2015-16 Events

Event Series

September 14-16
Cornell University

Korean Arts and Culture

Monday, September 14, 4:30 p.m., Guerlac Room, A.D. White House
Youngmin Kim, Director, Institute for Trans Media and World Literatures, Dongguk University
Travelling Poetry, Travelling Theory, and the Humanities

Tuesday, September 15, 4:30 p.m., Room 110, A.D. White House
Workshop: Perspectives on the Humanities and Arts in South Korea
With Timothy Murray, Director, Society for the Humanities, Cornell, Youngmin Kim, and Alex Taek-Gwang Lee

Wednesday, September 16, 4:30 p.m., Guerlac Room, A.D. White House
Alex Taek-Gwang Lee, Associate Professor, British & American Cultural Studies, Kyung Hee University
Humanities and Plastic Surgery: The Logic of Human Capital in South Korea 

Fall Conference

October 23-24, 2015
A.D. White House

Time, on the Critical Edge

1:00 - 2:45 p.m. Society@50 Celebratory Lecture

  • Sara Guyer (Director, Center for the Humanities, University of Wisconsin-Madison), Anthropomorphism, Anthropocene

3:00 - 4:30 p.m. Times of Difference

  • Viranjini P. Munasinghe (Faculty Fellow; Associate Professor of Anthropology, Cornell University), History, Hypercolonialism and the Caribbean Exception
  • Carina Ray (Society Fellow; Associate Professor of African and Afro-American Studies, Brandeis University), Time and the Paradox of Blackness
  • Rebecca Wanzo (Society Fellow; Associate Director, Center for the Humanities, Washington University), The Temporal Fictions of Ferguson

5:00 p.m. Taylor Family Directorship Naming Lecture, Hollis E. Cornell Auditorium, Goldwin Smith Hall

  • Host: Dean Gretchen Ritter (College of Arts and Sciences, Cornell University)
  • Tejumola Olaniyan (Society Senior Scholar in Residence; Louise Durham Mead Professor of English and African Languages and Literature, University of Wisconsin-Madison), Enchantings: Modernity and The Time of the State in Africa

9:30 – 11:00 a.m. Histories of Time

  • Rayna Kalas (Faculty Fellow; Associate Professor of English, Cornell University), Constitutional Time
  • Kelly Grotke (Society Fellow; The Erik Castrén Institute, University of Helsinki), Universal Histories and World Citizens: Interpreting the 19th c. European Temporal Imagination
  • Craig Campbell (Society Fellow; Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Texas at Austin), Thinking Towards Catastrophe: A Preliminary Typology of Events

11:15 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Featured Lecture

  • Skawennati (Partnership Coordinator, Initiative for Indigenous Futures; Co-Director, Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace), Past, Present and Future in TimeTraveller™

2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Creative Time

Jonathan Strauss (Society Fellow; Professor of French and Italian, Miami University), The Elegiac Present in Guillaume Apollinaire’s Rain Calligrams

Miguel Ángel Hernández Navarro (Society Fellow; Associate Professor of Art History, University of Murcia), Twisted Time: Anachronism and History in Fernando Bryce’s Work

3:00 – 4:00 p.m. Time’s Performatives

Steve Potter (Society Fellow; Associate Lecturer at Goldsmiths, University of London), Pleasure and Protest in ‘Jazz’ and ‘Classical’ Avant-Gardes of the 1950s

Arnika Fuhrmann (Faculty Fellow; Assistant Professor of Southeast Asian Studies, Cornell University), Ghostly Desires: Queer Longings and Buddhist Temporalities in Independent Thai Cinema

4:30 – 6:00 p.m. Concluding Lecture

  • Premesh Lalu (Director, Centre for Humanities Research, University of the Western Cape), The Trojan Horse and the Becoming Technical of the Human

Culler Lecture in Critical Theory

Wednesday, November 18, 4:30 p.m.
Hollis E. Cornell Auditorium, Goldwin Smith Hall

Jonathan Culler
Class of 1916 Professor of English, Cornell University

Literary Theory Today

Acknowledging the Society for the Humanities’ legacy of promoting the value of critical theory, we are happy to announce the Annual Culler Lecture in Critical Theory. The inaugural lecture, on “Literary Theory Today,” will be offered by Jonathan Culler, who served as the Director of the Society for the Humanities from 1984 to 1993. Professor Culler positioned the Society as an international center of critical theory, a distinction it has held over the years since.


Thursday, November 19, 4:30 p.m.
Room 201, A.D. White House

Yang Geng
Assistant Professor of Media Arts, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian, China

The time phenomenon of Chinese Zen and early video art in China

The Society for the Humanities and the Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art are pleased to welcome Professor Yang Geng back to Cornell for a presentation of her important analysis of Chinese video art. Based on her research in Cornell’s Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art, while in residence at the Society for the Humanities, Spring 2015, Professor Geng will discuss the exceptional production of video art in China since the late 1980s (much of it held in the Rose Goldsen Archive). Most important for contemporary Asian and visual studies is her creative blend of Chinese philosophy and Western theory in understanding the influential explosion of video art in China.

Digital Humanities Lecture

Monday, November 23, 4:30 p.m.
Guerlac Room, A.D. White House

Sharon Daniel
Professor of Film and Digital Media, University of California, Santa Cruz

On Politics and Aesthetics

Daniel’s talk will be an in-depth theorized discussion of a series of database-driven new media documentaries as case-studies of hybrid forms at the intersection of art, scholarship, and political activism. The talk will address the tensions and contradictions that emerge between the goals of theory and aesthetics and those of advocacy and activism.

Co-sponsored by the Society for the Humanities, Central New York Humanities Corridor, from an award by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and Mellon Collaborative Studies in Architecture, Urbanism, and the Humanities.

Mellon Urbanism Lecture

Monday, November 30, 5:00 p.m.
157 E Sibley Hall

Keller Easterling
Professor of Architecture, Yale University


Architect/urbanist/writer Keller Easterling will discuss how some of the world’s most radical changes are being written in the language of the infrastructural matrix of spatial products and free zone cities. Infrastructure space is itself an information system—a spatial operating system for shaping the city. This space can bring to art a new relevance, as well as additional aesthetic pleasures and political capacities.

Co-sponsored by Mellon Collaborative Studies in Architecture, Urbanism, and the Humanities

Senior Scholar in Residence

Thursday, February 11, 4:30 p.m.
Lewis Auditorium, Goldwin Smith Hall

Elizabeth A. Povinelli
Franz Boas Professor of Anthropology, Columbia University

Toxic Sovereignties in Geontopower 

View: Senior Scholar in Residence video

Future of the Humanities Lecture

Wednesday, November 24, 4:30 p.m.
Klarman Hall Auditorium

William D. Adams
Chairman, National Endowment for the Humanities

The Common Good and NEH at 50

A joint celebration of the Society for the Humanities and National Endowment for the Humanities 50th Anniversaries

View: Future of the Humanities video

Public Lecture

Tuesday, March 1, 4:30 p.m.
Guerlac Room, A.D. White House

Jentery Sayers
Assistant Professor, English and Cultural, Social, and Political Thought, University of Victoria

Prototyping Absence, Remaking Old Media

When conducting archival research, historians of media and technology frequently encounter devices that no longer work or existed only as illustrations, fictions, or one-offs. Rather than studying such uncertainty at a remove, this talk outlines ways to prototype absences in the historical record. It draws from examples of remaking old media to demonstrate how prototyping the past affords unique approaches to examining the contingent relations between matter and meaning, without fetishizing exact reproductions of historical artifacts.

Annual Invitational Lecture

Wednesday, March 2, 4:30 p.m.
Hollis E. Cornell Auditorium, Goldwin Smith Hall

Gerard Aching
Director, Africana Studies & Research Center and Professor of Africana and Romance Studies, Cornell University

'Oh my body, always make me a man who questions': The Apostrophized Black Body in Fanon and Coates

View: Invitational Lecture video


Lecture on Sustainable Futures

Thursday, March 10, 4:30 p.m.
Guerlac Room, A.D. White House

Craig Campbell
Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future Fellow, Society for the Humanities, Cornell University; Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Texas at Austin

Industrialism & the Time of Catastrophe (a Lesson in the Anthropocene)

For many Indigenous peoples around the circumpolar North, the everyday is lived within a sentient ecology. Ordinary life is experienced as a moral field where personhood is not the sole property of the human – sentience is shared. Animals, plants and other-than-human beings inhabit the world and exert agency upon it. The implications of non-human time on the time of industrialism – which we might say has been the defining mode of social organization in the 20th century (implicating both Capitalism and Socialism) – are profound. This lesson in the anthropocene explores the ends of industrial time with the explicit goal of challenging tacitly held beliefs about temporality, nature, and technological change. 

Presented with the David R. Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future

Series on the Future of Publishing

Wednesday, April 6, 4:30 p.m.
Guerlac Room, A.D. White House

Ken Wissoker
Editorial Director, Duke University Press; Director, Intellectual Publics Program, the Graduate Center CUNY

Smart Publishing in a Time of Media Transformation

Ken has published more than 900 books which have won over 100 prizes. Among the authors whose books he has published are Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Jack Halberstam, Charles Taylor, Joan Scott, Lisa Lowe, Lauren Berlant, Brian Massumi, Arjun Appadurai, Sara Ahmed, Rey Chow, Ann Stoler, Chandra Mohanty, Elizabeth Povinelli, and Kellie Jones. In addition to publishing well-known authors, he remains committed to the importance of working with authors on their first book.

Wissoker is the author of the Cinema Journal essay “The Future of the Book as a Media Project” and the earlier Chronicle of Higher Education articles “Scholarly Monographs Are Flourishing, Not Dying” and “Negotiating a Passage between Disciplinary Borders.” A three-part interview with him by Adeline Koh appeared in April 2013 on the Prof. Hacker blog. He writes a regular column for the Japanese cultural studies journal 5: Designing Media Ecology.

Annual Fellows Workshop

Friday, April 8, 2016
A.D. White House

Thinking Time

9:00 - 9:10 a.m. Welcome

  • Timothy Murray, Taylor Family Director, Society for the Humanities, Cornell University

9:10 - 10:30 a.m. Panel I: Afterlives

  • Vincent Ialenti, Mellon Graduate Fellow; Anthropology, Cornell University, Deep Time & the Afterlives of Expertise Among Finland’s Nuclear Waste Safety Experts
  • Ricardo Wilson, Mellon Post-doctoral Fellow; Africana Studies, Cornell University, Octavio Paz and the Unreading of Sigüenza y Góngora
  • Annetta Alexandridis, Faculty Fellow; Classical Art and Archaeology, Cornell University, From Fine Arts to Yujin: Replicating, Distributing, Recycling, and Erasing Plaster Casts of Graeco-Roman Sculpture

10:45 a.m. - 12:05 p.m. Panel II: Broken Chronologies

  • Aaron Rosenberg, Mellon Graduate Fellow; English, Cornell University, The Novel Time of the Anthropocene
  • Arnika Fuhrmann, Faculty Fellow; Asian Studies, Cornell University, In the Mood for Texture: Hong Kong, Bangkok, and Shanghai Colonial Ruins and the Transmedia Revival of Chinese Colonial Modernity
  • Viranjini Munasinghe, Faculty Fellow; Anthropology and Asian American Studies, Cornell University, An Absence of Tombs: Moral Economy of Nations and Caribbean Exception

1:00 - 2:30 p.m. Panel III: The Jetty

  • Film screening: Chris Marker, La jetée (1962); ca. 30 min.
  • Discussants: Maria Flood, Mellon Post-doctoral Fellow, Romance Studies, Cornell University; Jonathan Strauss, Society Fellow, French and Italian, Miami University; Steve Potter, Society Fellow, Music Composition, Goldsmiths University of London 

2:50 - 4:10 p.m. Time Fellows, on the Future of the Humanities

  • Moderator: Rebecca Wanzo, Society Fellow; Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies, Washington University
  • Daniel Smyth, Mellon Post-doctoral Fellow; Philosophy, Cornell University, Time for Humanistic Study
  • Discussants: Laura Brown, John Wendell Anderson Professor of English, Cornell University; Kelly Grotke, Society Fellow, Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften, Erik Castrén Institute, Faculty of Law, University of Helsinki; Rayna Kalas, Faculty Fellow; English, Cornell University; Carina Ray, Society Fellow, African and Afro-American Studies, Brandeis University 

4:30 p.m. Plenary Lecture, HEC Auditorium, Goldwin Smith Hall

  • Cathy Davidson, Director, Futures Initiative, Graduate Center, City University of New York; Co-Founder, HASTAC, Time and the Modern University

View: Fellows' Workshop video

Public Lecture: Saba Mahmood

Monday, April 11, 4:30 p.m.
Guerlac Room, A.D. White House

Saba Mahmood
Professor of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley

Religious Different, Sovereignty, and Civil Rights

Saba Mahmood is Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. Her work focuses on questions of secularism, religion, minority politics, and gender in the Middle East. She is the author of Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject (2005), and of Religious Difference in a Secular Age: A Minority Report (2015). Professor Mahmood’s talk will focus on the legal concept of “public order” to think comparatively about the civil status of religious minorities in the Middle East and Europe.

Public Lecture: Kélina Gotman

Wednesday, April 27, 4:30 p.m.
Guerlac Room, A.D. White House

Kélina Gotman
Lecturer in Theatre and Performance Studies, Department of English, King’s College London

Translatio: Movement, Migration, Dance

This talk thinks with anarchist philosopher PierreJoseph Proudhon (1809-1865) of the primacy of ‘movement’ in political life; and of the relative figures of order and disorder underlying nineteenth-century concepts of the (typically revolutionary) crowd – cast, in early sociology, neurology, psychiatry and other scientific and social scientific fields as a disorder of movement, a dancing disease. Considering modern figures of movement, migration, travel, translation and passage or translatio (after the medieval notions of translatio studii and translatio imperii, denoting transfer from one field of inquiry or territory to the next, generally East to West, as from Athens to Rome and Rome to Paris) enables us to rethink academic disciplinarity at a time of mass migration, forced displacements, and heightened border control; as well as to rethink the role ‘dance’ in an expanded sense has to play in the humanities.

Theory-Fiction Music Show

Sunday, May 1, 3:00 p.m.
Guerlac Room, A.D. White House

Well I want it in writing, the smallest event and the secretest agency

A theory-fiction music show by Society Fellow Steve Potter

With Stephen Hastings-King (prepared piano), Ricardo Wilson (film direction), Charles Ogilvie (concept, animation), Christopher Miller (bonang), Kélina Gotman (dance), Steve Potter (prepared piano, speaker), Meredith McCoy (violin), Jessica Eley (cello), Daniel Ginestier (physicist), Julia Mintzer (stage director), and the Society for the Humanities 2015-16 “Time” Fellows

Public Humanities Colloquium

Wednesday, May 11, 1:30 p.m.
Room 201, A.D. White House

Public Humanities: A Colloquium with the Cornell University Graduate Student Public Humanities Grantees

Abram Coetsee, English
Ephemeral Legibility: Public Archives from the Whitewashed Heritage of NYC Graffiti Writers

Honey Crawford, Performing & Media Arts
Spectacular Labor in Action: New York City’s Domestic Workers United

Alana Staiti, Science & Technology Studies, and Lauren van Haaften-Schick, History of Art & Visual Studies
The Experimental Television Center: Processing a History