Author: Della Zazzera, Elizabeth

Publishing NOW: How to Apply for a UConn Internal Grant

Publishing NOW: How to apply for a UConn Internal Grant, Humanities-Style. with Dr. Matthew Mroz, Internal Funding Coordinator, Office of the Vice President for Research. October 6, 2021, 2:00pm. Homer Babbidge Library 4-209

Publishing NOW

How to Apply for a UConn Internal Grant, Humanities-Style

with Dr. Matthew Mroz (Internal Funding Coordinator, Office of the Vice President for Research)

October 6, 2:0pm, Homer Babbidge Library, 4–209

This event will also be livestreamed. Register to attend virtually.

Dr. Matthew Mroz is the Internal Funding and Limited Submissions Coordinator and a member of the Research Development Services team in UConn’s Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR). Dr. Mroz oversees all aspects of the OVPR’s seed grant competitions, manages the internal review and selection process for limited submission opportunities, coordinates OVPR grantwriting training programs, and generally does whatever he can to support faculty members seeking to grow their research.

He has a PhD in English Literature and Rhetoric from UConn, where he studied and taught early modern literature (particularly the work of John Milton). He also has served as Assistant Director of First-Year Writing at UConn and taught extensively in that program.

In this talk, he will give an overview of the seed grant funding available to researchers in the humanities, explore how grant funding, including internal seed grants, can enhance the productivity and impact of humanities scholars, and answer questions about the application and review process.

If you require accommodation, including live transcription, to attend this event, please contact us at uchi@uconn.edu or by phone (860) 486-9057.

Afghanistan and the Course of US Empire

The UConn Humanities Institute is proud to cosponsor

Afghanistan and the Course of US Empire

featuring Gilbert Achcar, Quan Tran, and Robert Vitalis in conversation with Chris Vials

September 29, 2021, 4:00–5:30pm
Via Zoom

Please join us for a discussion of Afghanistan and the state of US empire featuring Gilbert Achcar (University of London, Department of Development Studies), Quan Tran (Yale University), and Robert Vitalis (University of Pennsylvania, Political Science), moderated by Chris Vials (American Studies, UConn). The event will on zoom (see link below) on Wednesday, September 29 @ 4:00-5:30pm. It has been organized by UConn American Studies and is co-sponsored by Middle East Studies, Asian and Asian American Studies, Political Science, and the Humanities Institute.

The guests will consider a range of questions. What do recent events in Afghanistan reveal about the course of U.S. empire? What does the rapid seizure of the Afghan state by the Taliban reveal (and not reveal) about the place of the United States in the Middle East and around the world? Do recent events signal an emerging trajectory in the terms of US military, economic, and/or cultural power? What shape might the Taliban government take, and what are some implications for the people of Afghanistan? In terms of representation, what are some implications of the narrative, so widespread in US media, that “we lost” Afghanistan? How do the chaotic scenes of evacuation at the Kabul airport compare to the iconic “fall of Saigon” in 1975, and how does the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan compare to the end of the US war in Vietnam? What is to become of Afghan refugees, in comparison to refugees from earlier US wars, given the current geo-politics of immigration and asylum?

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88001574346?pwd=WGRSN2s5Q0pMVXh2T09DNEtpVHdtZz09

Meeting ID: 880 0157 4346
Passcode: uhgF6iv

Download the flyer.

20 Years of Fellows: Paul Bloomfield

As part of our 20th anniversary celebrations, we've checked in with former fellows to gather reflections on their fellowship years, to get an update on their fellowship projects, and to see what they are working on next. Read them all here.

Paul Bloomfield headshotPaul Bloomfield was a 2007–2008 UCHI faculty fellow and is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Connecticut. He is the author of Moral Reality (2001) and The Virtues of Happiness (2014), the editor of Morality and Self-Interest (2008) and the co-editor of Oxford Handbook for Moral Realism (forthcoming), all on Oxford University Press.


What was your fellowship project about?

I work in moral philosophy, broadly construed, and the subject of my UCHI project was the relation of being morally good to living well and being happy. This is, perhaps, the single guiding question of moral philosophy. I argue that all forms of immorality are inherently self-disrespecting, and that self-disrespect and happiness are mutually exclusive. So, the stripped-down argument goes like this:

  1. Morality is necessary for self-respect
  2. Self-respect is necessary for happiness
  3. Therefore, morality is necessary for happiness

What is it to be morally good? I answer this in terms of “the cardinal virtues”: courage, justice, temperance, and wisdom. I defend the view that becoming virtuous gives us everything we need to be as happy as is possible for us, given who we are and the circumstances into which we are born.

Would you give us an update on the project?

The project yielded a number of papers but, as a whole, was published as a monograph in 2014 entitled The Virtues of Happiness: A Theory of the Good Life by Oxford University Press. It has been reviewed in numerous journals and was the subject of an “Author Meets Critics” session at the 2016 American Philosophical Association, Pacific Division Meeting.

How did your fellowship year shape your project, or shape your scholarship in general?

I think what was most useful for me was the way that interacting with my fellow UCHI fellows forced me out of simply speaking to other philosophers and made me develop my views and arguments in ways that are more easily comprehensible to non-specialists. So, the book ended up having less jargon and a slower pace than it would otherwise have had.

Would you share a favorite memory from your time as a UCHI fellow?

I have always tried to keep my writing gender neutral and to avoid gendered pronouns. This is easier in philosophy than one might think, if one sticks to plural subjects (“they” or “people”), and impersonal singular pronouns when needed (“one”). When I presented my work to my fellow fellows, I was very pleased when two of them, Sharon Harris (who subsequently became the second director of UCHI) and Brenda Murphy—both of whom are Professors of English—noticed what I was up to and complimented me on my approach and my writing.

What are you working on now (or next)?

I have two major projects going right now. The first is that I am co-editing with Professor David Copp (UC Davis) The Oxford Handbook of Moral Realism. This will be a start of the art collection of views surrounding the idea that there are metaphysical facts about morality—facts about what is good and bad and right and wrong—and that morality is neither to be “eliminated” or “reduced” to emotions or attitudes or some other non-factual basis.

The other project is a monograph focusing on the cardinal virtues, which I mentioned above.

Our theme for UCHI’s 20th anniversary year is “The Future of Knowledge.” What would you say are some of the challenges facing the future of knowledge? And what do you think is most exciting or promising about the future of knowledge?

I think there are deep and important moral, social, and political implications to how “knowledge” is understood in the future. As we know, currently information and knowledge is being swamped by misinformation and conspiracy theories and, it now seems, the old idea that in the “marketplace of ideas, truth will win out” has been called into question. Unfortunately, I do not think the most promising ideas are terribly exciting. I think the solution begins with a patient search for common dialectical ground with those with whom we disagree, at least those who are open to reason. Then we will need humility to be open-minded with them and we’ll have to be mature enough to compromise in the name of peace and democratic prosperity. The frightening part is how to handle those who will not listen to reason, and there, I’m afraid, I’ve nothing close to a helpful solution: currently, I see no way to reason with people who are unreasonable.

Publishing NOW: How to Start a Series and How to Write for One

Publishing NOW: How to Start a Series and How to Write for One. With Bhakti Shringarpure and Grégory Pierrot. September 27, 2021, 4:00pm. HLB, 4-209.

Publishing NOW

How to Start a Series and How to Write for One

with Bhakti Shringarpure (English & Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies) and Grégory Pierrot (English)

September 27, 4:00pm, Homer Babbidge Library, 4–209

This event will also be livestreamed. Register to attend virtually.

Bhakti Shringapure is the editor for the new series Decolonize That! from O/R Books, as well as the editor-in-chief for Warscapes magazine. Grégory Pierrot is the author of Decolonize Hipsters, the first book published in the new series. They will talk about what it’s like to start and to write for a new series and offer tips for anyone looking to do the same.

If you require accommodation, including live transcription, to attend this event, please contact us at uchi@uconn.edu or by phone (860) 486-9057.

Publishing NOW 2021–2022

We have an amazing line-up of Publishing NOW events this year. Check out all of them below.

9/27 at 4:00pm: Bhakti Shringarpure and Grégory Pierrot on how to start a new book series and how to write for one.
10/6 at 2:00pm: Matthew Mroz on how to apply for a UConn internal grant, humanities-style.
11/1 at 4:00pm: Susan Herbst on publishing about politics after (?) Trump.
12/1 at 1:00pm: How to publish for the public, featuring editors from Lapham’s Quarterly, Public Books, and the Conversation.
1/31 at 4:00pm: Lewis Gordon on how to write about race now.
3/23 at 1:00pm: Leah Pennywark (University of Minnesota Press) on how to work with an academic press.

20 Years of Fellows: Alea Henle

As part of our 20th anniversary celebrations, we’ve checked in with former fellows to gather reflections on their fellowship years, to get an update on their fellowship projects, and to see what they are working on next.

Alea Henle headshotAlea Henle was a 2011–12 dissertation research scholar. A librarian and historian, she is now is Head of Access & Borrow at Miami University. She has a Masters in Library Science from Simmons College and a Ph.D. in History from the University of Connecticut. Over the past years, she’s worked in libraries from Washington, D.C. to Colorado to New Mexico and taught classes in history, librarianship, archives, and records management. Her research interests center on how decisions in libraries, archives, research centers, and commercial database providers increasingly shape the resources available–making materials paradoxically both easier and more difficult to locate.


What was your fellowship project about?
My fellowship project was my dissertation—on historical societies and historical cultures in the early United States and the ways efforts to collect and preserve materials for the writing of American history shape moden practices.

Would you give us an update on the project?
To my very great delight, the book based on the dissertation came out last year! Rescued from Oblivion: Historical Cultures in the Early United States is available from the University of Massachusetts Press, as part of the Public History in Historical Perspective series.

How did your fellowship year shape your project, or shape your scholarship in general?
The fellowship gave me time and space to think through how to organize the immense wealth of research I’d already accumulated—and the additional material that I kept coming across. I also appreciate the interactions with other fellows and their comments and suggestions—and, of course, the opportunity to learn about the wonderful projects they were working on!

Would you share a favorite memory from your time as a UCHI fellow?
I think it was at our original go-around where we discussed our research projects (or perhaps it was when a particular scholar presented) but one of the key phrases that remains with me came from another fellow’s project: a worm in a box is never just a worm in a box.

What are you working on now (or next)?
Oh, I’m working on multiple fronts at the moment. As a historian, I’ve slid into the early 20th century and am currently exploring early postcards—specifically batches of postcards that were sent to one person or individual (where possible, from the same person). I blog about this at aleahenle.com about once a week. Then I’m also working on library scholarship (since I have a Ph.D. in history but my day-to-day job is as a librarian), with a current project focusing on valuations of library collections for insurance purposes. And in my personal time (not spare time—that’s something I don’t really have) I’ve started writing (and indie publishing) contemporary and historical fantasy. Whew!

Our theme for UCHI’s 20th anniversary year is “The Future of Knowledge.” What would you say are some of the challenges facing the future of knowledge? And what do you think is most exciting or promising about the future of knowledge? The challenges facing the future of knowledge?
Here I’m going to put on both my historian and librarian hats—these include the pervasive multiplicity of information and the fragility of many of the ever-increasing formats. Ironically, paper is much more robust a medium for historical purposes than many digital formats as the latter often require specialized software and/or technology. My original research as a fellow, after all, was about early efforts to deal with preserving information/knowledge! Then there are also the witting and unwitting discussions about sources of knowledge versus sources of information—who’s an expert and/or trustworthy and who isn’t (and what criteria is used to decide). It’s all very new—and very old.

The Political Theory Workshop Presents Inés Valdez

THE POLITICAL THEORY WORKSHOP PRESENTS

Labor, Nature, and Empire: Alienation and the (Post)Colonial Political Rift

Inés Valdez, Political Science and Latina/o Studies, Ohio State University,
with commentary by Taylor Tate, Philosophy, UConn
September 13th from 12:15-1:30p.m. EST on Zoom

The chapter brings together Marx’s and Luxemburg’s accounts of capital’s voraciousness for natural resources and exploitable labor with an ecological reading of W. E. B. Du Bois’s writings on empire. Valdez argues that that racism maps onto a nature/technology divide which positions technologically advanced societies as uniquely able to rule and dictate the fates of non-white peoples. This stance devalues nature and separates these societies from it and from the racialized subjects who labor the earth’s surface and its insides, whose products are appropriated by western collectives, depleting non-western ecosystems. The viability of such a structure depends on coerced or coopted political regimes of poor countries who detach themselves from their own needs to cater to western interests, i.e., a political rift that maps into the ecological rift created by global capitalism.

With generous support from the UConn Humanities Institute.

Questions? Email jane.gordon@uconn.edu

Download the Poster

Remembrance of Things UCHI

As part of our 20th anniversary celebrations, UCHI’s founding director, Professor Richard Brown (History), shares remembrances of the early years and reflects on the significance of the Humanities Institute as it reaches this important milestone, and on the importance of the humanities, as we contemplate the future of knowledge.

When Ross MacKinnon, Dean of CLAS, invited candidates to head the humanities institute, he offered no specific vision of the institute; however, he conveyed two principal ideas: first, since the natural sciences already commanded substantial University support it was appropriate to commit resources to enhance the humanities; second, since fellowships for humanities scholarship were exceedingly scarce, a humanities institute could enable UConn faculty to excel when humanities institutes at competing universities were developing.

At the time of my appointment the University’s chronic budgetary stringency determined my first goal: a strong foundation for the UCHI budget. Though Dean MacKinnon (a geographer) was a powerful supporter, deans come and go. The next dean might terminate the UCHI. So, accompanied by Dean MacKinnon, I asked Provost John Petersen (a chemist), to match the CLAS support. Recognizing MacKinnon’s commitment, Petersen immediately agreed. Next, I turned to the Interim Vice Provost for Research and Graduate Education, Ian Hart (agricultural economics), to obtain support for graduate student fellowships. Hart agreed to fund two graduate fellowships for doctoral students. Funding in place, we organized.

It is said that “personnel is policy.” Jo-Ann Waide-Wunschel, who just retired, was our first staff hire. Her administrative acumen, cheerful demeanor, and human skills enabled UCHI to mobilize quickly. When Professor Françoise Dussart, a humanistic anthropologist, agreed to serve as associate director we began to plan the institute. Her interests and knowledge complemented mine. In addition, she enabled UCHI to model mixed-gender leadership—she would head UCHI during my leave. And by bringing diverse interests and disciplines to policymaking, the UCHI advisory committee enabled us to represent and serve multiple departments. The advisory committee also selected external UCHI fellows and graduate student fellows.

inset quote: "By studying not only objective realities, but also ways of thinking and acting—ideas, emotions, and behavior, both in the present and in the past—humanists, including those at the University of Connecticut Humanities Institute, help us to understand ourselves in the world."

Perhaps the most challenging task at first was choosing UConn faculty fellows. As a new entity, UCHI needed to earn credibility with the administration, departments, and individual faculty. To assure that local friendships and departmental politics did not taint selection, UCHI paid distinguished external scholars (always two women, two men) to assess and select internal candidates. The external scholars served staggered two-year terms so as to achieve consistency and continuity. Each year we welcomed incoming faculty, visiting scholars, and graduate student fellows at a reception.

To enhance UConn faculty success in external fellowship competitions UCHI provided workshops and individual counsel regarding applications, while also using National Endowment for the Humanities format for its own applications. UCHI worked to collaborate beyond CLAS humanities departments, developing programs with Art and Art History, Dramatic Arts, and Music, as well as the Human Rights Institute. In addition, UCHI supported humanist-oriented projects from Family Studies, Linguistics, Political Science.

Fellows’ talks, both formal and informal, as well as faculty lunch-time presentations supplied lively exchanges of ideas that helped penetrate disciplinary “silos” to promote intellectual cross-fertilization. Since creative excellence in scholarship was our mission, with support from the CLAS dean we began a biennial celebration of the many books UConn humanists published, reinforcing mutual recognition of the excellence of faculty scholarship.

All scholars engage in the “production of knowledge.” Humanists, however, also provide analysis and criticism of how and why societies produce knowledge. Research in the humanities disciplines is well suited for such analysis and criticism. By studying not only objective realities, but also ways of thinking and acting—ideas, emotions, and behavior, both in the present and in the past—humanists, including those at the University of Connecticut Humanities Institute, help us to understand ourselves in the world.


Richard Brown headshot.

Richard D. Brown, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of History, Emeritus, is a 1961 graduate of Oberlin College who attended Harvard on a Woodrow Wilson Scholarship, earning his Ph.D. in 1966. Before coming to the University of Connecticut in 1971, he taught as a Fulbright lecturer in France and at Oberlin College. His research and teaching interests have been in the political, social, and cultural history of early America. A past president of the Society of Historians of the Early American Republic and the New England Historical Association, Brown has held fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities, among others. He currently serves as president of New England Quarterly, owner and publisher of that journal. Most recently he is the author of Self-Evident Truths: Contesting Equal Rights from the Revolution to the Civil War (Yale University Press, 2017). He is also the author of Knowledge is Power: The Diffusion of Information in Early America, 1700-1865 and The Strength of a People: The Idea of an Informed Citizenry in America, 1650-1870. With Irene Quenzler Brown he is the co-author of The Hanging of Ephraim Wheeler: A Story of Rape, Incest, and Justice in Early America.

Emily Sun on On the Horizon of World Literature

The UConn Humanities Institute is proud to cosponsor

A talk by Emily Sun

on her recent book On the Horizon of World Literature: Forms of Modernity in Romantic England and Republican China.

September 30th, 4:00–5:30pm
UCHI Conference Room (Homer Babbidge Library 4-209)

Professor Sun will be joining us via Zoom. If you prefer to attend the event remotely, you can register to attend on Zoom.

Photograph of Emily SunOn the Horizon of World Literature compares literary texts from asynchronous periods of incipient literary modernity in different parts of the world: Romantic England and Republican China. These moments were oriented alike by “world literature” as a discursive framework of classifications that connected and re-organized local articulations of literary histories and literary modernities. World literature, in this sense, provided and continues to provide a condition of possibility for conversation between cultures as well as their mutual provincialization.

The book examines a selection of literary forms–the literary manifesto, the tale collection, the familiar essay, and the domestic novel–that serve also as textual sites for the enactment of new socio-political forms of life. These forms function as testing grounds for questions of simultaneously literary-aesthetic and socio-political importance: What does it mean to attain a voice? What is a common reader? How does one dwell in the ordinary? What is a woman? In different languages and activating heterogeneous literary and philosophical traditions, works by Percy Bysshe Shelley, Lu Xun, Charles and Mary Lamb, Lin Shu, Zhou Zuoren, Jane Austen, and Eileen Chang explore the far-from-settled problem of what it means to be modern in different lifeworlds.

Emily Sun is Associate Professor in Comparative Literature and Translation Studies at Barnard College. She is the author of Succeeding King Lear: Literature, Exposure, and the Possibility of Politics (Fordham UP, 2010), and On the Horizon of World Literature: Forms of Modernity in Romantic England and Republican China (Fordham UP, 2021). She has co-edited The Claims of Literature: A Shoshana Felman Reader (Fordham UP, 2007) and “Reading Keats, Thinking Politics,” a special issue of Studies in Romanticism (Summer 2011). She received her Ph.D. in comparative literature from Yale University and has taught English and comparative literature in colleges and universities in the U.S. and Taiwan.

This event is cosponsored by the English Department’s 18th/19th Century Colloquium and the Department of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages.

Download the flyer.

If you require an accommodation, including live captioning, to attend this event please contact us at uchi@uconn.edu.

The Political Theory Workshop Announces 2021–22 Speakers

The Political Theory Workshop has six exciting speakers planned for this academic year, discussing topics from citizenship to labor to decolonial movements. See below for details. If you have questions, contact the group’s organizer, Jane Gordon.

For now, only the first session will be virtual, but they will make accommodations to later events as necessary.

Monday, September 13th from 12:15-1:30p.m. [on Zoom]
“Labor, Nature, and Empire: Alienation and the (Post)Colonial Political Rift”
Inés Valdez, Political Science and Latina/o Studies, Ohio State University

Monday, October 18th, 12:15-1:30p.m., Oak 438
“Thoughts on the World, the Black and the Political,”
Ainsley LeSure, Africana Studies, Brown University

Friday, November 5th, 3:00-4:30p.m., Oak 438
“Transnational Identity and Historical Development”
Dabney Waring, Political Science, UConn

Friday, February 25th, 12:15-1:30, Oak 438
“Beyond the Prison: The Politics of Abolition”
Anna Terwiel, Political Science, Trinity College,

Monday, March 21st, 12:15-1:30p.m., Oak 438
“Gendered Citizenship: Understanding Gendered Violence in Democratic India”
Natasha Behl, Political Science, Arizona State University

Monday, April 18th, 12:15-1:30p.m., Oak 438
“From Creolization of Theory to Praxis: Feminist and Community Organization’s decolonial empowerment in Puerto Rico”
Luis Beltrán Álvarez, Political Science, UConn