Temple University Home Page CHAT Home Page
Denise Levertov, “The Illustration,” The Jacob's Ladder (NY: New Directions, 1961).

2016-2017 CHAT Lectures and Workshops

Distinguished Faculty Lectures Series

All talks showcase new research by Temple faculty on alternate Thursdays, 12:30-1:50 pm, CHAT Lounge, 10th Floor, Gladfelter Hall.

Translation Lecture Series

All talks feature distinguished scholars visiting from outside the Temple community and take place on designated Wednesdays (unless otherwise noted), 4:00 to 5:30 pm, Chat Lounge, 10th Floor, Gladfelter Hall.

Professional Development Workshops

These workshops are designed for graduate students in the humanities and social sciences and will feature academic and professional specialists from inside Temple University and outside institutions. Topics include fellowship applications, job search, career development, and digital humanities.


Upcoming Talks

Professional Development Workshops

Speaker portraitJohn Paul Christy, Director of Public Programs, American Council of Learned Societies

How to get an ACLS fellowship

Thursday, September 8
4 –5:30 pm, CHAT Lounge

The American Council of Learned Societies, a nonprofit federation of 74 national scholarly organizations, is a major funder of research in the humanities and related social sciences at the doctoral and postdoctoral levels. In 2015-16 competition year, ACLS awarded a total of $18.1 million in fellowships and grants to more than 300 scholars worldwide. ACLS offers a variety of fellowship programs for predoctoral scholars in the humanities and humanistic social sciences as well as postdoctoral opportunities in both the academic and non-academic realms. In this presentation, program officer John Paul Christy will provide an overview of ACLS's fellowship competitions and peer review system and will offer suggestions about how to write a strong application.


Distinguished Faculty Lecture Series

Speaker portraitFabienne Darling-Wolf, Media and Communication

"The Lessons of Charlie, or Locality in the Age of Globalization."

Thursday, September 15
12:30-1:50 pm, CHAT Lounge

Because it targeted specific individuals engaged in a debate about values, ethics, and religion at both the local and the global level, the attack on Charlie Hebdo on 7 January, 2015, provides a powerful terrain on which to tease out the dangerous undertows of power struggles that globalization scholars of varied theoretical convictions have long discussed in their work. Drawing from reactions to the attack in the French press and in social media, this presentation explores the lessons to be drawn from this tragedy. What can the events at Charlie Hebdo teach us about the relationship between globality and locality? What can we learn about the role of the media in shaping these imaginaries? What, in turn, can these theoretical musings teach us about the theory and practice of politically engaged journalism under conditions of globalization?

Dr. Darling-Wolf is associate professor in the Journalism Department and the Mass Media and Communication doctoral program in the School of Media and Communication. Her research focuses on the power dynamics at work in global media flows and processes of transnational cultural influence with a particular interest in the European and Japanese contexts. Her recent book Imagining the Global: Transnational Media and Popular Culture Beyond East and West received the International Communication Association's Outstanding Book Award.


Translation Lecture Series

Speaker portraitTravis Zadeh, Religious Studies, Yale University

Why Read the Quran in Translation(?)

Monday, September 19
4–5:30 pm, CHAT Lounge

This lecture examines debates in the course of Islamic intellectual history over translating the Quran and their relation to broader theoretical problems for the fields of translation studies, the history of ideas, and the philosophy of language. Historically, there has been a strong current of thought in Islamic religious discourse that has rejected the possibility of translating the Quran on theological grounds, based largely on the notion that the text exhibits such supreme and inimitable eloquence that translation is itself impossible. Yet, since the earliest periods of Islamic history there have also developed complex traditions of explaining the Quran in translation. In this basic paradox abides a general misunderstanding of what exactly it means to translate the Quran. By probing the broader social, historical, and ideological frameworks governing these debates, this talk questions how it is that the Qur'an is translatable.

Travis Zadeh is an assistant professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Yale University. His research focuses on translation, broadly construed, within Islamic intellectual and cultural history. Zadeh's most recent book is The Vernacular Qur'an: Translation and the Rise of Persian Exegesis (Oxford University Press, 2012).


Distinguished Faculty Lectures Series

Speaker portraitMónica Ricketts, History

Liberalism and War in the Late Spanish Empire, 1806-1814

Thursday, September 29
12:30–1:50 pm, CHAT Lounge

Monica Ricketts is a historian of colonial Latin America and the Iberian Atlantic World. She received her B.A. and Licenciate degrees from the Pontifica Universidad Catolica del Peru in Lima and her Ph.D. from Harvard University. Before joining the history department at Temple University in 2010, she taught at Long Island University, C. W. Post. She has received fellowships from the Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung, the John Carter Brown Library, the Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies and Real Colegio Complutense at Harvard University, and Intituto Riva-Aguero, PUCP, Lima. Her book entitled Struggles for Power at the End of Empire: Peru-Spain, 1760-1830 is forthcoming by Oxford University Press next year.


Distinguished Faculty Lecture Series

Speaker portraitTherese A. Dolan

Sonic Politics: Manet's Street Singer

Thursday, October 13
12:30-1:50 pm, CHAT Lounge

My account of Manet's Street Singer will focus on the auditory environment in which the figure is situated, tracing her urban taxonomy as a street type constructed by the visual, folkloric, and literary discourse drawn from the popular literature and illustrations of the time. By fixing her place within the iconography and sonography of street musicians, I investigate her urban identity as the marker of a subaltern voice, one that is culturally, economically, and pictorially distinct from singers at salons and the divas on the musical stages of Paris during the Second Empire.


Translation Lecture Series

Speaker portraitAnna Brickhouse

"Mistranslation and Catastrophe"

Wednesday, October 19
4–5:30 pm, CHAT Lounge

"Mistranslation and Catastrophe" begins by reflecting on the role of mistranslation in my own research, and the productive possibilities of embracing "mistranslation" over other values-"mastery," for example, or the "untranslatable." The second part of the paper addresses the role of translation and mistranslation in Estrella Distante (Distant Star) by the late Chilean writer Roberto Bolano, whose novella about the catastrophic aftermath of the CIA-encouraged coup in Chile begins with a mysterious, (mis)translated epigraph from Faulkner. Taking Estrella Distante as inspiration, I then move back in time to explore a much earlier catastrophe as well as a chain of translations and mistranslations surrounding it: the Lima earthquake of 1746.

Anna Brickhouse is Professor of English and American Studies at the University of Virginia. Her first book, Transamerican Literary Relations and the Nineteenth-Century Public Sphere (Cambridge 2004), was awarded the Gustave O. Arlt Award in the Humanities from the Council of Graduate Schools as well as Honorable Mention for the ASA's Laura Romero prize. Her second book, The Unsettlement of America: Translation, Interpretation, and the Story of Don Luis de Velasco, 1560-1945 (Oxford 2014), was a co-winner of the Early American Literature prize and winner of the MLA's James Russell Lowell prize. She is currently researching a project on race, translation, and disaster.


Distinguished Faculty Lectures Series

Speaker portraitLeah Modigliani

Critical Plagiarism and the Politics of Creative Labor

Thursday, October 27
12:30–1:50 pm, CHAT Lounge



Distinguished Faculty Lectures Series

Speaker portraitAnne Létourneau

Biblical Beauties: Femininity, Sexual Fantasy and Violence in the Hebrew Bible

Thursday, November 17
12:30-1:50 pm, CHAT Lounge

This talk explores the intertwining of violence and gender in the Hebrew Bible from an aesthetic point of view. In the biblical texts, beautiful women are often victims of aggression. This violence takes the form of physical abuse, rape, murder, and other such modes. I argue that feminine beauty has a very specific function in these violent literary plots: this narrative motif eroticizes every scene and holds the beautiful woman responsible for the violence to which she is subjected. This talk will also be an opportunity to demonstrate how beauty and power intersect differently according to gender in the Hebrew Bible. What kind of agency beautiful female characters are granted in these texts?

Anne Letourneau is currently a Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) postdoctoral fellow at Temple University, in the Department of Religion. She holds a PhD in Religious Studies, with an emphasis in Feminist Studies, from Université du Québec á Montréal (Canada). Her scholarship deals with the articulation of gender, sexuality, ethnicity and violence in the Hebrew Bible.


Translation Lecture Series

Speaker PortraitJoseph O'Leary

The Notion of Conventional Truth as a Promising Platform for Buddhist-Christian Dialogue

Wednesday, November 30
4 –5:30 pm, CHAT Lounge

This talk suggests that the most promising theme for a theological discussion with Buddhism is the question of the status of religious and doctrinal language. Christian theology has devoted much thought to this. On the Buddhist side, religious discourse has always been assessed in terms of its salvific efficacity. The ideal religious discourse is a "skillful means" serving to lead to liberation and disposable when it has served its purpose. Another relevant topic is the Buddhist attitude to "views." Although "right view" is the first step of the Noble Eightfold Path, in Mahayana sutras we hear that right view is more dangerous than wrong because more apt to encourage fixated attachment. Finally, the dyad of conventional and ultimate truth makes all religious teachings conventional, yet urges that in their very conventionality they are indispensable vehicles for conveying ultimate truth.

Joseph S. O'Leary, an Irish theologian resident in Japan since 1983, was professor of English Literature at Sophia University, Tokyo, and Roche Chair for Interreligious Research at Nanzan University, Nagoya. His latest book is Conventional and Ultimate Truth: A Key for Fundamental Theology (University of Notre Dame Press, 2015).


Distinguished Faculty Lecture Series

Speaker portraitPeter Logan

The Changing Shape of Knowledge in the Nineteenth Century

Thursday, January 26
12:30-1:50 pm, CHAT Lounge

What can historic reference works tell us about the changing shape of knowledge in time? This talk looks at the pilot stage of a large research project designed to track changes in key cultural concepts by applying textual analysis tools to historic editions of the Encyclopedia Britannica from 1797-1911. By looking at the language used to explain major scientific and cultural concepts, we can identify broad patterns in the transformation of preliminary results. We will also talk about the history of the Encyclopedia Britannica and the advantages of working with continuously-revised documents instead of primary sources knowledge over time. This talk explores the design of the pilot study and its.

Peter M. Logan is the Academic Director of the Digital Scholarship Center in Temple's Paley Library and the former Director of the Center for the Humanities at Temple. A professor of English, he teaches courses in Victorian literature, the history of the novel, and digital humanities. He is the author of two books on Victorian literature as well as Editor of the Blackwell Encyclopedia of the Novel.


Distinguished Faculty Lectures Series

Speaker portraitMatt Wray

"Death in Vegas: Suicide and Self-Destruction in the American West"

Thursday, February 9
12:30–1:50 pm, CHAT Lounge

Abstract: In 2015, American suicide rates hit a thirty-year high. This fact, along with rising rates of alcohol and drug abuse, is the main reason that life expectancy for whites has begun to decline. This rising trend in self-destruction started well before the recent recession, and, in this talk, Wray traces the forces and factors behind what public health officials are calling "our new national epidemic." Wray focuses his analysis on Las Vegas--the American city with the highest suicide rate, as ground zero of the epidemic--a desert crucible that forged new forms of social isolation and personal despair that are now widespread thrughout America.


Translation Lecture Series

Speaker portraitBethany Wiggin, Germanic Languages and Literatures, University of Pennsylvania

Utopia Found. Lost, and Re-Imagined

Wednesday, February 15
4–5:30 pm, CHAT Lounge


Distinguished Faculty Lecture Series

Speaker portraitSally Ann Ness, Dance

Choreographies of Landscape;: Signs of Performance in Yosemite National Park

Thursday, March 2
12:30-1:50 pm, CHAT Lounge

Ethnographic fieldwork on the sports of climbing and hiking conducted from 2005-2012 in Yosemite National Park supports a "choreographic" theory of cultural performance. This pragmatic symbolic theory posits movement as the ground of all meaning-making. It gives primary consideration to the performative force of embodied movements as they inspire, transmit, reproduce, coordinate, and publicly transform various kinds of meaningful self-world relationships. The choreographic theoretical framework advanced, in contrast to more widely employed semiotic analytics, foregrounds sign performance as opposed to sign information, sign movement rather than sign-object relations, and sign mediation rather than sign representation. In so doing, it recognizes new roles for movement in the development of conceptual processes, as well as in the cultural dynamics of group and solo performance practices, and in the analysis and pedagogical understanding of sonic and kinetic forms of meaning-making.

Sally Ann Ness is an incoming Professor and Chair of Dance at Temple University. She is author of Choreographies of Landscape (Berghahn Press, 2016), which was supported by a 2007 John S. Guggenheim award. Her book publications include Body, Movement, and Culture (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1992), Where Asia Smiles (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003), and Migrations of Gesture (University of Minnesota Press, 2008) co-edited with Carrie Noland. Her research has also been published in Semiotic Inquiry, American Anthropologist, American Ethnologist, Cultural Anthropology, Dance Research Journal, Journal of Asian Studies, The Drama Review, and Performance Research, among other journal publications.


Translation Lecture Series

Yom picMichael F. Laffan, History, Princeton University

Translating Citizenship: the Cocos Islands become an Australian Muslim Territory, 1955-59


Wednesday, March 8
4:00-5:30 pm, CHAT Lounge


Distinguished Faculty Lectures Series

Speaker portraitKathryn Hirsh-Pasek, Psychology

Living in Pasteur's Quadrant: Navigating the Uncharted Waters Between Basic and Applied Research

Thursday, March 23
12:30–1:50 pm, CHAT Lounge

Kathryn Hirsh-Pasek is the Stanley and Debra Lefkowitz Faculty Fellow in the Department of Psychology at Temple University and a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. Her research examines the development of early language and literacy as well as the role of play in learning. With her long term collaborator, Roberta Golinkoff, she is author of 14 books and hundreds of publications. She is the recipient of the American Psychological Association's Bronfenbrenner Award, the American Psychological Association's Award for Distinguished Service to Psychological Science, the Association for Psychological Science James McKeen Cattell Award and the APA Distinguished Lecturer Award. She is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and the American Psychological Society, is the President of the International Society for Infant Studies and served as the Associate Editor of Child Development. Her new book, Becoming Brilliant: What the science tells us about raising successful children was released with APA Press in 2016.

Peter Lavelle is a CHAT Faculty Fellow for 2015-16.


Distinguished Faculty Lectures Series

Speaker portraitRita Krueger, History

Science and Social Status: Medical Debates and Knowledge Authority in 18th-Century Central Europe

Thursday, April 6
12:30–1:50 pm, CHAT Lounge

This talk explores the intersection of social status, local knowledge, and scientific authority in the 18th Century Habsburg lands. Focusing primarily on medical practitioners, I will explore how the Habsburg "enlightened" participated in inter-European and transatlantic debates, how they framed the questions of their research and shared it, how they claimed authority over knowledge, and how social hierarchies shaped the flow of knowledge. Medicine is often separate from other aspects of 18th century intellectual life in the historical literature, but returning it to its Enlightenment context allows us to see the means by which natural philosophers, botanists, medical faculty, and others crafted international reputations and cultivated scientific networks in their pursuit of medical knowledge.

Colin Chamberlain is a CHAT Faculty Fellow for 2015-16.


Translation Lecture Series

Speaker portraitJhumpa Lahiri, Creative Writing, Princeton University

An Afternoon with Jhumpa Lahiri

Monday, April 10
4:00-5:30 pm, CHAT Lounge

Jhumpa Lahiri will read from her first non-fiction book, In Altre Parole/In Other Words, which was published in Italy in 2015 and in the United States in 2016, followed by a conversation about translation, the relationship between language and belonging, and the simultaneous experience of limits and freedom that emerges when expressing yourself in a new language.

Jhumpa Lahiri is the author of two novels, and two collections of short stories, one of which, Interpreter of Maladies' (1999), won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2000. In 2015 she published her first non-fiction work In Altre Parole. It was translated and published in English in 2016. In 2015 Lahiri was awarded the prestigious National Humanities Medal by the NEH at the White House. Lahiri has also won the PEN/Hemingway Award, an O. Henry Prize (for the short story "Interpreter of Maladies"), the Addison Metcalf Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Vallombrosa Von Rezzori Prize and the Asian American Literary Award. In 2002 Lahiri held a Guggenheim Fellowship and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 2006. In September 2015 she joined the Lewis Center for the Art's Program in Creative Writing faculty at Princeton University as Professor of Creative Writing.


Distinguished Faculty Lectures Series

Speaker portraitSanjoy Chakravorty, Geography and Urban Studies

The Truth About Inequality: Does it Matter?

Thursday, April 20
12:30-1:50 pm, CHAT Lounge

How is knowledge about inequality generated? How does it matter? Why should it matter? These three questions are explored with reference to the US and India. I show how the dimension or axis along which inequality is conceptualized matters, for example, by wealth vs. income vs. consumption or by identity category (that is, by race or religion or caste) vs. class. I argue that the dimension of inequality that matters in a society is deeply intertwined with its political discourse and ideology. I end by making a selfish person's case for egalitarianism.

Sanjoy Chakravorty works narrowly in economic geography and broadly in trying to understand social change. He is the author or co-author of six books. The most recent are The Other One Percent: Indians in America (2016), and his first novel, The Promoter (2015). This year at CHAT he has been working on The Truth About Us: India Invented and India Ignored.

Center for the Humanities
10th Floor, Gladfelter Hall (025-45)
1115 Polett Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19122-6089
Phone - 215-204-6386
Fax - 215-204-8371
Email - chat@temple.edu