Month: March 2015

Our Director Michael Lynch today at the 45th CSUF Philosophy Symposium, California State University, Fullerton

The Possibility of Rational Persuasion

Michael Lynch

Philosophers from Plato to Wittgenstein have traditionally contrasted reason with persuasion. But what about the idea of rational persuasion— of persuading someone on the basis of a reason? In this paper, I aim to do three things: investigate what rational persuasion could be, discuss an old argument for thinking it is impossible, and explore what makes it so valuable for a democracy.…/45thcsufphilosophysy…/home/poster

APRIL 16, 2015 – SHE-HULK and THE CITY

banner_cookAPRIL 16, 2015

4:00 PM Laurel Hall, Room 302, Please contact or 486-9057 to reserve a seat



Unlike DC Comics’ superheroes like Superman and Batman, who live in, and fight crime within, fictional cities such as Metropolis and Gotham, the superheroes of Marvel comics are not only city-dwellers, but inhabitants of a real city: New York.  The use of New York (and, in fact, for the most part Manhattan) as the setting for the vast majority of Marvel’s superhero stories does not merely add a sense of realism to these comics by locating these fantastic adventures in a real-life setting, in addition, the fact that these characters live in New York adds a substantial metafictional aspect to a great many of their stories. New York is not only a real city, but it is the very city within which Marvel comics are published. Marvel Comics has used a number of metafictional strategies including inserting both the company, its well-known creators and editors, and other New York luminaries into their stories.  This significantly complicates the relationship between what is fictionally true of these superheroic characters and what is actually true of their producers and consumers. In this talk Cook will look at a character and comic that is particularly rich and fruitful in this regard: John Byrne’s early 1990’s run on Sensational She-Hulk.  He will detail how the subtle interactions between the fictional world that the She-Hulk inhabits, the actual city within which these comics are produced, and the very real and very intentional overlap between the two, complicates and enriches our understanding of how fiction works within serialized narrative art.

RobertsRoy T. Cook is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities and Resident Fellow of the Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science. He has published over fifty articles and book chapters on logic, the philosophy of mathematics and the philosophy of art (especially popular art). He co-edited The Art of Comics: A Philosophical Approach (Wiley-Blackwell 2012) with Aaron Meskin, and is the author of The Yablo Paradox: An Essay on Circularity (Oxford University Press 2014) and Paradoxes (Polity 2013). He is also a co-founder of the interdisciplinary comics studies blog PencilPanelPage and hopes to someday write a book about the Sensational She-Hulk. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife, their cat Mr. Prickley, and approximately 2.5 million LEGO bricks.


Race and Anarchy Conference 3/26-3/27 UConn

Race and Anarchy Conference 3/26-3/27

Thursday, March 26th

Dodd Research Center

2:00 PM–3:20 PM              Special exhibit of anarchist and race-related papers in the Archives & Special Collections in the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, curated by Graham Stinnett (reception with refreshments will be in the hall)


Class of 1947 Room, Babbidge Library:

3:30 PM–3:45 PM              Opening Remarks: Jane Anna Gordon, Political Science and Africana Studies, and Lewis R. Gordon, Philosophy and Africana Studies


3:45 PM–4:45 PM              Reflections on Anarchy at UCONN

Introduced and moderated by Donald Baxter, Philosophy, UCONN

Leonard Krimerman, Philosophy, UCONN


4:45 PM–6:00 PM              Keynote Address

Introduced and moderated by Jeffrey Ogbar, History and Center for Popular Music, UCONN

                                                John Bracey, Afro-American Studies, UMASS-AMHERST

Friday, March 27, 2015 

African American Cultural Center, 4th Floor, Student Union, UCONN

9:00 AM–9:30 AM             Morning refreshments and opening remarks, Lewis R. Gordon and Willena Price, Director of the African American Cultural Center


9:30 AM–10:45 AM           American Perspectives on Anarchism and Race

Introduced and moderated by Fred Lee, Political Science and Asian and Asian-American Studies, UCONN

Jorell Melendez, History, UCONN

Edward Avery-Natale, Sociology, North Dakota State University


10:45 AM–12:00 PM         Decolonization and Decoloniality

Introduced and moderated by Elisa Cicchinato, University of Paris-East and Deivison Mendes Nkosi, Federal University of Brazil

George Ciccariello-Maher, Political Science and History, Drexel University

Nejm Benessaiah, Anthropology, University of Kent


12:00 PM–1:00 PM            Buffet lunch at the African American Cultural Center with a special welcome from Jelani Cobb, History and Director of the Africana Studies Institute


African American Cultural Center, 4th Floor, Student Union, UCONN

1:00 PM–2:45 PM              Indigeneity, Race, Sexuality

Introduced and moderated by Melina Pappademos, History, UCONN

Irene Calis, Political and International Studies, Rhodes University, South Africa

Tshepo Madlingozi, Law, University of Pretoria, South Africa

Tanya Saunders, Africana Studies, Ohio State University


2:45 PM–3:00 PM              Next Steps

Edward Avery-Natale

                                                George Ciccariello-Maher


3:00-3:15 PM                       Concluding remarks: Jane Gordon and Lewis Gordon


This event is free and open to the public.


Looking Beyond the Wall Encountering the Humanitarian Crisis on the Border – ROBERT NEUSTADT

Robert NeustadtApril 14, 2015  2:00 PM –

CLAS/AUSTIN, Stern Room  217

In this talk, Neustadt describes the extraordinary field trips to the Arizona/Mexico border he has been taking with students since 2010.  He discusses the environmental, financial, political and humanitarian costs of the border Wall. He also touches on how the pedagogy of field trips—experiential education—brings down walls that separate professors from students as well as students from other students. Finally, he will talk about the discursive wall that separates “us” from “them” (US citizens from undocumented migrants), a wall that silences the undocumented and obscures the humanitarian crisis on the border from most people’s view.


Robert A. Neustadt, Professor of Spanish and Director of Latin American Studies at Northern Arizona University, has published two books on performance and experimental  art. Since 2010 he has been taking classes on field trips to the U.S. / Mexico border where students experience, first hand, the human, environmental and political dimensions of immigration. He co-produced, Border Songs, a double
cd of music and spoken word about the border and immigration.

more information about the talk


The Early Evolution of Christian Philanthropy – Daniel Caner

Daniel Caner, associate professor in the departments of history and literatures, cultures, and languages. (Bri Diaz/UConn Photo)

Daniel Caner, associate professor in the departments of history and literatures, cultures, and languages

During a 300-year period that saw the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the first truly complex Christian society emerged in the Eastern Roman Empire, also known as the Byzantine Empire, that claimed much of Southeastern Europe, the Near East, and the northern coast of Africa, according to Associate Professor of History and Literatures, Cultures, and Languages Daniel Caner.

“This was first time that the state became so intertwined with a totalizing religion like Christianity,” says Caner, whose work specializes in the social and cultural history of Late Antiquity. “Starting in the 4th century, you see the state starting to fund churches and monasteries and encouraging laypeople to give to these institutions as a way to salvation.”

This new use of religious gifts by the state to promote social order, though very different from today’s secular concept of philanthropy, laid the foundation for many modern charitable practices. But while Caner says that early Christian philanthropy was part of an earnest attempt to produce a utopian society, he also emphasizes that it raises complex ethical questions that people still grapple with about wealth scarcity, acquisition, and distribution.

“The post-classical period is a fascinating study of how wealth is held onto by few people,” says Caner. “In the previous era, wealth was controlled by Roman senators and aristocracy; here you see the system challenged, broken up [with the fall of the Western Roman Empire], and reformed with another set of elites.”

UConn has been chosen to be part of the traveling Shakespeare First Folio exhibition in 2016

First FolioUConn has been selected as a host site for a national traveling exhibition in 2016 for “First Folio! The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare.”

The “First Folio” is the first collected edition of William Shakespeare’s plays published in 1623 by two of his fellow actors, seven years after the Bard’s death. The collection includes 18 plays that would otherwise have been lost, including “Macbeth,” Julius Caesar,” “Twelfth Night,” “The Tempest,” “Antony and Cleopatra,” “The Comedy of Errors” and As You Like It.” The exhibition will take place in the Gilman Gallery at the William Benton Museum of Art in Storrs.

The tour is a partnership between The Folger Shakespeare Library, Cincinnati Museum Center and the American Library Association and will be hosted by one institution in all 50 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s passing. Specific dates for the tour host sites will be announced in April.

more here