When: 9:00AM – 12:00PM
What: Initiative on Campus Dialogues “Office Hours”
Where: Humanities Institute Seminar Room, Babbidge Library, 4th Floor
Organizers: Initiative on Campus Dialogues
Interested to offer a dialogue on confronting racism in your classroom, but wish to know a little more about process, possibilities and potential pitfalls? Drop in on the Humanities Institute’s Initiative on Campus Dialogues (ICD) “office hours” where participants in ICD will be available to walk through different dialogic approaches, share their experiences discussing difficult questions, workshop strategies for running a structured conversation in the classroom, and generally do what they might to answer your questions. Those confirmed for the day include the following:
- Hilary Bogert-Winkler (PhD Candidate, History; ICD)
- Sian Charles-Harris (PhD Candidate, NEAG; ICD Fellow)
- Gina Devivo-Brassaw (Associate Director for Community Outreach Programs, Services, and Initiatives)
- Richard Frieder (ICD Fellow)
- Brendan Kane (History; ICD)
- Cynthia Melendez (PhD Candidate, International Studies-Latino Studies)
- Dana Miranda (PhD Candidate, Philosophy; ICD)
When: 7:00PM – 8:45PM
What: Confronting Racism Together: A Model Dialogue
Where: Dodd Center, Konover Auditorium
Organizers: Brendan Kane, Humanities Institute; Glenn Mitoma, Dodd Center
Description: Join UConn leaders as they take part in a public dialogue exploring their experiences with racism. Dialogue is one of the most powerful tools we have in confronting racism. But actual dialogue – as opposed to debate, deliberation or conversation – rarely occurs. In part that is because it can be challenging: the bravery it takes to speak honestly and unscripted, and the discipline to listen with empathy and be present, can be difficult in a world so crowded with stimulus and distraction. Confronting racism, however, requires such bravery and discipline, such honesty and presence. It also needs people who through their public truth-telling can inspire others to truly dialogue over racism. Please join us as members of our community take part in this important conversation, facilitated by Valeriano Ramos of Everyday Democracy. Participants are drawn from across the University:
- Sulin Ba (Associate Dean, School of Business)
- Kazem Kazerounian (Dean, School of Engineering)
- Ian McGregor (PhD Candidate; Curriculum and Instruction, NEAG)
- Joelle Murchison (Chief Diversity Officer)
- Mark Overmyer-Velazquez (Director, UConn Hartford Campus)
- Jeremy Teitelbaum (Provost)
- Irma Valverde (USG President)
The UCONN Collaborative to Advance Equity Through Research on Women and Girls of Color (“The Collaborative”) is a part of the national Collaborative, comprising over 50 institutions and universities, with Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry and the Anna Julia Cooper Center at Wake Forest University, serving at its helm. These institutions and universities are signatories to a national commitment to support research on women and girls of color. UCONN committed to this effort as early as November 2015, and 2016-2017 served as the inaugural year of full programming dedicated to promoting research and campus and community engagement of research and discourses on women and girls of color.
Part of UCONN’s commitment included funding two post-doctoral fellowships and several research projects on women and girls of color, related to environment and public health and STEM and pipeline issues. (See the research abstracts, here). In an effort for The Collaborative to build a brain trust committed to sorting through research topics, discourses, and contemporary issues affecting women of color, as they relate to the two themes, it co-sponsored research workshops with the Humanities Institute.
The Collaborative also joined with UCHI in co-sponsorship of its research workshops to promote The Collaborative’s Brain Trust(s) for its Post-Doctoral Fellows, Research Fellows, and contributing scholars at the University of Connecticut. The Humanities Institute has contributed to these Research Workshops by hosting a welcoming, supportive, and enriching intellectual space to flesh out ideas and refine multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research on women of color.
UCHI looks forward to continued work with the Collaborative to Advance Equity Through Research on Women and Girls of Color!
Self-Evident Truths: Contesting Equal Rights from the Revolution to the Civil War
How did Americans in the generations following the Declaration of Independence translate its lofty ideals into practice? In this broadly synthetic work, distinguished historian Richard Brown shows that despite its founding statement that “all men are created equal,” the early Republic struggled with every form of social inequality. While people paid homage to the ideal of equal rights, this ideal came up against entrenched social and political practices and beliefs.Brown illustrates how the ideal was tested in struggles over race and ethnicity, religious freedom, gender and social class, voting rights and citizenship. He shows how high principles fared in criminal trials and divorce cases when minorities, women, and people from different social classes faced judgment. This book offers a much-needed exploration of the ways revolutionary political ideas penetrated popular thinking and everyday practice.
Richard D. Brown is Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of History, Emeritus, and the Founding Director of the Humanities Institute at the University of Connecticut. His previous books include Knowledge Is Power: The Diffusion of Information in Early America, 1700–1865;The Strength of a People: The Idea of an Informed Citizenry in Early America, 1650-1870; and the coauthored microhistory The Hanging of Ephraim Wheeler: A Story of Rape, Incest, and Justice in Early America.
"Six men, all artists, find their way to New York City at the turn-of-the-twentieth century and find friendship and love. They are also crushed emotionally and creatively by capitalism."
The winner of the inaugural Sharon Harris Book Award is Associate Professor Micki McElya for her 2016 book,
The Politics of Mourning: Death and Honor in Arlington National Cemetery.
The book award committee, chaired by Professor Peter Baldwin and including Professors Natalie Munro, Chris Vials, Janet Pritchard, and Rosa Chinchilla said this about their selection:
The Sharon Harris book award honors not only the legacy of Dr. Sharon Harris, but also the legacy of the humanities in general by recognizing a book that "demonstrates scholarly depth and intellectual acuity and highlights the importance of humanities scholarship." Dr. Micki McElya’s book The Politics of Mourning: Death and Honor in Arlington National Cemetery does all of this and more. The book traces the history of Arlington National Cemetery from a plantation worked by slaves to a symbol of national honor and pride. Its finely detailed early chapters engage the social history of slavery, and the conflicting understandings of race and gender during and after the Civil War. The story proceeds to explore the use of the cemetery as a site where ideas of nationhood, citizenship, and inclusivity were worked out in the twentieth century. Clearly written, meticulously researched, and keenly attuned to significant social contradictions, The Politics of Mourning tells a story of national importance that will engage the interest of general readers as well as scholars. Thus, it serves to remind the public of the value of humanities scholarship in American life.
Harvard’s book page: http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674737242
Dr. Micki McElya was a finalist:
- for the Pulitzer prize: http://www.pulitzer.org/finalists/micki-mcelya
- and the American Civil War Museum literary awards: https://acwm.org/learn-and-do/awards-and-recognition
The University of Connecticut Humanities Institute is pleased to announce its UConn Residential Faculty and Dissertation Fellowship awards for 2017-18
Distinguished Visiting Fellow
- Deirdre Bair (English & Comparative Literature) – “Bio/Memoir: The Accidental Biographer”
- Rebecca Gould (Comparative Literature, Interdisciplinary Islamic Studies) – “Narrating Catastrophe: Forced Migration from Colonialism to Postcoloniality in the Caucasus”
UConn Faculty Scholars
- Eleni Coundouriotis (English) – “The Hospital and the State: Readings in Anglophone Fiction”
- Ruth Glasser (Urban Studies/History) – “Brass City, Grass Roots: The Persistence of Farming in Industrial Waterbury, CT, 1870-1980”
- Kenneth Gouwens (History) – “A Translation of Paolo Giovio’s Elogia of Literati”
- Jeffrey O.G. Ogbar (History) – “Becoming Atlanta; Political Power, Progress in the Capital of the New South”
- Nancy Shoemaker (History) – “A History of Soap: Oils, Chemistry, and the Rise of the Global Composite”
- Harry van der Hulst (Linguistics) – “It Means What you See (But You Have to Look for It)”
UConn Dissertation Scholars:
- Jorell Meléndez-Badillo (History) – “The Lettered Barriada: Puerto Rican Workers’ Intellectual Community, 1897-1933”
- Sarah Berry (English – Draper Fellowship) – “The Politics of Voice in Twentieth-Century Poetic Drama”
- Alycia LaGuardia-LoBianco (Philosophy) – “Action-Guidance in Complicated Cases of Suffering”
- Laura Wright (English – Draper Fellowship) – “Prizing Difference: PEN Awards and Multiculturalist Politics in American Fiction”
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.
The event is being postponed and will be rescheduled at a later date
February 22, 2017 UCHI FELLOWS TALK
Dimitris Xygalatas (Anthropology)
‘Extreme rituals: ritualized suffering as a social technology’