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2011-2012 Lectures

Spring 2012

Distinguished Faculty Lectures Series

Speaker portraitGerald Silk, Art History

Out of Shape:
Gender, Feminism, and the Neglected Art of Reva Urban

Thursday, February 2
12:30–1:50 pm, CHAT Lounge

Reva Urban (eventually known simply as “Reva”) was an American woman artist who achieved success in the art world in the 1950s and 1960s, but has essentially vanished from art history. Her career offers important insights into the relationship of gender to art production, form, and content. This talk will examine her innovative shaped canvases and constructions and address how her sense of identify affected her output. Like that of some of her contemporaries, Reva’s engagement in feminist ideas augured concerns that became increasingly prominent in the art of the late 1960s and beyond.



Invitational Lectures in the Humanities Series

Speaker portraitJoseph Straus
Music, The Graduate Center, CUNY

Performing Disability,
Performing Music

Thursday, February 9
4:00 pm, CHAT Lounge

Musical performers are inherently prodigious figures, possessed of “extraordinary bodies.”  Those who are also marked by stigmatized bodily differences find that their disability both inflects their music-making and profoundly shapes its general reception.  Disability, like music, is something they learn to perform, and they do so in accordance with well established cultural scripts.  We will consider the simultaneous performance of disability and music for Glenn Gould, Thomas Quasthoff, Itzhak Perlman, and Evelyn Glennie.


Distinguished Faculty Lectures Series

Speaker portraitAlex Gottesman
Greek and Roman Classics

Publicity Stunts in Democratic Athens

Thursday, February 16
12:30–1:50 pm, CHAT Lounge


In contemporary discourse, a publicity stunt is often characterized as a cynical and manipulative ploy for attention, usually for the purpose of advertising a consumer product or a service. A publicity stunt is a false act, something that hides the true motives of its planners and performers. By examining the role of publicity stunts in the world’s first democracy, this talk will consider whether the publicity stunt can be recuperated from ignominy and be taken seriously by democratic theory.



Distinguished Faculty Lectures Series

Speaker portraitNora Newcombe, Psychology

The Development of Spatial Representation and Reasoning

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

Piaget offered a constructivist answer to the nativist-empiricist debate, for the spatial domain as for many others. However, in the past few decades, there has been accumulating evidence questioning Piaget's way of conceptualizing spatial knowledge, and indicating earlier competence than he postulated. In fact, geometric representation has been argued by Spelke to be part of what she calls “core knowledge”. In this talk, I will review the nativist-empiricist debate regarding spatial development and propose a neoconstructivist alternative to nativism.



Invitational Lectures in the Humanities Series

Speaker portraitElizabeth Abel, English
University of California, Berkeley

Inscribing Race: The Graphic Signage of Jim Crow


Tuesday, March 13
4:00 pm, CHAT Lounge


The Jim Crow signs that stretched across much of the United States for almost a century constitute this nation’s most obvious and overlooked inscription of race as a network of signs. This paper redirects attention from our obsession with the somatic signs of race to the graphic signs that were composed like human bodies of multiple signifiers that don’t coalesce in a single definition. As we re-encounter these signs through the camera’s lens that has preserved them for our scrutiny, we discover a complexly layered racial text that translates verbal into visual signs and a set of regional practices into a national conversation conducted in the language of the image.



Distinguished Faculty Lectures Series

Speaker portraitNichole Miller, English

Paul's Call; Cymbeline's Calling

Thursday, March 15
12:30–1:50 pm, CHAT Lounge

Paul's Call; Cymbeline's Calling," brings Shakespeare's late romance Cymbeline together with the writings of St. Paul and Max Weber's lecture (later essay), Politik als Beruf, pointing up both the literary and the political-theological double valences of “calling."  Looking back to Shakespeare's earliest plays as well as forward to an off-stage, post-political afterlife, disrupted by a nominal sacrifice that may not, ultimately, matter, Cymbeline both gives us a Pauline heroine who embodies all the contradictions such an idea entails, and models a modern uneasiness with the "return" of theology in the realms of philosophy, politics, and literary criticism. 



Distinguished Faculty Lectures Series

Speaker portraitPetra Goedde, History

"It is a basic Communist Doctrine to Fight for Peace": Cold War Battles Over the Concept of Peace

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

During the early cold war the Soviet Union’s support for international peace organizations and their diplomatic peace initiatives did much to discredit peace initiatives among Western cold warriors.  By the early 1950s, peace no longer represented a universal idea but an ideological weapon in the East-West confrontation.  This talk explores the transnational rhetorical battles over the concept of peace in the 1950s and 1960s. 



Sixth Annual CHAT Graduate Fellows Conference

Tahrir Square with symbol for social mediaMediated Engagements:
Presence, Participation, and Cyberspace

Angel Adams Parha, Sociology, Loyola U New Orleans
John L. Jackson, Jr., Communication, U Pennsylvania
Naomi Schiller, Anthropology, Temple U

Thursday, April 5, 11:30-3:30 pm
CHAT Lounge (more... )



Invitational Lectures in the Humanities Series

Speaker portraitPatricia Aufderheide
Film and Media Arts,
American University

Free Speech and Fair Use in the Academic Environment: Libraries, Scholarship, and Teaching

Tuesday, April 10
4:00 pm, CHAT Lounge

Daily life at the university is rife with questions about when it is OK to use copyrighted material without permission or payment. This presentation discusses the copyright doctrine of fair use as it applies in academic life. The presentation will feature the "Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Research Libraries," due for release in January, and will draw on the work synthesized in Reclaiming Fair Use: How to Put Balance Back in Copyright, by Patricia Aufderheide and Peter Jaszi.


Distinguished Faculty Lectures Series

Speaker portraitChris Cagle, Film and Media Arts

When Hollywood Met Durkheim: Popularized Social Science and the Social Problem Film

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

In the 1940s, Hollywood began to produce a number of topical films about social issues, ranging from veteran adjustment and alcoholism to racial discrimination. Much of the historiography on these films sees these as cooptation of New Deal leftism by the individualizing ideologies of Hollywood. This paper, however, argues that changes in American social science – particularly the shift from Chicago school sociology to postwar functionalism – help explain the particular mix of "psychological" and "social" within the social problem film's popularized sociology.


Fall 2011


Distinguished Faculty Lectures Series

Speaker portraitMichael Klein, Music

Debussy's Reflections,
Proust's Recollections, and
Deleuze's Three Machines of Modernist Time and Memory

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

In this talk, Dr. Klein argues that Proust’s A la recherche du temps perdu offers a model of time and memory that can enrich narrative readings of Debussy’s music. The primary work for discussion is Debussy’s Reflets dans l’eau. Throughout Proust’s Search, Marcel experiences involuntary memories involving a cognitive effort to regain an ecstatic past. Having regained the past, though, Marcel feels regret that he will not live long enough to record his impressions. Deleuze has configured this trajectory as the “three machines of the Search”: memory, eternity, and crisis. Klein traces these machines in Debussy’s music and conclude with a brief discussion of the end of temporality after modernism. (more ...)



Guest Speaker

Speaker portraitJustin Patch, Emmanuel College

Making a Majority: Emotion, Participation and Persuasion in Political Campaigns

Tuesday, September 20
4:005:30 pm, CHAT Lounge

Recent innovations in understanding the human brain have confirmed what savvy marketers have known for years: emotion is the key to a sale, be it commercial or political. The integration of ethnography, critical theory and engagement with cognitive and neuroscience adds depth to our understanding of the pivotal role played by affective campaigning, and our own position in creating and amplifying persuasive atmospheres. (more ...)



Distinguished Faculty Lectures Series

Speaker portrait John Campbell, Broadcasting, Telecommunications and Mass Media

From Barbershop to BlackPlanet: Examining the Necessity of Online Hush Harbors

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

Given the uproar created in 2008 when the mainstream media broadcast segments of Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s sermons, the necessity of online sites dedicated to a shared marginalized racial identity seems apparent.  This study examines such a site—the largest commercial site dedicated to the African American community, BlackPlanet.com—and argues for its continued importance as an online hush harbor.  Historically, hush harbors were places where black folks could negotiate their identity and affirm their community outside the purview of whites. These locations of emancipatory politics were traditionally associated with physical spaces such as barbershops.  This study suggests BlackPlanet.com fulfills the discursive functions of a hush harbor. (more... )



Distinguished Faculty Lectures Series

Speaker PortraitSean Yom, Political Science

From Revolution to Regime Durability in the Middle East:
State-Building, Foreign Interventions, and Authoritarianism in Historical Perspective

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

Post-colonial regimes in the Middle East experienced a range of outcomes, from revolutions and uprising to survival and durability.  The most durable autocracies persisted because they mobilized broad social coalitions in the face of hostility or apathy from international powers.  Inversely, dictatorships became brittle when they failed to rally a popular domestic base due to robust international support.  The conclusion is sobering: the more that international powers assist embattled autocrats facing internal opposition, the more they ultimately hurt by deterring the coalitional sacrifices necessary to win over contentious social forces.



Invitational Lectures in the Humanities Series

Speaker portraitMichelle Alexander
Moritz College of Law
Ohio State University

The New Jim Crow

Thursday, October 20, 7:00 pm
Temple Performing Arts Center

In the era of colorblindness, it is no longer socially permissible to use race, explicitly, as a justification for discrimination, exclusion, and social contempt. Yet, as legal star Michelle Alexander reveals, today it is perfectly legal to discriminate against convicted criminals in nearly all the ways that it was once legal to discriminate against African Americans. Once you’re labeled a felon, the old forms of discrimination—employment discrimination, housing discrimination, denial of the right to vote, denial of educational opportunity, denial of food stamps and other public benefits, and exclusion from jury service—are suddenly legal. Alexander visits Temple University to discuss her provocative and vitally important work on the age of mass incarceration and its myriad consequences. (more... )



Distinguished Faculty Lectures Series

Speaker portraitInmaculada García Sánchez, Anthropology

Growing Up Moroccan in Spain: Language and the Politics of Difference and Belonging

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

Moroccan immigrant children walk a tight rope between sameness and difference in contemporary Spain, a society deeply ambivalent toward the prospect of cultural change and the multicultural politics of ‘belonging’ provoked by recent migratory trends. In this presentation, Sanchez discusses how surveillance and prejudice are instantiated and (re)created in children’s daily lives at school through discourse and everyday interactions with teachers and peers. The negative identities engendered in these linguistically and corporeally mediated forms of surveillance and exclusion have important consequences for Moroccan immigrant children’s marginal identifications as relational and developmental processes.



Distinguished Faculty Lectures Series

Speaker portraitShannon Walters, English

Reshaping Rhetorical Bodies: Disability, Touch, and Technology

Thursday, November 10
12:30–1:50 pm, CHAT Lounge

In “Rhetorical Touch: Intersections of Disability and Identification,”Walters explores the sense of touch as a rhetorical art that establishes physical and emotional connections between people with disabilities and a wide range of various audiences: nondisabled, differently disabled and temporally able bodied. In resistance to a rhetorical tradition that positions the singular, independent, able-bodied and neurotypical rhetor as the norm, she explores how people with various disabilities use touch to create new models for rhetorical production.



Invitational Lectures in the Humanities Series

Speaker portraitChristiane Gruber
History of Art, University of Michigan

Violence’s Vestiges:
The Martyrs’ Museum in Tehran

Thursday, November 17
4:00 pm, CHAT Lounge

The Central Martyrs’ Museum in Tehran is the largest cultural repository in Iran containing personal artifacts and arts belonging to individuals who perished during the Islamic Revolution (1979) and the Iran-Iraq War (1980-88). Based on an analysis of this museum, its layout and display objects, and interviews with its staff and visitors, this presentation explores the institutionalization and aesthetizication of trauma and violence in a post-revolutionary Iranian context. It also aims to expand and challenge prevailing theoretical approaches to the concept of the “museum.”



Distinguished Faculty Lectures Series

Speaker portraitJose Manuel Pereiro-Otero,
Spanish and Portuguese

Don Juan Tenorio´s Cemetery: Metropolis and Necropolis
in 19th-Century Spain

Thursday, December 1
12:30–1:50 pm, CHAT Lounge

Don José Zorrilla’s late Romantic masterpiece, Don Juan Tenorio (1844) is the most (in)famous incarnation of the seducer from Seville in the Spanish speaking world. This lecture will discuss how the play attempts to balance a 16th century action with a 19th century approach to the relation between the city of the dead and the city of the living. On the one hand, Don Juan’s cemetery reestablishes the interdependence between the urban setting and the burial ground as it was conceived in Spain until 1787; on the other, its funerary elements and the abstract nature of the drama’s discourse on death—as it pertains to History, Memory, Art and Heritage—are very much part of the modern world.


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