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book award
book award

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:

UConn Humanities Institute announces 2017-18 Fellowship Awards

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The University of Connecticut Humanities Institute is pleased to announce its UConn Residential Faculty and Dissertation Fellowship awards for 2017-18

Distinguished Visiting Fellow
JILL LEPORE

Visiting Scholars:

  • 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”

“Must the Revolution be Digital?” March 9, 2017

DigitalEvent-PRINT-2“Must the Revolution be Digital?” is a panel discussion featuring Zakia Salime and David Karpf. With the events of the Arab Spring and recent mobilization around the Movement for Black Lives, it is generally accepted that digital and social media have become crucial for activism and resistance. However, the debates around digital and online activism are fraught and complicated. One side argues that these new forms are inherently lazy, youth oriented, and remain embedded in neoliberal structures that foreclose revolution from reaching its full radical potential. Yet another argument claims these activisms are not disconnected from bodies on the ground and do the necessary work of generating immediacy and building community around shared causes. Zakia Salime is Associate Professor at the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers and currently Visiting Associate Professor at Yale’s Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies department. Her co-edited volume, with Frances Hasso, Freedom without Permission: Bodies and Space in the Arab Revolutions (2016, Duke University Press) investigates the embodied, sexualized and gendered spaces that were generated, transformed and reconfigured during the Arab uprisings.

David Karpf is Assistant Professor in the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University. He is the author of The MoveOn Effect: The Unexpected Transformation of American Political Advocacy (2012, Oxford University Press) and Analytic Activism: Digital Listening and the New Political Strategy (2017, Oxford University Press).

Sponsored by the UConn Humanities Institute’s Digital Humanities Reading Group and moderated by Bhakti Shringarpure.

Study Groups, or, How Professors Go Back to School

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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.

 

 

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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.

Encounters: Declaration of Independence 2/4/17 and Bill of Rights 3/4/2017

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Feb. 4 – Encounters: Declaration of Independence

Reception: 3:00pm, Hartford Courant Room
Discussion: 3:30pm-5:00pm
John Trumbull: Visualizing American Independence. Please join us for a discussion about the Declaration of Independence at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. Our discussion will take place in the galleries of the special exhibition “John Trumbull: Visualizing American Independence,” which examines the Revolutionary War through the eyes of artists, most notably John Trumbull (1756–1843). Trumbull, born in Lebanon, Conn., served in the Continental Army and created a series of historical paintings.Read the Declaration of Independence in advance: http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/.
RSVP helpful, but not necessary to faculty@wadsworthathenuem.org.https://www.facebook.com/events/981120442021269/

See photos of our recent event on the Humility and Conviction in Public Life facebook page

https://www.facebook.com/publichumility/posts/406413269706963


 March 4 – Encounters: Bill of Rights

Noon-2pm

Join the conversation as we discuss the Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution. The Bill of Rights was created in response to calls from Congressional representatives (such as Connecticut’s Roger Sherman) for greater constitutional protection of personal freedoms and rights of American citizens. It outlines specific prohibitions on governmental power. The amendments include the right of free speech, protections against unreasonable search and seizure, and a speedy and public jury trial.

We invite members of the public to read the amendments and participate in a discussion at the Library’s Hartford History Center. We’ll explore issues that confront us every day, and how we can better understand our rights.

Read the Bill of Rights here: https://www.billofrightsinstitute.org/founding-documents/bill-of-rights/

Lunch will be served; participants must register in advance.
RSVP by calling 860-695-6367 or by email: jeagosto@hplct.org.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1652819315019776/
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Encounters: A Forum for Public Discussion

What’s in a name? The creation of the United States of America made us a democracy and a republic. That creation story and the players in it are very much with us. “Hamilton,” is one of the biggest Broadway hits and presents founders Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr as flesh and blood men. With their flashes of brilliance and crippling personal deficits they invent a new government.

Politics has occupied public attention for the past year as we elected a new U.S. president. A deeper dive into documents created by our founders is especially timely.

The Hartford History Center at Hartford Public Library, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, and the University of Connecticut’s Humanities Institute, are launching a community engagement partnership with a new discussion series called Encounters. The partners will provide discussion leaders to engage in topics aimed at strengthening our ability to know ourselves and one another through respectful and challenging dialogue. This February and March, Encounters will focus on the fundamental documents that define our democracy.

For more information

 

Thursday, September 22, 2016, 2016 Presidential Race – featuring UConn President Susan Herbst and distinguished faculty, our Director Michael Lynch will be one of the panelists

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Thursday, September 22, 2016

5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Hartford Public Library
500 Main Street
Hartford, CT

It’s finally upon us!  The Presidential election we’ve been digesting and debating for over a year is ready to commence and there’s still so much to talk about.  Please join UConn President Susan Herbst, along with faculty panelists Paul Herrnson, Micki McElya, and Michael P. Lynch for a discussion and question and answer session about the upcoming election. (For information on our panelists, please click more info next to their names in the left column)

The event will begin at 5 p.m. with refreshments and networking. At 5:30 p.m.the formal program will open.

To RSVP online for this event, please click “New Registration” in the top left-hand corner of the page.  All are welcome! We look forward to seeing you there.

This event is a collaboration of the Metro-Hartford Alliance and the University of Connecticut.

Questions? Please contact University Events & Conference Services at rsvp@uconn.edu or by calling (860) 486-1038.

https://www.eiseverywhere.com/ehome/index.php?eventid=197703&

Humanities Institute/Folger Library “Transcribathon”, September 14th, 10 am – 4 pm

You’ve seen the First Folio, now try and read handwriting from Shakespeare’s time!

We invite you to take part in the Humanities Institute-Folger Library “Transcribathon,” to be held

Wednesday,  September 14th, 10 am – 4 pm in the Great Hall of the Alumni Center.

Humanities Institute/Folger Library "Transcribathon"
You’ve seen the First Folio, now try and read handwriting from Shakespeare’s time!

The Transcribathon is an event connected with the Folger Shakespeare Library’s Early Modern Manuscripts Online project, which is an effort to transcribe and digitize hand written documents from the Age of Shakespeare. [http://folgerpedia.folger.edu/Early_Modern_Manuscripts_Online_(EMMO)] Staff from the Folger will be on site to lead the event. Participants will transcribe and encode manuscripts, individually or in small groups. There will be food (lunch and pizza at the end of the day), fun, entertaining manuscripts, transcription sprints, prizes, and an easy-to-use online transcription platform called Dromio. UConn will be working on the seventeenth-century diary of the fascinating Rev. John Ward, who in addition to his church duties was a learned humanist and active in medical and scientific circles. Learn to read the original documents of the English Renaissance, and be a part of history by getting your name on the completed edition. Please join us, and encourage your students (classes welcome) and colleagues. The more the merrier!

For more information, contact: Brendan Kane at brendan.kane@uconn.edu

Here are the links to the pdfs for today’s event:

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UCHI director Michael Lynch, The “neuromedia” future, in meaningoflife.tv. Michael imagines a world where Google is built into our brains.

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