish a new type relationship through material practice? How are gendered skills connected to religious transformation? Why did laywomen use brush, human hair, jewelry and dance to reproduce the image of Guanyin and to embody of Guanyin in late imperial China? In my presentation, I will ask these questions to shed light on the intersections of gender, material practice and religion in late imperial China.

Yuhang Li is an assistant professor of Chinese art in the Department of Art History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. Before joining the faculty at the UW-Madison in 2013, she was a Postdoctoral Associate at Yale University and a Mellon Postdoc at the Grinnell College. She received a fellowship to be a research associate at the Women’s Studies in Religious Program at Harvard Divinity School during 2015-16.  Her primary research interests cover a wide range subjects and mediums, including gender, material and visual practice in late imperial China. Her articles on hair embroidery Guanyin, Empress Dowager Cixi dressing up as Guanyin in paintings and photographs and other essays have been published recently.  She is the co-editor of the exhibition catalog Performing Images: Opera in Chinese Visual Culture. Currently she is finishing her book manuscript entitled Reproducing a Bodhisattva: Women's Artistic Devotion in Late Imperial China.

October 2, 2017 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Cindy I-Fen Cheng
History, UW-Madison
Asian American Studies

This talk looks at how U.S. Cold War immigration policies structured the marginalization of Central Americans. Unlike Southeast Asians, Central Americans did not flee communist countries but countries where the U.S. backed the ruling regimes. They were thus denied the legal designation of refugees, leading to their mass arrival as undocumented immigrants. While both groups resettled in California’s skid rows, the settlement of Southeast Asians in the Tenderloin saw the rise of federally funded social services for refugees whereas the residence of Central Americans in Los Angeles Skid Row demonstrated the “shadowed lives” of the undocumented. This contrast underscores the imprint of U.S. Cold War policies on lives of the displaced and how it intersected with the history of homelessness in the U.S.

Cindy I-Fen Cheng is Associate Professor of History and Asian American Studies at UW-Madison. She is the award-winning author of Citizens of Asian America: Democracy and Race during the Cold War (NYU Press, 2013) and editor of The Routledge Handbook of Asian American Studies (Routledge Press, 2016). Her articles have appeared in the American Quarterly, Journal of Asian American Studies, and other academic journals and anthologies. In spring 2018, she will be the next Director of Asian American Studies. Cindy is the recipient of numerous teaching awards, most recently the UW-Madison Distinguished Teaching Award – Chancellor’s Inclusive Excellence Award and The Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program Award for Service as Outstanding Mentor. She is a member of the 2017 American Studies Association Program Committee, the Immigration and Ethnic History Society Theodore Saloutos Book Award Committee, and the Organization of American Historian Liberty Legacy Foundation Book Award Committee.

October 9, 2017 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Daniel Hummel
History, Harvard University

Since the 1960s, American evangelical Christians have flocked to Holy Land sites in Israel and Palestine in ever-increasing numbers. In 2016, more than 380,000 American evangelicals visited Israel. Holy Land tourism has become a vital industry for Israel’s economy, as well as an important part of the story of modern Christian Zionism—the Christian ideology and movement to support the state of Israel. The rise of Holy Land tourism is a window into how evangelical Christians and Israelis have redefined Jewish-Christian relations after 1967 to serve state interests. It has also spurred a growing identification among evangelicals with Israel as their “spiritual home.” In this talk I will cover the origins of Christian political tourism in Israel, the religio-political ideology that has shaped modern Holy Land tourism, and the role of tourism in U.S.-Israel relations. I will contextualize Holy Land tourism within my forthcoming book studying the transnational history of Christian Zionism after 1948, A Covenant of the Mind: Evangelicals, Israel, and the Construction of a Special Relationship (University of Pennsylvania Press).

Dan Hummel received his PhD in History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2016. In 2016-17, he was the Postdoctoral Fellow in History and Public Policy at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, Harvard Kennedy School. He has published his research in forums including Religion & American Culture, Religions, and Religion & Politics while also writing at the Washington Post and First Things, among other outlets. His forthcoming book, to be published with the University of Pennsylvania Press, is titled A Covenant of the Mind: Evangelicals, Israel, and the Construction of a Special Relationship. Recently he helped launch Voices & Visions, an online primary source reader for teaching U.S. foreign relations that combines academic scholarship with digital technology.

October 16, 2017 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Jennifer Gaddis
School of Human Ecology, UW-Madison

The seventy-year history of the US National School Lunch Program (NSLP) embodies the contested values, ideologies, and unequal power structures that govern both social reproduction and food systems. This book-in-progress uses ethnographic, archival, and participatory research to examine school lunch as a political arena where grassroots activists, powerful “Big Food” companies, and state agencies fight for control over children’s diets, women’s reproductive labor, and the future of the domestic food system. Despite recent legislative reforms, the NSLP continues to suffer from low student-participation, excessive plate waste, and high employee-turnover. Thus, a central project of the book is to rethink the social organization of school lunch, asking how it could be changed, and to what ends for economic, racial, environmental, and reproductive justice. By inviting readers to imagine a politics of the possible, The Labor of Lunch aims to spark a much-needed conversation about organizing for food justice in school kitchens and cafeterias.

Jennifer Gaddis is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil Society & Community Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She received her PhD in environmental studies from Yale University. Her research examines the evolving social, political, and economic organization of everyday life, particularly in relation to reproductive labor and care work. She is spending her semester at the IRH working on a book, The Labor of Lunch, written in the tradition of public sociology. Her most recent article on school lunch programs will appear in the January 2018 issue of Feminist Economics.

October 23, 2017 3:30 PM
History, UW-Parkside
Seminar
Sandra Moats
History, UW-Parkside

In 1793, the United States issued a Neutrality Proclamation to avoid involvement in a war between Britain and France, its principal allies. Neutrality confronted numerous challenges, particularly from American citizens eager to profit from European warfare as privateers. To remain neutral, the U.S. government needed to embrace its constitutional responsibilities and develop institutions capable of enforcing this policy. This book-length project examines the unexplored relationship between neutrality and the establishment of the American government.

Sandra Moats is an associate professor of history. Her research focuses on the governing challenges and political choices that confronted the American republic in its founding decades. Her first book, Celebrating the Republic, addressed the role of presidential ceremony in launching the American government. In 2013-2014, she was an Inaugural Fellow at George Washington’s Mount Vernon.

October 30, 2017 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Su Fang Ng
Clifford A. Cutchins III Associate Professor of English, Virginia Tech

Shakespeare wrote: “You taught me language, and my profit on’t / Is, I know how to curse”: Caliban’s accusation of European linguistic colonialism is riveting theatre but hardly an accurate picture of how early modern transnational exchange. English was peripheral and Europeans had to learn other languages or depended on interpreters. Often unknown and invisible, the interpreter who translates was a crucial principal in early modern Euro-Asian trade and other negotiations. Using case studies, I consider the role in the period before its professionalization in the East Indies. Interpreters, Asian and European, were converts, captives, scribes, and refugees. Their lives left traces in travel accounts, literature, dictionaries and grammars, and the rare portrait. My study explores the affective engagements of cross-cultural male intellectual and other collaborations, friendships, and competition. In Europe’s encounter with Asia, skilled linguists, whether bookish humanists or practical merchants, collaborated in constructing global networks.

Su Fang Ng is Clifford A. Cutchins III Associate Professor of English at Virginia Tech, where she teaches early modern literature. Her first book, Literature and the Politics of Family in Seventeenth-Century England (Cambridge University Press, 2007), examines the family-state analogy as a contested political language shared by royalists and republicans. She guest-edited a special issue on Transcultural Networks in the Indian Ocean for Genre (July 2015) and has published essays on medieval, early modern, and postcolonial topics. She is completing revisions on a second book, Alexander the Great from Britain to Islamic Southeast Asia: Peripheral Empires in the Global Renaissance for Oxford University Press: this book remaps global literary networks by uncovering the connected literary histories of Alexander the Great romances at the peripheries of Eurasia. She has won residential fellowships at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, the National Humanities Center, the University of Texas at Austin, Heidelberg University, and All Souls College at Oxford, as well as a number of small grants.

November 6, 2017 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Joseph Dennis
History, UW-Madison

How do people form attitudes towards law and what is law's significance in society? In China, “cease litigation” (xisong 息訟) has been a key term in legal culture and practice since antiquity and was a core concept in mass legal education from the late- sixteenth to the early-twentieth centuries. Increasing conflicts in a commercializing society led to an anti-litigation backlash among officials. By disseminating songs about the dangers and costs of litigation, overburdened local magistrates hoped to reduce their caseloads and stabilize turbulent local societies. People were hired to ring bells and sing songs while walking through towns and villages, and lyrics were cut into stone stelae erected near government buildings and schools. In the 1600s and 1700s, the songs were printed as broadsheets and posted in public. By the late-1800s they appeared in newspapers and magazines, and in the 1920s-40s, the songs were sung at village meetings. This project will combine approaches from legal history, print culture, and orality/aurality/soundscapes to examine formations of legal consciousness.

Joseph Dennis is an Associate Professor of History at UW-Madison and a member of the local gazetteer research group at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin (MPIWG). He is the author of Writing, Publishing, and Reading Local Gazetteers in China, 1100-1700 (Harvard, 2015), and former president of the Society for Ming Studies. His research has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Fairbank Center for East Asian Research, the National Library of France, the Vilas Trust, the MPIWG, and other institutions.

November 13, 2017 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
River Encalada Bullock
Art History, UW-Madison

My dissertation research extends directly from my commitment to the museum and gallery as spaces that can activate conversations between multiple and diverse publics, and become vehicles for transformative contact through social encounters with difference. I shift attention in contemporary art criticism to works of art that ask us to listen just as much as they ask us to look. This call to listen is crucial to the ethical and political aims of art of women and artists of color (beginning with the pivotal work of Adrian Piper, Ana Mendieta, and Pauline Oliveros in the 1970s) who take advantage of the space of the gallery and museum to alter sensory dynamics as a way of changing social power relations. Rather than recovering vocality as an object, this study joins a swell in scholarship that offers a reading of voice and vocality as practice and as verb, that even if previously unheard is a materially vibrational practice that haunts, calls upon, and positions the spectator-as-listener. The methodological and theoretical implications of this study unsettle categorical and medium specific divisions of sound art, instead leaving an open imperative to listen to that which may not be easily audible.As such, this project engages photography, video, film, and sound works to bring the history and theory of photography into critical tension with the fields of sound and new media studies.

River Encalada Bullock is a writer, curator, and PhD candidate in the Department of Art History at UW-Madison. River’s dissertation, “Listening to Contemporary Art: Vocality as a Technology of Relation” attends to artworks that call for a tactics of listening across the disciplinary intersections of Art History and Visual Studies, Sound Studies, and Cultural Studies. River’s recent curatorial projects include “Word is Bond” (The Curatorial Lab, 2014) which showcased the work of contemporary artists who use words and sound to configure narrative, material repetition, and queered tradition. River has guest curated exhibitions at Milwaukee Art Museum, Center for Creative Photography, Phoenix Art Museum, and the Chazen Museum of Art. River received a BFA in Photography from Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design and an MA in Art History from the University of Arizona.

November 27, 2017 10:30 AM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Ramzi Fawaz
English, UW-Madison

In my new book, Queer Forms, I explore how the central values of movements for women's and gay liberation in the 1970s—including consciousness-raising, separatism, coming out of the closet, and alternative kinship—came to be translated into a range of American popular culture forms. Throughout the 1970s, movements for women's and gay liberation fought a range of social and political battles to expand, transform, or wholly explode definitions of normative gender and sexuality; one long-term effect of this project was to encourage artists, writers, and filmmakers to invent new ways of formally representing, or giving shape to, non-normative genders and sexualities. Perhaps counter-intuitively, such aesthetic projects to represent queer gender and sexuality often appeared in a range of traditional, or seemingly generic, popular forms including the sequential format of comic strip serials, the token figures of science fiction genre, the narrative conventions of film melodrama, and the serialized rhythm of installment fiction among others. I unpack how each of these mediums and genres were creatively reworked or innovated to account for, and make meaningful, the heterogenous experience of gender and sexual non-conformity, consequently infusing the popular imagination of Americans in the 1970s and after.

Ramzi Fawaz is assistant professor of English at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He is the author of The New Mutants: Superheroes and the Radical Imagination of American Comics (NYU Press, 2016). The New Mutants won the 2012 Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies Fellowship Award for best first book manuscript in LGBT Studies. His work has been published in numerous journals including American Literature, GLQ, ASAP/Journal, Feminist Studies, Callaloo, and Anthropological Quarterly. He is currently co-editing a special issue of American Literature with Darieck Scott titled "Queer About Comics," and a special issue of GLQ with Shanté Smalls titled "Queers Read This: LGBTQ Literature Now." His new book Queer Forms, explores formal innovations in the art and culture of movements for women’s and gay liberation in the 1970s and after. Queer Forms is forthcoming from NYU Press.

December 4, 2017 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Mira Green
History, University of Washington
Classics

Providing a distinct window into the social and political developments of the early Roman Empire, my book project takes up various lived experiences in domestic settings to probe Roman notions of embodiment. In particular, my work focuses on Roman attitudes towards the digesting body and the domestic practices associated with its needs. While recent work in Roman social and cultural history has enhanced our knowledge about Roman attitudes toward sexuality, far less attention has been given to the role of the digesting body for the articulation of Roman social hierarchies. I argue that Roman authors’ accounts of somatic functions subtly reveal elite concerns about political and social changes occurring during the late Republic and early Empire. Additionally, through an analysis of material evidence, my project reveals how numerous activities related to basic bodily needs became the markers of a person’s place in Roman society.

F. Mira Green is a Lecturer in Ancient History in the History Department at the University of Washington. She received her PhD in Roman History from the University of Washington and M.A. in Greek History from the University of Utah. Her research focuses on questions of hierarchy and power that are intertwined with a society’s ideas about daily life, food, slavery, sexuality, and the material expressions of mastery in the Roman world. She has published articles in the Journal of Roman Archaeology and Helios.

December 11, 2017 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Peter Ribic
English, UW-Madison

In the mid-twentieth century, the meaning of “international development” shifted from an abstract world historical process to a contested global project that would be self-consciously undertaken by states, colonial administrations, multinational institutions, and non-governmental organizations. My dissertation argues that this shift had significant and under-examined effects on the narrative form of the global novel after 1945. In particular, the dissertation shows how Anglophone novelists across the newly discovered “Third World” registered and re-plotted stories of national, regional, and hemispheric “growth” in the era of decolonization. My readings of literary texts from the Caribbean, Southern Africa, South and Southeast Asia are framed by an examination of early development discourse in the social sciences and, specifically, of the narrative mechanisms underpinning theories of economic and cultural “modernization.”

Peter Ribic is a PhD candidate in the Department of English at UW-Madison. His research focuses on the twentieth- and twenty-first-century global Anglophone novel, literature and the social sciences, postcolonial theory, and world literature studies. Ribic has taught courses in modern literature and composition at Stockholm University and UW-Madison. His research has been supported by the Departments of English at Stockholm University and UW-Madison and the UW-Madison Graduate School. He is currently completing his dissertation, “The Development Novel: World Literature and the Political Economy of Growth.”

January 22, 2018 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Ethelene Whitmire
School of Library & Information Studies, UW-Madison

My project, Searching for a Rainbow: African Americans in 20th Century Denmark, is about African Americans who lived, performed, studied and visited Denmark. Educators, painters, social workers, writers, singers, jazz musicians among many others were drawn to this Scandinavian country. While many have written about African Americans in France, their experiences in Denmark have remained unexplored. My project will answer several questions including: Why did African Americans go to Denmark? and What were their experiences while there? I argue that many of my subjects initially viewed Denmark as a utopia.

I am a professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison affiliated with the departments of Afro-American Studies, German, Nordic, and Slavic, and Gender & Women’s Studies. I received an American-Scandinavian Foundation fellowship and a Lois Roth Endowment grant to support this project. I was also a 2016-2017 Fulbright Scholar and visiting professor at the University of Copenhagen’s Center for Transnational American Studies. My first book is Regina Anderson Andrews, Harlem Renaissance Librarian. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2014.

January 29, 2018 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Neil Prendergast
History, UW-Stevens Point
International Studies

At the IRH, I will be working on the book manuscript American Holidays, American Nature, which will be the first book to place the Thanksgiving turkey and the Christmas tree into both an environmental and historical context. The book shows that just as holidays have been invented, so too has the nature that serves them. For the Thanksgiving turkey and Christmas tree, the story has been one of uncertainty and anxiety over the place of nature in modern American life.

Neil Prendergast is Associate Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, where he teaches United States environmental history. His work has appeared in the Western Historical Quarterly and Environmental History. In 2015, he was awarded the University Award for Teaching Excellence.

February 5, 2018 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Elizabeth Hennessy
History, UW-Madison
Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies

Since Charles Darwin rode on the backs of the Galápagos giant tortoises in 1835, the animals have morphed from a favorite food of pirates and whalers to conservation icons protected in a place often called a “natural laboratory of evolution.” My book manuscript tells the tortoises’ story to show that attempts to restore the islands to their pristine state as a living museum to Darwin actually jeopardize their prized nature. Instead, it reimagines how to conserve the islands as a laboratory of co-evolution where biological, economic, and social histories enmesh humans and non-humans alike in the web of life.

Elizabeth Hennessy is Assistant Professor of World Environmental History in the History Department and the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at UW-Madison. She is part of the Center for Culture, History, and Environment (CHE) and serves as the faculty advisor for CHE’s graduate-student-run digital magazine, Edge Effects. She is also affiliated with the Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies program (LACIS) and the Holtz Center for Science and Technology Studies. Trained as a geographer, she works at the intersection of political ecology, science and technologies studies, animal studies, and environmental history. Hennessy was formerly a fellow of the SSRC, ACLS, and Rachel Carson Center at LMU in Munich, Germany. Her first book will be published with Yale University Press in 2019. 

February 12, 2018 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Melissa Charenko
History of Science, UW-Madison

My work explores the development of ecological ideas and techniques used to understand the changing dynamics of human-environment interactions over the last 12,000 years. I am particularly interested in the meanings and lessons that ecologists drew from this work, especially their proposals to use the deep past to address the present and future threat of anthropogenic environmental change. Yet this desire to create a "science of prophecy" did not always match the capabilities of methods in paleoecology. My work explores how these methodological limitations were used to challenge ecologists and their policy suggestions.

Melissa Charenko is a PhD Candidate in the History of Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research focuses on deep time and the ecological sciences, approaching these topics using methods in history of science and environmental history. Melissa's work has been supported by the Consortium for the History and Philosophy of Science, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and a predoctoral fellowship at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science. She received an MA from the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Toronto.

February 19, 2018 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Michael G. Titelbaum
Philosophy, UW-Madison

My project develops a constitutivist theory of normativity, on which rules for correct belief and action arise not from the external world, but from the nature of humans engaged in believing and acting. I seek a constitutivism that acknowledges the authority and objectivity of norms in deliberation—the sense in which norms guide our reasoning, and seem to be not entirely up to us. Yet constitutivism must also recognize the diversity of subjective points of view; an agent may only be guided by norms compatible with her standpoint on the world. The great challenge of normative theorizing is to incorporate appropriate subjectivity while maintaining authority. This balancing act is especially important in light of persistent normative disagreement among individuals and cultures, and the need to respect other points of view while retaining what's valuable about our own.

Michael G. Titelbaum is Associate Professor of Philosophy at UW-Madison.  He received his Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of California, Berkeley and an A.B. in philosophy from Harvard College.  He has had multiple visiting positions at the Australian National University; at UW-Madison, he has been a Vilas Associate and a Romnes Faculty Fellow.  His first book, Quitting Certainties: A Bayesian Framework Modeling Degrees of Belief, received the Council of Graduate Schools' Gustave O. Arlt Award for best book in the humanities, and an Honorable Mention for the American Philosophical Association's Book Prize.  He received the 2013 Sanders Prize in Epistemology for best essay written by a scholar within 15 years of the Ph.D., and has twice (2009 and 2016) been recognized by The Philosopher's Annual for publishing one of the ten best articles in philosophy in a given year.  His next book, Fundamentals of Bayesian Epistemology, is forthcoming from Oxford University Press.

February 26, 2018 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Mali Skotheim
Classics, The Warburg Institute

Mimes, pantomimes, magicians, acrobats, and puppeteers performed at ancient Greek religious festivals alongside actors of tragedy, comedy, and other stage performers. I focus on the role of pantomime in Greek, Roman, and early Christian culture. Pantomime, first attested in the first century BCE under Augustus, transformed the traditionally staged and acted drama that audiences were familiar with into an exciting new form, a masked, mimetic dance. At every stage in the history of the dance, pantomimes dancers negotiated complex relationships between verbal and bodily expression, high and low culture, tradition and innovation, Greek-ness and Roman-ness, and masculinity and femininity. I argue that these tensions must be understood in relation to the institutional context of the Greek festivals, where the dance was popularized throughout the ancient Mediterranean.

Mali Skotheim received her PhD in Classics from Princeton University in 2016, and her BA in Latin from Swarthmore College in 2005. During 2015-16, she was a Rome Prize Fellow at the American Academy in Rome, where she completed her dissertation, The Greek Dramatic Festivals under the Roman Empire. Her work has been generously supported by fellowships at the Center for Epigraphical and Paleographical Studies at The Ohio State University, the Warburg Institute in London, the Center for Ancient History and Epigraphy at the German Archaeological Institute in Munich, and the American School of Classical Studies at Athens.

March 5, 2018 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Tomislav Longinović
German, Nordic, and Slavic, UW-Madison

Using theoretical apparatus of translation studies, I explore mechanisms of cultural exchange and ways in which they inform material and symbolic exchanges, persistent and emerging forms of ideological discourse and new forms of nationalism. This study will provide a model for understanding the value of cultural contact and exchange from the perspective of Slavic and East European studies. While based on the analysis of particular literatures and cultures, this project is conceptualized on a broader scale I plan to engage through extensive comparative analysis of the way imagination, gender and media are translated across cultures.

Tomislav Longinović is a Professor of Slavic and Comparative Literature at UW-Madison. His books include Borderline Culture (1993); Vampires Like Us (2005); co-edited and co-translated volume, with Daniel Weissbort: Red Knight: Serbian Women Songs (1992); edited volume, with David Albahari, Words are Something Else (1996). He is also the author of several books of fiction, both in Serbian (Sama Amerika, 1995) and English (Moment of Silence, 1990). His new book Vampire Nation: Violence as Cultural Imaginary was published by Duke University Press in 2011 and was awarded the 2012 Mihajlo Miša Đorđević prize for best book in South Slavic studies. His research interests include South Slavic literatures and cultures; Serbo-Croatian language; literary theory; Central and East European literary history; comparative Slavic studies; translation studies; cultural studies.

March 12, 2018 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Kelsey Ihinger
Spanish and Portuguese, UW-Madison

Spain and England’s relationship during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries was extremely volatile. While anti-Spanish sentiment grew under the reign of Elizabeth I and her Stuart successor, there is little evidence for a similar Anglophobia in the Iberian Peninsula. Yet many texts produced in Spain represented both contemporary events that brought these two countries into contact as well as recent English history. This dissertation explores Spain’s process of self-fashioning through its portrayal of the English outsider in texts that range from historical treatises and printed news to plays and poetry. In the early modern period, it was common for a nation to use the historical genre to represent its own glorious past in order to mold a common identity among its citizens. I seek to expand and question the traditional limitations of the historical genre both by examining texts that modern classifications would divide into separate categories of fiction and non-fiction and by delving into works that represent not Spain’s own history but rather that of another nation entirely. What does it mean to write about the execution of the Queen of Scots as a Spanish author in the seventeenth century, for example? Such questions are posed in this dissertation in order to examine how the historian, poet or playwright engaged in the task of redefining or rebuilding his own nation’s identity through the paradoxical use of another nation’s past.

Kelsey Ihinger is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research focuses on the representation of England in early modern Spanish texts and the interplay between history and fiction in various literary genres. Her teaching interests include Golden Age drama, historical drama, sixteenth and seventeenth century Anglo-Spanish and European relations, and early modern historiography. Kelsey graduated magna cum laude with her BA degree in Spanish and International Relations from Carleton College in 2010, was subsequently awarded a Fulbright Fellowship in Spain, and earned her MA at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2013. She is currently working to complete her dissertation, entitled “External Contemplation: The Anglo-Spanish Relationship (Re)Viewed from an Early Modern Spanish Perspective.”

March 19, 2018 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Melissa Vise
Italian Studies, New York University

What can words do? This project offers a historicizing twist to that question by asking what words could do in medieval Italy. I focus on the northern Italian cities, the nascent self-governing republics that arose in the midst of monarchic and seigniorial rule. The cities branded themselves as beacons of libertas, but dissimilar to the ideals of many modern republics, speech was far from free. I construct a cultural history of speech and its regulation by drawing together medical tracts, pastoral treatises, rhetorical manuals, contemporary literature, statute law, and civic, episcopal, and inquisition trial processes. This diverse source base has suggested that a narrative forefronting clerical or political persecution cannot fully explain medieval regulation of speech. Instead, I argue that the definition and prosecution of speech crimes were part of a larger and developing ethics of speech, one that identified the ability of words themselves to become weapons and that summoned all to guard against their violence. I work to identify the construction, geography, and cultural import of a moral order: the ephemeral and irretrievable yet determinative world of speech.

Melissa Vise is a historian of medieval Europe whose research focuses on religious, cultural, and legal history with an emphasis on the Italian peninsula. Most recently, she was a Visiting Assistant Professor at New York University in the Department of Italian Studies. She was a Presidential Fellow at Northwestern University (2012-14), a Fellow in the Mellon Academy for Advanced Studies of the Renaissance (2013), a Charlotte Newcomb Fellow (2014-15), and a winner of the Medieval Academy of America’s Olivia Remie Constable Award (2017). Her most recent article, “The Women and the Inquisitor: Peace-making in Bologna, 1299” is forthcoming in Speculum, 2018.

April 2, 2018 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Lynn K. Nyhart
Vilas-Bablitch-Kelch Distinguished Achievement Professor of History of Science, UW-Madison
History

What makes an individual, biologically speaking? This question stood at the center of European biological research in the middle four decades of the nineteenth century. My project (co-authored with Scott Lidgard at the Field Museum) seeks to explain why, on multiple levels. It proposes a new intellectual history of individuality as a fundamental problem underlying mid-nineteenth-century biology, a history of social relations within an international community of biologists, and a cultural history of the discursive relations between the languages of nature and society. In this way, I hope to provide a multilayered account of how science mediated questions of autonomy, interdependence, and hierarchy that preoccupied Europeans in an age of social modernization and state formation.

Lynn K. Nyhart is a Vilas Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Science at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Nyhart’s main research interests lie in the history of European and American biology in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and the relations between popular and professional science. Her 2009 book Modern Nature: The Rise of the Biological Perspective in Germany analyzes the pre-history of German ecology in popular and museum science of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; it won the University of Chicago Press’s 2009 Susan E. Abrams Prize for best UCP book in the history of science. She is also the author of Biology Takes Form: Animal Morphology and the German Universities, 1800-1900 (University of Chicago Press, 1996). Nyhart received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2011-12, which allowed her to begin archival research on her IRH project on biological individuality. She is the immediate past-president of the History of Science Society. She is at work on a book entitled The Biological Individual in the Nineteenth Century.

April 9, 2018 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Timothy Yu
English, UW-Madison
Asian American Studies

Asian American writers have historically been read as minority writers within U.S. national culture, responding to practices of exclusion, racism, and discrimination that have characterized American relations with Asian immigrants and their descendants.  Recently, the study of Asian Americans has moved toward diasporic frameworks that reject cultural nationalism in favor of an emphasis on the ongoing connections between Asian Americans and their countries of origin. Diasporic Poetics investigates diasporic Asian writing not through reference to origins, but through comparisons among “Asian” writers in majority-white Anglophone societies: the U.S., Canada, and Australia.  The perspective on diaspora that emerges from this study emphasizes intellectual and textual circulation among groups racialized as “Asian” in divergent national spaces. The panethnic racial category of the “Asian” is revealed as a traveling concept that has circulated and adapted in three different national contexts.

Timothy Yu is professor of English and Asian American studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  He is the author of Race and the Avant-Garde: Experimental and Asian American Poetry since 1965 (Stanford UP, 2009), which won the Book Award in Literary Studies from the Association for Asian American Studies, and the editor of Nests and Strangers: On Asian American Women Poets (Kelsey Street, 2015).  He is also the author of a collection of poetry, 100 Chinese Silences (Les Figues Press, 2016).  His writing has recently appeared in the New York Times Magazine, The New Republic, and Poetry.  He has served as director of the Asian American Studies Program at UW-Madison and as editor for Contemporary Literature.

April 16, 2018 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Jeremy Ledger
History, University of Michigan

Mapping Mediterranean Geographies is a study of the cultural encounter between Muslim and Christian inhabitants of the Mediterranean basin between the twelfth and sixteenth century. It approaches this subject from the vantage point of the circulation, transmission, and reception of geographical knowledge between Muslim and Christian geographical writers and cartographers who dwelled along the shores of the sea. The project begins with an acknowledgement of difference across the Mediterranean: geographical knowledge of the world and ways of representing it differed greatly between the Islamic world and western Europe. Based on Arabic, Latin, and Romance sources, my research asks how these disparate knowledges crossed the Mediterranean and explores the ways in which geographers and cartographers received this ‘imported’ knowledge and incorporated it into their own descriptions and maps of the world. Through the lens of geography and cartography, this project assesses the different ways in which Muslim and Christian inhabitants of the Mediterranean understood their world and how cross-cultural exchange and reception of new knowledge altered those conceptions.

Jeremy Ledger received his Ph.D. in history from the University of Michigan in 2016. His research and writing center on the social, cultural, and intellectual history of interfaith relations in the medieval and early modern Mediterranean. He is currently working on a book project entitled Mapping Mediterranean Geographies that explores how Muslim and Christian inhabitants of the western and central Mediterranean constructed the cosmos, globe, space, self, and others in geographical writing, cartography, and travelogues. His research has been supported by grants from the Fulbright IIE, the Council of American Overseas Research Centers, Fulbright Hays, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the American Institute for Maghrib Studies.

April 23, 2018 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Stephanie Grace Petinos
French, Hunter College

Divine Touch and Relicization within Narrative, Hagiographical and Visual Representations from the Twelfth through the Fifteenth Centuries is an interdisciplinary investigation of specific moments in various Old French, Middle English and hagiographical texts, as well as visual representation, in which individuals—humans and non-human animals— are divinely touched. The individuals in question are often miraculously bodily restored, transforming them into living relics; a process that I refer to as relicization. As relicized bodies are at once living and holy material, functioning in and among the secular and sacred realms, what can they tell us about the hierarchy between humans, non-human animals, and objects?

Stephanie Grace Petinos received her PhD in French with a certificate in Medieval Studies in September 2016 from The City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center. Her dissertation was entitled “Seeking Holiness: The Contribution of Nine Vernacular Narrative Texts from the 12th to the 14th Centuries.” Her main research interests include medieval spirituality, medieval materiality, ecocritical theory and gender. She has several forthcoming articles related to these fields, including “The Ecology of Relics in Philippe de Remi’s Le Roman de la Manekine.” Ed. Heide Estes. Medieval Ecocriticisms (Amsterdam University Press); “Happiness via Spiritual Transcendence in a Selection of Old French Texts.” Ed. Bryan Turner, Yuri Contreras-Vejar, and Joanna Tice. Exploring Happiness; and “Leprosy as locus of divine touch in Ami et Amile.” Paroles Gelées.

April 30, 2018 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Andrey V. Ivanov
History, UW-Platteville

This book project evaluates the influence of Reformation and Enlightenment ideas on Eastern Orthodox Church during the age of great reforms under the reigns of Peter I (1672-1725), Catherine II (1729-1796) and Alexander I (1777-1825). During this period of time, Russia’s energetic empresses and tsars engaged the country’s Western-educated and liberal church hierarchs to reform the empire’s faith, society, political ideology and every day rhythm of religious life for millions of the country’s Orthodox inhabitants.  

Although most scholars view such ideas as being formative in the emergence of modernity in the Western Hemisphere (particularly in the Protestant and Catholic societies of Western and Central Europe), this manuscript argues, that they were crucial in the foundations of Russia’s modernizing empire. Reforms, inspired by the church, however, reached well beyond the boundaries of religion: in creating the new standards of social discipline and public hygiene, the new priorities in foreign relations, the celebration of reason, the rise of toleration, and the synergy of an enlightened faith with the pre-Darwinian science.  

How does the church become “modern”? What does the term “reformation/reformatio” mean in the Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant contexts? Why did Russia’s rulers need an “enlightened” religion in order to build an “enlightened” empire? These questions – and more - will steer the writing of this manuscript further in the course of the project’s interdisciplinary journey through the fellowship at the IRH.

Andrey V. Ivanov (Ph.D., Yale University, 2012) is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin–Platteville. During 2017-2018, he will be an IRH UW System Fellow, spending the spring of 2018 full time in research at the Institute.

Recent Seminars

September 18, 2017 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Costica Bradatan
Humanities, Texas Tech University

Because of our culture’s obsession with success, we miss something important about what it means to be human, and deny ourselves access to a deeper, more meaningful layer of our humanity. A sense of what we are in the grand scheme of things, an openness towards the unknown and the mysterious, humility and reverence towards that which transcends and overwhelms us, the wisdom that comes from knowledge of one’s limits, the sense of personal redefining and self-fashioning that results from an encounter with a major obstacle – these are some of the rewards that a proper grasp of failure could bring about. In my talk I will sketch a phenomenology of failure, with a focus on a few prominent moments in the history of thinking about failure such as Gnosticism and Existentialism (especially E.M. Cioran). 

Costica Bradatan is a Professor of Humanities at Texas Tech University. He has also held faculty appointments at Cornell University, University of Notre Dame, and University of Wisconsin-Madison, as well as at several universities in Europe and Asia. He is the author or editor of ten books, most recently Dying for Ideas: The Dangerous Lives of the Philosophers (Bloomsbury, 2015), and has written for The New York TimesWashington PostThe New StatesmanAeonDissent, and Times Literary Supplement, among other places.

May 1, 2017 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Aparna Dharwadker
English and Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies, UW-Madison

The global turn in modernist studies has offered scholars of India the first significant opportunity to position modern Indian literature and theatre in the new time-space of modernism. However, the long premodern history of these cultural forms, and their embeddedness in a complex system of multilingual literacy outside the Europhone fold, raises a range of critical issues that need systematic articulation. What are the implications of using language as a specific vector of analysis in modernist interpretation, in addition to the spatio-temporal and vertical vectors of the new modernist studies? Are Indian modernisms more easily “readable” in plastic, visual, and visual-verbal forms such as architecture, painting, and cinema? This presentation takes up these questions in relation to post/colonial Indian modernisms in general, and the interlinked genres of drama, theatre, and performance in particular. 

Aparna Dharwadker is Professor of English and Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and works primarily in the areas of modern Indian and postcolonial theatre, comparative modern drama, theatre theory, and the global South Asian diaspora. Her book, Theatres of Independence: Drama, Theory, and Urban Performance in India Since 1947, received the Joe A. Callaway Prize in 2006 as the best book on drama or theatre published in 2004-05. Aparna’s articles and essays have appeared in journals and collections such as PMLA, Modern Drama, Theatre Journal, New Theatre Quarterly, Theatre Research International, Studies in English Literature, Studies in Philology, South Central Review, English Postcoloniality, Representing the Past: Essays in Performance Historiography, The Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism, and The Routledge Handbook of Asian Theatre. She has received fellowships from the NEH, the American Institute of Indian Studies, the International Research Centre (Freie Universistät, Berlin), the Folger Shakespeare Library, and the Newberry Library, among others; at UW-Madison, she held the multi-year H. I. Romnes Fellowship for outstanding scholarship in the humanities. Aparna’s collaborative translation of Mohan Rakesh’s modernist play, Ashadh ka ek din (One Day in the Season of Rain, 1958) was published by Penguin Modern Classics in 2015, and A Poetics of Modernity: Indian Theatre Theory, 1850 to the Present, an edited collection of source-texts in theatre theory from multiple Indian languages, is forthcoming from Oxford University Press in 2017.  

April 24, 2017 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Paola Hernández
Spanish & Portuguese, UW-Madison

Why do we see a renaissance of documentary practices in contemporary theatre? Where and how does the idea of the affective of a staged biography or the autobiographical enter the scene? And what is the place that this genre of documentary fictions take on different stages around Latin America? One way to tackle these questions could be through the understanding the personal stories affect us, the audience, in a very direct way. The need to return to the “real” or authentic could be a way to respond to many other forms of simulacra and virtual episodes of our times. However, I also believe that an effect of this type of implosion of this genre has been to give agency to those other voices that are rarely heard or considered. 

Paola S. Hernández specializes in contemporary Latin American theatre and performance. She has published numerous articles on Southern Cone theatre, performance, memory politics, sites of memory, and human rights. She is the author of El teatro de Argentina y Chile: Globalización, resistencia y desencanto (Corregidor, 2009), and co-editor (with Brenda Werth and Florian Becker) of Imagining Human Rights in Twenty-First-Century Theater: Global Perspectives (Palgrave, 2013). Hernández is the South American drama editor for the Handbook of Latin American Studies, Library of Congress, as well as Book Review editor for Latin American Theatre Review. Her current research project examines the role of the "real" in theatre and visual arts with an emphasis on contemporary documentary theatre and urban ethnography in Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Mexico, and Peru. 

April 17, 2017 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Nicholas Jacobson
History of Science, Medicine, and Technology, UW-Madison

In the middle decades of the thirteenth century, Dominican and Franciscan missionaries established schools devoted to the study of “oriental” languages in the Christian-occupied regions of Arabic Iberia and North Africa. At these sites friars studied Arabic and Hebrew grammar as well as Arabic natural philosophy and Jewish law for use as weapons in a sort of spiritual warfare against their adversaries. Curiously, although the friars mastered the midrash to better challenge Jewish scholars in disputation, they rarely marshalled the Qur’ān or hadith in analogous conversion attempts among Muslims. Rather, they adopted the logical and mathematical techniques of analysis, which they called “natural reasons” (rationes naturales), in order to challenge their Muslim interlocutors. It might seem that the missionaries based anti-Muslim polemics on rational foundations as a way of creating a neutral epistemic space for argument. In fact, this was not the case. Rather the ideal Muslim whose authority they sought to challenge took the form of a deliberative philosopher almost as a religious or even ethnic stereotype, which they applied to elite Arab culture generally.  How did this ethnographic stereotype come to figure in the Latin missionary imagination, and what were its social consequences?

Nicholas Jacobson is a doctoral candidate in the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research interests focus on the interplay of mathematical and moral conceptions of civil society in the thirteenth-century Mediterranean world.  His research has been generously supported through two UW-Madison Global Studies’ FLAS Scholarships for the study of the Arabic language and two UW-Madison University Fellowships, as well as the William Coleman Dissertation Fellowship through the Institute for Research in the Humanities. His teaching interests include networks of cross-cultural scholarly exchange during the Global Middle Ages and the development of practical knowledge alongside the "religions of the book" and the theoretical sciences of the Medieval Mediterranean World. He received his BA in 2007 at Seattle Pacific University Summa cum laude, and his MA in 2011 from the UW-Madison. He is currently working on his dissertation, “The Ends and the Means: Trans-Mediterranean Networks of Calculation and the Development of a Civil Theory of Proportion (1215-1315)."

April 10, 2017 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Mitra Sharafi
Law and Legal Studies, UW-Madison History

Corrupt British forensic experts undermined race-based narratives about truth-telling and corruption in colonial India, as well as ideological claims made for western science and the rule of law. This talk examines two such cases circa 1900 that threatened credibility claims made for the new field of Indian medical jurisprudence. Under Indian criminal procedure, the scientific expert differed from his counterpart in England in significant ways. What can this tell us about the perceived imperatives of colonial rule, and the heightened risk of corrupt experts going undetected?

Mitra Sharafi is a legal historian of South Asia and Associate Professor of Law and Legal Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison (with History affiliation). Her first book, Law and Identity in Colonial South Asia: Parsi Legal Culture, 1772-1947 (2014) was awarded the Law and Society Association’s 2015 Hurst Prize. In addition to her second book project, she is also writing an article on abortion during the Raj and another on Asian and African law students who were expelled from the Inns of Court. Since 2010, her South Asian Legal History Resources website has shared resources for the historical study of law in South Asia. She is a regular contributor to the Legal History Blog.

April 3, 2017 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
John Boonstra
History, UW-Madison

The history of European imperialism in the Middle East tends to follow a familiar script: competing powers developed “spheres of influence” within the late-stage Ottoman Empire, furthering economic interests and building on national traditions of religious alliance and cultural association, before establishing formal colonial regimes after the First World War. The historic ties between France and Lebanon seem to exemplify this model, as commercial and political involvement followed from a legacy of French protection of Lebanese Christians allegedly dating back to the Crusades. But how did these idealized bonds appear on the ground, in interactions between individual French and Lebanese men and women, and at sites of supposed national interests and imperial influence? What tensions arose between languages of sentiment, imperatives of production, and structures of Orientalist knowledge? By analyzing everyday conflicts at a French silk factory and orphanage complex in early twentieth-century Mount Lebanon, this talk reasseses the formation of modern imperial ideologies, arguing in the process for a shift in scale in approaching questions of formal and informal colonial regimes.

John Boonstra is a PhD Candidate in the Department of History at UW-Madison. His work focuses on sites of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century European colonial encounters, particularly in ambiguously imperial contexts. Research for his dissertation has been supported by a Social Science Research Council IDRF, a Fulbright Fellowship, and the Mellon Foundation, among other sources. His teaching interests include European gender and colonial history and the modern Mediterranean. He received a BA with High Honors from Swarthmore College in 2007, and an MA in History from UW-Madison in 2012. An article based on previous research recently appeared in the December 2015 issue of German History. He is currently working on his dissertation, “A Mandate to Protect: Imperial Encounters and Affective Ideologies between France and Lebanon, 1900-1930.”

March 27, 2017 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Jennifer Pruitt
Art History, UW-Madison

The Ismaili Shi’i Fatimid dynasty is most famous for founding the city of Cairo in 969.  Generally considered a golden age of multicultural tolerance, the Fatimid era witnessed an efflorescence of art and architecture and a relative peaceful coexistence between the religious communities in their realm.  The single exception given to this tale of interfaith utopia is the reign of the “mad” caliph, al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah (r. 996-1021).  Al-Hakim is known as a psychotic destroyer of churches and synagogues; cruel persecutor of Christians, Jews, and women; killer of dogs, and God incarnate to the later Druze faith.  In this seminar, I ask: what do we find when we delve into the exception to this narrative of peaceful coexistence?  How can destruction play a productive role in medieval architecture?  How does medieval architecture operate as a stage and battleground in the quest for political legitimacy?  How are the contours of Shi’ism and Sunnism expressed in medieval architecture?  Is it true that Fatimid religious cooperation could only be disrupted by a mad man?

Jennifer Pruitt is an Assistant Professor in Islamic Art History at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Her research interests include art and architecture in the medieval Islamic world; the role of the caliphate and sectarian identity in architectural production; the status of Christian art in medieval Islam; and cross-cultural exchange in the medieval world.  She is also interested in artistic production in the wake of the Arab Spring; the re-imagining of the “medieval” in contemporary arts in the Middle East; and architectural patronage in the Arabian Gulf.  She received her PhD in the History of Art and Architecture from Harvard University in 2009 and is currently completing her book manuscript, Building the Caliphate: Construction, Destruction, and Sectarian Identity in Fatimid Architecture (909-1031).

March 13, 2017 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Marjorie Elizabeth Plummer
History, Western Kentucky University

Differences between religious groups coexisting in the same nation remain one of the thorniest sources of controversy and violence in many regions of the world. The vital role of women in creating means of transmitting religious identity and arbitrating differences has been often noted. Beth's seminar examines how nuns of diverse confessional beliefs shaped their devotional lives and negotiated their everyday lives in non-coreligious monastic, parish, and political communities after the early German Reformation (c.1520-c.1745). The overlooked presence of Protestant nuns in the Holy Roman Empire is evidence of a more complex lived experience of religious change and confessional accommodation than traditional histories of early modern Christianity would indicate. Her research questions focus on the fluidity of devotional lives of these women, the interplay between peaceful and violent resolution of religious differences, and the role these women played in shaping official and popular attitudes towards religious freedom.

Beth Plummer is Professor of History at Western Kentucky University. Her research focuses on the impact of the reform movement on family, gender roles, and religious identity in early modern Germany. Her publications include From Priest’s Whore to Pastor’s Wife: Clerical Marriage and the Process of Reform in the Early German Reformation (Ashgate, 2012), which won 2013 SCSC Gerald Strauss Book Prize, and articles on monastic marriage, concubinage, bigamy, historical memory, and Protestant nuns. She is also co-editor of Ideas and Cultural Margins in Early Modern Germany: Essays in Honor of H.C. Erik Midelfort (Ashgate, 2009) and Archaeologies of Confession: Writing the German Reformations, 1517-2017 (forthcoming). She is currently working on a book-length monograph on the experience of nuns and former nuns during the dissolution and reform of monastic life in early modern Germany.

March 6, 2017 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Andrew Zolides
Communication Arts, UW-Madison

Doxing - the publicizing of private, identifying information about an individual without consent - is a fascinating cultural practice that has emerged in our digital culture. Relating to issues of surveillance, whistle-blowing, and battles over political ideologies, this talk presents doxing as a weapon of visibility, wherein the tools of online publishing and self-promotion like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social media become the very same instruments meant to attack, threaten, or discipline. By approaching doxing as a larger social practice, my talk looks to take a more nuanced understanding of doxing and its role in larger political struggles and the changing nature of identity in the age of social media.

Andrew Zolides is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Communication Arts Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is also currently a Fellow at the Institute for Research in the Humanities at UW. His research explores the influence economy, an economic framework for understanding the strategies celebrities and brands utilize through social media to generate audiences with significant value. Comparing these practices reveals how influence is generated and evaluated in contemporary neoliberal culture. Andrew has served as an editor for Antenna and The Velvet Light Trap, as well as teaching courses such as Survey of Contemporary Media, Critical Internet Studies, and Television Industries. His work appears in Persona Studies, Horror Studies, Antenna, and the forthcoming books Childhood & Celebrity and The New Television Industries. He received his B.A. in Philosophy and Media Studies from the University of South Carolina and his M.A. in Media, Culture, and Communication from New York University.

February 27, 2017 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Larry Nesper
Anthropology, UW-Madison

This project began as an effort to problematize the legal permitting process by muddying up the chain of title to the Penokees of northern Wisconsin where Gogebic Taconite was proposing to build the largest open-pit iron mine in North America in 2014. It is becoming an account of the interaction between competing conceptions of belonging and difference in the dispossession of the Lake Superior Ojibwe mixed bloods, who had won a treaty stipulation in the mid-nineteenth century for 80-acre individual reserves of land in the areas ceded in two previous treaties, and the consequences of that dispossession for the Ojibwe polities.

Larry Nesper is Professor of Anthropology and American Indian Studies at UW-Madison. His research focuses on the legal and political development of the tribes in the western Great Lakes Region. He is the author of The Walleye War: The Struggle for Ojibwe Indian Spearfishing and Treaty Rights. He has worked closely with several tribal governments as well as the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission. Apart from this research project on the historical trajectory of Lake Superior Ojibwe mixed bloods, he researching the development of the tribal courts in Wisconsin.

February 20, 2017 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Samantha Herrick
History, Syracuse University

What can we learn about the past from sources long dismissed as worthless? Medieval legends recount a version of early Christian history starkly at odds with reality. They also repeat each other again and again. For these reasons, they have been branded as unreliable and unoriginal. But what happens if we take them seriously – not as sources for early Christian history, but as evidence of how medieval people constructed and used history? This talk explores the hidden value of these supposedly worthless sources.

Samantha Kahn Herrick is Associate Professor of History at Syracuse University. Her research focuses on medieval Europe and, in particular, the uses and significance of hagiographical legends. In addition to studying how and why medieval people fashioned and disseminated stories about the past, she is also interested in how historians can use problematic but abundant hagiographical legends to supplement the very limited number of more “reliable” sources. Her first book demonstrated the political significance of legends celebrating largely imaginary saints. She is currently writing a monograph about a neglected body of apostolic saints’ lives and co-editing a volume on history and hagiography. She has been a fellow at the Syracuse University Humanities Center (2014-15) and a Scruggs Faculty Research Scholar (2012-15), a member of the Institute for Advanced Study (2011-12), and Professeur invitée at the Université Paul Verlaine, Metz (France) (2007).

February 13, 2017 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Kristin Phillips-Court
Italian and Art History, UW-Madison

Machiavelli’s writings substantiate more than their distillation into a political theory that stripped morality from politics. This seminar focuses on Machiavelli’s frequent recourse to images of the Italian terrain as a means of communicating knowledge in The Prince and his other literary works. My driving questions regard how Machiavelli’s descriptions and figurations of the land reveal the liminality of his thinking, which combined reasoned observation with a singular poetic imagination. 

Kristin Phillips-Court is Associate Professor in the Departments of French and Italian and Art History at UW-Madison. She is the author of The Perfect Genre: Drama and Painting in Renaissance Italy (Ashgate, 2011), which was awarded the MLA Scaglione Prize. Her second book, Vasari’s Literary Art, provides close readings of seminal lives and episodes in Giorgio Vasari’s Vite (1550 and 1568) with attention to how Vasari negotiated the legacies of Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio. Professor Phillips-Court’s work has appeared in the Sixteenth Century Journal, MLN, Renaissance Drama, Annali d’ Italianistica and other peer-reviewed journals. After completing her PhD at UCLA she was granted a Fulbright Fellowship to study 20th-c. Italian Visual Poetry, but has since focused primarily on 15th- and 16th- century Italian literature, visual art, and intellectual culture. Professor Phillips-Court currently holds a Vilas Associates Fellowship Award (2016-18) for her new research on Niccolò Machiavelli. 

February 6, 2017 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Anne Stiles
Department of English, Saint Louis University

Did you know that many well-loved children’s classics contain hidden Christian Science and New Thought messages? My book shows how classic children's fiction written around 1900 - works such as Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden (1911), L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables (1908), Eleanor H. Porter's Pollyanna (1913), and Arthur Munk's The Little Engine that Could (1930) - helped spread awareness of Mary Baker Eddy's Christian Science and a related religious movement known as New Thought, which promoted positive thinking as a means to health and prosperity. While historians have ably discussed how New Thought and Christian Science principles permeate aspects of modern life, from corporate culture to talk shows, twelve-step groups, diet fads, and prosperity gospel, literary scholars have had little to say about the role played by popular fiction in diffusing these faiths. Recovering the New Thought Novel fills this gap by showing how beloved children's books have influenced us, our children, and our society, focusing especially on self-help and psychotherapy concepts like the inner child.

Anne Stiles is Associate Professor of English and Director of Medical Humanities at Saint Louis University. She is the author of Popular Fiction and Brain Science in the Late Nineteenth Century (Cambridge UP, 2012) and the editor of Neurology and Literature, 1866-1920 (Palgrave, 2007). She also co-edited two volumes published by Elsevier in 2013 as part of their Progress in Brain Research series. Stiles serves as Victorian section co editor of the Wiley-Blackwell journal, Literature Compass. Her most recent work focuses on literary authors' responses to Christian Science and New Thought on both sides of the Atlantic.

January 30, 2017 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Kimberley Reilly
Democracy and Justice Studies, UW-Green Bay
History Department, Women's and Gender Studies Department

How did a wife earn her keep? This was a question a wide range of American reformers and jurists asked in the late nineteenth century. As middle-class women agitated for a greater political voice and economic independence, they appeared to be more emancipated than ever before. At the same time, marriage remained a legal arrangement in which wives exchanged their bodies and labor for their husbands’ economic support. After a brief overview, my talk will examine how this contradiction played out in one area of the law, where courts employed a modern ideal of marital love to rethink wives’ household obligations.

Kimberley Reilly is an Assistant Professor of Democracy and Justice Studies; History; and Women’s and Gender Studies at UW-Green Bay. She received her Ph.D. in History from the University of Chicago. A recipient of grants from the Social Science Research Council and the William Nelson Cromwell Foundation, Reilly has published articles in Law and History Review and the Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era.

January 23, 2017 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Tina Chronopoulos
Classics and Medieval Studies, University of Binghamton, State University of New York

Have you always wondered what a discussion about the pros and cons of same-sex versus opposite-sex sex might have looked like in 12th-century France? In today’s talk I focus on just such a discussion which survives in the form of a debate-poem in Latin. Helen (of Troy) and Ganymede (water-bearer to the gods) are having it out, with Helen carrying away the prize. Why and how does she win? I’ll spend some time laying out the cultural and historical background, before delving into a close reading of a couple of stanzas from the end of the poem. I will argue that these stanzas contain some key concepts of/for the debate (both in the poem and the 12th-century context) and will suggest an interpretation that may or may not be as radical as it first appears.

Tina Chronopoulos is an Assistant Professor of Classics and Medieval Studies at the University of Binghamton, State University of New York, where she teaches a range of courses in Latin language and literature, as well as in Classical civilization and medieval studies. She is a Medieval Latinist, with particular interests in twelfth-century Latin literature written in the Anglo-French cultural realm and the manuscripts in which these texts survive. Her past research has focused on the reception of Classical Latin literature in the medieval period and the medieval Latin legend of St Katherine of Alexandria. 

December 12, 2016 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Sukanya Banerjee
English, UW-Milwaukee

How is it that monogamy came to serve as one of the markers of “modern” marriage? Which nineteenth century literary genres did it play on? What kind of a transimperiality does conjugal loyalty, as defined along a register of monogamy, engender?

In addressing these questions, Sukanya Banerjee will draw from her current book project, “Loyalty and the Making of the Modern.” The project focuses on the under read category of loyalty, arguing for the centrality of loyalty to figurations of modernity. But rather than focus on political loyalty alone-a context in which loyalty gets most prominence-, Banerjee examines interlocking formulations of loyalty across three evolving sites of modernity in nineteenth-early twentieth century Britain and its empire (particularly in South Asia): that of the state, the family, and the economy. In querying how and why ideas of loyalty were idealized at a moment marked both by massive industrialism and high imperialism, she studies literary and cultural modes that stabilize the seemingly counterintuitive relation between loyalty and modernity. In so doing, she also identifies the “transimperial” as a heuristic for studying the expansive yet connected multilingual literary systems of empire.

Sukanya Banerjee is Associate Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She works at the intersection of Victorian studies, postcolonial studies, and studies of South Asia. She is the author of Becoming Imperial Citizens: Indians in the Late-Victorian Empire (Duke, 2010), which was awarded the NVSA Sonya Rudikoff Prize for best first book in Victorian studies (2012). She is co-editor of New Routes for Diaspora Studies (Indiana, 2012), an her essays have appeared in journals such as Victorian Studies, Victorian Literature and Culture, Prose Studies, and Diaspora. A recipient of a previous fellowship at the IRH, she has also received support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

December 5, 2016 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Sidnie Crawford
Classics and Religious Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

When we think of "the Bible" in the 21st century, we usually think of a fixed text, in an ancient language, that is revered by one or more religious communities as "the word of God."  How did ancient Jews think about the texts that became the Bible?  How were those texts handed down by scribes?  How did communities preserve them?  The seminar will discuss the biblical manuscripts from the Qumran Dead Sea Scrolls in order to answer those questions.

Sidnie White Crawford is Willa Cather Professor of Classics and Religious Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she teaches in the areas of Hebrew Bible, Second Temple Judaism, and Hebrew language. She is an internationally recognized scholar in the areas of Dead Sea Scrolls and Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible. Her most recent book, edited with Cecilia Wassen, is The Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran and the Concept of a Library, published by E. J. Brill (2016). Sidnie currently serves as Chair of the Board of Trustees of the W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem, the American headquarters for archaeological research in the Holy Land, and as a member of the Society of Biblical Literature Council. She is also a member of numerous editorial boards, including Hermeneia: A Commentary Series (Fortress Press), The Textual History of the Bible (Brill), and The Hebrew Bible: A Critical Edition (SBL Press). In her free time Dr. Crawford enjoys international travel, classical music, in particular early music and opera, and watching sports, especially Husker football and women’s volleyball. She usually lives in Lincoln, NE with her husband, Dr. Dan D. Crawford, and their cat, Mollie, but is delighted to be spending the year at the IRH and enjoying all that Madison has to offer.

November 28, 2016 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Julia Dauer
English, UW-Madison

How did transatlantic writers use “I” in their discourse?  When did “I” become the familiar protagonist of American letters?  What can first-person prose tell us about the category of the “person”?  My dissertation approaches these questions by considering the relationship between natural history, personhood, and first-person prose in the United States between about 1780 and about 1830.  In this talk, I’ll focus especially on John James Audubon’s Ornithological Biography and its account of flocking birds.  These flocks overwhelm first-person observational norms and threaten the boundaries of the human person.  I’ll suggest that the Biography’s first-person prose and its impersonal tendencies direct our attention towards the gaps in and alternatives to more masterful models of American individuality. 

Julia Dauer is a PhD candidate in the Department of English at UW-Madison.  Her research focuses on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American literature and the history science.  Her dissertation uses natural history to access a much larger crisis of personhood that characterized literary, scientific, and political discourse at the turn of the nineteenth century and continues to resonate in the contemporary United States.  Dauer has taught literature and composition courses at UW-Madison and worked as an instructor in the Writing Center.  Her dissertation research has been supported by fellowships from the Department of English, the Graduate School, and the Library Company of Philadelphia.  She is currently at work on her dissertation entitled “Natural History and Personhood in Early America.”  

November 21, 2016 3:30 PM
Seminar

There will be no seminar this week. Happy Thanksgiving!

November 14, 2016 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Dana Oswald
English, UW-Parkside

What can we know about women's bodies when the only people writing about them were men, and those men were generally monks? In a culture that is largely silent about the lives and bodies of women, how can we understand their embodied experiences of the world? By looking at Anglo-Saxon medical texts that features remedies, charms, and diagnostics, some of which are superstitious, some learned, and some frighteningly ignorant regarding basic physiology, we can begin to understand how the real bodies of Anglo-Saxon women functioned in a world that often left them out of the literary record.

Dana Oswald is author of the book Monsters, Gender, and Sexuality in Medieval English Literature, as well as articles on Old and Middle English literature and translation, and gender and sexuality studies. Her focus on the embodied experience of life in medieval England is a means by which contemporary readers can connect to people, characters, and problems existing in an age that can seem very foreign.

November 7, 2016 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Pablo Gomez
Department of Medical History and Bioethics, UW-Madison
Department of the History of Science

How did early modern governments, and slave traders’ and their financiers’ quantify disease and risk? How did they develop tools that allowed them to trade and invest in human corporeality and its afflictions? In this presentation, coming from my new research project, I explore the emergence of ideas about corporeality in sixteenth and seventeenth-century Atlantic slave trading circuits that scholars have traditionally associated with the rise of the New Science and biomedicine in Western Europe. The appearance of a quantifiable, universal body, as the evidence I examine in this project shows, was intimately linked to the unprecedented rise in the size and complexity of the commerce of human bodies in the early modern South Atlantic.

Pablo F. Gómez is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medical History and Bioethics and the Department of the History of Science at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He holds a PhD from Vanderbilt university, a MD from CES University and did his residency in Orthopaedic surgery at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana. Pablo’s work examines the history of health and corporeality in the early modern Atlantic world. He has published numerous articles and book chapters. His forthcoming book, The Experiential Caribbean: Creating Knowledge and Healing in the Early Modern Atlantic (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2017), explores belief making and the creation of evidence around the human body and the natural world in the early modern Caribbean and black Atlantic. Pablo is currently working on a history of the universal quantifiable body and risk in the early modern world. 

October 31, 2016 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Jason Puskar
English, UW-Milwaukee

The pushbutton is one of the simplest mechanical interfaces in the modern world, and one of the most prevalent. But what accounts for its enormous appeal, and what kinds of effects does it have on the people who use it? In this talk, Jason Puskar will present part of his research on the cultural and political history of the pushbutton, a device that scarcely existed before the mid-nineteenth century, but that has proliferated wildly ever since. What happens when buttons mediate childhood, even infancy? How might they influence the process of subject-object differentiation? And to what extend do they inform people's perceptions of their own agency, freedom, or will? By looking at children’s toys, autistic gamers, and women typists, we can see that the button has an especially complex relationship to liberal subjectivity, and especially for children, women, and the disabled.

Jason Puskar is Associate Professor of English at the UW–Milwaukee, specializing on  late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century American literature and culture, with recent emphasis on business and economic history and the history of science and technology. He is the author of Accident Society: Fiction, Collectivity and the Production of Chance (Stanford 2012), and he has published articles in journals including American Literary History, Daedalus, Nineteenth-Century Contexts, and Mosaic.

October 24, 2016 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Elizabeth Bearden
English, UW-Madison

Drawn from the forth chapter of her current book project, Monstrous Kinds: Body, Space, and Narrative in Renaissance Representations of Disability, this talk analyzes European representations of the dwarfs, mutes, and eunuchs who served the Ottoman sultans. Accounts of these boon companions emphasize their relative privilege and mobility within and without the sequestered space of the seraglio. Their increased mobility, facility in communication through sign language, and overall access to Ottoman space contribute to imperial envy in Europeans’ accounts, limited as they were for being told by outsiders. The talk draws on a variety of travel texts, including works by Osier Busbecq (d. 1592), Otaviano Bon (1552–1623), and Paul Rycaut (1629–1700). The transnational presence of people with physical impairments, illustrated by the Ottoman court, reinforces European understandings of the alternative capacities that sensory impairment generates. Ultimately, people with physical impairments do not simply serve as marvels, but rather demand reassessments of European verbal and visual representational strategies and definitions of abnormality.

Professor Elizabeth B. Bearden is a scholar and teacher of early modern literature with training in Comparative Literature, Classics, the History of Rhetoric, Visual Culture Studies, and Disability Studies. She received her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from NYU in 2006 and her A. B. in Comparative Literature at Princeton in 1998. She is an Associate Professor in the English department at UW-Madison. Her first monograph, The Emblematics of the Self: Ekphrasis and Identity in Renaissance Imitations of Greek Romance, was published by the University of Toronto Press in 2012 and has been positively reviewed in leading journals. She has published articles in PMLA, The Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies, Ancient Narrative Supplementum, and Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies. Additionally, she directed a Digital Humanities project on Philip Sidney’s funeral, which appeared in a Folger Shakespeare Library exhibition in Washington, DC.

October 17, 2016 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Lori Lopez
Communication Arts, UW-Madison

For over 260,000 Hmong Americans living in the U.S., mobile media now play a key role in maintaining connections and identities.  Yet what role are Hmong women playing in shaping the use of these digital media technologies?  How are Hmong women able to use media to influence new cultural practices, or to challenge patriarchal conditions?  This research project is based on an ethnographic analysis of Hmong women and the groundbreaking ways that they adapt mobile phone technologies to their own specific needs.

Lori Kido Lopez is Assistant Professor of Media and Cultural Studies in the Communication Arts Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is also an affiliate of the Asian American Studies Program and the Gender and Women’s Studies Department.  She is the author of Asian American Media Activism: Fighting for Cultural Citizenship (2016, NYU), and co-editor of the forthcoming Routledge Companion to Asian American Media.  She is the founder of the national Race & Media Conference, and was a recipient of the Outstanding Women of Color Award in 2015.

October 10, 2016 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Jennifer Row
Romance Studies, Boston University

From “one’s ticking biological clock” to “grow up, be a man,” sex and gender norms are often seamlessly intertwined with temporality in our modern world. But did time always impact sexuality the same way?   I examine a mid-seventeenth-century moment in France when the appearance of precise minute and second hands on newly portable clocks revolutionized the very experience of time, offering a new texture to time passing, to haste, and to slowness.  Time calibrated sexuality in new ways: from certain socio-sexual tempos (paces of bereavement, reproduction) to the regulated speed of seduction onstage. The performing arts were in fact an essential cornerstone of Louis XIV’s glittering Absolutist spectacle. However, instead of analyzing the explicitly propagandistic uses of theater, I explore theater’s capacity to manage the population through its lived relationship to time. As Foucault argues, biopower, rather than deciding on the citizens’ right to live or to die, sought instead to manage bodies and lives through the controlled flourishing or strategic diminishing of life’s capacities. One essential component of biopower, I suggest, includes the management of speeds and slownesses.  My talk will focus on Jean Racine’s Andromaque (1667) and competing temporalities of mourning, strange animacies and queer object attachment.

Jennifer Row is an assistant professor of French at Boston University and affiliate faculty with BU’s Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies. She received her PhD in Comparative Literature (2014) from Cornell University. Her research and teaching interests include French and English early modern theater, queer and feminist theory, and affect theory. Her book project, Queer Velocities: Time, Sex and Biopower on the Early Modern Stage, looks at the impact of newly precise timekeeping technologies on queer erotics onstage in seventeenth-century France; a chapter stemming from this project will appear in Exemplaria (29.1) in 2017.  She has also published on masochism and nineteenth century commonplace books  in The Canadian Review of Comparative Literature (38.4)  and on early modern anal aesthetics, dance, disability and contemporary art (“The Adapted Anality of Versailles: Othoniel’s Les Belles Danses" forthcoming in ASAP/Journal, (2.2) May 2017). She has previously taught at the Université de Paris-Sorbonne (Paris-IV) and at the Lycée Louis-le-Grand. 

October 4, 2016 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
David Ebrey
Philosophy

Plato’s Phaedo is one of his literary and philosophical masterpieces, set on the last day of Socrates’ life. How should we understand Socrates’ reference to Pythagorean and Orphic religious views in the dialogue? Is this a separate feature of dialogue, independent of the detailed philosophical arguments? Instead of being religious window-dressing, I argue that Socrates gives these views precise accounts and an important role in the arguments, appropriating and transforming Pythagorean and Orphic views to present a radical new account of the soul, the good life, and the nature of reality. This reading allows us to see how the different elements of the dialogue fit together to form a cohesive philosophical vision.

David Ebrey (Ph.D., UCLA) works on ancient Greek philosophy, primarily on Plato and Aristotle. So far his research on Plato has focused on Socratic inquiry, the value of knowledge, moral education, and Platonic forms. His research on Aristotle has focused on matter in Aristotle's natural philosophy and syllogisms in his logic. He has published in journals such as Journal of the History of Philosophy, Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie, and British Journal of the History of Philosophy, and he has edited a volume, Theory and Practice in Aristotle’s Natural Science (Cambridge, 2015). He has received a Mellon Postdoc (2007-2009), Alice Kaplan Humanities Institute Fellowship (2011-2012), and a Spencer Foundation Grant (2012-2013). He was a visiting fellow at Clare Hall, Cambridge in 2013. He is currently working on a book on Plato’s Phaedo.

September 26, 2016 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Anne Hansen
History, UW-Madison

Buddhist prophesies about the end of our time and the dawning of a new era tied to the enlightenment of the fifth buddha in our kalpa or “epoch” have circulated widely across the Buddhist world for nearly two millennia.  In Cambodia, these millenarian prophesies have also served as a powerful and pervasive response to and explanation for the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime, one that is rarely acknowledged in scholarly interpretations of recent Cambodian history. This talk draws on interdisciplinary research investigating the Buddhist prophesies that have inspired millenarian Buddhism in Cambodia from the colonial era to the post-Socialism of the 1990s.  It will raise intertwined questions of whether and how Buddhist prophetic conceptions of temporality might serve as an alternative frame for understanding the Cold War in Cambodia as well as questions about the ethics of representing the suffering of others in scholarship.

Anne R. Hansen is Professor of History and Religious Studies at UW Madison in the Department of History and Program in Religious Studies, where she researches and teaches about the history and development of Theravada Buddhism, Southeast Asian religions, modern Buddhist reform movements, religion and colonialism, Buddhist ethics and moral history, and theory and method in the study of religion.  She received a PhD in religious studies from Harvard University and a MDiv from Harvard Divinity School. Hansen is the author of How to Behave: Buddhism and Modernity in Colonial Cambodia, 1860-1930 (2007) and editor of At the Edge of the Forest: Essays on Cambodia, History and Narrative (2008).  She is currently working on two books, one on Buddhist conceptions of time, social change and millenarianism in Cambodia, and another on Buddhist ethics of care in Southeast Asian visual culture.  Her most recent article “Painting Ethics: Death, Love, and Moral Vision in the Mahāparinibbāna,” appears as part of a symposium on visual ethics in Journal of Religious Ethics 44.1 (March 2016): 17-50.

September 19, 2016 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Steve Stern
History, UW-Madison

This is an extraordinary true-life story.  It's a tale of murder, human rights, and social justice in the Americas.  It's about the power of music in tumultuous times – and also, the power of historical knowledge and the humanities in the wake of atrocity.  This is a traveling story – from the 1960s to our times, from a sports stadium in Santiago, Chile to a U.S. federal court in Orlando, Florida.  It is the story of Chile's iconic "New Song" artist, Víctor Jara.

Steve J. Stern is the Alberto Flores Galindo and Hilldale Professor of History at UW-Madison. He researches Latin American history, and recently published The Human Rights Paradox: Universality and Its Discontents (2014), co-edited with Scott Straus. Stern's research demonstrates the inventiveness of Latin American responses to unequal structures of power, with sometimes surprising impact on world history. Honors include election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; the Bolton-Johnson Prize for best book in Latin American history, for Battling for Hearts and Minds: Memory Struggles in Pinochet’s Chile, 1973-1988; and fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the Fulbright-Hays Faculty Research Program, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Social Science Research Council. Stern is a founding editor, with Scott Straus, of the "Critical Human Rights" series at the UW Press, and has won a UW-Madison Distinguished Teaching Award. He is at work on a project entitled "Between Human Rights and Social Justice: Latin America and the World in Film and History."

April 25, 2016 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Annie McClanahan
English, UW-Milwaukee

What does microeconomics—the study of small-scale consumer decisions—have to do with the modern novel? Microeconomics seems to have more to do with mathematical formalism than with literary form, and yet its emphasis on the desires and pleasures of the individual shares much with the modern novel’s increased fascination with psychological interiority. Taking microeconomics and the novel as concomitant developments in the theory of the individual in society, this talk explores the difference between humanist and anti-humanist individualism, turning in its conclusion to the problem of the individual in a period of capitalist crisis.

Annie McClanahan is an Assistant Professor of English at UW Milwaukee. Her book Dead Pledges: Debt, Crisis, and 21st Century Culture will appear from Stanford University Press in fall 2016. Her new project, “A Cultural History of Microeconomics,” will explore the ways in which microeconomics has both drawn on and shaped critical theory and cultural production. Her work has appeared in Representations, The Journal of Cultural Economy, Journal of American Studies, Post45, South Atlantic Quarterly, symploke, and qui parle.

April 18, 2016 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Andreas Schwab
Classics, Ruprecht-Karls-University of Heidelberg

In his famous second book on Egypt, Herodotus (ca. 484-425 BCE), the so called “father of history” and ethnographic writer from Halicarnassus (present-day Bodrum in southwestern Turkey), emphasizes that of all peoples, the Egyptians are “the most exceedingly religious/pious.” Yet what did the concept of “religiosity” mean at this time? And how did Herodotus translate his understanding of Egypt and its religious world for his Greek audience? By incorporating key concepts from religious studies, including aesthetics, psychology, and the sociology of religion, this talk explores Herodotus' narratives on foreign religion in his Histories and elucidates his method of narrating and understanding foreign religion.

 

 

 

Andreas Schwab is an Assistant Professor of Classics at the Ruprecht-Karls-University of Heidelberg in Germany. He published his first book on the sophisticated Late Antique (4th cent. CE) hexameter poetry and theology of Gregory of Nazianzus, Peri Pronoias On Providence: Text, Translation and Commentary, Classica Monacensia series (Tübingen 2009). In his second book, Thales of Miletus in Early Christian Literature,Studia Praesocratica series (Berlin/Boston 2012), he focuses on the reception of this early Greek philosopher, astronomer and sage of the 6th century BCE. He has written articles on the hermeneutics and the reception of ancient Greek philosophy, Herodotus, the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, and early Christian literature. In 2015 he co-edited a volume entitled Le Travail du Savoir / Wissensbewätigung: Philosophie, sciences exactes et sciences appliquées dans l’Antiquité. He is also a co-editor of The Reception of the Homeric Hymns (Oxford University Press, forthcoming). His current book project is on “The Translation of Foreign Religion in Herodotus.”

April 11, 2016 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Devaleena Das
University of Wisconsin at Whitewater, Department of Women's and Gender Studies

As Margaret Atwood writes, the female body has always seen as a “hot topic” in cultures across the globe. Thus regions throughout the world have employed standardized systems of mapping and dissecting the female body, and the Indian subcontinent in the twentieth century, with its diversity of religions and cultures, was no exception. Yet how did women writers themselves negotiate the tense relationship between their bodies, ascribed cultural values, and a sense of self? Devaleena Das will explore these issues by tracing the writings of 20th century writers from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. 

Devaleena Das was a former Assistant Professor of English and Gender Studies at Jesus and Mary College, University of Delhi. Currently she is teaching in the Department of Women's and Gender Studies, University of Wisconsin at Whitewater.  She received her Ph.D. from Calcutta University in 2012. Her dissertation examines postcolonial and gendered space in Australia and she works in the field of intersectional feminism.

April 4, 2016 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Christina Greene
Afro-American Studies, UW-Madison

In 1974, Joan Little, a young, impoverished, African American woman killed her white guard in a Southern jail after he sexually assaulted her. Indicted for first degree murder and facing a death sentence if convicted, her case quickly became a national and international cause celebre. During and after her murder trial, Little was imprisoned at the North Carolina Correctional Center for Women. There, women inmates organized a sit-down strike and, in a joint effort with the Triangle Area Lesbian Feminists and the North Carolina Hard Times Prison Project, they published a prison pamphlet: Break de Chains of U$ Legalized Slavery, a collection of inmate poems, exposes and illustrations. By examining women’s prison organizing in the 1970s on both sides of the prison walls this talk suggests a more expansive view of both the women’s liberation movement(s) and the “long civil rights movement.” 

Christina Greene is an Associate Professor in the Department of Afro-American Studies, UW-Madison. She is the author of the award-winning book, Our Separate Ways: Women and the Black Freedom Movement in Durham, North Carolina, 1940-1970 (University of North Carolina Press, 2005). She has been published in Frontiers: A Journal of Women's Studies, Feminist Studies, Journal of Southern History, and Journal of African American History. She has also been published in several edited collections: Hidden Histories of Women in the New South (1994); From the Grass Roots to the Supreme Court: Brown v. Board of Education and American Democracy(2004); and The War on Poverty: A New Grassroots History, 1964-1980 (2011). Greene is also a contributor to Civil Rights in the United States (2000) and Oxford Research Encyclopedia in American History (forthcoming), and a contributor and subject editor for African American National Biography (2008). She is currently working on a book-length monograph of the 1970s Free Joan Little Rape-Murder Campaign.

March 28, 2016 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Caitlin Silberman
Art History, UW-Madison

Narratives in which leather-winged demons or dragons face off against bird-winged angels and heroes have millennia of history behind them. In the nineteenth century, however, discoveries of fossil pterosaurs (flying reptiles) and Jurassic birds invited new interpretations of old tales. How did British paleontological texts and visual restorations treat these winged curiosities? By investigating these sources, Caitlin Silberman traces how restorations that place leather-winged, reptilian pterosaurs in conflict with ancient birds like Archaeopteryx lithographica provide an unexpected window into Victorian perspectives on progress, evolution, and humanity’s place in nature.

Caitlin Silberman is a PhD candidate in Art History at UW-Madison. Her research centers on intersections between art, visual culture, and the sciences in nineteenth-century Britain. Her dissertation considers Victorian strategies for visualizing difference between humans and non-human animals. Silberman has taught Art History and History of Science at UW-Madison and worked at a variety of museums, archives, and libraries, including the Stanley Kubrick Archive, London's Natural History Museum, and the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, CA. Her Dana-Allen Dissertation Fellowship is bracketed by two semesters as a 2015-16 CIC/Smithsonian Institution Predoctoral Fellow, where she is based at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. She is at work on her dissertation entitled "Thinking with Birds in British Art and Visual Culture, 1840-1900." 

March 14, 2016 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Sissel Schroeder
Anthropology, UW-Madison

How can we begin to understand multi-ethnic community formation in contexts where there are no written records and only the faintest material traces of ancient lives have survived? What kinds of material practices, and the social, political, and ritual behaviors implicated by them, did people use to negotiate their differences? Based on archaeological research at the 13th century site of Jonathan Creek supplemented by work at other prominent sites across the southeastern United States that were variously occupied between the 11th and 14th centuries AD, and analogies drawn from later ethnohistoric and ethnographic documents, my presentation explores the ways in which the forms, aesthetics, and symbolism of perishable architecture connected with the social, political, and cosmological processes that helped shape these communities. 

Sissel Schroeder is a Professor of Archaeology in the Anthropology Department at UW-Madison. Her research intersects with the humanities, social sciences, and physical and biological sciences, and includes the investigation of ancient architecture, ecological and agency-based considerations of emerging sociopolitical complexity, historical ecology, and the history of archaeology. Her research has been published in edited volumes and journals, including the American AntiquityJournal of Anthropological ArchaeologyAntiquitySoutheastern ArchaeologyJournal of Biogeography, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. She is a recipient of the Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching Award, and served as the Director of the College of Letters & Science Honors Program in 2012-2015. She is at work on a project entitled "Building Place and People: Materiality, Hybridity, and Community Formation among Ancient Native Americans in the Midcontinent, AD 1000-1600."

March 7, 2016 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
S. Scott Graham
English, UW-Milwaukee

The Food and Drug Administration’s number one job is to protect public health by ensuring the safety and efficacy of consumable products. And yet, pervasive financial relationships with industry often raise questions as to just how effectively the FDA safeguards the public. Accordingly my book manuscript, Conflicted: Tracing Industry Influence in Federal Pharmaceuticals Policy, investigates the systemic effects of pharmaceuticals industry relationships on patient health, FDA decision making, and public trust. In this presentation, I will investigate the adverse effects of conflicts of interest at FDA advisory committee meetings.

S. Scott Graham is an Associate Professor in the Department of English and Director of the Scientific and Medical Communications Laboratory at the UW-Milwaukee. His work is primarily devoted to investigating the role of argument and communication in scientific and medical boundary spaces (e.g., interdisciplinary science and science-policy). Graham's The Politics of Pain Medicine: A Rhetorical-Ontological Inquiry (Chicago, 2015) chronicles the work of interdisciplinary pain management specialists to found a new science of pain and a new approach to pain medicine grounded in a more comprehensive biopsychosocial model. He is currently working on a second book entitled Conflicted: Tracing Industry Influence in Federal Pharmaceuticals Policy.

February 29, 2016 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Joshua Calhoun
English, UW-Madison

Eating, we know, is both necessary for our survival and ecologically consequential: agriculture has profoundly altered our planet. Writing and reading, too, have human advantages and ecological consequences—and on a scale that we have not yet honestly admitted in our stories about the history of the book. In “Toward a Natural History of the Book,” I ask questions like: How might we write history of the book that accounts for negotiations among humans and non-humans in the act of creating material records of ideas? This talk explores the ecological materials that made Renaissance books possible, on the ecological choices that, by extension, made the writings of Shakespeare and his contemporaries possible.

Joshua Calhoun is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who specializes in Shakespeare, sixteenth- and seventeenth-century poetry, and the history of media. As a Faculty Affiliate at the Nelson Institute’s Center for Culture, History, and Environment (CHE), he also teaches courses in the environmental humanities. His work has been published in PMLA, Shakespeare Studies, and Environmental Philosophy. He is currently writing a book about poetry, papermaking, and ecology titled The Nature of the Page in Renaissance England. Drawing on original archival research, environmental history, and the poetry of Shakespeare and his contemporaries, the book tells a vibrant natural history of the ecological negotiations and technological contrivances used to store and transmit human ideas. 

February 22, 2016 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Molly Laas
History of Science, UW-Madison

Are our bodies the sum of our (chemical) parts, or are we more than that, the products of our particular background and culture? This talk delves into the question by examining a debate between chemistry and medicine about how to provision troops during the U.S. Civil War. At issue was an 1864 proposal by the chemist Eben Norton Horsford for a condensed ration that purported to contain all of the nutrients needed by a soldier in an ultraportable format. Horsford’s plan was opposed by Union Army physicians, who held that tradition and culture were the only reliable guides to diet, not science.

Through examining this conflict, I explore the fraught relationship between science and medicine in the mid-nineteenth century. Can scientific discoveries reliably engender improvements in medicine? How can we harmonize a materialist, universal vision of the human body with a holistic and particular one?

Molly Laas is a PhD Candidate in the Program of the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology at UW-Madison. Her work explores the intellectual cultures of science and medicine in the nineteenth century, focusing on the trans-Atlantic circulation of ideas about chemistry, physiology, health, and the interplay between science and social thought. Her work has been supported by a University Fellowship and a Chancellor's Fellowship from the University of Wisconsin, a research assistantship from UW-Madison Center for German and European Studies, and the History of Science Department's Lindberg, Coleman, and Richardson fellowships. She received her B.A. in comparative literature from Smith College in 2004, and worked as a science journalist before receiving a Master's degree in the history of science from UW-Madison in 2012. She is currently at work on her dissertation entitled "From Regimen to Regime: The Social Meaning of Nutrition, 1840-1910."

February 15, 2016 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
John-Henry Clay
History, Durham University

Europe today is often described as ‘Christian’, at least in the cultural sense. But how did it get to be this way? Was the slow tide of Christianity that swamped indigenous European paganism ultimately irresistable, as medieval sources seem to present it? A starting premise of this talk is that the very notion of a Christian/pagan dichotomy is problematic. Medieval people had conflicting ideas about what ‘proper’ Christianity involved – and, just as important, what it didn’t involve. Christianity could take many different forms, especially when it became a new ingredient in old political conflicts. In this paper I will examine one especially fraught conflict in eighth-century Europe, and use a careful interdisciplinary approach to reveal the deep complexities and ambiguities of religious conversion. What was it to be 'Christian' in this context, and who got to define the term?

John-Henry Clay is a Lecturer in Medieval History at Durham University (UK). There, his teaching focuses on the history of western Europe from the end of the Roman empire to 1000 AD. His particular interests include the end of Roman Gaul, the origins of monasticism and Europe's conversion to Christianity. His first monograph, In the Shadow of Death: Saint Boniface and the Conversion of Hessia, 721-754 (Brepols, 2010) drew together history, archaeology, and landscape studies in a detailed exploration of an early medieval missionary community in Hessia, and he has published numerous articles and book chapters in related areas. A secondary interest is the relationship between academic history and the creative imagination, especially with respect to wider public engagement and education, which has led to two published historical novels: The Lion and the Lamb (Hodder & Stoughton, 2013) and At the Ruin of the World (Hodder & Stoughton, 2015). He is at work on a project entitled "Bringers of Light: The Christianisation of Early Medieval Germany under the Carolingians."

February 8, 2016 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Victor Lenthe
English, UW-Madison

Contemporary observers of England’s burgeoning late-sixteenth century literary culture believed their country’s emerging canon of vernacular literature might help foster consensus around a collective cultural and political identity. But were they right? My talk relates this literary-historical question to a modern theoretical debate between Jürgen Habermas and Chantal Mouffe about the value of consensus as a political concept. To what extent could a shared literary culture foster consensus around common values and transcend the bitter religious divisions of the Reformation? To what extent did the literature of this period allow religious minorities to assert their non-participation in this putative consensus? As a poet writing in the wake of Reformation Europe’s bloody religious conflicts, Edmund Spenser offers a perspective with unique historical purchase on these questions, which still today factor into different rationales for the humanities.

Victor Lenthe is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of English at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. His research focuses on early modern literary culture and post-Reformation Europe’s experience of religious difference. His dissertation is entitled “The Question of the Early Modern Public: Consensus and its Limits in the English Literary Renaissance.” It examines early modern writers like Edmund Spenser, William Shakespeare, and Ben Jonson for historical perspectives on debates between modern political theorists about the nature of pluralism and the role of literature in public life.

February 1, 2016 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Karma Chávez
Communication Arts, UW-Madison

Scientific conferences are not known for their excitement, but what happens when large numbers of your constituency choose to boycott your meeting? And further, what can transpire when rowdy AIDS activists use your meeting as a stage to air their grievances with government and scientific inaction and disrupt business as usual? What is the appropriate relationship between science and politics, especially when people are dying at alarming rates? This presentation will consider these questions and more through analysis of the rhetoric of the boycotts of the 1990 and 1992 International AIDS Conferences, which are key turning points in the global history of HIV/AIDS.

Karma R. Chávez is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Arts and affiliate in the Program in Chican@ and Latin@ Studies and the Department of Gender and Women's Studies at UW-Madison. She is co-editor of Standing in the Intersection: Feminist Voices, Feminist Practices (with Cindy L. Griffin, SUNY Press, 2012), and author of Queer Migration Politics: Activist Rhetoric and Coalitional Possibilities (University of Illinois Press, 2013). Karma is also a member of the radical queer collective Against Equality, an organizer for LGBT Books to Prisoners, and a host of the radio program, "A Public Affair" on Madison's community radio station, 89.9 FM WORT. She is at work on a project entitled AIDS Knows No Borders: AIDS Activism and the Rhetoric of Immigration.

January 25, 2016 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Ronald Radano
African Languages and Literature and Music, UW-Madison

For more than 150 years, US black music has stood at the center of the American entertainment industry, frequently proclaimed to be the driving force in popular expression. Why has this been so? Why do so many people think black music is so entertaining, so important, so valuable? Why, moreover, has this perception been so widely embraced around the world? My presentation will tackle the problem head on, proposing that matters of black musical value are not simply musical matters. They are embedded in the very processes by which racially conceived musical forms have been constituted within and against the forces of capitalism, which, in turn, have given to black music a uniquely “animated” valuation.

Ronald Radano is a Professor of African Languages and Literature and Music at UW-Madison. He is the author of two award-winning books, New Musical Figurations: Anthony Braxton’s Cultural Critique (Chicago, 1993; Italian translation, forthcoming) and Lying up a Nation: Race and Black Music (Chicago, 2003), and coeditor of Music and the Racial Imagination (Chicago 2000) and Audible Empire: Music, Global Politics, Critique (Duke, in print). His work has appeared in numerous journals, including Musical QuarterlyDaedalusCritical InquiryModernism/Modernity, and Radical History Review. His discussion of black musical value will also appear in the February 2016 issue of boundary 2. He is coeditor of two book series, Refiguring American Music (Duke) and Chicago Studies in Ethnomusicology (Chicago). Radano has held research residencies and fellowships at numerous institutions, including the Du Bois Institute (Harvard), the Smithsonian Institution, and the University of Pennsylvania (as a Rockefeller Fellow). He was a Guggenheim Fellow in 1997-1998. He is at work on a project entitled "The Secret Animation of Black Music."

December 14, 2015 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Sara Trevisan
Arts and Humanities, Brunel University London

What was the function of royal genealogy in the early modern period? How did royal genealogy engage with debates on the ethnic and political identity of national communities? In Britain, more than in any other early modern European country, royal genealogies interwove the origins of the monarch and people through the use of mythical ancestors who were both the first kings and ethnic founders of national communities. With the help of genealogical rolls and prints, historical and literary texts, this talk explores the early seventeenth-century genealogical construction of a British kingship in racial terms, through origin myths linking the monarch to Adam, Noah, Troy, ancient Egypt, and Greece.

Sara Trevisan is a Solmsen Fellow at the Institute for Research in the Humanities and will be Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the Centre for the Study of the Renaissance at the University of Warwick from May 2016, for three years. She earned a PhD in English Literature at the University of Padua, in Italy, and has held fellowships at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich and the University of Warwick, as well as a lectureship at Brunel University London. She has published on early modern literature and culture in journals such as Renaissance Quarterly, Renaissance Studies and The Seventeenth Century. She is particularly interested in the intersections between court and popular drama and poetry, and European intellectual history, geography, cartography, visual iconography, the history of the book, and theories of monarchical rule and nationhood. She is currently writing a book on royal genealogy, and discourses of national and ethnic identity in Britain between 1558 and 1640, provisionally entitled From Noah to King James: Genesis, Fabulous Genealogies and the Myth-Making of Kingship in Early Modern Britain.

December 7, 2015 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Laura Jo-Han Wen
East Asian Languages & Literature, UW-Madison

What is cinema and where was cinema? How might the ontological inquiries of the cinema be unpacked in a colonial context? Inspired by transmedia archaeology, this talk explores early cinematic modernity through the magic lantern activities in colonial Taiwan. Among the missing puzzle pieces in the visual culture of colonial Taiwan, the magic lantern show (gentō-kai) is a crucial yet less-discussed event of seeing that provokes issues concerning optical modernity, images of colonial edification, and the projection of empires. On the surface, the magic lantern show seemed to be an extension of colonial power, yet, the process of its projection and mediation also revealed the disintegrated temporality between the colony and the imperial screen.

Laura Jo-Han Wen is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of East Asian Languages & Literature at UW-Madison. Her research explores issues at the convergence of colonial modernity, visual culture, media archaeology, the history of early cinema, and transnationalism. As a Taiwanese, she is interested in thinking about the ways in which her Taiwan experience might contribute to, or sometimes confront, current scholarship and intellectual fields. From 2012 to 2013, she served as the president of the North American Taiwan Studies Association (NATSA), a US-based NPO dedicated to Taiwan studies and transdisciplinary research. She is at work on her doctoral dissertation concerning Taiwan's early film history and cinematic culture, tentatively entitled, "Screen Culture, Visual Power, and the Beyond: A Transmedia Archaeology of the Cinema in Colonial Taiwan, 1895–1945."

November 30, 2015 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Ali Humayun Akhtar
Ph.D. History/Middle Eastern Studies, New York University
Religious Studies/Classical and Medieval Studies, Bates College

How did pre-modern empires negotiate imperial boundaries while facilitating inter-imperial trade? What was the political place of transimperial diplomat and merchant communities in this trade? This talk highlights the Iranian Armenian community of Esfahan and the Ottoman Latin-rite community of Istanbul, examining comparatively how their fluid legal status in Ottoman and Safavid lands played an important role in shaping the Eurasian silk routes to Venice.

Ali Humayun Akhtar is an Assistant Professor at Bates College and is an historian of government, religion, and economy. His research focuses on networks of diplomats, scholars, and merchants who connected Mediterranean Europe with the Middle East and Central Asia in the medieval and early modern eras. His first book traces the political debates over Graeco-Arabic philosophy and Sufism from Cordoba to Cairo (10th-12th centuries) as a larger window into the contested nature of political and religious authority in the medieval world. He is currently working on a new book on law and economy along the Safavid and Ottoman silk routes to Venice (16th-17th centuries). Before arriving at Bates College in 2012, he taught at Bard College and New York University. He earned a Ph.D. and M.A. at New York University in History and Middle Eastern Studies and a B.A. at Cornell University.

November 23, 2015 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Emily Callaci
History, UW-Madison

Between the late 1960s and the early 1980s, after the initial euphoria of African national independence and before the era of market liberalization, hundreds of thousands of young East Africans left their rural homes and became the first generation in their families to make lives in the city. This demographic shift occurred in the absence of economic growth and far exceeded the interventions and visions of urban planners and policymakers. What kind of city did these urban sojourners envision and create? How did they reconcile the promises of decolonization and political liberation with the realities of inequality, scarcity and urban infrastructural collapse? Based on research in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, this talk explores Africa’s urban revolution as encountered by popular artists and intellectuals including investigative journalists and newspaper gossip columnists, songwriters and musicians, Christian women’s advice writers, nurses and social workers, and Swahili underground pulp fiction publishers. It examines how migrants in the city theorized the postcolonial predicament based on their urban experiences, using the urban landscape they encountered as the raw material with which they pose broader questions about African liberation, gender roles, adulthood, community and social justice.

Emily Callaci is an Assistant Professor of modern African history at UW-Madison. Her research and teaching interests include global cities, African popular cultures, comparative socialisms and the global history of reproductive politics. Her work has appeared in the Journal of African History and Urban History. Building on her work on urban cultural and sexual politics in Africa in the 1960s and 1970s, she has recently begun preliminary research for a second project on the transnational history of the family planning movement in Africa. She is spending her semester at the IRH working on a book that explores popular forms of urbanism in Tanzania during its socialist era, from 1967 through 1985.

November 16, 2015 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Daniel Kapust
Political Science, UW-Madison

Fear is one of the most salient political emotions. The philosophers Hobbes and Lucretius each considered fear in their writings on civil war. Lucretius argued that the fear of death led to civil war. Although Lucretius deeply influenced Hobbes, Hobbes promoted a fear of death, arguing that this fear prevented civil war. What are we to make of the place of the fear of death in Hobbes' and Lucretius' philosophies? And how does this difference shape their eirenic projects—their work to ensure peace?

Daniel Kapust is Associate Professor of Political Science, and affiliated with the Department of Classical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies and the Center for Early Modern Studies. A political theorist, he centers his research on rhetoric and republicanism, themes he explores in Roman, early modern, 18th century, and contemporary political thought. His work includes Republicanism, Rhetoric, and Roman Political Thought (Cambridge University Press, 2011), and he has published or had accepted for publication articles and chapters on Cicero, Sallust, Livy, Tacitus, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Rousseau, and Adam Smith. His research has appeared in the American Political Science ReviewJournal of PoliticsPolitical TheoryHistory of Political ThoughtEuropean Journal of Political TheoryPolitical Studies, and Journal of the History of Ideas. Currently, he is working on a book project on flattery and political theory, and articles on Hobbes and Lucretius and deliberative democracy and the justification of war.

November 9, 2015 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Xin Huang
Women's and Gender Studies, UW-Milwaukee

What new things can personal digital photography tell us about gendered lives? Does digital photography provide a wider range of gendered activities and gendered images? What can we learn about women's lives and senses of self as "photographers"? How to process and make sense of digital photography collections? How to (and who gets to) determine the biographic relevance and significance of the photos? Using the personal photos I collected in China from women who lived through the Mao era, I discuss how the changing materiality of digital photography affects women's auto/biographical photo practices, the opportunities and challenges this brings to the study of women's lives, and the challenges in collecting (scanning and copying), categorizing, and analyzing the digital photographs.

Xin Huang is an Assistant Professor in Women's and Gender Studies at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Huang received her Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia in Women's and Gender Studies in 2010. Her main area of research is gender and sexuality in contemporary China, particularly the representation of gender and sexuality in oral narrative and visual forms. She has recently finished a book project entitled "The Gendered Legacy of Mao: A Study of Women's Live Stories in Contemporary China." The talk is part of a larger project entitled "The Taming of the Maoist Women: Changing Representations of Gender In China in Personal Photo Albums," which analyzes the visual/bodily manifestation of gender as recorded in personal photo albums and women’s narratives about them.

November 2, 2015 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Max Harris
Independent Scholar

How did Charlemagne confuse Palm Sunday processions and triumphal entries? Why was the early Quaker leader James Nayler charged with blasphemy for riding a horse into Bristol? Was he imitating Christ or mocking Oliver Cromwell? Why were life-size processional images of Jesus on a donkey vandalized both by sixteenth-century Protestant iconoclasts and by eighteenth-century Roman Catholic archbishops? My presentation explores Palm Sunday processions and other public representations of Christ’s entry into Jerusalem as embodied sites for the celebration, display, contestation, diffusion, and mockery of religious justifications for war and other exercises of power.

Max Harris is an independent scholar and Executive Director Emeritus of the Wisconsin Humanities Council. He has taught at the University of Virginia and, as a visiting professor, at Yale University. He is the author of five books: Theater and Incarnation (1990, 2nd ed. 2005), The Dialogical Theatre (1993), Aztecs, Moors, and Christians: Festivals of Reconquest in Mexico and Spain (2000), Carnival and Other Christian Festivals: Folk Theology and Folk Performance (2003), and Sacred Folly: A New History of the Feast of Fools (2011). His work has won the Otto Gründler Book Prize, and (twice) the David Bevington Award for the Best New Book in Early Drama Studies. 

October 26, 2015 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Helen M. Kinsella
Political Science, UW-Madison

How does war affect every day life for those involved? I analyze the role of sleep in the United States-led counterinsurgency war in Afghanistan and Pakistan from 2001, which was part of the larger U.S.-led overseas contingency operations. Nowhere more than in the capacity to sleep—the dreams and nightmares it enables, its relation to the body and to the soul, its interruptions by trauma and sometimes its failure to be interrupted by conscience, its categorization as a military logistic, and its manipulation as such—is the complexity of war's effects illuminated. 

Helen M. Kinsella is an Associate Professor in the Political Science Department at UW-Madison.  Her research and teaching interests include contemporary political theory, feminist theories, international law, especially international humanitarian and human rights, armed conflict, and gender and armed conflict. She is a graduate of University of Minnesota-Minneapolis and, prior to her appointment at Wisconsin, held pre and post doctoral fellowships at, respectively, Harvard University and Stanford University.  Her first book, The Image Before the Weapon: A Critical History of the Distinction Between Combatant and Civilian (Cornell UP, April 2011), received the 2012 Sussex International Theory Prize (The Centre for Advanced International Theory, University of Sussex) and Honorable Mention for the 2012 Lepgold Book Prize (The Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Mortara Center for International Studies, Georgetown University). 

October 19, 2015 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Vincent Lloyd
Religion, Syracuse University

It is not only activists and public intellectuals who are concerned about the injustice of mass incarceration in the United States. Incarcerated men and women have examined the "justice" of the American criminal justice system as well, often through memoir. Incarcerated writers do intellectual work, advancing understandings of justice that run counter to the justice system incarcerating them. Further, incarcerated writers often structure their writing using religious themes, such as sin, guilt, and redemption. Reading together the religion and politics implicit in prison memoirs, I argue that a dramatic shift took place in this genre over the past half century. Expansive visions of social justice have contracted into tales of personal suffering and redemption.

Vincent Lloyd is Assistant Professor of Religion at Syracuse University. His research focuses on the intersection of religion, politics, and race, drawing on the resources of critical theory. Lloyd has written The Problem with Grace: Reconfiguring Political Theology and Black Natural Law: Beyond Secularism and Multiculturalism (forthcoming), and he has edited or co-edited the books Race and Political TheologySainthood and Race, and Race and Secularism in America. He edits the journal Political Theology. Lloyd has held fellowships from Emory's James Weldon Johnson Institute for the Study of Race and Difference, the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study, and the American Council of Learned Societies. He is at work on a project entitled "Religion and Mass Incarceration." 

October 12, 2015 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Theodore Martin
English, UW-Milwaukee

What do we mean when we call something—art, culture, history—"contemporary"? While scholars tend to refer to the contemporary as if it were the name for a clearly demarcated historical period, the contemporary isn't really like other historical periods—for the simple reason that, as something ongoing and open-ended, it is not yet historical. This talk considers how the not-quite-historical category of the contemporary first emerged as a framework for literary studies in the mid-twentieth century, and how it has challenged some of the basic methodological assumptions of the discipline in ways that are still being reckoned with today. What would it mean, I ask, to think of the contemporary not as a stable period but as a conceptual problem? And what it would mean to see certain forms of contemporary fiction as a vital resource for resolving that problem?

Theodore Martin is Assistant Professor of English at the UW-Milwaukee. He specializes in post-1945 American and British fiction. His work has appeared in Modern Language Quarterly and Novel: A Forum on Fiction, and is forthcoming in the edited volume Postmodern/Postwar and After (University of Iowa Press). He is currently finishing a book titled "Contemporary Drift: Genre and the Forms of the Present." He is also writing the entry on "Temporality" for the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Literature. 

October 5, 2015 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Jennifer Gipson
French and Italian, UW-Madison

What does folklore have to do with literature? The usual answer would involve shared content: writers borrowing song, stories, or motifs from traditional materials. However, the history of folklore study or discourses surrounding it—what people thought folklore was and why it mattered—can be just as important for literature, indeed for how the very notion of the literary evolves at certain historical junctures. Considering the example of nineteenth-century France, I ask how failed efforts to document or collect popular traditions actually made questions of tradition, orality, and cultural preservation all the more important for French writers of the day and what this means for our own concepts of literary history.

Jennifer Gipson is Assistant Professor of French at UW-Madison. She holds a Ph.D. in French (2011) with a Designated Emphasis in Folklore from the University of California, Berkeley. Her research focuses on literature and folklore in nineteenth-century France as well as French in the United States, especially Louisiana and the Upper Midwest. Her article "'A Strange, Ventriloquous Voice': Louisiana Creole, Whiteness, and the Racial Politics of Writing Orality" is forthcoming in the Journal of American Folklore. She is currently preparing a book-length manuscript entitled "Phantom Storytellers: A Literary History of Folklore in Nineteenth-Century France."

September 28, 2015 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Yongming Zhou
Anthropology, UW-Madison

What are the functions of roads, both "materially" and "symbolically"? Since 1950, several highways have been built to connect Tibet with the rest of China. These roads' meanings are subject to constant construction and reinterpretation, being understood variously as heroic, monumental, liberating, mysterious, exotic, purifying, splendid, and having the ability to incite pilgrimages. This talk contributes to a broader study of "roadology," to which the speaker has been collaborating with a group of interdisciplinary scholars over the past several years. 

Yongming Zhou is a Professor of Anthropology at UW-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 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 on a project entitled Chasing Happiness: The Unhappy Life of a Western Ideal in China, 1890-2010.

September 21, 2015 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Seminar
Nathanael Andrade
History, University of Oregon

Can we trace the social pathways that ancient Christianity followed as it traveled from the Roman Mediterranean to India? Evidence of these pathways is laden with epistemic baggage. Likewise, numerous societies have produced their own testimonies for Christianity’s movement, but it is often hard to establish the relationship among such testimonies and thus their referential value. How might this evidence be navigated?

Nathanael Andrade is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Oregon. His past research has principally focused on topics relating to the Roman and late Roman Near East and its broader Mediterranean context. Since receiving his PhD at the University of Michigan in 2009, he has written Syrian Identity in the Greco-Roman World (Greek Culture in the Roman World; Cambridge University Press, 2013) and has conducted research as a regular member at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ (2012-2013). His research has also appeared in the Journal of Near Eastern Studies, the Journal of Early Christian Studies, and many other journals and edited collections.