2019-20 Events

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Rural Humanities Showcase

Friday, September 6, 2019
Guerlac Room, A.D. White House

Rural Humanities Faculty Research Showcase


Rural Humanities is an Andrew W. Mellon supported initiative in public and engaged humanities that uses the tools of the humanities to critically approach, learn from, make visible New York State’s histories, cultures, challenges, and futures.

1:00 p.m. Panel 1

  • Kurt Jordan, Archaeology and Anthropology, Cornell, Reflections on Collaboration with Haudenosaunee Communities: The Townley-Read and White Springs Projects
  • Sturt Manning, Classics, Cornell, Time and Histories in the Rural NE: Radiocarbon, Tree-Rings and Post-Colonial Timeframes and Historical Syntheses 1500 to 1900
  • Scott Peters, Development Sociology, Cornell, Rediscovering and Reconstructing the “People’s College” Ideal
  • Sara L. Warner, Performing & Media Arts, Cornell, and Godfrey L. Simmons, Jr., Performing & Media Arts, Cornell, The Next Storm: A Community-Based Play about the Impact of Climate Change on the Finger Lakes

3:00 p.m. Panel 2

  • Jon McKenzie, English, Cornell, Civic Storytelling in Rural Communities
  • Debra A. Castillo, Comparative Literature and Latina/o Studies Program, Cornell, Latinx Culture Collaborations in our Community
  • Mary Jo Dudley, Cornell Farmworker Program, Why Care About Undocumented Farmworkers?
  • Lyrae Van Clief- Stefanon, Creative Writing and English, Cornell, Thriving Artists in Appalachia: Teaching at Hindman, Witnessing at Berea
  • Caroline Levine, English, Cornell; Anndrea Mathers, English, Tompkins Cortland Community College; and Christian Sisack, English, Onondaga Community College, Community College Collaboration

Future of the Humanities Lecture

Friday, September 13, 2:30 p.m.
Guerlac Room, A.D. White House

Future of Humanities Lecture

Sara Guyer
Director of the Center for the Humanities at University of Wisconsin, Madison; President of CHCI, the global Consortium for Humanities Centers and Institutes

The Humanities of Testimony, Revisited

The theories of testimony that emerged in the 1980s and 1990s to account for surviving atrocity take on new relevance and meaning in the context of today’s crises of truth. This paper revisits the theory of testimony and its risks in the time of great derangement (Ghosh), pervasive falsehood (Trump), and academic freedom (Derrida), arguing for the enduring possibilities posed by what Geoffrey Hartman called “the humanities of testimony."

This lecture was part of a two-day conference hosted by the Institute for German Cultural Studies, "Re-Imagining the Discipline: German Studies, the Humanities, and the University."

Rural Humanities Lecture

Thursday, September 19th, 4:30pm
Guerlac Room, A.D. White House

Rural Humanities Lecture

Ryan Quinn: Policy Advisor & Cornell Graduate, Class of 2018

The Work of Local Politics: A Recent Graduate's Story

What is the relationship between research and activism? What role can the work of local politics play in negotiating this relationship? Western New York and the Finger Lakes region, where our Ithaca campus is located, provide abundant insights into and opportunities for examining some of the urgent questions that face our country’s future. A 2018 graduate of Cornell’s Government Department, Ryan Quinn, B.A., will tell the story of his academic preparation for and the challenges that he encountered in joining and then becoming a policy adviser for Tracy Mitrano‘s 2018 campaign for U.S. Congress (New York’s 23rd Congressional District).

Ryan Quinn currently works as a Political Analyst for Swing Left in New York City, a grassroots organization working to elect progressive leaders up and down the ballot.

Fall Conference: Energy

Friday October 18th, and Saturday October 19th
Guerlac Room, A.D. White House

An exploration of the Society for the Humanities 2019-20 focal theme, Energy

Day 1-

2:30 p.m. Welcome Lecture

Caroline Levine, David and Kathleen Ryan Professor of Humanities, English, Cornell University
The Humanist’s Guide to a Genuine Sustainability

4:00 p.m. Keynote 1

Benjamin Kunkel, Writer, Co-Founder of n+1
Toward a Marxian Energetics

Day 2-

9:30 a.m. Panel 1: Nuclear Energy and Ruination

  • Lori Khatchadourian, Faculty Fellow; Near Eastern Studies, Cornell University, Life in Ruins: The Vibrant Afterlife of Socialist Modernity
  • Yu-Fang Cho, Society Fellow; English and Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies, Miami University of Ohio, Bikini (Re)traces: The Strange Bodies of Transpacific Nuclear Modernity
  • Anindita Banerjee, Comparative Literature, Cornell University, Parabolas

1:00 p.m. Keynote 2

Imre Szeman, University Research Chair and Professor of Communication Arts, University of Waterloo
Eight Principles for a Critical Theory of Energy

3:00 p.m. Panel 2: Animal Energy

  • Athena Kirk, Faculty Fellow; Classics, Cornell University, Brutes to Flutes: Ancient Greek Animal Powers
  • Ariel Ron, Society Fellow; History, Southern Methodist University, King Hay: Horses and Economic Nationalism in America’s Nineteenth-Century Energy Transition
  • Rachel Prentice, Faculty Fellow; Science & Technology Studies, Cornell University, Moving and Balancing Together: Multi-species Sociality and the Senses

Invited Society Scholars

Monday, November 11, 7:00 PM
Willard Straight Theater

Free Film Screening:

A film by Cymene Howe & Dominic Boyer, Rice University, Department of Anthropology
Not Ok


Glaciers have been distinctive features of the Icelandic landscape ever since human settlement on the island 1200 years ago. But since the early 20th century Iceland’s 400+ glaciers have been melting steadily, now losing roughly 11 billion tons of ice every year; scientists predict that all of Iceland’s glaciers will be gone by 2200. One of Iceland’s smallest known glaciers is named “Ok.” Not Ok is its story. This is not a tale of spectacular, collapsing ice. Instead, it is a little film about a small glacier on a low mountain--a mountain who has been observing humans for a long time and has a few things to say to us.

Screening Co-sponsored by Cornell Cinema

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Wednesday, November 13th, 4:30 pm
Guerlac Room, A.D. White House

Public Lecture:

Cymene Howe & Dominic Boyer, Rice University, Department of Anthropology
Of Flood and Ice

Our changing cryospheres and hydrospheres promise misery to millions across the planet. But they also reveal forms of material connectivity that could potentially be mobilized in the struggle against climate change and the petroculture that produced it. In this presentation, we juxtapose Cymene Howe’s research on the loss of glaciers in Iceland with Dominic Boyer’s project on Houston area flood victims’ recovery from Hurricane Harvey to explore a concept we call “hydrological globalization:” the sociomaterial connections and cultural impacts that follow from the redistribution of water across the planet.