Due to continuing concerns regarding COVID, the Fall 2021 Coffee Colloquium series will be held online as we did for the previous Fall and Spring series. Please see the scheduled speakers and their abstracts below along with their respective zoom links. Please note that all times listed are Eastern Time (US and Canada).
Sep 29, 2021 10:00 AM (EDT)
Rebecca LeMoine: Associate Professor of Political Science
Title: Plato on the Value of Cultivating Mindfulness towards Music
Abstract: Ancient Greek philosopher Plato’s most famous dialogue, The Republic, may seem like an odd resource for insight into the relationship between music and politics. After all, one of the dialogue’s most memorable features is its apparent promotion of state censorship of music. With heavy restrictions on both the content and form of music, the ideal state sketched out in Plato’s Republic seems incompatible with contemporary liberal democracy and its veneration of individual liberty and judgment. Challenging this assumption, Dr. LeMoine aims to show that The Republic’s music censorship is better understood not as a practice of the state, but rather as a practice of the self. Through reflection on music and its attendant pleasures, listeners become aware of the physical, cultural, and other “unconscious” influences on their thoughts and behaviors and thereby take a step towards developing the virtue of justice. By viewing the dialogue as advocating “mindfulness” towards music, this interpretation opens up novel possibilities for applying ancient insights to the modern world.
Oct 28, 2021 02:00 PM (EDT)
Philippe d’Anjou: Professor of Architecture
Title: On Design Ethicality
Abstract: The ethical dimension of design and architecture reveals a more profound sense of design ethicality if articulated within a philosophical framework structured by two interdependent modalities of their praxeological nature: Ideological and Teleological. Thus, design and architecture can be apprehended as agency enacted and directed according to four paradigms, which are generated by the two interrelated modalities and their respective antithetical embodiments, in the form of Idealist/Materialist Ideology and Egocentric/Altruistic Teleology. A heuristic model consisting of four modes of understanding, reflecting on, and practicing design and architecture is proposed, which morphs into a philosophical compass that can enable designers to understand their own design paradigmatic stance and thus to further choose alternative design thinking and practice directives, i.e. praxis, in the present and future in tune with the very intangible design ethicality of design.
Nov 9, 2021 10:00 AM (EST)
Anthony Stagliano: Assitant Professor of English
Title: Biopolitical Art: Profaning the Apparatus
Abstract: This talk will survey emerging art practices that take as their medium and site of intervention a range of biopolitical technologies: At-home DNA testing; facial recognition technologies; biometric fitness devices and apps; thermal sensing and tracking of mammal bodies, and so forth. Dr. Stagliano will argue that this kind of art is distinct from prior technological art practices such as tactical media, in that it is an experiment in creating alternative, horizontal knowledge-production circuits. To understand that distinction, he turns to the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben and his concept “profanation,” which is the return to common use a technology or apparatus that has been occulted by the authorities. Through the art practices, in turn, he'll aim to show the limitations of Agamben’s technophobia, which risks inhibiting the otherwise productive concept of “profanation.”
Our Spring 2021 Coffee Colloquium series will be held online as we did for Fall 2020. Registration and contact information for these colloquia will be posted at the appropriate times. Here below is the schedule of the events. Please note that all times listed are Eastern Time (US and Canada).
February 10, 3:00 PM
Justin Bernstein: Assistant Professor of Philosophy
TITLE: The Ethics of Giving During the Pandemic
ABSTRACT: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have wondered whether and how they should give money. This talk addresses the ethics of giving during a pandemic. I argue that obligations of reciprocity, rather than duties to help those in desperate need, ought to inform how we should give. More specifically, I suggest that people who have borne unfair burdens due to pre-pandemic injustices are entitled to compensation. Such individuals have taken on unfair burdens as part of a collective effort to provide a community-wide benefit, in the form of a reduced transmission rate. Those of us who have benefited from this collective effort without shouldering unfair burdens have an obligation to have borne such burdens. I also argue that individuals ought to give money because doing so corrects for our government’s predictable failure to provide fair compensation to those individuals. Before concluding, I consider and respond to objections from those who would argue we should give money to those in need abroad rather than compensate those who have borne unfair burdens at home.
March 31, 11:00 AM
Susan Schneider: Professor of Philosophy
TITLE: Minds, Machines and Extended Consciousness
ABSTRACT: Could consciousness be extended into the world? In this talk, I discuss the extended mind approach to cognition which urges that we are already “natural born cyborgs” (Andy Clark). Even well-known proponents of this view, such as David Chalmers, have been skeptical that consciousness itself (as opposed to cognition) could be extended into the world. But I think they should be more optimistic. I focus on the question: could human consciousness be realized by non-neural parts that reside outside of the head? My answer is: it depends upon whether machine consciousness is possible. Further: I offer ways to run tests to determine whether it is. I further explain how we can use these tests to determine if the extended mind hypothesis is correct.
April 7, 11:00 am
Carter Koppelman: Assistant Professor of Sociology
TITLE: Inclusion in Indignity: Seeing the State and Becoming Citizens in Chile’s Social Housing
ABSTRACT: Since 1979, programs subsidizing access to privately-built housing have moved millions from precarious residence into formal homeownership. In the eyes of beneficiaries, however, state housing agencies often appeared not as benevolent guarantors of social inclusion, but rather as producers of the material and symbolic indignities they endured as impoverished subjects. Through an ethnography of social housing in Santiago, this study investigates how citizens’ perceptions of the state, and everyday political practices, are produced in routine encounters with state agents of housing provision. Specifically, it traces the construction of two competing images of the state that emerged in these encounters. First, grounded in lived experiences of claiming and inhabiting social housing, residents envisioned a “denigrating state” that regarded them as second-class citizens and willfully relegated them to substandard conditions. Second, housing officials responded to critiques by presenting an alternative image of an “incapable state”, which was unable to guarantee dignified housing in a market-oriented society. These images, in turn, informed residents’ everyday political practices. While the denigrating state-image elicited contentious claims-making for better conditions, official performances of an incapable state encouraged residents to abandon collective action in favor of costly private strategies of home improvement.
Monday, September 14, at 10:00 AM
Candace Cunningham: Department of History, FAU
TITLE: "My Salary Increase Was Amazing": The Teacher Salary Equalization Campaign
ABSTRACT: This talk will examine the South Carolina teacher salary equalization campaign of 1940-1947. The campaign revealed a black freedom struggle that was moving from racial uplift to protest politics. The associated lawsuits helped increase NAACP membership and were sometimes the first experience African Americans had in formal protests. Indeed, those who participated found it transformative and defining. The leaders who came out of this campaign became some of the most important leaders of the 1950s South Carolina movement.
BIO: Dr. Candace Cunningham is an Assistant Professor of History at Florida Atlantic University. She was previously a Brown Fellow at Stetson University where she taught public history courses and worked with local organizations to create digital humanities projects using undergraduate research. Before that she taught in the University of South Carolina’s (USC) Opportunity Scholars Program. USC is also where she earned her M.A. and Ph.D., won the Robert H. Wienefeld Essay Prize, and was a Fellow in the Grace Jordan McFadden Professors Program. She is passionate about community collaborations and has worked on several public history projects including Columbia SC 63, the USC Center for Civil Rights History and Research, and Historic Columbia. Her research is on the 20th century African American experience with a special emphasis on civil rights, education, gender, and the South. She has presented her research at numerous conferences, including the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, the History of Education Society, and Southern Labor Studies. She is currently working on a manuscript about African American teachers who were in the long civil rights movement.
Tuesday, October 13, at 10:00 AM
Stephen Charbonneau: School of Communication & Multimedia Studies, FAU
TITLE: InsUrgent Media Studies: Researching Media Activisms, Past and Present
ABSTRACT: In light of the forthcoming anthology, InsUrgent Media from the Front: A Media Activism Reader (Indiana UP 2020), this conversation will focus on the necessities and challenges of studying media activism. Specifically, the notion of “insurgent media” will be highlighted along with the recent ways in which the term, “insurgent,” has been applied by scholars and historians to a whole range of media activist practices that seek to destabilize, resist, and even mock prevailing social relations. Regardless of whether it be 16 mm film, handheld video, or smart phones and social media, a prevailing sense of immediacy and, indeed, urgency energizes the efforts of media activists to render otherwise repressed structural inequities visible and knowable to broader audiences. In light of the recent wave of outrage and protests over the killing of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and many others, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that #BlackLivesMatter compels media scholars and students to rethink the priorities of media studies and reflect on the centrality of media activism to social life.
BIO: Stephen Charbonneau is an Associate Professor of Film Studies and Graduate Director for the School of Communication and Multimedia Studies. His books include Projecting Race: Postwar America, Civil Rights, and Documentary Film (Wallflower/Columbia UP 2016) as well as the forthcoming anthology, InsUrgent Media from the Front: A Media Activism Reader (co-edited with Chris Robé, Indiana UP 2020).
Tuesday, November 10, at 10:00 AM
Eyal Weinberg: Department of History, FAU
TITLE: 'Democracy is Health:' The Brazilian Doctors Movement of the 1980s
ABSTRACT: In the mid-1960s, the Brazilian military dictatorship (1964-1985) installed a market-oriented healthcare system that outsourced care to private hospitals and predominantly served the urban employed population. This talk explores how progressive doctors mobilized in the early 1980s to restructure the dictatorship’s public health policies. Against the backdrop of Brazil’s ongoing inequalities in healthcare and economic contraction, public health experts advanced new critical theories on collective health. Hospital doctors protested their poor working conditions and declining health services. And doctors’ unions led national strikes to demand better wages for health workers. These campaigns not only laid the foundations for Brazil’s universal healthcare system—ultimately established in the late 1980s—but also challenged military rule, thus playing a critical role in the nation’s transition to democracy.
BIO: Eyal Weinberg is an assistant professor of history at Florida Atlantic University. Before joining FAU, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Historical Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, where he also earned his Ph.D. Weinberg’s research explores histories of medicine, political violence, and human rights in twentieth-century Latin America, with a focus on Brazil. His current book project, Tending to the Body Politic: Doctors, Military Repression, and Transitional Justice in Brazil (1961-1988), explores the contested realms of professional medicine, bioethics, and political repression in military and post-authoritarian Brazil. The manuscript is based on Weinberg’s dissertation, which was recognized with honorable mention for best dissertation in the humanities by the Latin American Studies Association–Brazil Section. Some of the project's themes are featured in Weinberg’s article “‘With colleagues like that, who needs enemies?’: Doctors and Repression under Military and Post-Authoritarian Brazil,” published in The Americas in 2019.
Wednesday, February 26, 2020 at 11a.m.
Emily Fenichel: Visual Arts & Art History
TITLE: "Flesh and the Spirit: Michelangelo's Late Artistic Techniques"
ABSTRACT: Michelangelo employed radically new drawing and sculpting techniques late in his career. In his Seven Great Crucifixion drawings, the artist applied gouache to both build up the surface of the sheet and obliterate the drawing underneath. He then drew over this layer, sometimes repeating the process several times. Likewise, the Rondanini Pietà is a work in constant flux – never finished and in a state of perpetual editing for at least ten years until the artist’s death in 1564. This paper will examine the new techniques found in both the drawings and the sculpture in light of Michelangelo’s late spirituality, particularly his attitudes towards the body. Closely connected to his late poetry, these late works reveal that the artist no longer thought of the body as an exterior, aesthetic site, but instead as a vehicle for lived experience. Heavily influenced by new meditation techniques introduced by the Jesuits, Michelangelo adjusted his artistic practice to better express the sensory and haptic emphasis of his new religious practice.
Monday, March 2, 2020 at 1p.m.
Topher Maraffi; School of Communication and Multimedia Studies
TITLE: "Connecting through Virtual Bodies in Extended Reality"
ABSTRACT: Extended reality (XR) technologies such as 360 video, augmented reality (AR) mobile apps, and virtual reality (VR) headsets are affording more performative play spaces in games and other immersive media. As screenplay and gameplay converge in cinematic XR experiences, how can we best design aesthetics of embodied roleplay into these virtual spaces, especially for educational applications that represent diverse cultures and bodies? This presentation will show how we are applying XR edutainment techniques to design a tour of Mitchelville Freedom Park, the first Freedman’s town in America and a Gullah Geechee heritage site in Coastal South Carolina. Virtual preproduction and performance capture techniques allow actor performances to drive 3D models of historical figures like Harriet Tubman in a virtual scene, which then become life-sized tour guides in a VR prototype for the site tour. This project is funded by the National Endowment of the Humanities Digital Projects for the Public grant, Epic Games MegaGrant, and the Walter and Lalita Janke Emerging Technologies Fund.
Tuesday, April 7, 2020 at 11a.m.
Michael Rapoport; Languages, Linguistics, and Comparative Literature
TITLE: "Mind after Body: The Afterlife of Avicenna's (d.1037) Rational Soul"
ABSTRACT: Avicenna, the most renowned and influential scholar from the pre-modern Arabic philosophical tradition, is perhaps best known today as the physician who authored The Canon of Medicine, which endured as the leading medical textbook in European universities until the 17th century. The topic that most animated his scholarly work, however, was not the study of medicine, but of the rational soul, by which he meant the human soul. For Avicenna, this represented the highest stage of the philosophical sciences. He was most preoccupied with the ultimate fate of the soul: What happens when the body dies but the soul continues on? Which souls are rewarded and which are punished in the afterlife, and what is the nature of the reward and punishment? Is the soul reunited with its body? How can we reconcile religious teachings about the afterlife with the results of scientific investigations? My talk will address the afterlife of Avicenna’s rational soul from three perspectives: his answers to these questions, how his answers led to condemnation and attempts to excommunicate philosophers, and how the condemnation has affected contemporary scholarly and popular understandings of pre-modern Arabic philosophy and its place in the history of science.
Wednesday, September 25th 11am, Room AH 207
Brian McConnell, Visual Arts and Art History
TITLE: “Research News from the Land of the Sikels”
For over a decade and one-half, FAU has been involved in fieldwork at Rocchicella di Mineo, an important archaeological site in eastern Sicily. The sequence of occupation runs from the Mesolithic period through the Middle Ages with a brilliant floruit from the Archaic period through the early Roman Empire (7thcentury B.C.E - 2ndcentury C.E.) as the Sanctuary of the Divine Palikoi, the most important cult-site of the island’s indigenous Sikel peoples. Monumental architecture coordinated with an awe-inspiring group of geological geysers lead to academic questions regarding cultural adaptation to the landscape, as well as social, economic, and political interaction between the coastal urban centers founded by Greeks from the 8thcentury B.C.E. and the Sikel hinterland. The discussion will feature work performed by FAU faculty and students through an annual summer study abroad program.
Wednesday, Oct. 23 11am, Room AH 207
Nicole Erin Morse, School of Communication & Multimedia Studies
TITLE: “Dressed (to Look) to (Get) Kill(ed)”
This video essay examines who looks, how they look, and how looking is gendered, racialized, and punished in Brian De Palma’s 1980 homage to Alfred Hitchcock, Dressed to Kill. With particular attention to Peter, a young person who serves as a surrogate for both audience and filmmaker, this essay unpacks the pedagogy of (trans)misogynistic violence that De Palma directs toward all those who embody that central target of Hitchcock’s cinematic violence: the woman who looks.
Monday November 4, 2pm, Room AH 207
Christina DeWalt, School of Communication & Multimedia Studies
TITLE: “Communicative Challenges Facing Organ and Tissue Donation: Exploring Cognitive and Affective Aspects of Persuasive Health Appeals”
Every year 1000 people die waiting for an organ or tissue transplant that could save their lives. Despite repeated annual polls that show nearly 85 percent of Americans hold positive attitudes toward organ and tissue donation, only a small percentage of those individuals actually sign a donor registration card. Contemporary social science research has dedicated significant study to exploring why this discrepancy exists. However, traversing the gap between affective assessment of organ and tissue donation and the desired pro-social behavioral outcomes has shown to be a difficult task. This presentation will provide an overview of the emotional and cognitive aspects that have been identified as barriers to organ and tissue donation, as well as a review of new communication approaches aimed at improving behavioral intentions associated with the donation process.
Thursday, September 20, 2018 @ 2:00 p.m.
Mary Ann Gosser Esquilín, Department of Language, Linguistics and Comparative Literature
TITLE: "Un-naturally Scripted Others in Caribbean Literature"
The presentation will look at “Others” which have been conceived and “consumed” as such through patriarchal, racist, gendered traditions and prejudices in Caribbean literature. I focus more specifically on Puerto Rican texts, notably novels, given the fact that the presentation occurs at the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month.
Thursday, October 18, 2018 @ 4:00 p.m.
Round Table with Yolanda Gamboa, Department of Language, Linguistics and Comparative Literature; Jason Sharples, Department of History; and Adrian Finucane, Department of History
TITLE: "Struggles for Domination: Negotiating Power in Early American Empires"
Yolanda Gamboa, Adrian Finucane, and Jason Sharples discuss the ways that power operated in early American empires. They draw on research on conflict between European empires, between empires and native groups, and conflict within and across empires, as people negotiated power relations of race, gender, and economic position. The discussion focuses on how power relations functioned in ways that reflect their imperial location, and how the limits and opportunities of empire influenced the expression of power.
Tuesday, October 23, 2018 @ 3:30 p.m.
Else Marie Bukdahl, University of Aalborg, DENMARK
TITLE: "Redefining the 'Distant Mirror of Our Time': Basic Concepts and Sympols in Baroque Art and Philosophy
Click here for details.
Thursday, November 8, 2018 @ 2:00 p.m.
Adam Smith, School of Communication and Multimedia Studies (SCMS)
TITLE: "Challenges of the American Dream in China's Replica of Jackson Hole, Wyoming"
Hidden among mountains – seemingly far from the crowds, pollution and bureaucracy of Beijing - a replica of the Wyoming town of Jackson Hole promises to provide “an American utopia of freedom, happiness and prosperity” to its 4000 Chinese residents. In this presentation, filmmaker and Assistant Professor Adam James Smith will discuss his time spent living in Jackson Hole, China and shooting for Americaville, a feature-documentary film. He will detail why the town exists, why American life is appealing for its Chinese residents, and the challenges the town faces in light of recent nationalistic movements in both China and the United States.
Thursday, January 25, 2018 @ 10:00 a.m.
Alejandro Sanchez-Samper, Department of Music
TITLE: "Bambuqueando - A Collection of New Expressions of Columbian Andean Music in the 21st Century"
Thursday, February 8, 2018 @ 11:00 a.m.
Adrian Finucane, Department of History
TITLE: "Spies of Early Florida: Empire and Espionage in the Southeast"
This presentation explores the experiences of colonists along the volatile border between Georgia and Florida in the mid-eighteenth century as they encountered imperial rivals (England and Spain) and struggled to control information moving across boundaries.
Wednesday, April 18, 2018 @ 11:00 a.m.
Nuria Godón, Department of Languages, Linguistics and Comparative Liturature
TITLE: "Sacrificial Performances: Confronting Discourses on Prostitution in The Fin De Siècle Feminist Spanish Narrative"
This talk seeks to illustrate the place that the last novel written by the feminist Spanish author Emilia Pardo Bazán, Sweet Master (1911), holds in relation to the debate on prostitution in the context of the fin de siècle. I argue that this novel while proclaiming the need for sex education and equal gender rights, enters into a cultural engagement with the system of control for prostitution through a transgressive masochistic performance that can be read as an act of wrongdoing within the sexual morals and myths of the time. Through the use of a parody of sacrifice and the way in which a sinner can be redeemed,Sweet Master challenges the social prejudices upon which the main positions in this debate – prohibition, regulation and abolition– are based. It provides an anti-establishment response to each point of view: it rejects the criminalization of the prostitute, it unveils the politics of power that manages prostitution as a societal ‘relief valve’ or an ‘inevitable lesser evil’, and it exposes the idea of the rehabilitation of the prostitute as a hypocritical doctrine that is supposedly in the woman’s best interest.
Monday, September 18, 2017 @ 12:00 p.m.
Michael Zager, Department of Music
TITLE: "The Jazz King: A Long Journey"
The making of a tribute album in memory of Thailand's Bhumibol Adulyadej, who was crowned king in 1950 and died in 2016 at the age of 88. He was the world's longest-reigning living monarch at the time of his passing. H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej was a jazz saxophonist and jazz composer.
Tuesday, October 10, 11:00 am
Ashvin Kini, Department of English
TITLE: "U.S. Exceptionalism in Transnational Contexts: Race in Post-9/11 Bollywood Cinema"
Employing frameworks from critical ethnic studies and queer studies, this presentation examines the cultural politics of Black-Asian affiliations and solidarities in two contemporary Bollywood films: Karan Johar’s My Name is Khan and Kabir Khan's New York.
Wednesday, November 29, 2:30 pm
Jason Sharples, Department of History
TITLE: "American Racial Slavery as a System of Fear"
This presentation reconsiders investigations into alleged “slave conspiracies” – or plans for slave rebellion that never materialized – to be primarily torture-driven fear events rather than near-misses;at the nexus of bodily violence, imaginative minds, and intersecting cultural systems in colonial spaces. Sometimes dozens of innocent enslaved people were killed based on the faulty findings of imminent insurrection. These conspiracy scares occurred far more frequently than realized revolts in the interlinked regions of North America and the Caribbean from 1670 to 1865 and they generated speculation that bore little resemblance to actual practices of insurrection. With striking consistency across time and place, masters anticipated and slaves confessed to plots involving coordination with invasion forces, agitation by secret agents, ambushes at decoy fires, the rape of white women, and, above all, taking the names of elite men and replacing them at the heads of families, estates, and government. This presentation is a consideration of both the daily violence against enslaved blacks that generated white people’s fear of reprisal as well as the role of torture in slaveholders’ articulation of the specific contours of their fears through the black voices on which they depended. In short, fear and terror coursed in several directions in slavery and it both compounded the tragedy of slavery and generated long-lasting patterns of racial fear.
11:00 am, Wednesday, February 8
Myriam Ruthenberg, Department of Languages, Linguistics, and Comparative Literature (LLCL)
Title: "From Naples to Jerusalem: Erri de Luca, Writing, and the Bible."
After a short introduction to the unique nature of Erri De Luca's extensive corpus of literary production and bible translations, our focus will move to the literal translation of the Book of Kohelet (Ecclesiastes), which in turn sheds light on his opus in general and the 2002 novel Montedidio (God's Montain) in particular. The concept of "havel" ("waste" in de Luca's translation) morphs into a discourse on the nature of writing and on language: Naples becomes a vessel of sorts, which at its shattering on New Year's eve gives birth to the book as a leftover for the reader to use lest it becomes "havel." Walter Benjamin's notion of "pure language" lurks in the background.
11:00 am, Monday, March 27
Philip Lewin, Department of Sociology
Title: "The Political Epistemology of Rural Poverty in Central Appalachia."
This paper, based on nine months of immersive ethnography, 40 in-depth interviews, and extensive document analysis, examines the underpinnings of conservative partisanship in "Shale County," one of the poorest yet most politically conservative counties in the United States. I show that its Republican partisanship is located in four sources: 1) opposition to the perceived environmentalism of the Democratic Party, which is viewed as antithetical to the coal industry's well-being; 2) opposition to government assistance programs that offered direct cash assistance to the poor, which ran against the grain of the local moral and religious order; 3), a tendency to conflate the results of structural economic transitions, which had lumpenized many residents, with "welfare dependency" and the erosion of the national work ethic; and 4) the generalization of negative experiences with local government to the national political sphere. Unlike existing models of working class conservatism, which tend to convey political knowledge as an isolated, independent object and presume a rational political decision-making process, my analysis works toward the construction of a relational-pragmatist model of political decision-making and a political epistemology of emotiveness and experience.
11:00 am, Wednesday, April 12
Karen Leader, Department of Visual Arts and Art History
Title: "Mobilizing the Humanities for the Future of Democracy."
In his inaugural essay as Dorothy F. Schmidt Eminent Scholar in the Humanities, Richard Shusterman inserted, and insisted upon the necessity of, the body in humanistic inquiry. Establishing a Center for Body, Mind and Culture, he underlined the ethical underpinnings of rejecting the dualistic separation that privileges intellection over somatic experience: "Our ethical life is grounded in the body...ethics implies choice, which in turn implies freedom to choose and act on that choice."
If the humanities are understood to encompass human thought and experience, mobilizing them asserts the value of humanistic inquiry to human flourishing. Indeed, liberal arts education is a cornerstone of a democratic citizenry, capable of discernment and critical thought. Yet the humanities are being stifled by STEM, marginalized by the instrumentalization of higher education, and threatened with extinction through the business model that privileges "performance" over academic excellence.
To mobilize is to marshall, deploy, muster, rally, call up, assemble, amass, organize. The word connotes action, and mobility implies movement. This paper will explore and critique ways in which embattled public education connects to our increasingly fragile democracy. I will argue for an engaged humanities, ready to occupy the public sphere and reclaim the body politic.
11:00 a.m., Tuesday, September 20
William Trapani, School of Communication and Multimedia Studies (SCMS)
Title: "Melancholy U: A Vigil for the University Without Condition."
Much has been written on the (largely unabated) neoliberal transformation of the contemporary University. While there is a great deal to lament about this decades-long development, this presentation takes aim at a more recent slate of initiatives that enlist faculty, staff and administrators in the service of the biopolitical sanitizing of student-citizens by eliminating their putatively coarser instincts. While aligning with the general aim of such efforts I argue that such campaigns (the "Its on Us" effort to curtail sexual assault, along with companion efforts to reduce binge drinking, hazing, incivility or intolerance e.g.) risk further shifting the University away from its presumption of unconditional inquiry and into a type of melancholic death drive that threatens the University'srationale and potential.
1:00 p.m., Thursday, October 27
Lauren Guilmette, Department of Philosophy
Title: "Paranoia and Ritual: The Unpublished Manuscripts of Teresa Brennan."
At her untimely death in early 2003, Teresa Brennan—then Schmidt Distinguished Professor of Humanities at FAU—had two unpublished manuscripts, unusual and difficult-to-categorize texts that, in the final years of her life, she was actively trying to publish. This presentation will outline some significant insights of these texts, following summer research in her archive at Brown University.
In The Age of Paranoia, Brennan channels Nietzsche to offer a reinvention of the self-help genre for Daily Life in the West; she describes the dynamics of an everyday "petite paranoia" and the psychosocial operations of what she names The Critic, in relation to which one may develop various coping strategies or, in light of Brennan's second unpublished manuscript, rituals. That text, The Lost Myth of the Ancient Rite of Christening, offers an origin story of sorts, a myth—spanning research across various world religions—of the modern self-contained ego, and a re-writing of the Christian baptism ritual to counteract the excesses of this ego.
That these texts were not published is worth noting; their untimeliness reads differently on the other side of the 'affective turn' in continental philosophy, feminist and queer theory. While Brennan no doubt influenced this theoretical turn, her views have fallen out of the spotlight in no small part because she is no longer alive to articulate them. Furthermore, stripped of the complex psychoanalytic jargon animating Brennan's earlier works, these unpublished texts were intended to transform everyday life. This paper is part of a larger academic and institutional project to highlight Brennan's contributions to feminist philosophy, affect theory, and—given the intended popular audience of these texts—the work of the public intellectual.
11:00 a.m., Wednesday, November 2
Kenneth Holloway, Department of History
Title: "The Somaesthetics of Transcendence in Buddhism, Daoism, and Confucianism."
This presentation will explore the body as a common element of these three religious systems, which are consistently misrepresented as divergent. Our ability to find consistency in the process of embodying morality in these religions is largely indebted to recently discovered manuscripts. On the Daoist and Confucian side this is primarily the Guodian corpus dating from 300 BCE that was discovered in the early 1990s. For Buddhism the main discovery was of a Sanskrit copy of the Vimalakirti in Tibet's Potala Palace in 1999, but our understanding of the sutra is aided by 284 hand copied manuscript editions of the sutra that are roughly 1000 years old. These hand copied sutras were found in Silk Road caves in the 1900s.
2:00 p.m.,Wednesday, February 10:
Brian McConnell, Department of Visual Arts and Art History
Title: "My Trip to Iran"
Iran has long been known as a country majestic in landscape and rich in culture, but the consequences of the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and more recent sanctions over Iran's nuclear program have served to veil it from the West. The loss of contact and the focus of media attention on points of conflict have led to a common perception of the country as a monolithic, somewhat menacing presence in the Middle East. Nevertheless, the opening of Iran, first to tourists and now to business interests is giving shape to a fuller understanding of the country. Through images and anecdotes, Dr. Brian E. McConnell will tell of his brief sojourn in Iran during the fall semester 2015, in order to highlight some of the reasons that people should pay attention to the deep heritage and future potential of this important land.
1:00 p.m.,Tuesday, March 29:
Thomas Martin, Department of English
Title: "'Tell Me Where is Fancy Bred': Locating Literary Meaning in an Age of Scare Quotes"
Scare quotes dot the theoretical landscape. Think of their close cognate "scare crows," and what are they meant to scare away, or what are we scared of saying when we use them? "History," the "human subject," "meaning," and yes "reality." The evasive, ironic scare quotes signal a "self" awareness characteristic of our time.
What class of things have we assigned to life behind superscripted double bars? These are generally regarded as the unreal. They are thigns we once believed but can no longer in a critical age. These scare-quoted former "realities" suspended on a pole of doubt still look real enough to keep away the more flighty among us, while those more grounded find something worthy of critical attention right under their feet.
Whence comes the scare-quoted unreal? What makes them unreal? And what do they have to do with literary meaning? In the first section of the presentation, I address the question in what I call "criticism's eternal divide" as Plato and Aristotle offer rival accoutns of the nature of artistic representation. Carrying forward insights to the debate in our own time, I argue for the primacy of meaning in literary studies and offer a new model to account for its expanding universe. For as critics pare down what they consider to be real, we need t more than ever a model of literary meaning that broadens with the creative work of literary artists who continue to unhindered generating new worlds that clallenge long-held critical assumptions. The model draws from philosophical semantics, semiotics, and traditional literary analysis, as it extends insights provided by such diverse names as C.S. Peirce, John von Neumann, and Jaakko Hintikka.
11:00 a.m.,Tuesday, April 12:
Emily Fenichel, Department of Visual Arts and Art History
Title: "Playing Footsy: Michelangelo, Caravaggio, and the Madonna di Loreto"
From the time of the painting's installation in the church of Sant'Agostino in Rome, feet have played an inordinately important role in Caravaggio's Madonna di Loreto. In the bottom right of the composition, Caravaggio carefully placed kneeling pilgrims whose bare and dirty feet have been notable and controversial since the 17th century. Although these feet and contemporary commentaries on the pilgrims' appendages have been exhaustively studied, the two other sets of piedi, particularly Mary's, have not received adequate attention. Mary's carefully highlighted and elegantly arched foot not only makes her carrying of Christ in the scene impossible, but it also lacks the kind of earthy realism most viewers expect from Caravaggio. This talk will argue that Caravaggio consciously quotes Michelangelo's Madonna from the Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel for the feet of his own Mary in the Madonna di Loreto. Although Caravaggio often appropriated imagery from the High Renaissance master, this particular allusion has been ignored by scholarship. This simple quotation, however, will be used to deepen our religious understanding of the work, complicate Caravaggio's relationship to his namesake, Michelangelo, and nuance our conception of Caravaggio's naturalism.
12:30p.m., Tuesday, September 1:
Fred Greenspahn, Eminent Scholar of Judaic Studies
Title: "Becoming the Bible."
Anachronisms are the historian's nemesis; however, unlike Shakespeare's reference to a clock in Julius Caesar, they are not always easy to spot. For example, the concept of a "Judeo-Christian tradition" is actually a product of the twentieth century. One part of that construct is the claim that Judaism and Christianity have a common Bible. Aside from the statement's obvious inaccuracy (the New Testament is not part of the Jewish Bible), it rests on an anachronistic understanding of the term "Bible." Neither Christians nor Jews had a uniform Bible until the late medieval or early modern period, so they could hardly have had the same Bible. In fact, to this day Christian communities use different Bibles. In other words, our concept of the Bible (like the "Judeo-Christian tradition") is a modern reflection of our own culture rather than historical facts. Moreover, our understanding of the Bible is not solely a product of theology, but also of technology and may, therefore, change as technology evolves.
11:00a.m., Wednesday, October 14:
Stephen Engle, Department of History
Title: "Abraham Lincoln's Crisis of Federalism."
Much of the history of federalism during the 19th Century is a history conflict. For decades nation and state went back and forth negotiating power that shaped the political culture of the republic. When the southern states left the Union and formed the Confederacy in 1860-1861, they did so because of differences over the nature of federalism. Their departure represented the height of the nation-state conflict as a consequence of obstructive federalism. And while students of the period sometimes argue that the Confederacy died because states' rights undermined federalism, seldom do they argue that northerners achieved victory because the states cooperated to strengthen the federal system.
The departure of the southern states from the Union has obscured an equally important history of cooperative federalism between the various levels of American government during the Civil War. States that remained in the Union desired to sustain the federal government and represented this long-standing tradition of cooperation. What became an exercise in cooperative federalism, took shape as governors worked to mobilize, and shape Union war aims, all while demonstrating by their actions in working with President Lincoln and the federal government states had more rights inside the Union than outside the Union.
This talk will examine the relationship between Lincoln and northern governors as they groped their way toward a cooperative federalism that strengthened the federal government and thus helped the Union achieve success in the Civil War.
11:00a.m., Wednesday, November 4:
Noemi Marin, School of Communication and Multimedia Studies
Title: "Colonizing Voices: Rhetorical Space and Authority as Arguments of Power."
Looking at rhetorical practices and political transition at the end of the 20th century, the study introduces the concept of "rhetorical space" as a physical entity inside which political arguments by definition populating the public sphere of communist times (Marin, 2015, 2014). Contrasting totalitarian practices as identified by Hanna Arendt and Eastern and Central European public intellectuals by 1989, with political deliberation in the public sphere as a practice of democracy, the study proposes a critical conceptualization of "rhetorical space" for authoritarian and totalitarian systems as a colonization practice of power. The current European-based scholarship on the rapprochement of post-colonial studies and communist practices (Stefanescu et all, 2014, 2015) will be also part of the presentation, along with studies on communist and fascist regimes (Tismaneanu, 2003, 2015; Tony Judt, 1998; T. Garton Ash, 2011, 2014, etc) that utilize such public and political space as physical and rhetorical argument of power.
12:00 p.m., Wednesday, February 18:
Marcella Munson, Department of Languages, Linguistics, & Comparitive Literature
Title: "Of Pots and Scars: Heroic Measure and Female Excess in the Odyssey, the Gospel of Mark, andChrétien de Troyes's Yvain."
In a major departure from earlier critical analyses of French Arthurian romance, Eugene Vance first argued, in Mervelous Signals, that an accurate reading of Chrétien de Troyes's Yvain, ou le chevalier au lion (ca. 1170) would necessarily understand the text's economies of magic and the merveilleux to be aligned not with a feudal agrarian model of exchange, but instead with one of (nascent) capitalism. Crucially, for Vance, this capitalist mode of exchange was not a manifestly historical reflection, but rather a discursive one, and hence, also, the conflict engendered. Per Vance, the resulting symbolic displacement, achieved via competing discourses and textual structures, was itself sufficient to explain women as key "vessels" for the exchange of symbolic capital in medieval romance.
This talk will focus on a key scene at the midpoint of Yvain in which discourses of necessity, excess, and waste serve to frame and re-measure female symbolic capital. The scene examined is the one where Yvain, suffering from madness and reduced to a bestial state, is spotted sleeping on the forest floor by a young maiden from a nearby court. She recognizes Yvain by a distinctive bodily scar (earned while proving his prowess through jousting), and she is given a pot of extremely precious unguent to apply sparingly to Yvain's temples, to return him to full health. In her zeal, the maiden vigorously applies the entire contents of the pot to Yvain's nude body. Two prominent intertexts for this key medieval scene have gone almost entirely unnoticed, yet both evoke scenes of heroic recognition in which the male hero is identified by a woman and then performatively (if not materially) transformed, through an act of intimate touch. The first is the Gospel of Mark, whose unnamed woman recognizes Jesus as the Messiah and anoints his head with priceless oil from an alabaster pot. The second is The Odyssey with its penultimate scene of heroic deception and female recognition in which Odysseus's childhood nurse Euryclea recognizes the scar on his thigh earned during a boar hunt in his youth. Reading the scene of recognition in Yvain through the lens of these two prominent intertexts points well beyond this Arthurian romance's secular grounding and bawdy familiarity, and suggests that female excess/waste is explicitly reframed to encompass penitence, piety, and divine revelation.
2:00 p.m., Tuesday, March 17:
Lauren Guilmette, Department of Philosophy
Title: " 'Here Be Dragons': Neoliberal Racism, Police Brutality, and the Imaginary-Affective Limits of the Moral Community"
"…The American ideal, then, of sexuality appears to be rooted in the American ideal of masculinity. This ideal has created cowboys and Indians, good guys and bad guys, punks and studs, tough guys and softies, butch and faggot, black and white. It is an ideal so paralytically infantile that it is virtually forbidden–as an unpatriotic act–that the American boy evolve into the complexity of manhood."
This paper engages recent tragedies of police brutality through insights into neoliberal racism, the role of vulnerability in American masculinity, and the denial of vulnerability in representations of black men and boys, who have been dehumanized by cultural images of criminality and superhuman strength. Bringing recent feminist work by Drucilla Cornell, Kelly Oliver, and Cynthia Willett into conversation with James Baldwin's 1985 essay on American masculinity, I interpret Baldwin's allegory of the dragons on colonial maps to suggest that difference has long been figured in the imaginary garb of monstrosity, the 'bad guy' to an idealized masculine subject. Refining Baldwin's thesis with reference to our twenty-first century present, I ask: How do racialized constructions of bodies asinvulnerable mark their exclusion from an implicit 'moral community'? How was this 'moral community' (contingently) constructed, and in what ways might feminists and other historically marginalized perspectives strategically subvert and/or repair it? In light of these 'empathy gaps,' how might we interpret the place of vulnerability in postmodern feminist 'response ethics,' which often appeals to our shared vulnerability as an ethical ground for generosity?
11:00 a.m., Wednesday, April 8:
Roderick Cooke, Department of Languages, Linguistics, and Comparative Literature.
Title: "Baudelaire Vampirizes Racine: Religion and Sexual Poetics in The Flowers of Evil"
I begin with the rarely-noticed connection between a Baudelaire poem banned by the French government in 1857, and a famous passage from Racine's last tragedy (Athalie, 1691). These are used to explore the relationship between Baudelaire's attitude towards religion and his transgressive vision of poetic creation. By also putting 'The Metamorphoses of the Vampire' in dialogue with other poems from The Flowers of Evil, I argue that the poet's subject position depends on a network of vertical, horizontal and internal operations. This tripartite process reveals the complex significations of sexuality in Baudelaire's major work.
12:00 p.m., Wednesday, September 24:
Regis Mann, Department of English, "'Alone in the Mouth of the Dragon': Race, Russia, and Black Feminist Discourse"
In seemingly incommensurate texts—A Narrative of the Life and Travels of Mrs. Nancy Prince, Written by Herself (1850) and "Notes from a Trip to Russia" (1976)—two black women writers and theorists, Nancy Prince and Audre Lorde, invoke Russia as a politically resonant space through which to critique institutions of gender, race, and nation. Though disparate in form (spiritual autobiography and prose/poetics, respectively), each piece deploys (and complicates) an "outsider-within" perspective to interrogate the ways in which black womanhood circulates both within and beyond the bounds of the U.S. nation-state. For Prince, the rebellion of nineteenth-century Russia's most destitute and disenfranchised provides a framework by which to undo the logic of the North as quintessential antebellum asylum. Over a century later, Lorde extends a less romanticized vision of Russia to problematize poverty and labor exploitation on a global scale.
This paper juxtaposes Prince and Lorde's works to more deeply contextualize the development of black feminist methodology and praxis. For instance, what is the utility and what are some limits of articulating a black feminist perspective through the lens of the "outsider-within," of marginality, and the like? How do experiences with hard labor as a (free) youth of color, as well as privileges associated with marriage, inform Prince's standpoint and critique on liberal formations of power? What continuities exist between Prince's religious conviction and Lorde's spirituality, and what does this suggest about black faith as a mode of embodied, felt black feminist knowledge production? Drawing upon the scholarship of Hazel Carby, Saidiya Hartman, and Robyn Wiegman, I examine what these two thinkers' key, if understudied interventions can offer to twenty-first-century black feminists in the wake of neoliberal entrenchment.
11:00 a.m., Wednesday, October 22:
Ilaria Serra, Department of Languages, Linguistics, and Comparative Literature, "Fighting Women Singing: The Venetian Case"
In the Italian region of Veneto, Italian women have long accompanied their social and cultural demands with songs. This presentation touches several key-moments in the twentieth century that saw Venetian women using song as their weapon of choice: from the bead and tobacco workers to the 1970s' feminist groups until today's sporadic protests and multi-ethnic choirs. This is part of a larger project that studies the relationship between music and Italian history.
11:00am Wednesday, November 19:
Karen Leader, Department of Visual Arts and Art History, "'On the Book of My Body': Women, Power, and 'Tattoo Culture'"
This paper offers a feminist perspective, in theory and praxis, of a multidisciplinary research and creative project at a South Florida public university. "Stories on the Skin: Tattoo Culture at FAU" has explored and presented tattoos as a shared cultural experience, rather than as a symptom, or a fad. Considering relevant scholarship in various disciplines, tattoo emerges as a repository of memories and a site of affirmations, but also a significant form of creative, embodied self-expression, beyond temporary fashion. Conversely, the practice invites negative stereotyping and diagnostic models of interpretation, and women are especially targeted by these. Proposing a positive value to connecting mind and body, story and skin, through the creative process, the project offers a model of feminist engagement with body politics, and a site for empowerment in the current "war on women."
11:00 a.m., Thursday, February 27, 2014:
Wendy Hinshaw, Department of English, "Corresponding Pedagogies"
In this talk I will propose correspondence as a pedagogical strategy for broadening the communicative context of the classroom in general, and for incorporating prisoner writing and perspectives in particular. I describe my use of correspondence in graduate and undergraduate teaching, in which students exchange writing with incarcerated women and also engage in dialogue about the writing process and development of a writer's identity. I will focus particularly on the value of correspondence as a means for communication and partnership that bypasses many (though not all) institutional and physical constraints often associated with prison partnerships, and in doing so respond to Tobi Jacobi's call for "meaningful workshops based upon collective goals and classrooms engaged in dialogues about incarceration – and a world beyond the prison industrial complex" (71).
11:00 a.m., Thursday, March 13, 2014:
Carol Prusa, Department of Visual Arts and Art History, "Fearful Symmetry"
11:00 a.m., Monday, April 7th, 2014:
Kristen Block, Department of History, "Leprosy and Cross-Cultural Contagion in the 18th century Caribbean"
In the early modern period, health at its most basic was seen through a common lens. Whether European-trained doctors, Catholic hospital orders, or those trained in the healing traditions of West Africa, all believed that bodily disease related to social disease and moral decay. In this piece, I will examine the ways in which peoples of the early Caribbean understood cross-cultural contagion.
One of the most distressing diseases in the Caribbean was that of leprosy—a biblical-era scourge that spoke to modern anxieties of bodily corruption and death. In the 1720s French physicians quarreled over the causes and treatment of dozens of white and black residents on the island of Guadeloupe—many of who barely noticed the skin infection until such time as its corrosive effects betrayed pestilent and rotting flesh, beyond treatment. Local and metropolitan experts agreed that the skin condition originated in Africa (much as syphilis was widely considered an "American" disease), but they could not agree on how the infection spread to new victims. I will compare the responses of the new scientists/médecins and what we can know about the reactions of colonists and enslaved individuals to this epidemic.
Fall 2013 Colloquiua
Monday September 23rd, 11am AH 209
Noemi Marin, Communication Department
"Rhetorical Crossings: Communist and Post-Communist Rhetoric of Transformation"
This contribution focuses on rhetoric of transformation in Eastern and Central Europe. The traditional approach on "history of rhetoric" can be challenged when events force a multitude of perspectives to coexist as legitimate co-rhetorics. Post-communist era creates a transgression of borders not only in physical sense, but in a rhetorical sense, by reinventing, redefining, and/or reevaluating history of discourse. After 1989, which of the rhetorics takes priority over political discourse, and over which political discourse? How can argumentative structures address both new AND past discursive traditions that encompass pre-; communist; and post-communist approaches to political power? Rhetoric of transformation problematizes a fundamental dimension of history crossing, by configuring the relationship between rhetoric and history as a continuously re-activated approach to political discourse. This analysis examines also "otherness" and historical constraints of politics of "'we vs. they," prevalent in communist times as rhetorical actions of disassociation and fervent nationalism. I would like to add a specific notion about public space and public representation in 1989 and 1990 in Eastern European discourse.
Wednesday October 16th, 11am AH 209
Susan Love Brown, Anthropology Department
"Ayn Rand and American Culture"
Thursday November 7th, 11am AH 209
Oliver Buckton, English Department
"'My Name is Palmer?': Narration and Identity in Spy Novels by Ian Flemming and Len Deighton and their Film Adaptations"
In 1962, the course of the spy novel—and arguably of British postwar fiction—was changed by the appearance of a new hero in espionage literature. The opening sentences of Len Deighton's The Ipcress File introduced a spy and anonymous first-person narrator that marked a dramatic departure from the model established by James Bond, whose first appearance in Casino Royale had occurred a decade earlier. As Kingsley Amis argued, Fleming's work had itself marked a departure from the gentleman-amateur spies of authors such as John Buchan and Sapper. Fleming's taut, quasi-objective, third person narrative voice created a sense of mystery around his lethal "machine," 007. Indeed, as Umberto Eco points out, in Casino Fleming takes a decisive step away from narrative introspection: "Fleming in fact renounces psychology as the motive of narrative and decides to transfer characters and situations to the level of an objective structural strategy" (Eco, 146). This talk will explore the significant differences in narrative style of Deighton and Fleming, discussing their novels as symptomatic of the growing popular distrust of Britain's ruling elite in post-war society. The talk will focus on Ipcress's protagonist as a resolutely working-class figure, in perpetual conflict with authority and a harsh critic of Britain's dysfunctional class system. In contrast to the patrician Bond, Deighton's first-person narrator was an effective tool with which to highlight the realism of espionage, offering a subversive intimacy with the narrator's cynical worldview. The talk will also explore the film adaptations of Dr No and Ipcress File, examining how the latter's purpose of constructing an "anti-Bond" figure in popular culture is undermined by decision of producer Harry Salzman—who had also co-produced Dr No (1962)—to name the film's protagonist (in Bond style) as Harry Palmer, sacrificing the subversive anonymity of Deighton's spy.
Spring 2013 Colloquia
Wednesday February 20th, 1:00pm SO 285
Elizabeth Swanstrom, Department of English
"Animal, Vegetable, Digital: Experiments in New Media Aesthetics and Environmental Poetics"
"Animal, Vegetable, Digital" takes its name from the popular children's game, which consists of trying to guess the identity of an unknown object after asking a series of questions about it. Questions vary, but the query that launches every game is comprised of three words: "animal, vegetable, mineral?" Armed with the answer to this first question, the player then begins her cross-examination in order to hone in on the mysterious object, in effect creating an idiosyncratic taxonomy for it. Our natural spaces are, conventionally, comprised of the same animal, vegetable, and mineral domains that start off the children's game, but the status of nature is no more settled than it was at the dawn of the environmental movement. Determining the dominant feature that a particular slice of earth has to offer remains an important and politically charged pastime (this space is reserved for mineral mining; that space is an animal sanctuary; this other one a site where corn crops are grown and harvested, etc). To make matters more interesting, with the emergence of ubiquitous computing, this new category of the digital has been rubbing against these three with increasing friction. The past thirty years have seen an astonishing increase in digital technology worldwide, yet there has not been much careful reflection about the ways this technology might have something to contribute to our understanding of natural spaces and to environmental practice in general, nor has there been any serious or sustained discussion of how environmental poetics and new media aesthetics might engage with each other in productive, even positive, ways. The aim of "Animal, Vegetable, Digital" is to bridge this eco-digital divide.
Wednesday March 27th, 1:00pm SO 285
Melanie Loehwing, School of Communication and Multimedia Studies
"Mourning the Marginalized Body: The Rhetorical Corrective of the Homeless Persons' Memorial Day Advocacy Campaign"
The Homeless Persons' Memorial Day Campaign began in 1990, an initiative created by the National Coalition for the Homeless to coordinate annual community services held in cities across the United States. Each year, these memorial services publicize the deaths of individuals experiencing homelessness that have occurred in the preceding twelve months. The services are each held on or near December 21, which is "The first day of winter. The longest night of the year," in the words of the campaign's slogan. The campaign calls on the community to participate in a mourning ritual that converts the private act of remembering loved ones' passing to a public performance of solidarity with individuals marginalized by anti-homeless laws and sentiment. This performance stands in for much more pragmatic, materially oriented appeals typically made by advocacy groups, favoring instead the pursuit of a more symbolic corrective: a policy program of commemoration. Within the world of contemporary homeless advocacy, programs tend to be evaluated on purely economic grounds, and by such measures, the HPMD fails as a useful attempt to advocate on behalf of those experiencing homelessness. I argue, however, that what marks the HPMD as a compelling artifact for rhetorical analysis is the method by which it calls into question reigning norms of democratic citizenship--namely, the seemingly unshakeable articulation of empowered citizenship with housing status. Specifically, I argue that the HPMD campaign illustrates how rhetorics of the body shape contemporary notions of democratic citizenship, and how advocacy campaigns can potentially enact the forms of social justice they simultaneously call on legislators to make materially possible.
Friday April 12th, 1:00pm SO 285
Talitha LeFlouria, Department of History
"'Only Woman Blacksmith in America is Convict': Black Women and Prison Labor in the Post-Civil War South"
This presentation will underscore black women's experiences of imprisonment within the carceral polities of the Deep South, and explores how mediums of space and economy impacted the gendered outplay of convict leasing in the southern states. By taking on the understudied subject of black female convict labor in the post-Civil War South, this essay answers all important questions about the extent of African-American women's contribution to the construction of New South modernity.
Fall 2012 Colloquia
Tuesday, September 18, 11:00am SO 285
Papatya Bucak, Department of English
"Rock, Paper, Scissors: Methods of Creating Conflict in Short Fiction"
Short story structure is almost always referred to in terms of an arc, or when writers want to sound more technical, as following Freytag's Pyramid: rising action, climax, falling action. But when, in writing classes, this structure gets emphasized above all others, it short-changes the many moves writers can make during a story's rising action. This craft lecture will explore three variations on Freytag's pyramid each of which demonstrate how story structure can help writers create more compelling conflicts.
Thursday, October 11, 11:00am SO 285
Yolanda Gamboa, Department of Languages, Linguistics, and Comparative Literature
"Bodies, Inventories, and Homes: Searching for Spanish Women in Colonial Saint Augustine"
How does one start studies in a field left aside by the established disciplines? How does one approach a body of knowledge when the textual sources are rare?
The history of the Spanish women of Early Colonial Florida (1565-1763) has been one of those topics left aside, with a few notable exceptions, both by scholars of American history as well as by those of Spanish Colonial history, yet it is a relevant aspect of a comprehensive study of colonial women, as well as of the interrelations between Spain and North America. This presentation questions the reason behind such absence and then proceeds to make some strides with the help of a feminist historiographic approach, as well as of material studies. Accounting for women as bodies, through inventories, or in relation to property, provides a number of avenues in this search.
Wednesday, November 7th, 11:00am SO 285
Mirya Holman, Department of Political Science
"Implicit and Explicit Gender Cues in Political Advertising"
What role does identity targeting play in voters' reactions to male and female political candidates? I extend Mendelberg's model of implicit and explicit communication effects (2001) and Hillygus and Shield's (2008) idea of targeted messages to theorize about how implicit and explicit messages targeting gender identity will influence voters. Specifically, I predict that, among intended recipients, implicit identity targeting (as opposed to explicit) will have the most effect on producing fear, in-group identity salience, and positivity towards the candidate. Two experiments demonstrate that males can be targeted implicitly using messages that invoke threat, and that female respondents respond negatively to ads with implicit or explicit gender references. Party also conditions the responses to these ads. These results show evidence that implicit targeting is more successful than explicit targeting while also showing the role social identity plays in targeted messages. The research includes a discuss the implications of this study for representation.
Spring 2012 Colloqiua
(Click here for the Spring 2012 flyer)
Wednesday, January 18th, 11:00am CU 321
Dr. Jane Caputi, School of Communications and Multimedia Studies
"Feeding Green Fire"
In his (1948) classic essay, "Thinking Like a Mountain," environmental philosopher Aldo Leopold describes a "fierce green fire" as it died out in the eyes of an old mother wolf he had shot and the ensuing epiphany he experienced, resulting in an ecological conversion. Green fire has gone on to become a kind of imprimatur for environmental concerns. Here I consider the deep and veritably archetypal connotations of green fire. I begin with symbols from world religious, folk, and popular traditions, with particular attention to the 12th century theology of Hildegard of Bingen. Understanding green fire as an emblem of the life force/source, I explore its link to photosynthesis, traditional concepts of mother nature, the faking of green fire in biotechnological ventures as well as the "transgenic art" of international artist Eduardo Kac. Throughout, I consider the relationship of green fire to Leopold's core concept of integrity, reading his understandings in conversation with feminist theologian Mary Daly's "elemental philosophy" and her conception of Quintessence as the living presence behind the elemental integrity of the universe.
Wednesday, February 15th, 11:00am CU 321
Dr. James Cunningham, Department of Music
"The Music of the Right Coast: Florida's instrumental Surf Rock from the 1960s to the Present
This colloquium, presented by James E. Cunningham Associate Professor of Ethnomusicoloy at Florida Atlantic University, is based on ongoing research into Florida's musical surf culture. Beginning with an overview its origins in the Western United States by early 1960s pioneers such as Dick Dale and The Ventures, this presentation will then trace surf rock through its successive second and third waves to the end of the twentieth century. Central to this study is the role of Florida surf-rock bands in the development and continuation of the genre to the present day.
Wednesday, March 21st, 11:00am CU 321
Dr. Karen Leader, Department of Visual art and Art History
Culture is what responds to man when he asks himself what he is doing on the earth.
To consider body modification, in this case tattooing, in the 21st century, is no longer to assume that you know something about the tattooed. While the scholarship on deviant behaviors, subcultures, risky behaviors, and self-mutilation might be relevant to pockets of the population, prisons for example, or gangs, a stroll around a shopping mall or college campus will reveal that the old assumptions no longer apply, and haven't for some time.
This paper will present some preliminary thoughts on a long-term creative collaboration I have undertaken with the Jaffe Center for Book Arts. The project, Stories on the Skin: Tattoo Culture at FAU, begins with the metaphor of tattooed individuals as walking books, with pages that can be read and interpreted, that have aesthetic merit and narrative content, and that include rich mythological and meaningful cross-cultural content. Encounters with hundreds of students reveal that a deepened understanding of the complexities of being and living tattooed poses broader questions about the nature of embodiment in the information age.
As the project has developed, my thinking has led to the following questions about its scholarly import. First, the phenomenon of the widespread, mainstream popularity of tattoo is occurring at the precise moment when our lives are becoming more virtual. What is the significance of this profoundly bodily performance of self in a world where bodies are being left behind for avatars? Second, if tattooing offers a positive value to individual subjectivity, can this active practice of a tradition as old as culture itself contribute to a renewed appreciation of the body as carrier of universal meanings? Finally, can this significant embodiment of self offer an ethical model for that affirms our lived experience, on an increasingly endangered planet?
Wednesday, April 25th, 11:00am CU 321
Dr. Raphael Dalleo, Department of English
"Bourideu and Postcolonial Studies"
Postcolonial studies emerged as an academic discipline in the 1980s as figures like Edward Said, Gayatri Spivak, and Homi Bhabha adapted post-structural theory by Foucault, Derrida, and Lacan to examinations of the non-European world. By the 1990s, the center of the field shifted to Paul Gilroy's and Antonio Benítez-Rojo's interest in the rhizomes of Deleuze and Guattari. But in the last 10 years, the European theorist who has inspired the most innovative and important work in postcolonial studies has been Pierre Bourdieu. Graham Huggan's The Postcolonial Exotic (2001) crystalized much of the anxiety about the field's institutionalization, inspiring new work from Sarah Brouillette and Richard Watts, as well as surprising turns towards sociological approaches to postcolonial literature by previously post-structuralist critics like Chris Bongie. In this presentation, I will explore the reasons for this turn towards Bourdieu as well as its implications for our understanding both of Bourdieu's work and of postcolonial studies as a field.
Fall 2011 Colloquia
(click here for the Fall 2011 flyer)
September 7th at 11:30 AM
Dr. Adam Bradford from the English Department presented:
"The Collaborative Construction of a Death-Defying Cryptext: Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass."
This presentation examines Walt Whitman's largely ignored relationship to the sentimental literature and culture of mourning of nineteenth-century America, nuancing those literary and historical accounts of the emergence of Leaves of Grass that characterize it as stemming largely from nineteenth-century artistic and philosophical movements such as Romanticism and Transcendentalism. Indeed, as this presentation discloses, much of the literature that Whitman wrote in the 1830s and 40s, before the 1855 publication of Leaves of Grass, was sentimental by nature, and several pieces, such as those written to memorialize the death of MacDonald Clarke, are elegiac in tone and follow the conventions of mourning and memorializing of the time period. Whitman's participation in this culture through these highly conventional 1830s and 40s literary pieces seems, and has seemed to many critics, like a rather strange foreground for the unconventional Leaves of Grass. Yet, as this investigation shows, Whitman's famous direct address – the radical "you" that lies at the heart of his 1855 poetry – grows out of the apostrophic styles of address that were commonly used in sentimental mourning poems during this period. Whitman's reliance upon this culture, its rituals, practices, and literary conventions of mourning, ultimately allowed him to achieve that remarkably intimate sense of "presence," of "perpetual existence beyond the grave," that not only marked his otherwise unconventional Leaves of Grass, but forged an unquestionable resonance between it and a rather remarkable array of more conventional mourning objects proliferating during the time period.
October 4th at 11:00 AM
Dr. Clifford Brown from the Anthropology Department presented:
"The Emergence of Inequality"
Archaeological studies of the distribution of wealth are revealing that early civilizations exhibited extreme inequalities in the distribution of wealth much like those we see in modern industrial societies. Both modern and ancient distributions of wealth appear to be Pareto distributions, which are power-laws. We present evidence that Classic and Postclassic period ancient Maya sites present Pareto distributions of wealth, while in the earlier Preclassic period the distribution was different and may have more closely approximated an exponential distribution. Political scientist Manus Midlarsky has suggested a process by which the distribution of wealth in pre-state societies would evolve from exponential to power-law. Our evidence supports this view and opens a window onto the process of social differentiation.
November 8th - 11:00 AM
Dr. Frederic Conrod from the Department of Languages, Linguistics, and Comparative Literature presented:
"Beyond Hate: Representing the Parisian Banlieue in Recent French Cinema"
As a peripheral space often deprived of historical prestige and classified as a hybrid space of cultural transition, the banlieue (suburb) of Paris has always developed its own culture since the industrial revolution. From the 19th century, when it became a space of entertainment, inspiration and recreation, to the often problematic and ignored urban zone that it has become in the last 30 years, the banlieue is a space of creolité and diaspora par excellence. The banlieue allows us to explore its linguistic, cultural, historic, literary and filmographic hybridities, as well as the interactions of different cultures within its boundaries and its attempt to construct pockets of cosmopolitan spaces to overcome its many complex of inferiorities, or eventually, a culture of its own. It has been selling an image of its own for over two decades now as a reaction to the rejection of its cultural make-up essentially based on the beur body. Yet, in 2010, we can no longer identify or reflect the entire body of bodies living in the suburb in a single figure or style, and need to envision the beur body in a much more complex fashion. This assimilation has turned out to be problematic in the recent past since the complexity of the banlieue cannot be reduced to the reassuring smile of Zinédine Zidane. For these reasons, it is time to look at the Parisian inner city from a variety of different angles in order to deconstruct the clichés to which it is too often faced. Recent films from a new generation of directors have already begun to do explore the multiplicity of beur bodies, and are exploring these new configurations in search of a way out of the banlieue, other expressions of escape from an assigned condition.
Spring 2011 Colloquia
Wednesday, January 19, 11 AM, CU 321A, Douglas Broadfield, Department of Anthropology
"The Consequences of Being Human: Perspectives from Biological Anthropology"
Humans often perceive themselves as the pinnacle of evolution. This creates the misconception that we are the perfect form. However, our evolution has been far from perfect. This talk will look at how the baggage of our past is reflected in our bodies and minds.
Tuesday, February 22, 11 AM, CU 321, John Golden, Department of English
"The Co-Presence of Something Regular": Rhythm and Motion in Wordsworth's Prosody"
Wordsworth's descriptions of meter as "superadded" to poetry and as "the co-presence of something regular" can give the impression that meter is extrinsic to the body of a poem, a secondary consideration that even constitutes a secondary text (a "co-presence"). This paper seeks instead to understand Wordsworth's conception of poetic rhythm—both in his theory and in his practice—as more fundamentally embodied and embodying. In this conception, rhythm is an active attunement of bodies that emerges from language's own sonic materials; it coordinates the presences of the poem. I consider the Wordsworthian motif of the encounter in nature as a model for understanding the expressive and cognitive nature of language's materiality. Often such encounters involve the poet finding a human figure, such as the leech gatherer of "Resolution and Independence," who calls attention to the expressive limits of language and the relative eloquence of bodily gesture and movement. In what way can we (or did Wordsworth) understand prosody to be such a matrix of "gesture," "movement," and expression?
Clifford Brown, Department of Anthropology (Postponed, date and time TBA)
"The Emergence of Inequality"
Archaeological studies of the distribution of wealth are revealing that early civilizations exhibited extreme inequalities in the distribution of wealth much like those we see in modern industrial societies. Both modern and ancient distributions of wealth appear to be Pareto distributions, which are power-laws. Political scientist Manus Midlarsky has suggested a process by which the distribution of wealth in pre-state societies would evolve from exponential to power-law. We have present evidence from the ancient Maya civilization that this may be true.
Wednesday, April 20, 11 AM, Jennifer Low, Department of English
"Pictorial Tradition and the Body Onstage: Acting and the Iconography of Tableaux"
In this paper I attempt to trace a genealogy for the way the body is used in theatrical traditions that provide an alternative to emotional realism (and, in the twentieth century, to Stanislavski's method). I search for historical connections among the more spectacular and physically oriented theater movements that communicate emotion through what Brecht termed gestus, an action placed in a specific social context). Underlying this project is Maurice Merleau-Ponty's influence upon theories of theatrical performance; here I consider whether the actor's habitus is as significant as the audience's expectation of reading the body. I begin by examining the role that Stanislavsky thought the body played in dramatic performance. Moving to alternative approaches, I discuss allegorical elements, specifically allegorical moments, in early modern dramas and compare the pictorial tradition evident in nineteenth-century tableaux vivants. I go on to compare the antipathy to emotional realism of Artaud to that of Brecht and conclude by a brief case study of the Propeller Company's Twelfth Night as an example of Artaudian appropriation of the Brechtian Verfremdungseffekte.
Fall 2010 Colloquia
Tuesday, September 28, 2010 - Coffee Colloquium: 11:00 AM in AH 105 (History seminar room), Brian McConnell (Visual Arts & Art History) will present:
"Hey there, what's that sound -- an inscription in Greek meter on the Temple of Apollo (Syracuse, Sicily) and Synaesthetic Response?"
The Temple of Apollo at Syracuse (Sicily) is generally considered to be the first Greek temple that was fully built in stone. Except for the uppermost members of the roof structure, the platform, interior cella (naos), columns, and the entablature were constructed from ashlar blocks or other sculpted elements in limestone. This was a major achievement anywhere in the Greek Mediterranean, although it certainly needed further refinement. The erection of columns from single blocks of stone was changed quickly to a system of column drums; nevertheless, this first success was cause for celebration, and it was commemorated in a large inscription on the eastern side of the stylobate, the uppermost step of the temple platform.
Scholars have debated the reading of the Greek inscription, but relatively little attention has been given to its metrical qualities. Our discussion will focus on reading and scanning the text, which may hold a key to understanding not only to whom the temple was dedicated, but perhaps what may have gone on at the temple's dedication. Reading the inscription, in fact, may evoke a synaesthetic response, which brings us closer, in a physical way to the moment of the building's initial celebration.
Tuesday, October, 19, 2010 - Coffee Colloquium: 11:00 AM in AH 105 (History seminar room),Marcella Munson (Languages, Linguistics, and Comparative Literature) will discuss:
"Célibat et Nature: Disputing Masculinities in Late Medieval France"
Although new twelfth-century laws requiring priestly celibacy were intended to be a major turning point in ecclesiastical practice, these complex laws were not uniformly enforced, and were still being sorted out centuries later. In the early fifteenth century this long-standing debate was reinvigorated with the publication of Guillaume Saignet's treatise Lamentacio humane nature. Saignet's text summarizes the major strands of the debate begun decades earlier, and also provokes the explicit response of Jean Gerson, chancellor of the University of Paris and key participant in France's first literary debate in which one side advocated the literary merits of the Romance of the Rose, and the other side condemned it for its turpitude.
Gerson's response to Saignet highlights the existence of two strongly competing models of masculinity in medieval culture. While Saignet's model valorized an ideal of virile paternity based on a proliferative Nature, Gerson's emphasized celibacy in a performative context (what Megan McLaughlin calls "virile celibacy") in which celibate clerks echoed the gestures, movements and styles of secular fathers, often through the creation of elaborate narratives. Gerson presents a new normative model of celibacy-based masculinity in which to interpret the Rose, the better to condemn it.
Tuesday, November 16 2010 - Coffee Colloquium: 11:00 AM in AH 105 (History seminar room), Taylor Hagood (English) will present:
"Faulkner and the Embodying of Cognitive Disability"
William Faulkner created one of the most famous cognitively disabled characters in American literature in Benjy Compson of The Sound and the Fury. A decade later in his novel The Hamlet, Faulkner introduced Ike Snopes, a character so similar to Benjy as to be practically his poor-white twin. While these characters' cognitive disabilities distinguish them and occupy scholars' attention, equally intriguing are the ways that Faulkner vivifies those disabilities in his depiction of their bodies. Replete with nonhuman animal imagery and aberrant characteristics, Faulkner's descriptions of these characters' bodies make external and physically active the disabilities that are otherwise relentlessly internal and that ostensibly render the characters passive objects. This embodying of cognitive disability thus allows a paradoxical enablement of agency that both binds the characters in a hermetic identity of disability and yet also permits their violation of social strictures that apply both to disabled and nondisabled characters in Faulkner's created world and implicitly in the real socio-political world that is its referent.
Spring 2010 Colloquia
The Center for Body, Mind, and Culture will present the following speakers in our ongoing coffee colloquium series:
Wednesday, January 27, 2010 - Coffee Colloquium: 12:00 PM in AH 105 (History seminar room), Professor Robin Fiore (Philosophy) will discuss:
"Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Healthcare: Research on Implicit Attitudes and Disparities Arising From the Clinical Encounter"
Differences in treatment recommendations and in health care outcomes for racial and ethnic minorities are consistently found across a wide range of disease areas and clinical services and across a range of clinical settings. Disparities are found even when clinical factors, such as stage of disease presentation, co-morbidities, age, and severity of disease are taken into account. There are a number of potential sources of racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare: health systems-level factors such as third party financing, patient-level factors such as patient poor adherence, and a third category, "disparities arising from the clinical encounter." [Institute of Medicine, Unequal Treatment]. This last category includes stereotyping, bias, and cultural uncertainty on the part of clinicians. In this presentation, I discuss recent work in cognitive psychology on implicit attitudes in connection with racial and ethnic disparities in health care.
Robin N. Fiore is an Associate Professor of Philosophy and Adelaide R. Snyder Professor of Ethics at Florida Atlantic University. Her present research focuses on issues of social justice in health care, particularly with respect to women's health and racial and ethnic disparities.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - Coffee Colloquium: 12:00 PM in AH 105 (History seminar room), Prisca Augustyn (German) will present:
"Meaning in Nature – A New Translation of Jakob von Uexküll's 'Bedeutungslehre'"
Prisca Augustyn will talk about her translation project of works by Jakob von Uexküll (1864-1944) from the original German into English. Uexküll's 'Theoretical Biology' and other texts revolving around his 'Umweltlehre' first influenced scholars like Heidegger, Plessner, Cassirer, Lorenz and Merleau-Ponty. Thomas A. Sebeok (1920-2002) considered the discovery of Uexküll's work one of his most important contributions to semiotics; and Uexküll was included in the 'Classics in Semiotics' (1981) among Peirce, Morris, Saussure, Hjelmslev, Jakobson, Bühler, and Sebeok. Do the recent references to Uexküll's work in a wide variety of progressive contemporary theoretical currents (such as biosemiotics, biolinguistics, posthumanism, practice anthropology, philosophical anthropology, and environmental philosophy) call for a new translation of his work? What should this translation look like?
Prisca Augustyn is an Associate Professor of German and Linguistics at Florida Atlantic University and the co-editor of Stationen. Kursbuch für die Mittelstufe. Her current research interests include semiotics and language learning, and the importance of Jakob von Uexküll's Umweltlehre for the field of Biosemiotics.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010 - Coffee Colloquium: 11:00 AM in AH 104 (English seminar room), Eric Berlatsky (English) will discuss:
"Time and Free Will: Agency in Four Dimensions in the Graphic Novels of Alan Moore."
At the heart of Alan Moore's Watchmen (habitually called the "greatest graphic novel of all time"), is a rarely observed contradiction between the book's radical politics and its scientific/metaphysical ruminations. On one hand, as in Moore's earlier works, Watchmen focuses on each individual's responsibility to "change the world" for him or her self, not to cede control to individuals with "superpowers" or to the governments of the "super powers" (the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.). The book's catchphrase, "Who Watches the Watchmen," reminds us that if we allow others to "watch over" us, there will be nothing to "watch over" them. While the phrase does insist that we "keep an eye" on our governments and those in power, it is better read as an objection to letting them "watch over" us in the first place. If we assert our own wills and our own desires, the phrase suggests, there will be no need for an "overclass" to tell us what to do. Moore's earlier V for Vendetta makes a similar plea for anarchy ("no rulers") and insists on human agency (despite the very human tendency to abdicate such freedom). On the other hand, Moore's dabbling in Einsteinian and quantum physics makes the very notion of "freedom" or "free will" dubious. Einstein's and Hermann Minkowski's model of a four-dimensional spacetime continuum suggests that all time and space exist continuously or "simultaneously," and that it is only our consciousness that moves forward in time. In Watchmen, Earth's sole "superhero," Dr. Manhattan, escapes the limits of human consciousness and experiences all four dimensions at once. As such, he occupies the future before it happens for the remainder of the book's characters. Periodic access to Dr. Manhattan's point-of-view in the novel implies that all events have, in some sense, "already happened" and that the human characters have no power to change them. This paper, then, explores the problematic relationship between radical politics and modern physics as it is enacted in Watchmen, in Moore's other graphic novels, and through the prism of the debate between Einstein and Henri Bergson (from whose 1889 book Time and Free Will the title of this talk originates). Despite Moore's antagonism to all hierarchical structures and his deep investment in anarchism and feminism, this paper will explore the possibility that his parallel interest in science (and later magic) projects an image of an inevitable universe that leaves little or no room for human agency, political or otherwise.
Eric Berlatsky is an Assistant Professor of English at FAU. Some of his work appears in Narrative, Arizona Quarterly, the Journal of Narrative Theory, and Cultural Critique. He also has a forthcoming article in Twentieth-Century Literature and his first book is forthcoming from Ohio State University Press.
Thursday, April 15, 2010 - Coffee Colloquium: 11:00 AM in AH 104 (English seminar room), Douglas McGetchin (History) will present:
amp; "Global Cultural Connections in the Indian Swadeshi Movement, 1903-1908"
This talk examines the global connections of the Swadeshi (self-sufficiency) movement, including the degree of connection to foreign sympathizers and their intellectual-ideological cross-cultural influence. Foreigners in Calcutta included the Irish Home Rule advocate Margaret Noble (a.k.a. Sister Nivedita, a follower of Swami Vivekananda) and Japanese art critic Kakuzo Okakura who advocated a pan-Asian cultural identity as a means to rid Asia of colonial rule. The Indian Hemchandra Das visited Paris in 1906, making contact with European extremists and acquired bomb-making knowledge that he put to use back home.
The modern border between independent Bangladesh and Indian West Bengal one can trace back to the decision of the British in 1903 to partition the capital province of Bengal. This scheme to split the Bengali-speaking population and thus weaken opposition to British rule had a progressively radical backlash. Indians initiated the Swadeshi resistance movement which at first pursued a peaceful campaign of petitions, speeches, and meetings. But when these methods failed to stop the British partition, it turned to more direct action, including economic boycotts and eventually assassination and bomb-throwing. Exploring the larger context of the conflict over method—the use of violence and the most effective ways to challenge colonial power—informs our understanding of connections between moderates and extremists both in Europe and India. Bolstering this political struggle were international cultural connections that played an important role in forming a strong Indian cultural identity.
Douglas McGetchin is an Assistant Professor of History at Florida Atlantic University and co-editor of Sanskrit and "Orientalism": Indology and Comparative Linguistics in Germany, 1750-1958.
Fall 2009 Colloquia
Wednesday, September 2, 2009 - Coffee Colloquium: 11:00 AM in AH 105 (History seminar room), Professor Mary Cameron (Anthropology) discussed:
"Nature and Health in the Himalayas"
Ayurveda is one of the most popular forms of healthcare in Nepal for it provides a theory of health and illness that is supported by people's extensive knowledge of medicinal plants. Indeed, Ayurvedic doctors and rural farmers share a caring devotion for medicinal plants (called jadibuti, 'healing entities from roots') corresponding to what environmental anthropologist Kay Milton has identified as a human-environment orientation of "loving nature" that is common to communities directly dependent on natural resources. Furthermore, Ayurveda explicitly acknowledges that plants contribute to the growth and well-being of humans within an ethos (shared, I argue, by lay Nepalis) that might be interpreted to claim that humans and plants are different forms of the same phenomenon. In contrast, environmentalists working to preserve Himalayan biodiversity, often in unique partnership with Ayurvedic physicians, approach human-nature relationships quite differently. They typically see humans as impediments to sustainable plant conservation. This talk explores how human-environment orientations are complementary, conflictual, and mutually influential in responding to modernizing forces and to achieving the development goals of health care improvement and biodiversity conservation.
Mary Cameron, an Associate Professor of Anthropology, FAU and the author of On the Edge of the Auspicious: Gender and Caste in Nepal. University of Illinois Press
Wednesday, October 28, 2009 - Coffee Colloquium: 11:00 AM in AH 105 (History seminar room), Professor Nora Erro-Peralta (Languages, Linguistics, and Comparative Literature) presented:
"Reconstructing the Past Through Women's Eyes: the New Latin American Historical Novel"
Over the course of the last twenty-five years, a large number of Latin American historical novels have been written and published in Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America. This talk will explore how certain Latin American women writers have created a unique and challenging portrayal of women who have been marginalized and even omitted from historical accounts and will reconsider the role of women in writing national history and forming national identity.
Specifically, I will focus on two Latin American novelists: Alicia Yánez Cossío from Ecuador and Isabel Allende from Chile. Both have recently published works that recreate the lives of women during the Spanish conquest and early colonization of the Americas (1500-1600). In her latest novel, Memorias de la Pivihuarmi Cuxirimay Ocllo Yánez Cossío tells the history of the Incas through the eyes of Cuxirimay Ocllo, Emperor Atahualpa's pirihuarmi, who narrates her own life from her birth to the fall of the Empire and then her subsequent life under Spanish rule; and Isabel Allende in her 2006 novel entitled Inés del alma mía recounts the story of the first woman to arrive in Chile with the conquistadors in the 1500s. Inés Suárez, a real historical figure who came to Chile with Pedro de Valdivia narrates her life in her own words, emphasizing the role she played in the conquest of the new territory for Spain and the founding of the first Spanish settlement in Santiago in 1540. Both novels subvert the official history by replacing its patriarchal male discourse with a rebellious feminine discourse.
Nora Erro-Peralta, is a Professor of Spanish and Latin American Literature, FAU and the co-editor of Beyond the Border: A New Age in Latin American Women's Fiction . University of Florida Press
Tuesday, November 3, 2009 - Coffee Colloquium: 11:00 AM in AH 105 (History seminar room), Professor Eric Freedman (Communication) discussed:
"States of Play: Trauma and the Technobiographic Subject"
New media industries are increasingly engaged with what may be termed a "technobiographic life"—a life written through technology and approximated by a data trail. Of course, contemporary new media practices are not simply birthedby industry nor are they inherently driven by technology; they arenegotiated in the cultural field. Within this landscape, video games may help us understand the often overlooked yet fundamental role of technological innovation in the culture at large. Game play may provide a positive lesson in cybernetics by crystallizing a new relationship between corporeal experience (the body) and subjectivity, and game play may stimulate our understanding of abstract and symbolic rule-based systems. To this end, game play and interface design have made fundamental contributions to the study of catastrophic trauma, an experience that, tothe extent that it mayshatter norms, overwhelmthe psychic system, and produce a fractured subject seems to work against any industrial knowledge of lived subjects. Several innovative game-based applications have emerged in the general treatment of trauma. In particular, game-based immersive virtual reality has found its psycho-therapeutic application in the treatment of phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder, and pain mitigation. Foregrounding a number of applied case studies, this lecture explores the broad cultural implications of game development and game theory.
Eric Freedman, is an Associate Professor of Communication and Multimedia Studies, FAU and the author of Transient Images, forthcoming from Temple University Press.
Spring 2009 Colloquia
Wednesday, January 21, 2009 - Coffee Colloquium: 12:00 PM in AH 105 (History seminar room), Professor Carol Gould (Philosophy) will present:
"Aristotle's Ethical Taxonomy and the Histrionic Personality Disorder"
This talk focuses onthe Histrionic Personality Disorder, a diagnosis from the DSM IV, which, I argue,raises some intriguing philosophical problems.
The disorder has been relatively ignored by philosophers, researchers, and non-psychoanalytic therapists, perhaps because HPD is often conflated with the more vague notion of hysteria.(HPD is not unrelated to hysteria in that both are defined in terms of externalizing emotion.) HPD raises questions about the precarious line between the pathological and the moral as well as some concerns about the biases embedded in diagnostic categories.
HPD is classified as a Cluster B personality disorder along with the widely discussed Anti-Social, Narcissistic, and Borderline Personality Disorders. These characters are perennially fascinating, as we see in the concerns of theoretical and literary writers since Plato and those reflected in popular culture. Philosopher L. Charland argues in a recent article that Cluster B disorders are not really psychological disorders but instead moral disorders, and, as such, require moral therapy not psychotherapy. He scarcely discusses the Histrionic, adding a few remarks only at the end of his discussion. Similarly, most empirical studies of Cluster Bs focus less on HPD than the other three. The Histrionic, I believe, does not belong with Cluster Bs.
My project is to show that the Histrionic is not a moral disorder (and possibly not a personality disorder) by using Aristotle's ethical theory. In doing so, I propose some ideas about what a moral disorder is, how psychological disorders are culturally 'constructed,' and whether the DSM IV diagnostic categories articulate real distinctions.
Dr. Gould, professor of Philosophy at FAU, is the author of numerous journal articles. Most recently, "Dogen and Plato on Enlightenment" appeared in the Japan Studies Review and "Glamour as an Aesthetic Property of Persons" was published in the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism.
Monday, February 9, 2009 - Coffee Colloquium: 12:00 PM in AH 105 (History seminar room), Professor Jeffrey Morton (International Law and Politics) will discuss:
"The Iraq War: A Failure of Democracy"
Over the course of the past century, the American public has experienced periods of intense political debate over foreign policy as well as periods of foreign policy consensus. The implication of periods of consensus is a failure to fully and meaningfully debate alternative foreign policy paths. This presentation, based upon a published journal article, examines the causes and policy implications of periods of public consensus over foreign policy. In so doing, it offers an explanation for America's two greatest foreign policy errors, the Vietnam War and the 2003 Iraq War.
Dr. Morton, Professor of International Law and Politics at FAU, is the author of The International Law Commission of the United Nations and the senior editor of Reflections on the Balkan Wars: Ten Years After the Break-up of Yugoslavia .
Wednesday, March, 18 2009 - Coffee Colloquium: 12:00 PM in AH 105 (History seminar room), Michael Singer (Art and Design) will present:
"The Public Realm and Academic Interface"
My professional work engages teams of participants from diverse fields and, at times, academics. I will discuss two projects related to this cross-disciplinary process. One is a current project I'm leading, the planning of the W.E.B. Du Bois Homesite in Great Barrington, Massachusetts with the University of Massachusetts' Du Bois Center and the Friends of Du Bois, The other is a recently published white paper "Infrastructure and Community" for the Environmental Defense Fund.
Michael Singer held the Dorothy F. Schmidt Eminent Scholar Chair in the Arts from 2002-2005. He is currently the Special Consultant to the Dean of Arts and Humanities.
Michael's work crosses several disciplines. One of his key roles at the University is establishing opportunities for cross-college academic work within the institution and engaging academic interactions with his projects.
Wednesday, April, 8 2009 - Coffee Colloquium: 12:00 PM in AH 105 (History seminar room), Dr. Graciella Cruz-Taura will present:
"Ransoming Cuban history between poetry and archives"
This presentation focuses on the history behind the 1608 poem "Espejo de paciencia" [Mirror of patience] generally considered the first poem written in colonial Cuba and attributed to a scribe/notary public from the Canary Islands by the name of Silvestre de Balboa. Written in Renaissance epic style, the poem narrates, in 152 stanzas, the kidnapping of Bishop Juan de las Cabezas Altamirano by French pirates in 1604 and the colonists' ploy to punish the marauders. Only meriting a passing line by historians, Espejo de paciencia owes its place as Cuba's foundational text to literary critics and nationalist propagandists. Revealing documents she uncovered in Spanish and Mexican archives, Cruz-Taura rescues the poem from myth and offers a historian's nuanced reading of the intricate network that tied the lives of a bishop, a poet, smugglers, and Inquisition officials in the Spanish Caribbean at the turn of the seventeenth century.
Dr. Graciella Cruz-Taura is Associate Professor of History at Florida Atlantic University. Rescate: "Espejo de paciencia" en la historia de Cuba will be published by Iberoamericana Editorial/Vervuert Verlag in 2009.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008 - Coffee Colloquium: Professor Oliver Buckton (English) presented "Robert Louis Stevenson, William Gladstone, and the Politics of Late-Victorian Masculinity" from 11:00 AM-12:00 PM in FAU's room AH 105. Dr. Buckton, professor of English at FAU, is the author of two books, Secret Selves: Confession and Same-Sex Desire in Victorian Autobiography and Cruising with Robert Louis Stevenson: Travel, Narrative, and the Colonial Body.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008 - Coffee Colloquium: Professor Michael Horswell (Languages and Linguistics) spoke about "Re-writing Imperial Subjects of Treason: Amazons and Cañaris in Spanish Transatlantic Literature" from 11:00 AM- 12:00 PM in FAU's room AH 105. Dr. Horswell, an associate professor of Latin American literature and Spanish at Florida Atlantic University, is the author of Decolonizing the Sodomite: Queer Tropes of Sexuality in Colonial Andean Culture .
Wednesday, November 12, 2008 - Coffee Colloquium: Professor Benno Lowe (History) discussed: "Commonwealth and Reformation: Protestantism and the Politics of Religious Change in the Gloucester Vale (1350-1560)" from 11:00 AM-12:00 PM in FAU's room AH 105. Dr. Lowe, associate professor of History at Florida Atlantic University, is the Author of Imagining Peace: A History of Early English Pacifist Ideas.
Thursday, April 17, 2008 - Coffee Colloquium: Dr. Susan Love Brown spoke about American individualist anarchism from 2-3:30 PM in FAU's room AH 105. Brown, associate professor of anthropology and acting director of comparative studies at FAU, is the editor of Intentional Community: An Anthropological Perspective and the co-author of Meeting Anthropology Phase to Phase . She has published on topics varying from Ayn Rand and Anarcho-Capitalism to ethnography in the Bahamas and a yoga community called Ananda Village.
Monday, March 17, 2008 - Coffee Colloquium: From 2 - 3:30 PM in FAU's room AH 105, Frederick E. Greenspahn, Gimelstob Eminent Scholar in Judaic Studies, discussed "Jewish Theologies of Scripture." Greenspahn suggests, "It is common in the study of religion for unfamiliar traditions to be treated as structurally similar to those that are familiar. That fallacy is responsible for the assumption that the Bible plays the same role in Judaism as in (Protestant) Christianity. A survey of Jewish thought on the matter reveals three broad understandings of the Bible's role, some of which are quite distinct from what is commonly assumed." Dr. Greenspahn is Director of the Jewish Studies Program at FAU.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008 - Coffee Colloquium: At 2:30 PM, poet, biographer, and literary critic, Mark Scroggins, discussed his new book, The Poem of a Life: A Biography of Louis Zukofsky. For more information about FAU Associate Professor of English Mark Scroggins, click here. For more information about the event, contact the Center for Body, Mind, and Culture. To learn more about The Poem of a Life, click here. This event took place in FAU's room AH105.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007 - Coffee Colloquium: From 4:00 - 5:00 PM in AH 108, Lester Embree, William F. Dietrich Eminent Scholar, spoke about the "Phenomenology of Nursing." For more information about the event, contact the Center for Body, Mind, and Culture.
Tuesday, October 23 - Coffee Colloquium: At 4:30 PM in AH 108, National Book Award finalist Susan Mitchell discussed the "Poetic Process as Menage ? Trois." For more information about poet and professor Susan Mitchell, click here. For more information about the event, contact the Center.
March 12, 2 PM - Coffee Colloquium, History Seminar Room, Ken Holloway, Assistant Professor of History and Levenson Professor of Asian Studies discussed "Opposing Views on Chinese Government"
April 9, 2007 - Coffee Colloquium: "Food and Self" presented by Wen-ying Xu
Xu writes: "In this short presentation, I will argue that food, as the most significant medium of the traffic between the inside and outside of our bodies, organizes, signifies, and legitimates our sense of self in distinction from others who practice different foodways. Food not only nourishes but also signifies. Cuisine, the process of transforming raw materials into safe, nourishing, and pleasing dishes, is central to our subjectivity, because this transformation operates in 'the register of the imagination' more than of the material. I will also briefly demonstrate how to read food in literature."