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Seminars & Symposia

Please join us for the annual Humanities Institute Interdisciplinary Faculty Seminar Symposium on Thursday, April 30th in Tribble Hall. The program will begin at 1:30pm in DeTamble Auditorium with a round table discussion featuring representatives from each of this year’s Interdisciplinary Faculty Seminars.

chrislongFollowing a Q&A with the participants, invited guest speaker, Christopher Long (@cplong) will give the talk, “Performing Collaborative Scholarship.” Long is Professor of Philosophy & Classics and Associate Dean for Graduate and Undergraduate Education, College of the Liberal Arts at Penn State.

A reception will follow at 3:00pm in the Tribble Hall Atrium.

We hope you will join us for great discussion and a celebration of the work done by the seminars this year.

Read below for more information about current and past interdisciplinary faculty seminars:

Interdisciplinary Faculty Seminars:

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.

Interdisciplinary Faculty Seminars (AY 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.

Interdisciplinary Faculty Seminars (AY 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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Symposia – Includes Hosted and Co-Sponsored (AY 2014-2015):

Humanities for Our Future: Envisioning the Heart of Humanities Education. Panel discussion and working dinner groups. September 11, 2014.
Co-sponsored by the North Carolina Humanities Council.

Seis Miradas por Latinoamerica/Six Perspectives of Latin America. An interdisciplinary event honoring Chilean Poet Pable Neruda. September 22-26, 2014. Convened by Patricia Dixon (Music).
Co-sponsored by NEA, NEH, IPLACe, Humanities Institute, Office of the Provost, Office of the Dean of the College, Music Department, Romance Languages Department, Art Department, Latin American Studies and Latino Studies, Interdisciplinary Honors Program, English Department and the Inter-American Development Bank.

The Civil Wars of Japan’s Meiji Restoration and National Reconciliation: Global Historical Perspectives. RHMAA. January 30-31, 2015. Convened by Robert Hellyer (History).
Co-sponsored by the WFU Departments of History, East Asian Languages & Cultures, tbe Dean’s Office, the Provost Office for Global Affairs, Provost Fund for Vibrant Campus & Japan Foundation, NEH, Asian/Pacific Studies Institute-Duke, Carolina Asia Center (UNC Chapel Hill), Japan-United States Friendship Commission, and Association for Asian Studies.

25 Years Later: Nathan Hatch’s The Democratization of American Christianity. Broyhill Auditorium, Farrell Hall. February 6, 2015. Convened by Jay Ford (Religion).
Co-sponsored by the WFU Department of Religion and the WFU School of Divinity.

The Idlewild Conference: Conversations on Race, Gender, Religion, and Capitalism in the U.S. South. Annenberg Forum, Carswell Hall. February 27, 2015. Convened by Ronald Neal (Religion).
Co-sponsored by the WFU Department of Philosophy, the Department of Religion, the Office of the Provost, BB&T Center for the Study of Capitalism, American Ethnic Studies, Office of the Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, the School of Divinity, the Religion and Public Engagement Program, the Department of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies, the Department of History, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, and the John Allen Easley Professor of Religion.

Mass Incarceration and the Criminal Justice System: a Student-Faculty Symposium and Opening of Release: From Stigma to Acceptance. ZSR Library Auditorium and Atrium. March 19th (4-6pm) and March 20th (4-5:30pm), 2015. Convened by Lisa Blee (History).

Reasonable Accommodations and Roma in Contemporary Europe: A Symposium on Global Governance, Democracy and Social Justice. Duke University, John Hope Franklin Center and DeTamble Auditorium, Tribble Hall, WFU. April 7-8, 2015. Convened by Angela Kocze (Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies).
Co-sponsored by the WFU Department of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies, the Provost’s Fund for Academic Excellence at WFU, and IPLACe, and sponsored by the Council for European Studies at Duke University.

Climate Talks: Negotiating the Fate of the Planet. ZSR Library Auditorium. 5:30-6:30pm, March 18, 2015. Convened by Luke Johnston (Religion).

The Human Face of Environmental Inequality: An Interdisciplinary Symposium. Wake Forest University, Wait Chapel and Benson University Center. March 26-27, 2015.
Co-sponsored by the Center for Energy, Environment and Sustainability and the Human Rights and Global Justice Research Group (an affiliate of the Humanities Institute), with support from the Office of Sustainability.

International Conference on Religion, Violence, and Peace: A Human Rights and Global Justice Event. Annenberg Forum, Carswell Hall. April 9-11, 2015.
Co-sponsored by the Human Rights and Global Justice Research Group, and the Office of the Provost.

Annual Interdisciplinary Faculty Symposium. DeTamble Auditorium. April 30, 2015.

Symposia – Includes Hosted and Co-Sponsored (AY 2013-2014):

Humanities and the Professions: The Importance of the Humanities for the World of Work, Tuesday, September 10, 2013.

Lay My Burden Down: Freedom and the Legacies of the Civil War, lecture by Thavolia Glymph, Associate Professor of History, Duke University. Part of Lay My Burden Down: Freedom and Legacies of the Civil War: A Conference to Commemorate the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War in North Carolina. October 17-18, 2013.

Symposia – Includes Hosted and Co-Sponsored (AY 2012-2013):

“Poca Favilla, Gran Fiamma Seconda”: A Commemoration of the Life and Work of Allen Mandelbaum, October 13, 2012.

Minorities in Islam/Muslims as Minorities, October 19-20, 2012. Michaelle Browers, Political Science, and Nelly Van Doorn Harder, Religion, co-conveners.

Diasporas and Race, October 25-27, 2012. Sally Barbour, Romance Languages, convener.

The Global Homer: Odysseys in the Context of Diaspora, October 27, 2012. Phil Archer, Allison Slaby and Stephan Dragisic, RHMAA; Sally Barbour, Romance Languages, and Omaar Hena, English, co-conveners.

Exile and Interpretation, November 16-18, 2012. David Weinstein, Political Science, convener.

Cagefest, Fall 2012. Louis Goldstein, Music, convener.

HerStories: Breast Cancer Narratives and Counter-Narratives, March 1-2, 2013.

Second Annual Interdisciplinary Student Research Symposium on Gender and Sexuality, March 4, 2013. Michelle Voss Roberts, Divinity, and Wanda Balzano, WGS, co-conveners.

Scarred for Life, April 4-5, 2013. Phoebe Zerwick, English, and Wanda Balzano, WGS, co-conveners.

After the Genome: A Conference on the Language of Our BioTechnical Future, April 12-13, 2013. Michael Hyde, Communication, convener.

Rewriting Homosexuality: An Interdisciplinary, International Conversation, April 19, 2013. Shannon Gilreath, Law and WGS, convener.

Articulations of Humanity in Black Religious Life, April 19, 2013. Derek Hicks, Divinity, convener.

Humanities Institute Annual Interdisciplinary Faculty Seminars Symposium, May 1, 2013.