April 2013 Co-Sponsored Symposia

The Humanities Institute is pleased to have co-sponsored three symposia in April 2013.  Together, they represent the wide range of scholarship that is being generated by faculty at Wake Forest.

“After the Genome: A Language for Our BioTechnical Future”

Bringing together contributors to the new book of the same title, this forum, co-sponsored by Wake Forest University and Baylor University, provided a space for scholars to examine the ways in which biotechnical advances are changing not just the ways life is experienced, but how we understand ourselves and the nature of what it means to be human.  This timely and critically important exploration of the intersection between biotechnology, ethics, language, religion and science opened up an interdisciplinary discussion on how language is shaping medical ethics, religion and competing visions of our biotechnological future.  Visit the official conference website, http://afterthegenome.provost.wfu.edu/.

“Rewriting Homosexuality: An Interdisciplinary, International Conversation”

Contributors to the forthcoming Rewriting Homosexuality, an anthology of critical essays written by gay men on gay male sexuality convened this symposium to offer the campus community exposure to the new frontier of “queer critical theory” that runs throughout the collected work.  This distinguished group of international scholars presented on and discussed timely debates such as LGBT focused anti-bullying movements and negative implications of the desexualization of discourse about homosexuality.  Additionally, scholars explored thoughtful discussions of homophobia and anti-gay brutality encountered in state regimes, notably in the Middle East, and topics that often escape critical attention such as prostitution, pornography and rape. A critical look into the work and art of “Tom of Finland” and other presentations offered insights into the underlying racism, sexism, classism and other forms of social violence that can intersect in the construction of gay identity and experience. Additional co-sponsors for the symposium were: the Office of the Provost, The Office of Multicultural Affairs, The LGBTQ Center, Z. Smith Reynolds Library, and the Women’s and Gender Studies Program.

“Articulations of Humanity in Black Religious Life”

As the University celebrates 50 years of integration, this symposium sought to unpack the complexities of black religious experience and understanding of the human experience that is refracted through the lens of religion.  Speakers examined what it means, experientially, socially, politically and spiritually, to be black and religious.  The panel presentations and discussion addressed a range of topics from the formation of race and the organic connection between race and religion, to understanding the concept of political economy and the lived experience of religion for black women on a national and global scale.  The Humanities Institute was proud to co-sponsor this fruitful symposium with the School of Divinity, the Office of the Chaplain & Religious Life and the Department of Religion.

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