Interdisciplinary Faculty Seminars


Conflict Analysis and Mediation in Nile Valley States

Neal Walls (Convener, Divinity School), Michaelle Browers (Politics and International Affairs), Hank Kennedy (Politics and International Affairs), Nate Plageman (History), Nelly van Doorn-Harder (Study of Religions)

Contemplative Studies Across Disciplines: Towards a New Paradigm of Research and Collaboration

Eranda Jayawickreme (Co-convener, Psychology), Lisa Blee (Co-convener, History), Sharon Andrews (Theatre), Jamie Crockett (Counseling), Ken Hoglund (Study of Religions), Monique O’Connell (History), Eric Stottlemyer (English), Elisabeth Whitehead (English)

Humanities and the Cinematic World: Films as Media to Understand the Local and the Global

Woodrow Hood (Co-convener, Communication), Raisur Rahman (Co-convener, History), Anne Hardcastle (Spanish), Mary Dalton (Communication and WGSS), Andrew Rodekohr (East Asian Languages and Cultures), Stokes Piercy (Communication), Molly Knight (German & Russian), Joel Tauber (Art)

The Silk Roads

Jeffrey D. Lerner (Convener, History), Stewart Carter (Music), Elizabeth Clendinning (Music), Dan Du (History), James L. Ford (Study of Religions), THM Gellar-Goad (Classical Languages), Andrew Gurstelle (Anthropology), Megan Mulder (ZSR Special Collections), Monique O’Connell (History), John Ruddiman (History), Yaohua Shi (East Asian Languages and Cultures), Laura Veneskey (Art History), Qiong Zhang (History)


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)?