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Interdisciplinary Faculty Seminars

2016-2017

Contemplative Studies Across Disciplines: Towards a New Paradigm of Research and Collaboration
Ulrike Wiethaus (convener, Study of Religions, American Ethnic Studies), Sharon Andrews (Theatre), Lisa Blee (History), Jamie Crockett (Counseling), Kenneth Hoglund (Study of Religions), Eranda Jayawickreme (Psychology), Eric Stottlemeyer (English)

This interdisciplinary seminar is designed to explore the emerging paradigm of Contemplative Studies in three thematic configurations: contemplative awareness and the human body, a contemplative engagement with nature, and the manifestation of contemplative practice and reflection in community. Structured around four meetings in the fall with rotating discussion leadership, the seminar will also implement contemplative practices such as deep listening, mindful beholding, and “slow research” for each session.

Design in the Liberal Arts
David Finn (co-convener, Art), Tom Frank (co-convener, History), Jill Crainshaw (School of Divinity), Jack Dostal (Physics), Rob Eastman-Mullins (Theatre & Dance), Jennifer Gentry (Art), Gordon E. McCray (School of Business)

This new seminar will explore the role of design as practice, as cultural phenomenon, and as conceptual provocation in the 21st century project of rethinking the humanities and liberal arts. Conversations on readings in design theory and practice, combined with reflections on the way design shapes our individual work and disciplines, will enhance the group’s teaching and research. The group members’ collective work drawing on learnings from design and design thinking will also prepare for better articulation of arguments for the liberal arts and the humanities amid rapid changes in higher education.

Humanities and the Cinematic World: Films as Media to Understand the Local and the Global
Woodrow Hood (co-convener, Director of Film and Media Studies), Raisur Rahman (co-convener, History), Nicholas Albertson (East Asian Languages and Cultures), Mary Dalton (WGS/Communication), Anne Hardcastle (Romance Languages), Stokes Piercy (Communication), Andrew Rodekohr (East Asian Languages and Cultures)

This seminar will bring together scholarship and teaching practices from different disciplines and regional foci with the purpose of enhancing our understanding of films as media to understand society, in both local and global dimensions. It seeks to initiate and foster deeper conversations on how the varied cinematic worlds of East Asia, South Asia, and the Americas connect and intersect as well as to benefit from individual expertise and experiences to advance the understanding of the deeper roots of human connections and collectivities across global cultures. The purpose is to enhance participants’ pedagogy and research in their own respective fields and disciplines and promote the study of films as both reflective and constitutive of our social being.

Materiality and Modernity
Stephanie Koscak (co-convener, History), Morna O’Neill (co-convener, Art History), Susan Harlan (English), Claudia Kairoff (English), Candace Mixon (PhD Candidate in Religion, UNC-Chapel Hill), Megan Mulder (Special Collections Library), Jessica Richard (English)

This continuing faculty seminar takes an interdisciplinary approach to two topics that have re-shaped the humanities in significant ways in the last two decades. The material turn raises new questions about the materiality of historical texts and objects, the cultural and social values bestowed upon and mediated through things, and the embodied production of knowledge. This seminar asks two questions related questions: what roles do material objects play in the rise of modernity? How should we account for these roles within and across scholarly disciplines (particularly History, Art History, Literary Studies, and Religion)?

2015-2016:

Beyond “Gay Day”: Integrating Gender and Sexuality into Humanities Focused Teaching and Research
Angela Mazaris (LGBTQ Center/WGSS, convener), Mir Yarfitz (History, convener), Jack Amoureux (Politics & International Affairs), Simone Caron (History), Mary Dalton (Communications/Film Studies/WGSS), Michele Gillespie (Dean of the College/Presidential Endowed Professor of Southern History), Kristina Gupta (WGSS), Melissa Jenkins (English), Tanisha Ramachandran (Religion), Erica Still (English)

This seminar, continuing for a second year, is an opportunity for faculty to workshop ongoing research and critique current scholarship in an effort to convert gender and sexuality silos into transformative critical lenses for disciplinary and cross-disciplinary work in the humanities.

Christian Communities in Muslim Environments: Ethiopia
Neal Walls (Divinity, convener), Michaelle Browers (Politics & International Affairs), Hank Kennedy (Politics & International Affairs), Nate Plageman (History), Nelly van Doorn-Harder (Religion)

This continuing two-semester faculty seminar on Muslim-Christian engagements in contemporary Ethiopia will be followed by a research trip in May 2016 for first-hand interaction with Ethiopian political and religious leaders and communities. This seminar continues to seek to understand strategies for peaceful co-existence in the demographically balanced context of Ethiopia. How do Muslims and Christians pursue the common good; how do minority religious populations (Christian, Muslim, or in certain regions, Jewish) fare in specific regional contexts; what issues lead to communal conflict and violence; and what are strategies to overcome or prevent violence in the midst of recent social, political, and economic crises?

Materiality and Modernity 
Stephanie Koscak (History, convener), Susan Harlan (English), Claudia Kairoff (English), Monique O’Connell (History), Morna O’Neill (Art History), Jessica Richard (English), Laura Veneskey (Art History)

This faculty seminar, new for 2015, will take an interdisciplinary approach to two topics that have re-shaped the humanities in significant ways in the last two decades. The material turn raises new questions about the materiality of historical texts and objects, the cultural and social values bestowed upon and mediated through things, and the embodied production of knowledge. This seminar asks two questions related questions: what roles do material objects play in the rise o modernity? How should we account for these roles within and across scholarly disciplines (particularly History, Art History, and Literary Studies)?

Medicine and Ethics Across the Disciplines 
Simone Caron (History, convener), Rebecca Alexander (Chemistry), Sean Ervin (Wake Forest School of Medicine), Steven Folmar (Anthropology), Karin Friederic (Anthropology), Amanda Gengler (Sociology), Amanda Griffith (Economics), Ana Iltis (Philosophy), Adam Kadlac (Philosophy)

This seminar, in its second year, will continue to build collaborative bridges for co-authored interdisciplinary scholarship in the medical humanities and social sciences. The seminar hopes to continue to engage in deep conversation about how the humanities and ethics can work together rather than be seen as two separate components of a field, and further hope to integrate ethics and humanities in a much more explicit manner in future scholarship.

2014-2015:

Beyond “Gay Day”: Integrating Gender and Sexuality into Humanities Focused Teaching and Research

Angela Mazaris (LGBTQ Center/WGSS, convener), Mir Yarfitz (History, convener), Jack Amoureux (Politics & International Affairs), Michaelle Browers (Politics & International Affairs), Simone Caron (History), Michele Gillespie (History), Kristina Gupta (WGSS), Tanisha Ramachandran (Religion), Erica Still (English)

This seminar is an opportunity for faculty to workshop ongoing research and syllabi in an effort to convert gender and sexuality silos into transformative critical lenses for disciplinary and cross-disciplinary work in the humanities.

Christian Communities in Muslim Environments: Ethiopia

Nelly van Doorn-Harder (Religion, convener), Neal Walls (Divinity, convener), Michaelle Browers (Politics & International Affairs), Hank Kennedy (Politics & International Affairs), Nate Plageman (History)

This seminar on Muslim-Christian engagements seeks to understand strategies for peaceful co-existence in the demographically balanced context of Ethiopia. How do Muslims and Christians pursue the common good; how do minority religious populations (Christian, Muslim, or in certain regions, Jewish) fare in specific regional contexts; what issues lead to communal conflict and violence; and what are strategies to overcome or prevent violence in the midst of recent social, political, and economic crises?

Medicine Across the Disciplines

Simone Caron (History, convener), Carole Gibson (Biology), Rebecca Alexander (Chemistry), Ana Iltis (Philosophy), Amanda Griffith (Economics), Amanda Gengler (Sociology), Adam Kadlac (Philosophy), Christina Marsh (Economics), Karin Friederic (Anthropology), Steven Folmar (Anthropology), Sean Ervin (Wake Forest School of Medicine)

Medicine Across the Disciplines investigates why and how the humanities are important to medicine and ethics and builds bridges for interdisciplinary scholarship in the medical humanities and social sciences. Specifically, it examines how the humanities and ethics can work together rather than function as two separate components of a field.

Religion and Science: Crossing Boundaries

Kevin Jung (Divinity, convener), Rebecca Alexander (Chemistry), J. Daniel Bourland (Wake Forest School of Medicine), Lucas Johnston (Religion), Bill Leonard (Divinity), Jed Macosko (Physics), Neal Walls (Divinity)

The topic of religion and science encompasses a huge terrain of shared questions and problems, ranging from the origin (and end) of the cosmos to the nature and meaning of life to the cognitive science of religion. Given the vast scope of the topic, the proposed seminar will focus on a set of scientific theories and theological ideas that pertain to a particular problem.

2013-2014:

In Search of the American / Medieval: Contemplation, Identities, and Environment

Gillian Overing (English, convener), Ulrike Wiethaus (Religion, convener), Judith Madera (English), Sol Miguel-Prendes (Romance Languages), Gale Sigal (English), Tina Boyer (German), Roberta Morosini (Romance Languages).

In regard to Euro-American cultural practices in the US that derive from medieval European traditions with or without explicitly naming them as such, American/Medieval denotes a type of cultural transfer that is manifesting itself as both American and contemporary yet also as European and historically specific. By engaging cross-disciplinary examination of American/Medieval scholarship and sites, the seminar aims to enrich participants’ pedagogy and research in their own disciplines, and is particularly interested in deepening participants’ understanding of our collective connections to the past and its survival in multiple cultural contexts and transmutations.

Aesthetics and Politics

Omaar Hena (English, convener), John Curley (Art), Jefferson Holdridge (English), Morna O’Neill (Art), Richard Schneider (Law), John Oksanish (Classical Languages), Beth Ann Way (English)

This continuing seminar brings together WFU faculty working in the areas of art, literature and music to examine the relationship between aesthetic forms and and variants of political theory. Specifically the group examines both what links and differentiates artistic forms (the novel, play, opera, painting, etc.), as well as the complex ways in which artistic practices relate to broader political contexts and questions.

Complexity, Emergence, and Big History

Alan Williams (History, convener), Paul Anderson (Physics), Paul Jones (Chemistry), Clifford Zeyl (Biology), Ellen Miller (Anthropology), E.J. Masicampo (Psychology), Juan-Pedro Garces-Voisenat (Economics), Ralph Kennedy (Philosophy).

The seminar is examining the collection of disciplines they represent through the common lens of complex systems and the emergent properties that characterize them. Working across disciplines, they seek to bring clarity and arrive at common understandings of the variables (properties), for example, that a chemist concerned with molecules must consider that do not enter the ken of a physicist or of the variables a sociologist must treat that are not of concern to a psychologist. The collective aim is to bring disciplinary questions into interdisciplinary conversation and to explore, for instance, the extent to which it makes sense to treat atoms, snails, and societies as increasingly complex systems. How can scholars in the sciences and humanities learn from each other to define and measure complexity, and what, if anything, besides the pattern or structure of its component parts might account for the emergent properties any complex system may manifest?

Re-Writing Exile: Women, the Arts, and Technologies

Wanda Balzano (Women’s and Gender Studies, co-convener), Lynn Book (Theatre and Dance; Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship program, co-convener), Alessandra Beasley Von Burg (Communication, American Ethnic Studies), Rian Bowie (English), Amy Catanzano (English), Beth Ann Way (English), Angela Kocze (Women’s and Gender Studies, Fulbright Guest Scholar)

This seminar is a continuing exploration of how exiled women find and create privileged spaces for the re/articulation of conditions of displacement, dislocation and diaspora in narration, in the visual mingling of tradition and experimentation, in the fluxes of information that constitute the emergence of new and imagined “communities” through new art and related social change forms. The seminar explores scholarly theories of “exile” and “nomadism,” as well as creative theorizing through arts practices. It places critical focus on language and practices of communication, especially, including creative writing, photography, video art, performance and new media works, and digital platforms.

Human Mobility: The Rights and Practices of Migration

Alessandra Beasley Von Burg (Communication; American Ethnic Studies, co-convener), Margaret Taylor (Law, co-convener), Lisa Kiang (Psychology), Ana Maria Wahl (Sociology, American Ethnic Studies), Betina Wilkinson (Politics and International Affairs)

This seminar brings scholars together from across disciplines to examine the theory, practice, implications, and recent events related to migration and immigration, mostly in the United States, but also in other areas of the world (European Union, Latin America, Asia). The seminar considers political, social, psychological, legal, and philosophical approaches to migration as a human right (Article 13, UN Declaration of Human Rights, 1948) and a human practice, the understanding of which is rooted in the humanities and social sciences.

2012-2013:

Aesthetics and Politics

John Curley (Art, convener), Bruce Barnhart (English, Guest Scholar), Tina Boyer (German and Russian), Omaar Hena (English), Jefferson Holdridge (English), John Oksanish (Classical Languages), Morna O’Neill (Art), Richard Schneider (Law).

Benjamin in Berlin

Grant McAllister (German and Russian, convener), John Pickel (Art), Rebecca Thomas (German and Russian), Alán José (Romance Languages).

Digital Humanities: Practices, Perspectives and Pedagogy

David Phillips (Interdisciplinary Humanities, convener), Laura Aull (English), Lisa Blee (History), Jerid Francom (Spanish and Linguistics), Thomas Frank (University Professor, History), Ryan Shirey (English and Writing Center), Phoebe Zerwick (English), Mary Foskett (Religion).

Fair Play: An Interdisciplinary Approach to the Rhetorical, Social and Political Dimensions of Fairness

Michele Gillespie (History, co-convener), Rian Bowie (English, co-convener), Angela Mazaris (LGBTQ Center and Women’s & Gender Studies), Tanisha Ramachandran (Religion), Alessandra Beasley Von Burg (Communication and American Ethnic Studies), Katy Harriger (Political Science).

Human Dimensions of the Environment and Sustainability

Lucas Johnston (Religion, convener), Thomas Frank (University Professor, History), Judith Madera (English), David Phillips (Interdisciplinary Humanities), Rebecca Powell (CEES and Biology), Ron Von Burg (Communication and Interdisciplinary Humanities).

Poverty and Progress in the Eighteenth Century

Heather Welland (History, convener), Jake Ruddiman (History), Jessica Richard (English), Elizabeth Way (English), Morna O’Neill (Art History).

Stars and Studios: Seminar in Film Studies

Woodrow Hood (Communication and Theater & Dance, co-convener), Ron Von Burg (Interdisciplinary Humanities and Communication, co-convener), Anne Hardcastle (Romance Languages and Film Studies), Kathleen McClancy (English), Tom Phillips (Interdisciplinary Humanities), Ananda Mitra (Communication), Candyce Leonard (Communication).

Writing Exile: Women, The Arts and Technologies

Wanda Balzano (Women’s & Gender Studies, co-convener), Lynn Book (Theater & Dance and Innovation, Creativity & Entrepreneurship program, co-convener), Alessandra Beasley Von Burg (Communication and American Ethnic Studies), Rian Bowie (English), Karina Bautista (Romance Languages and Latino/Caribbean Literatures), Angela Kocze (Women’s & Gender Studies, Fulbright Guest Scholar).

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