Month: February 2017

February 28th, 2017. The Public Discourse Project Seminar: Maura Priest.

Title: Epistemic Greed

Maura Priest

Abstract: My paper argues that epistemologists and ethicists have overlooked the importance of a dangerous vice (epistemic greed). I explain what this vice is and why it is a problem. In so doing my paper sheds light on the following questions: Is the behavior of epistemic elites, (a) really much different from billionaires discussing expensive wines on a millionaire dollar yacht, and (b) do epistemic elites have the same sort of (imperfect) obligation to share in their epistemic wealth as the rich have to share in their economic wealth?

Babbidge Library, 4th Floor, Room 4/209

2/27 Moral Injury after War: Remembrance, Recovery, and Reconciliation

Monday, February 27, 2007
05:00– 7:30PM
Konover Auditorium in the Thomas Dodd Research Center
Guest Lectures by Joe Brett and David Wood
Book signing by David Wood from 6:30-7:30pm
Open to the Public, free event
Moral Injury after War: Remembrance, Recovery, and Reconciliation
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Wood and decorated veteran Joseph Brett will speak on moral injury on Monday, February 27, from 5:00-6:30 pm, at Konover Auditorium on the University of Connecticut campus. From 6:30-7:30pm Wood will be signing his book in the exhibit galleries of the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center (where there will be a reception). The auditorium is located within the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center. Two adjacent exhibits by photographer Robin Albarano and co-curator Jordan Kiper bring attention to the issues of moral wounds and veteran legacies after war. “A Legacy of Veteran Expressions after War” and “Recovery and Reconciliation after the Yugoslav Wars” will be on exhibit until February 28 and March 14, respectively. Brett and Kiper are currently undertaking a reconciliation project with Yugoslav veterans. 
David Wood has covered war and conflict around the world for more than 35 years. His second book, What Have we Done: the Moral Injury of our Longest Warsis based on his deep reporting in Iraq and Afghanistan and on veterans after they return. Wood is the senior military correspondent for The Huffington Post, where his series on severely wounded veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting.
As a Washington-based correspondent since 1980, Mr. Wood has reported on national security issues at the White House, Pentagon and State Department, and has covered conflicts in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Central America. He has accompanied U.S. military units in the field many times, both on domestic and overseas training maneuvers. He is a Future of War Fellow at New America.
Joseph Brett has been a veterans’ champion since his military service in Vietnam. He speaks on a range of veterans’ issues and volunteers his experience to assist in recovery from PTSD and moral injury. He is vice president of the Veterans Heritage Project, an Arizona 501c3 which connects students in 25 high schools with veterans. Their stories are put into books that are sent to the Library of Congress. 
Mr. Brett created and co-hosted the podcast radio shows Veterans Heritage Hour, and Front and Center USA, recorded at Arizona State University with guests from the New America-ASU collaboration on the Center on the Future of War. He also produced two veteran-centric films at Scottsdale Community College Film School. Mr. Brett holds a Master’s Degree with a focus on International Development from Harvard’s Kennedy School and has worked in Indonesia and the former Soviet Union.
University of Connecticut
405 Babbidge Road
Storrs, CT 06269-1205
The Dodd Center honors Thomas Dodd’s service as Executive Trial Counsel in the International Military Tribunal, the first of the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials.Sponsored by the Thomas Dodd Research Center, Human Rights Institute, UConn Humanities Institute, the Humility and Conviction in Public Life Project, the Department of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages, the Department of Philosophy, and the James Barnett Chair of Humanistic Anthropology.
For more information, contact: The Thomas Dodd Research Center at 860-486-5131or Jordan Kiper at 860-471-6361.

February 23 and 24, 2017. Facilitator Training “Civic Reflection and Facilitated Dialogue” at UCHI

Led by Deva Woodly (Assistant Professor, Politics, The New School).

February 23, 2017  — 9:00-5:00    &   February 24, 2017  —  9:00-2:00

By pre-registration only.

Sponsored by Humanities Institute / Human Rights Institute 

For more information please send an email to Brendan Kane: or Dana Miranda:

UCHI and Humanities House Collaborate to Talk Careers and the Humanities

George Moore

UCHI and Humanities House Collaborate to Talk Careers and the Humanities

UCHI Dissertation Fellow George Moore inaugurated a new collaborative effort between UCHI and Humanities House to help undergraduates interested in the humanities to think about careers and opportunities during and after their BA degree. More than ever, skills in communication, writing, and critical thinking and analysis are crucial in the workplace; a focus in the humanities, whether it be a major or minor, sets students up for success. To answer questions and help undergraduates think about future career strategies, several UCHI fellows will be visiting with Humanities House students for informal conversations about their experiences and research in academia and beyond. Thanks to George for starting this collaboration and dialogue!


For more on Humanities House see:



Alan Liu: “Toward Critical Infrastructure Studies: Digital Humanities, New Media Studies, and the Culture of Infrastructure”(University of California, Santa Barbara)

In an era when complexly “smart” and hybrid material-virtual infrastructures ranging from the micro to the macro scale seem to obviate older distinctions between material base and cultural superstructure, how can the digital humanities and new media studies join in an emergent “critical infrastructure studies”? What are the traditions of such studies? What is the topic’s scope? What are some especially high-value areas for intervention by digital humanists and new media scholars/artists? And how can digital scholars in the humanities and arts collaborate with digital social scientists taking up similar matters? In this talk, Alan Liu considers the hypothesis that today’s “cultural studies” is a mode of critical infrastructure studies.

BioAlan Liu is Professor in the English Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara.  He has published books titled Wordsworth: The Sense of History (1989); The Laws of Cool: Knowledge Work and the Culture of Information (2004); and Local Transcendence: Essays on Postmodern Historicism and the Database (2008).  Recent essays include “Hacking the Voice of the Shuttle: The Growth and Death of a Boundary Object” (2016), “Is Digital Humanities a Field?—An Answer from the Point of View of Language” (2016), “N + 1: A Plea for Cross-Domain Data in the Digital Humanities” (2016), “The Big Bang of Online Reading” (2014), “The Meaning of the Digital Humanities” (2013), and “Where is Cultural Criticism in the Digital Humanities?” (2012).  Liu started the Voice of the Shuttle web site for humanities research in 1994.  Projects he has directed include the University of California Transliteracies Project on online reading and the RoSE (Research-oriented Social Environment) software project. Liu is founder and co-leader of the advocacy initiative. Currently he is leading the big-data, topic-modeling project titled “WhatEvery1Says” on public discourse about the humanities.

DHMS News and Upcoming Events

Get to Know Our Fellows: Four Questions with Daniel Hershenzon

hershenzon-What is your academic background and what is your current position in UCHI/at UConn/Your Home Institution?

My first degree, from the University of Tel Aviv, is a double major of Philosophy and History. Before getting this degree , I was studying industrial design. I left the world of design for the university when I realized that I was enjoying the history and theory classes much more than the design workshops. After receiving my B.A., I continued to study towards a Masters degree and in 2004 enrolled in a PhD program in the Department of History at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. I was lucky to spend two years of my graduate studies researching in Spain (in Madrid, Valladolid, Barcelona, and the Canary Islands!), and another year in Florence, Italy, with a postdoctoral fellowship after I graduated. Then, I took my current position at the Department of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages, where I mostly teach medieval and early modern Spanish history.

-What is the project you’re currently working on?

I am completing a book that examines the entangled histories of early modern Spain, Morocco, and Ottoman Algiers, and by extension the entangled lives of Christian and Muslim captives in the region. Captivity was a serious problem in the early modern Mediterranean, and scholars estimate the number of captives, Muslims and Christians, in 2 to 3 millions. The book argues that piracy, captivity, and redemption shaped the sea, a space integrated on the social, economic, and political levels. It demonstrates that despite confessional differences, the lives of Muslim and Christian captives were interrelated and formed part of a single Mediterranean system of bondage. These captivities were connected by a political economy of ransoming shaped by ecclesiastic ransom institutions; Spanish, Ottoman, and Moroccan rulers; captives and kin; and Jewish, Muslim, and Christian ransom intermediaries. They all interacted through texts that captives created and circulated across the sea. The history that emerges from these stories is both local and Mediterranean. It offers a comprehensive analysis of competing Spanish, Algerian, and Moroccan imperial projects intended to shape Mediterranean mobility structures. Simultaneously, the project reveals the tragic upending of the lives of individuals by these imperial maritime political agendas.

-How did you arrive at this topic?

I became interested in captivity when I wrote a seminar paper analyzing the autobiographies of former Spanish captives. I was fascinated by how ex captives sought to convince their readers that they did not convert to Islam during their captivity, and yet, their accounts abound with different forms of religious, cultural, and imperial boundary crossing. I also began to see how problematic the absence of Muslim captives from this history is. Finally, I was struck by the importance of writing for captives—not only as a medium to make claims about one’s past after ransom, but also during captivity. Captives constantly wrote letters trying to arrange their ransom, and in its turn, this epistolary circulation extended the boundaries of maritime communities across the sea, putting captives in charge of channeling information about community members who had died, converted as captives, or suffered martyrdom. As importantly, researching Mediterranean captivity allowed me to spend two years in the Mediterranean.

-What impact might your work have on a larger public understanding of your topic?

As a historian, I engage in debates on the emergence of European territorial identities, cross-Mediterranean maritime networks, the political economy of forced migration, and the struggle between state and church over that mobility’s control and meaning. I do so by analyzing early modern interactions among 17th century Christian and Muslim captives, enslavers, redeeming friars, merchants, and rulers who struggled to shape piracy, slavery, and redemption according to their shifting vision – religious, economic, and political. The multiple cross-maritime interactions I explore do more than counter an image of a declining 17th-century Mediterranean dissolving into nation-states. They force us to rethink early modern Europe and its others questioning how seemingly European territorial identities were shaped by transnational maritime networks and their transformation. In this sense, the framework that my book proposes for the history of the early modern Mediterranean and Europe have repercussions beyond that specific history and can provide a lens through which to understand the current ongoing crisis surrounding mobility across the sea.



Study Groups, or, How Professors Go Back to School




One avenue is the UCHI supported study group, an opportunity to create a space to learn and think. In Spring 2017, UCHI encouraged a few of the groups to take their topics and ideas public, and share with the larger UConn community the kinds of debates, publications, and engagements that their Study Group has been pursuing.

Here Spring 2017 events

Want to start a group of your own? Check this out


Read what three Study Group organizers have to say about their experiences

Click here to see the interviews of the three study group organizers

Why did you start your study group?

Cathy J. Schlund-Vials: This group was initially “born” as a result of a serendipitous meeting with Harry van der Hulst (Professor, Department of Linguistics). Harry and I met at a College of Liberal Arts and Sciences fall semester “open house.” I was the faculty representative for the Asian and Asian American Studies Institute; as part of our “display,” I had a number of graphic novels authored by Asian American artists/writers. Harry was the representative for Linguistics; we chatted and realized that we were both quite interested in graphic narrative, though we came to the topic from entirely different perspectives and disciplines. This cross-disciplinary discussion led to a much more expansive vision intended to bring together in dialogic fashion a variety of UConn scholars (at the graduate and faculty levels, from multiple departments and units). Indeed, as we discussed the idea of a “comics” study group with colleagues, it quickly became apparent that a number of individuals were doing research in this area.

Fred Lee: I attended writing workshops and reading groups throughout graduate school and throughout my years on the adjunct/post-doc market. I basically consider reading and writing to be group and, in the best of cases, community activities. So my second year at UConn, I worked with Jane Gordon, who was also new, and Michael Morrell, our subfield chair, to start a political theory workshop.

Bhakti Shringarpure: I started this study group in Fall 2015 in an attempt to unite various faculty and graduate students in different departments that were working in the general area of Digital Humanities.


What has been the best outcome?

CS-V: As the study group has continued, and as the discussion as developed, what is most exciting is the degree to which it has maintained its interdisciplinary dimensions. These exchanges have given rise to more in-depth conversations involving teaching and research. Moreover, it has been rewarding to see how the initiative has grown to encompass multiple texts, sites, and imaginaries (which involve contemplations of form, culture, language acquisition, and politics).


FL: The best outcome has been starting new conversations between political thinkers at UConn, as well as conversations between UConn political theorists and political theorists abroad. In other words, the outcome is the thinking that occurs in, around, and after coming together to discuss a published work, a work-in-progress, or a public lecture. These have been the main goals from the beginning.


BS: Though UConn has had digital initiatives over the years, the efforts have been sporadic. It has been great to have like-minded academics come under the same roof to discuss, debate and explore various aspects of the digital. Digital humanities is perceived mainly as a space for digitization and archive projects, creation of platforms, and innovative use of tools. The study group emphasizes theory and history. One of the best outcomes has been that we have take time as a group to critically investigate the field through our readings.


What hopes do you have for the programming this year and ‘going public’?

FL: Folks both inside and outside of political science underestimate the intellectual differences already existing within the discipline. My hope is that scholars both here and elsewhere become more aware of the fact that UConn Political Science, where the workshop is centered, is a place for innovative, humanistic, and trans-disciplinary thinking about politics. (This is my preferred understanding of “political theory.”)


BS: Our theme this year has been "Revolution and the Digital" and I am hoping to generate a campus wide discussion on the mass movements that have been part of our recent history and the role that digital medias have played in it. The role of the digital is highly contested and there are two very belligerent camps; the ones who think that the digital is the answer to all our problems and those that believe it is of absolutely no significance and if anything, a deterrent to activism. I hope that going public on this subject will bridge this worrisome gap.


If someone was interested in starting a study group, what advice would you give?

CS-V: I would recommend “going for it” – these types of exchanges are uniquely fostered by the UCHI.

BS: I would advise them to consider new developments in their field and try to come up with the larger questions that are relevant to the field. I would also ask them to plan everything with a collaborative spirit and hopefully, with the help and advice of a like-minded and enthusiastic fellow faculty. In choosing a subject, it is important that it is fundamentally interdisciplinary and cuts across various levels of expertise and interests.


To those who might say about a study group ‘but I already have too much reading and work to do’ what might you say?

CS-V: I would argue that the work we do – as researchers, scholars, and practitioners – is often quite isolating; having such academic communities is generative, productive, and restorative.

FL: Don’t we all! I would say study groups are “continuing education” for professors, and well worth the effort.


What study group ideas would you like to offer to the community?

FL: How about a study group that encompasses all progressive intellectual tendencies—a “popular front” of sorts? An aim could be to think together about how various liberal to left orientations do and do not fit together (human rights, intersectionality, critical theory, post-colonial, and so forth).

BS: I think there are many pressing issues that need to be worked through at this time. Study groups that can harness intellectual energies on the subjects as large as incarceration in the United States, the trends towards anti-Humanities programming, and wide-ranging conversations on neoliberalism. I do believe that moving forward, there has to be a focus on pedagogical strategies when it comes to thinking about the issues I outlined above.




Cathy J. Schlund-Vials holds a Joint Appointment as Professor in the Department of English and the Asian and Asian American Studies Institute in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Connecticut. She has been Director of the Asian and Asian American Studies Institute at UConn since 2010. She is also currently the President of the national Association for Asian American Studies.

Fred Lee holds a Joint Appointment as Assistant Professor Political Science and Asian and Asian American Studies. Lee received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles. He works across the fields of continental political theory, comparative ethnic studies, and American political development.

Bhakti Shringarpure is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English. She got her Ph.D in Comparative Literature at The Graduate Center at the City University of New York and her specialties include Postcolonial literature and theory (Anglophone and Francophone), Third World feminism, cinema, conflict studies, space and urbanism, digital publishing.

Translation and Human Rights in Troubled Times. Celebrating the launch of UConn’s Program in Literary Translation with an evening of award-winning translators.

Feb. 21, 2017, 6:00 PM at the University of Connecticut’s Konover Auditorium

At a time of international unrest and misunderstanding, the UConn Storrs campus will host an evening of talks by three distinguished translators of world literature to discuss how translation can protect and celebrate human rights across the boundaries of language.

Carles Torner – Executive Director PEN International, the world’s leading international literary and human rights organization – will join acclaimed translators Edith Grossman and Esther Allen on Feb. 21, 6PM at the University of Connecticut’s Konover Auditorium. Their subject: the key role that translation plays in protecting human rights through the sharing and preservation of world literature.

In her genre-defining book Why Translation Matters, Grossman writes: “Despotic governments are willing to go to extraordinary lengths in their usually successful, tragic official efforts to control, restrict, and narrow access to the spoken and written word.” Join us as we celebrate the spoken and written word, and explore the ways a new generation of translators can contribute to this important work.

This event is co-sponsored by UConn’s Humanities Institute and Human Rights Institute.

Date: Tuesday, February 21st, 6PM, with opening reception

Location: Konover Auditorium, Thomas J. Dodd Center, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT

Participant biographies:

Carles Torner is Executive Director of PEN International; he is a literary translator and has published several books of poetry in Catalan, the most recent being La núvia d’Europa (Europe’s bride, 2009). In 1998 he was awarded the National Critic’s Award for Viure després (Life afterwards). His most

recent collection of fiction and nonfiction essays is L’arca de Babel (Babel’s arch, 2005). He has held senior positions in PEN International (1993-2004), and is at present the Head of the Literature and the Humanities Department of the Institut Ramon Llull, which aims for the international promotion and translation of Catalan literature.

Edith Grossman is a translator and critic, the recipient of awards and honors including Fulbright, Woodrow Wilson, and Guggenheim Fellowships, the PEN Ralph Manheim Medal Translation-and-Human-Rights-Event-Posterfor Translation, an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Queen Sofía Translation Prize, the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, and induction into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Grossman has brought over into English poetry, fiction, and non-fiction by major Latin American writers, including Gabriel García Márquez, Carlos Fuentes, Mario Vargas Llosa, Álvaro Mutis, Mayra Montero, and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. Peninsular works that she has translated include Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes, novels by Julián Ríos, Carmen Laforet, Carlos Rojas, and Antonio Muñoz Molina, poetry of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, The Solitudes of Luis de Góngora, and the Exemplary Novels of Miguel de Cervantes.

Esther Allen is a writer and translator who teaches in the CUNY Graduate Center Ph.D. Programs in French and in Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Literatures and Languages, and at Baruch College, CUNY. Among her many translations are works by Jorge Luis Borges, Gustave Flaubert, and Jose Marti. A two-time recipient of National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellowships, she has been a fellow at the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers and at at the Grad Center’s Leon Levy Center for Biography. She co-founded the PEN World Voices Festival in 2005, and has worked with the PEN/Heim Translation Fund since its inception in 2003 . In 2006, the French government named her a Chevalier de l’ordre des arts et des lettres and in 2012 she received the Feliks Gross Award from the CUNY Academy for the Arts and Sciences. Her most recent translation is of Antonio Di Benedetto’s 1956 classic Zama, published by New York Review Books Classics.


For more information, please contact:

Peter Constantine, Director, Program in Literary Translation



Brian Sneeden, Graduate Assistant, Program in Literary Translation