Projects Archive

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Digital Humanities

Cornell-Toronto Digital Humanities Consortium (2009 – 2011)

The Society for the Humanities and the Jackman Humanities Institute at the University of Toronto engaged in a successful two-year pilot project in the Digital Humanities, which served as the breeding ground for subsequent colalborations in the Digital Humanities between the Society and the Library.

HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory)

The Society participates in the HASTAC consortium of humanists, artists, scientists, and engineers from leading nonprofit research institutions. Cornell is home to eleven HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory) Scholars. HASTAC Scholars are students, both graduate and undergraduate, working across the areas of technology, the arts, the humanities, and the social sciences. They are the “eyes and ears” of HASTAC, “citizen journalists” engaged in participatory learning and experts on all matters digital. 

Project Bamboo

Initial Participation in Project Bamboo: an inter-organizational effort to advance arts and humanities research through the development of shared technology services.

Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art

Under the sponsorship of the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, the Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art serves as a research repository of new media art and resources. The Society co-hosts regular lectures with Goldsen, and houses Archive researchers. Recent speakers invited to participate in the Rose Goldsen Lecture series include:

  • 2015-2016: Yang Geng (Assistant Professor of Media Arts, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian, China)
  • 2014-2015: Youngmin Kim (Director, Institute for Transnational Media and World Literature, Dongguk University, Seoul)
  • 2012-2013: Carol Seigel (Director, Freud Museum, London) and Renate Ferro (Visiting Assistant Professor of Art, Cornell University)
  • 2011-2012: Ranjana Khanna (Margaret Taylor Smith Director of Women’s Studies, Professor of English, Literature and Women’s Studies, Duke University
  • 2010-2011: Alexander R. Galloway (Media, Culture & Communication, New York University)
  • 2009-2010: Kaja Silverman (Class of 1940 Professor of Rhetoric and Film, University of California, Berkeley); Scott deLahunta (Research Fellow, Amsterdam School of the Arts)

Society for the Humanities/Cornell Library Digital Humanities Internship Program

In collaboration with the Society for the Humanities and Olin/Uris Library, CUL Digital Scholarship and Preservation Services (DSPS) is host a small-scale graduate student digital scholarship internship program during the summer. DSPS is joins forces with Olin/Uris Library to organize orientation and mentoring sessions for five graduate students in Arts and Sciences. The objectives of this program are: (1) To increase the use and visibility of CUL’s digital tools and resources, particularly among younger researchers; (2) To encourage a collaborative relationship between the library and the next generation of humanities scholars; and (3) To help graduate students expand their digital skills through projects that will make them more competitive in a changing academic landscape.


Early Modern Studies

An annual offering of lectures and colloquia co-sponsored by the Society for the Humanities, the Early Modern Studies Colloquia attends to comparative considerations of early modern culture, literature, and the arts.

  • Project Leaders: Rayna Kalas (English) and William Kennedy (Comparative Literature)
  • “Virtual Trans-Atlantic Seminar” involving Syracuse, Cornell, Trinity College Dublin, and University of Manchester


Law and the Humanities

The Society for the Humanities partners with the Cornell Law School to support a lecture series on Law & Humanities, as well promoting research that crosses both fields. As a result of the Mellon Sawyer Seminar on “Political Will,” the Society is a co-sponsor of Cornell University Press’s Law & Humanities Series.

  • Project Leader: Elizabeth Anker (English)

John E. Sawyer Seminar 2014-2015: Political Will

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded Cornell $175,000 to offer a John E. Sawyer Seminar on the comparative study of cultures. Housed and administered by the Society for the Humanities, the seminar focused on the topic of “Political Will” under the direction of Elizabeth Anker, Associate Professor of English; Tracy McNulty, Professor of Romance Studies; Camille Robcis, Assistant Professor of History; and Neil Saccamano, Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature.

The Mellon Foundation’s Sawyer program engaged leading scholars in comparative inquiry that otherwise would be difficult to pursue, while enabling temporary research centered on the historical and cultural sources of contemporary developments. The notion of “political will” is at the heart of debates about the meaning and character of political life. It informs definitions of sovereignty, whether the popular consent of the “people” or other forms of authority. It is an idea that works to legitimize the juridical order and systems of law, in particular the legal form of the Constitution. And it is implicit to definitions of democracy and cosmopolitanism alike. Yet despite its centrality, the concept of political will has remained relatively unanalyzed within political theory. The Cornell project on “political will” devoted particular attention to analyzing four sub-topics related to political will: sovereignty and biopolitics, cosmopolitanism, democracy, and constitutionalism.

The grant supported a series of weekly seminars, visiting lectures, workshops and a public conference aimed at broad audiences at Cornell and across Central New York. The Sawyer award covered development costs, guest lectures, and funds for a postdoctoral teaching fellow and two graduate student fellows who participated in the seminar.


Media Studies

The Society for the Humanities sponsors ongoing workshops, lectures, and discussions to enhance the cross-disciplinary research and pedagogy of media as it reconsiders traditional approaches to film and video in view of nomadic practices of screen and digital culture within imperial, post-imperial, postcolonial, and orphan formations.

  • Project Leader: Sabine Haenni (Theatre, Film & Dance)
  • Pedagogy of Global Cinema Workshop, September 10, 2010


Psychoanalysis Colloquium

Cosponsored by the Society for the Humanities, the Psychoanalysis Colloquium provides faculty and graduate students with a forum to attend to the impact of clinical and theoretical developments in psychoanalysis on literary and cultural study.

  • Project Leader: Tracy McNulty (Romance Studies)
  • 2013 Psychoanalysis Reading Group Conference: “The Act: Psychoanalysis and/in its Effects”


Special Collections

The Society for the Humanities sponsors an ongoing research project to articulate traditional and emergent holdings in Cornell’s special collections.

  • 2011-2012 Areas of Emphasis: US Video and Electronic Art
  • 2010-2011 Areas of Emphasis: American Video Art, Chinese Visual Culture, Contemporary Taiwanese Art
  • 2009-2010 Areas of Emphasis: Asian Media Arts, Classics, Medieval Studies



In collaboration with the CHCI affinity group on “Climate/Sustainability,” the Society for the Humanities sponsors an initiative on Sustainability via the Humanities and Arts. An annual sequence of Cornell conversations, workshops, and exhibitions follows up on discussions on climate/sustainability that emerged during the Society’s 2008-2009 research emphasis on “Water.” The Society also co-sponsors a Society residential research fellowship with the Atkinson Center.

  • Project Leaders: Karen Pinkus (Comparative Literature and Romance Studies), Aaron Sachs (History), and Nick Salvato (Performing & Media Arts)
  • 2011 conference: “Climate Change, Critical Thought, Design: a Forum”
  • 2010 conference: “Cultures of Energy: A Conversation”