News

DHMS Presents: Andrew Piper on Textual Evidence in a Time of Data

The Digital Humanities and Media Studies Initiative Present. Can We Be Wrong?: The Problem of Textual Evidence in a Time of Data. Andrew Piper, Professor, Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, McGill University. February 8, 2023, 1:00pm. Live. Online. Registration required.

This event will include automated captioning. If you require accommodation to attend this event, please contact us at uchi@uconn.edu or by phone (860) 486-9057. We can request ASL interpreting, computer-assisted real time transcription, and other accommodations offered by the Center for Students with Disabilities.

The Digital Humanities and Media Studies Initiative presents:

Can We Be Wrong?: The Problem of Textual Evidence in a Time of Data

Andrew Piper

February 8, 2022, 1:00pm
Live. Online. Registration required.

This talk will address the problem of generalization when it comes to text-based evidence. How can we move, reliably and credibly, from individual observations about texts to more general beliefs about the world? The rise of computational methods has highlighted major shortcomings informing traditional approaches to textual analysis. In this talk, I will illustrate how we can use methods like machine-learning to study texts and reflect on the limitations (and affordances) of traditional text analysis.

Andrew Piper is Professor and William Dawson Scholar in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at McGill University. He is the director of .txtlab a laboratory for cultural analytics, and author most recently of Can We Be Wrong? The Problem of Textual Evidence in a Time of Data (Cambridge) and Enumerations: Data and Literary Study (Chicago).

Fellow’s Talk: Hind Ahmed Zaki on Feminism, Law, and Violence

UCHI Fellow's Talks 2022–23. Gendered Sovereignty: Feminist Politics, , Law, and Violence in Egypt and Tunisia (2011-2017). Assistant Professor, Political Science & LCL Hind Ahmed Zaki. With a response by Britney Murphy. February 8, 2023, 3:30pm. Humanities Institute Conference Room. This event will also be livestreamed.

Gendered Sovereignty: Feminist Politics, Law, and Violence in Egypt and Tunisia (2011–2017)

Hind Ahmed Zaki (Assistant Professor of Political Science and Literatures, Cultures, & Languages, UConn)

with a response by Britney Murphy (Ph.D. Candidate, History, UConn)

Wednesday, February 8, 2023, 3:30pm, Humanities Institute Conference Room (HBL 4-209)

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The event will also be livestreamed with automated captioning.

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The few months following the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia in 2010–2011, more widely known as the first wave of the Arab spring, were an exhilarating time for a diverse set group of feminists. New women-led groups were forming at an astonishing rate, with new feminist initiatives and collectives springing up every day. These initiatives ranged from seeking to influence post-revolutionary constitutions, negotiating women’s safety in public and at home, fighting for increased political participation, and holding state agents accountable for committing acts of gender-based violence. Despite their diversity, these groups shared an engagement with the Law as the main tool for improving the status of women. All saw the uprisings as an opportunity to negotiate laws that had produced the gendered legal categories they had to contest everywhere.

This talk situates feminist activism in the context of the Arab spring within broader political struggles over the limits of state’s authority in the aftermath of uprisings. I theorize outcomes of feminist politics through a new framework that I term gendered sovereignty: the web of attachments, procedurals, and identities that are formed in relation to histories of state sponsored legal feminism that are, in turn, closely tied with longer histories of authoritarian rule. I draw on three years (2013–2017) of multi-cited ethnographic field work, 200 in-depth interviews, archival research, NGO reports, court cases, draft by-laws, transcripts of transitional justice proceedings, to illuminate the ways in which histories of state-sponsored feminist were implicated in the production of local notions and practices of state sovereignty over the long durée, and the ways in which contemporary feminist movements challenged gendered practices of state sovereignty following the uprisings. Applying this framework comparatively to the cases of Egypt and Tunisia, I show how in Tunisia, legal reforms related to combatting gender-based violence played a major role in reinstating state power and authority; while in Egypt sovereignty and prestige were restored through the suspension of juridical and legal state powers, and the use of state-sanctioned gendered violence. Ultimately, I argue that feminist identities created through affective, procedural, and legal attachments to histories of state-sponsored feminism, not only influenced the political outcome for women’s rights, but also reshaped state sovereignty through reproducing, reinforcing, and challenging the prerogative and carceral powers of the authoritarian states. As such, this research project places feminist projects at the heart of broader struggles for democratization, human dignity and rights. It also questions common liberal assumptions about the links between gender justice and the rule of law, especially in transitional political contexts.

Hind Ahmed Zaki an Assistant Professor of Political Science and Literatures, Cultures, and Languages. She joined UConn in 2019 and received her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Washington in Seattle in 2018. Prior to joining UConn, Dr. Ahmed Zaki was the Harold Grinspoon postdoctoral fellow at Brandies University (2018/2019), and Middle East Initiative Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School. Her scholarly interests span feminist political theory and praxis, transnational feminist movements and politics, gender-based violence, and comparative politics of the state, with a special focus on the Middle East and North Africa. Dr. Ahmed Zaki’s research is published in several languages. She has been an elected member at large of the board of the Association for Middle East Women’s Studies (AMEWS) since 2018.

Access note

If you require accommodation to attend this event, please contact us at uchi@uconn.edu or by phone (860) 486-9057. We can request ASL interpretation, computer-assisted real time transcription, and other accommodations offered by the Center for Students with Disabilities.

A New Director for the Humanities Institute

We are very excited to welcome Professor Anna Mae Duane as the fourth director of the UConn Humanities Institute. Her appointment as director will begin this August.

As Provost Anne D’Alleva noted in her announcement of Professor Duane’s appointment, Professor Duane was selected from a very impressive pool of candidates and “has demonstrated a commitment to and understanding of the humanities across a range of disciplines and support for the diverse voices and perspectives that constitute UCHI.”

The recipient of two UCHI fellowships, Professor Duane is deeply involved in interdisciplinary scholarship at UConn and beyond. A professor of English, Professor Duane conducts research that reaches beyond disciplinary boundaries, engaging with childhood studies, literary and critical theory, and disability studies.

Professor Duane has articulated an exciting vision for the Humanities Institute—building on the legacy created over the past twenty-one years, in large part by the leadership of current director Michael Lynch, and branching out in new directions to create an even more robust and vibrant community of humanities scholars at UConn. We can’t wait to see that vision in action.

We’d like to thank the search committee for their work, and we would also like to thank the whole Provost’s office for overseeing the search process, with special thanks to Senior Vice Provost Jeffrey Shoulson.

A Message from the New Director

Anna Mae Duane headshot

It’s a dream come true for me to lead the Humanities Institute here at UConn. As a faculty member and as a UCHI fellow, I’ve had a front row seat to the remarkable leadership of our previous Director, Michael Lynch, Director of Academic Affairs Alexis Boylan, and the rest of the UCHI team, including Yohei Igarashi, Elizabeth Della Zazzera, Nasya Al-Saidy, and Mary Volpe. Together, they have fostered an internationally recognized site of intellectual excellence that fosters cutting-edge research and collaboration. As we move forward, I am committed to building on this foundation by continuing our outreach to renowned scholars in the humanities across the globe, while expanding our efforts within the UConn community to support our faculty and students.
—Anna Mae Duane

Fellow’s Talk: Stefan Kaufmann on the Language of Time and Possibility

UCHI Fellow's talks 2022–23. "Speaking of time and possibility" Associate professor of Linguistics Stefan Kaufmann, with a response by Kareem Khalifa. February 1, 2023, 3:30pm. UCHI Conference Room. This event will also be livestreamed.

Speaking of Time and Possibility

Stefan Kaufmann (Associate Professor of Linguistics, UConn)

with a response by Kareem Khalifa (Philosophy, UCLA)

Wednesday, February 1, 2023, 3:30pm, Humanities Institute Conference Room (HBL 4-209)

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The event will also be livestreamed with automated captioning.

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All languages provide their speakers with ways to talk about uncertainty, unrealized possibilities, expectations for the future and evaluations of the past. Conditional sentences (if-then sentences in English) are prime examples:

  1. If Biden runs in 2024, Kim will vote for him.
  2. If Biden ran in 2024, Kim would vote for him.
  3. If Biden had run in 2024, Kim would have voted for him.

The interpretation of these sentences depends to a large extent on the temporal expressions (tense, aspect, adverbs) in their constituents. Interestingly, conditional constructions create special environments in which temporal expressions seem to take on meanings which they don’t have elsewhere. But what exactly are those special meanings, and how (if at all) are they related to their ordinary meanings? Such questions have attracted much attention in Linguistics and Philosophy. The patterns we find, not only in English but also across languages, offer fascinating case studies on the relationship between superficial diversity and underlying uniformity in the mapping between meaning and form. In this talk I will outline some of the issues and sketch my own ongoing work.

Stefan Kaufmann is an Associate Professor of Linguistics at the University of Connecticut. Prior to joining UConn in 2013, he received his PhD at Stanford in 2001, was a postdoctoral fellow at Kyoto University, and taught at Northwestern University. His research revolves around the meaning and use of language: how information is encoded in linguistic expressions, the range of variability of this encoding across languages, and what linguistic patterns can reveal about the way speakers view and think about themselves and their physical and social surroundings.

Kareem Khalifa is a professor of philosophy at UCLA (2022–present). Prior to that, he was at Middlebury College in Vermont (2006–2022). His research interests include general philosophy of science, philosophy of social science, and epistemology. In addition to authoring over 30 articles, he authored the book, Understanding, Explanation, and Scientific Knowledge (Cambridge, 2017) and co-edited Scientific Understanding and Representation: Modeling in the Physical Sciences (Routledge, 2022). He is currently extending his previous work in these areas to social-scientific conceptions of race and segregation. He is currently a Future of Truth Fellow at the University of Connecticut’s Humanities Institute. In 2025, he will be the Senior Visiting Fellow at the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Philosophy of Science. In 2017, he received the American Council of Learned Societies’ Burkhardt Award, which funded a five-year project, Explanation as Inferential Practice.

Access note

If you require accommodation to attend this event, please contact us at uchi@uconn.edu or by phone (860) 486-9057. We can request ASL interpretation, computer-assisted real time transcription, and other accommodations offered by the Center for Students with Disabilities.

2023–24 Humanities Research Fellowship Information Session

Humanities research fellowships for UConn undergraduates. Information Session. January 30, 2023, 2:30pm. Humanities Institute Conference Room

Humanities Research Fellowship Information Session

January 30, 2023, 2:30pm

Humanities Institute Conference Room, HBL 4-209 and on Zoom. Registration is required for virtual attendees.

We are holding an information session for prospective applicants for the 2023–24 Humanities Research Fellowship—a year-long fellowship for UConn undergraduates pursuing innovative research in the humanities. In this session, we will go over the application process, offer tips and tricks for writing a compelling application, and answer questions.

For more details on the fellowship, see the call for applications. Applications are due February 24, 2023.

ACCESS NOTE

Virtual attendees will have access to automated captioning. If you require accommodations to attend, please email uchi@uconn.edu or contact us by phone at (860) 486-9057. We can request ASL interpreting, computer-assisted real time transcription, and other accommodations offered by the Center for Students with Disabilities.

Fellow’s Talk: Elva Orozco Mendoza on Mothers Reclaiming Our Children

2022–23 UCHI Fellow's Talk. All Prisoners are Somebody's Children: Mothers ROC—Resisisting People of Color's Captivity Through Direct Action. Assistant Professor Political Science & WGSS, Elva Orozco Mendoza, with a response by Julia Brush. January 25, 2023, 3:30pm. Humanities Institute Conference Room. This event will also be livestreamed.

All Prisoners Are Somebody’s Children: Mothers ROC—Resisting People of Color’s Captivity Through Direct Action

Elva Orozco Mendoza (Assistant Professor of Political Science and WGSS, UConn)

with a response by Julia Brush (Ph.D. Candidate, English, UConn)

Wednesday, January 25, 2023, 3:30pm, Humanities Institute Conference Room (HBL 4-209)

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The event will also be livestreamed with automated captioning.

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Following the 1992 uprising in Los Angeles, California, several grassroots organizations emerged to protest the growing imprisonment of Black and Latino men under false or exaggerated charges. One such organization was Mothers Reclaiming our Children, Mothers ROC, formed by women whose children had been incarcerated as they sought to promote a gang truce to bring peace to their neighborhoods. This chapter draws on historical archives, films, web content, and other literary sources to discuss Mothers ROC’s grassroots mobilization against forced separation due to their children’s imprisonment. I argue that Mothers ROC’s activism helped to change the persistent association of Blackness and criminality produced at the highest levels of government by reclaiming motherhood as a political and ethical orientation. While often stigmatized and blamed for fomenting their children’s lawless behavior, Mothers ROC members worked to reclaim their children in several ways. First, by contesting their physical captivity and denouncing the institutions that deliberately fabricated the systematic imprisonment of Black and Latinx youth. Second, by invoking the mothers’ right to tell their children’s stories instead of allowing the state criminalization efforts to go unchallenged. Third, by working to change structural injustice and call public officials accountable for their actions. Lastly, by healing the harm inflicted onto their children and strengthening community ties. As a result, Mothers ROC’s initiatives contributed to longstanding struggles for Black people’s freedom in the United States.

Elva Orozco Mendoza is an assistant professor of political science and women, gender, and sexuality studies at the University of Connecticut. She joined UConn in the fall of 2021 and received her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in February of 2015. Prior to joining UConn, she taught at Texas Christian University and Drexel University. Her research interests include extreme gender violence, democratic theory and practice, protest politics and political action in Latin America, comparative political theory, and coloniality/decoloniality thought. At UConn, she teaches courses in comparative political theory, decolonial feminisms, and Latin American and Latinx feminist theory.

Julia Brush is a doctoral candidate in English with a graduate certificate in Literary Translation at the University of Connecticut. Her research focuses on contemporary poetry and poetics, queer theory, and transnational American studies, critical refugee studies, and Asian American Studies. While at UCHI, she will complete her dissertation, “State/Less Aesthetics: Queer Cartographies, Transnational Terrains, and Refugee Poetics.”

Access note

If you require accommodation to attend this event, please contact us at uchi@uconn.edu or by phone (860) 486-9057. We can request ASL interpretation, computer-assisted real time transcription, and other accommodations offered by the Center for Students with Disabilities.

DHMS Presents Diana Seave Greenwald on Data-Driven Histories of Art

The Digital Humanities and Media Studies Initiative Presents: Painting by Numbers: Creeaeting Data-Driven Histories of Art. Diana Seave Greenwald, Assistant Curator, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. January 25, 2023, 1:00pm. Humanities Institute Conference Room, Homer Babbidge Library.

This event will include automated captioning. If you require accommodation to attend this event, please contact us at uchi@uconn.edu or by phone (860) 486-9057. We can request ASL interpreting, computer-assisted real time transcription, and other accommodations offered by the Center for Students with Disabilities.

The Digital Humanities and Media Studies Initiative presents:

Painting by Numbers: Creating Data-Driven Histories of Art

Diana Seave Greenwald

January 25, 2022, 1:00pm
Live. Online. Registration required.
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This talk presents how one can blend historical and social scientific methods to provide fresh insights into nineteenth-century art. It describes the extent to which art historians have focused on a limited—and potentially biased—sample of artwork from that time. With new quantitative evidence for more than five hundred thousand works of art, one can address long-standing art historical questions about the effects of industrialization, gender, and empire on the art world.

In particular, this presentation focuses on a case study that combines theory from labor economics with data about works by nineteenth-century women artists. It examines how women artists’ domestic responsibilities forced them to be active in certain genres and media—particularly still-life paintings and watercolors—that are faster to finish and can be completed on a more flexible schedule. This insight about how artistic form and content change in response to demands on women’s time highlights structural barriers that still hamper nineteenth-century women artists’ posthumous reputations and continue to limit women artists’ attainment today.

Diana Seave Greenwald is an art historian and economic historian. Her work uses both statistical and qualitative analyses to explore the relationship between art and broader social and economic change during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, particularly in the United States and France. Her first book, Painting by Numbers: Data-Driven Histories of Nineteenth Century Art, was published by Princeton University Press in 2021.

Diana is currently the William and Lia Poorvu Interim Curator of the Collection at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Prior to joining the Gardner, she was an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellow at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., working in the departments of American ansd British Paintings and Modern Prints and Drawings.

She received a D.Phil. in History from the University of Oxford. Before doctoral study, Diana earned an M.Phil. in Economic and Social History from Oxford and received a Bachelor’s degree in Art History from Columbia University.

Call for Applications: 2023–24 Undergraduate Humanities Research Fellowships

Humanities research fellowships for UConn undergraduates. Apply by February 24, 2023.

The UConn Humanities Institute (UCHI) and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) are excited to once again offer year-long fellowships for undergraduate students pursuing innovative research in the humanities.

The fellowship supports a year-long research project supervised by a UConn faculty member. The project should explore big questions about human society and culture and should lead to an original contribution to your area of study. The exact parameters (length, format, etc) will be set by your faculty advisor. Depending on your major and your academic and professional plans, your project may consist of a scholarly research project or a creative product with a significant research component. At the end of the year, students will submit the final project to their faculty advisor, UCHI, and CLAS.

The project should ask questions or explore issues and ideas that feel urgent and exciting to you. We highly encourage proposals for projects that use methods, ideas, and approaches from more than one discipline.

Fellows will be welcomed as members of the Humanities Institute, a lively community of accomplished faculty and graduate student scholars conducting advanced research in the humanities. In addition to immersion in this intellectual community, the fellowship offers:

  • A $2,000 scholarship
  • A desk/work area at UCHI, located conveniently in Homer Babbidge Library for conducting research
  • Bi-weekly check-in meetings
  • A public presentation about the project at UCHI in the spring semester
  • Participation at UCHI’s events (for example, presentations by visiting scholars and artists) and special opportunities to meet with such visiting speakers
  • A field trip or cultural excursion (for example, a visit to a museum or archive) to be announced during the year
  • The opportunity to present your work at the Humanities Undergraduate Research Symposium the fall following your fellowship year
  • 6 credits for the academic year, through the successful completion of one 3-credit independent study each semester with the UConn faculty member supervising your project
  • (For non-Honors students) Admission into the Honors Program through the successful completion of this program, if other Honors admissions criteria are met.

Eligibility

Fellowship applicants should be rising sophomores or rising juniors in good academic standing (that is, students who will be sophomores or juniors in Fall 2023). Rising seniors are also eligible to apply, but preference will be given to students earlier in their degrees.

Fellows from all campuses are welcome. But fellows are expected to be on the Storrs campus for their bi-weekly meetings. In the event that campus is closed for public health reasons, these meetings will be held virtually and the fellowship will be conducted remotely.

The proposed project should be humanities research. Broadly speaking, the “humanities” means the study of human society and culture. Humanities majors or minors typically include but are not limited to: Africana Studies; American Studies; Anthropology; Art and Art History; Asian and Asian American Studies; English; History; Human Rights; Journalism; Latino and Latin American Studies; Philosophy; Sociology; Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies. If you aren’t sure if your project is humanistic, please email uchi@uconn.edu.

Fellows should check individually with the Office of Student Financial Aid Services to ensure that they are eligible to accept the scholarship.

Application

  1. A Word document with answers to the following questions:
    1. What is your project’s title?
    2. What big question(s) is your project asking, and why are those questions important to you, your community, and society? (maximum 300 words)
    3. What is your plan for the project? What work will you do to try to answer its questions? (maximum 300 words)
    4. How do you think working on this project contributes to your own goals? (maximum 200 words)
    5. Optional question: Are there additional factors in your background or life experience that would help you benefit from this opportunity? Discuss social, economic, educational, or other obstacles, as appropriate. (maximum 300 words)
  1. A writing sample of your best research and writing (for example, your best final paper).
  2. One letter of recommendation from a UConn faculty member that also includes their willingness to supervise the project over the course of an academic year. (The faculty member should email their letter directly to uchi@uconn.edu. There’s no need to wait until the letter is complete to submit the rest of your application.)
  3. An unofficial transcript.

Deadline: Friday, February 24, 2023

All questions and application materials can be sent to uchi@uconn.edu.

We are hosting an information session for prospective applicants on January 30, 2023 at 2:30pm in the UCHI Conference Room on the fourth floor of Homer Babbidge Library and on Zoom. Virtual attendees must register.

Please know while we will make every effort to review submissions as soon as possible, the materials you submit may not be reviewed immediately upon receipt. Please note that all University employees are mandated reporters of child abuse or child neglect. In addition, UConn employees have responsibilities to report to the Office of Institutional Equity student disclosures of sexual assault and related interpersonal violence; any information you submit in this application is subject to UConn reporting policies. If you feel you need more immediate assistance or support, we encourage you to reach out to the Dean of Students Office and/or Student Health and Wellness- Mental Health. In addition, if you have concerns related to sexual harassment, sexual assault, intimate partner violence and/or stalking, we encourage you to review the resources and reporting options available at: https://titleix.uconn.edu

Fellow’s Talk: Kareem Khalifa on Segregation Indices

2022–23 Fellow's Talk: "How Value-Laden are Segregation Indices?" Professor of Philosophy, UCLA, Kareem Khalifa, with a response by Heather Cassano. December 14, 2022, 3:30pm. Humanities Institute Conference Room. This event will also be livestreamed.

How Value Laden are Segregation Indices

Kareem Khalifa (Professor of Philosophy, UCLA)

with a response by Heather Cassano (Digital Media & Design, UConn)

Wednesday, December 14, 2022, 3:30pm, Humanities Institute Conference Room (HBL 4-209)

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The event will also be livestreamed with automated captioning.

Register to attend virtually

Science’s objectivity is often thought to hinge on its impartiality. Roughly stated, impartiality is the requirement that only epistemic considerations, such as empirical evidence and cogent reasoning, should justify the acceptance of a scientific claim. Yet, the social sciences frequently employ thick concepts, i.e., concepts that both describe and evaluate. Examples include well-being, crime, poverty, and—central to our discussion—segregation. Given their inextricable link with values, it’s tempting to think that scientific claims that deploy thick concepts—so-called mixed claims—cannot be accepted impartially. Using the development of segregation indices and the operational definition of hypersegregation as illustrations, we argue that scientists’ use of thick concepts is compatible with impartial justification of mixed claims. This paper is co-authored with Jared Millson (Rhodes College) and Mark Risjord (Emory University).

Kareem Khalifa is a professor of philosophy at UCLA (2022–present). Prior to that, he was at Middlebury College in Vermont (2006–2022). His research interests include general philosophy of science, philosophy of social science, and epistemology. In addition to authoring over 30 articles, he authored the book, Understanding, Explanation, and Scientific Knowledge (Cambridge, 2017) and co-edited Scientific Understanding and Representation: Modeling in the Physical Sciences (Routledge, 2022). He is currently extending his previous work in these areas to social-scientific conceptions of race and segregation. He is currently a Future of Truth Fellow at the University of Connecticut’s Humanities Institute. In 2025, he will be the Senior Visiting Fellow at the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Philosophy of Science. In 2017, he received the American Council of Learned Societies’ Burkhardt Award, which funded a five-year project, Explanation as Inferential Practice.

Heather Cassano is a documentary filmmaker and Assistant Professor in the Digital Media & Design Department. Cassano’s first documentary film The Limits of My World (2018) followed her severely autistic brother Brian as he transitioned from the school system to adulthood. The film unpacks what it means to be a nonverbal disabled adult in today’s society. The film won several awards and is now being used as a tool for impact by organizations like Autism Canada and the National Council on Severe Autism.

Access note

If you require accommodation to attend this event, please contact us at uchi@uconn.edu or by phone (860) 486-9057. We can request ASL interpretation, computer-assisted real time transcription, and other accommodations offered by the Center for Students with Disabilities.

SEWing Circle: Manuel Almagro on Affective Polarization

The Social Epistemology Working Group Presents a SEWing circle workshop: The Concept of Affective Polarization and the Ways to Measure It, Manuel Almagro, Visiting Scholar, UConn Humanities Institute. December 15, 2022. UCHI Conference Room, Homer Babbidge Library.

If you require accommodation to attend this event, please contact us at uchi@uconn.edu or by phone (860) 486-9057. We can request ASL interpreting, computer-assisted real time transcription, and other accommodations offered by the Center for Students with Disabilities.

The Social Epistemology Working Group presents:

A SEWing Circle Workshop

The Concept of Affective Polarization and the Ways to Measure It

Manuel Almagro

December 15, 2022, 2:00pm
Homer Babbidge Library, Humanities Institute Conference Room

This event will also be livestreamed with automated captioning. Register to attend virtually.

Affective polarization is usually defined as a tendency to dislike those from other party/parties while holding positive feelings toward the in-group, and it is usually measured by asking citizens if they have cold or warm feelings toward certain political leaders, political topics, or political parties. Thus, the claim “many contemporary democracies have become affectively polarized” usually means that their citizens have become more negative in their feelings toward the other party, moving from moderate levels of sympathy toward increasingly strong dislike. Here I will argue that feelings are just an element—possibly not the most relevant one—of the complex, multidimensional concept of affective polarization. I also review the main challenges the techniques to measure affective polarization face, and discuss the possible benefits of focusing on other dimensions of the concept in order to detect it at an early stage.

Manuel Almagro is a “Margarita Salas” postdoctoral fellow at the University of Granada (Spain), currently visiting the Humanities Institute at the University of Connecticut and working with Professor Michael P. Lynch. He will join the University of Valencia (Spain) in the summer of 2023 as a “Juan de la Cierva” postdoctoral fellow. He works on political epistemology, philosophy of language, and experimental philosophy. Most of his current research is focused on affective polarization and disagreement.