The reports of my death will be greatly debated

This information has been culled from a post on CULT-STUD-L. Note the fellow application deadlines at the bottom of the post.

17-23 July 2011,  Stone Summer Theory Institute (STIP) Chicago

Co-organized with Sunil Manghani and Gustav Frank

Theme 2011:
Farewell to Visual Studies

Faculty include James Elkins, Lisa Cartwright, Keith Moxey, Whitney Davis, and Michael Ann Holly.

The field of Visual Studies, inaugurated in the 1990s, has not fulfilled its promise–which was, roughly, to provide an optimal methodological model for the study of images of all sorts, and to create a new academic space partly inside, and partly outside, existing structures.

Despite the appearance of new journals and online sites devoted to visual studies, and despite the continuously increasing number of departments worldwide, the field of visual studies remains a minority interest with an increasingly predictable set of interpretive agendas and subjects. Typically it attracts students in the humanities, who explore Marxist critiques of mass media and fine art.

The growth of vision science, together with the rise of hybrid departments without the term “visual studies” or its analogues–such as the initiatives in East Anglia and Leiden, which study “world art”–may signal the end of the project of visual studies. Our purpose is to assess the relevant history, current condition, and future prospects of visual studies, image studies, visual culture, Bildvetenskap, Bildwissenschaft, and other initiatives.

Fellowship opportunities:

The Stone Summer Theory Institute is an intensive week of seminars, lectures, and panel discussions, which will be published as a series of books involving over 300 scholars. It is held each July in Chicago. Fellows are not expected to present papers, but are asked to do up to 1,500 pages of advance readings for the seminars.

Lectures and panel discussions are open to the public. Most of the week, however, is occupied by closed seminars, which are attended by 15 Fellows chosen in an international competition. There are 6 hours of seminars each day, with assigned readings, circulated in advance. Places are available for fifteen Fellows; accommodation is provided, and some travel funds are also available.

Applications are invited from advanced graduate students, faculty, artists, and administrators.

Full information about applying is available on the website

The deadline is April 15, 2011; successful applicants will be notified April 20.

Reimagining the Academy Part 5

On Wednesday, March 16 @ 5pm in Room 4 of the Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke’s five-lecture series, “Re-imagining the Academy,” concludes with a talk by Mark C. Taylor, chair of the religion department at Columbia University.  His recent book Crisis on Campus: A Bold Plan for Reforming Our Colleges and Universities (2010) expands on the thesis of his widely-read 2009 New York Times op-ed “The End of the University as We Know It.” The Chronicle of Higher Education published an in-depth interview/profile of Taylor in Jan. of 2010.

Noh way!!

The publicity of this event comes courtesy of Dr. Claire Conceison via David G. Goodman, Director of IJPAN:

On March 28 and 29,2011 the Kashū-juku Noh ensemble will be performing at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the Illinois Japan Performing Arts Network (IJPAN) will stream their performance and their introductory, interactive workshop live on the Internet.  You and your students will be able to view the workshop and performance in real time and, during the workshop, interact with ensemble members live via Facebook and Twitter.

The schedule of events is as follows.

  • March 28 (Monday), 4:00-5:30 Central Time: Introductory Workshop
  • March 29 (Tuesday), 7:30-9:30 Central Time: Performance of the Noh masterpiece Aoi no Ue, the battle scene from Yashima, and the Kyōgen comedy Bōshibari

Kashū-juku, a Noh ensemble based in Kyoto, will be coming to the University of Illinois directly from the Japan Society in New York, where they will be performing as part of the JapanNYC Festival.  This is an opportunity for you and your students to access a world-class theatrical event from the comfort of your own campus.

In order to receive the live stream you must register with IJPAN.  You can register simply by sending an e-mail to Registration is free. After registering, you will be sent detailed instructions about how to access the live stream, and you will receive advance notice of future events.

Funded by a generous grant from the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership, IJPAN brings Japanese performance—classical and contemporary theatre, music, and dance—to audiences in the United States and abroad; facilitates collaborations among Japanese and American artists; and involves the scholarly community in conversations about the Japanese performing arts.

Many IJPAN events are planned in partnership with the Japan Society of New York.  Events being planned for the 2011-12 season include a J-Pop concert, Japanese theatre performances by outstanding contemporary troupes, and recent music from Okinawa.

Please join the Illinois Japan Performing Arts Network and join the fun!

Post-Spring Break Events

Here are some items of interest to mark on your post-Spring Break calendars:

Duke University’s Department of Cultural Anthropology is pleased to present:

“The Promises and Perils of Activist Anthropology”
A lecture by Jeff Maskovsky
Monday, March 14, 2011
Friedl Building, Room 225

Activist anthropology has become an important method for solving some of the discipline’s most vexing ethical and political problems and for increasing its public visibility.  Yet affirming a political alignment with an activist group, and then working closely with it in different phases of the research process, as activist anthropology requires, raises some significant theoretical, ethical and political challenges.  What are the politics and ethics of political alignment?  What are the limits and limitations of an activist stance? And who ultimately is activist anthropology for? I will take up these questions by critically reflecting on my experiences working with, and alongside, grassroots activists over the last twenty years.  One of activist anthropology’s most intriguing strengths, I argue, is that it can be enacted in the interstitial space between the academy and the grassroots.  It is in this kind of space — a hybrid, impure space that is neither wholly grassroots nor Ivory Tower — in which activists and academics can work together creatively to find modest ways of dealing with difficult political problems such as uncertainty, internal conflict, and defeat.

Jeff Maskovsky is Associate Professor of urban studies at Queens College and of anthropology at the Graduate Center, CUNY.  His research and writing focus on poverty, grassroots activism and political economic change in the urban United States. His publications include two co-edited volumes, New Poverty Studies: The Ethnography of Power, Politics and Impoverished People in the United States (NYU Press 2001), and Rethinking America: The Imperial Homeland in the 21st Century (Paradigm 2009), as well as a  forthcoming monograph, Biosocial Urbanism: Poverty and the Fight for Life in the New Inner City.  He recently began a new fieldwork project exploring the politics of mortgage default in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Maskovsky has collaborated with AIDS activists, neighborhood groups, non-profit organizations and health policy experts to found several innovative community health and HIV treatment education programs targeting youth, sexual minorities, low-income people, and people of color.  In a former life, he also  hosted and produced “From the Left,” a talk show aired on Drexel University Television in Philadelphia, PA, from 2002 to 2006.

For more information, please contact Maria Maschauer at 684-5255. Click here (Jeff Maskovsky Flyer) for a PDF flyer.


On Thursday, March17 from 9:45am-5pm at the FHI Garage* (C105, Bay 4, Smith Warehouse): the FHI is pleased to be a co-sponsor for the Program in Women’s Studies’ New Voices in Animal Studies, a one-day colloquium exploring the connection between gender studies and animal studies. This colloquium is part of a year-long initiative on “Animals and the Question of Species” at Duke’s Women’s Studies in 2010-11.

The colloquium schedule is as follows:

9:45 AM
Welcome – Christina Chia, Franklin Humanities Institute, Duke University
Introduction – Ranjana Khanna, Women’s Studies & English, Duke University

* Session speaker introductions by Ranjana Khanna & Kathy Rudy, Women’s Studies, Duke University *

10 – 10:55 AM
Toward a Planetary Concept of Mass Death: Extinction, Species-Thinking, and the Human of Precarious Futures
Neel Ahuja, English, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

11 – 11:55 AM
This Way to the Zoo: Feminist Approaches to the American Zoo Archive
Lisa Uddin, Corcoran College of Art + Design

– Lunch (Vegan) –

1 – 1:55 PM
Becoming Zoo-Curious: Reading Sexual Differences in the Field of Animal Life
Adeline Rother, French and Italian, Vanderbilt University

2 – 2:55 PM
The Gendered Process of Cattle (Re)production
Colter Ellis, Sociology, University of Colorado at Boulder

3 – 3:55 PM
Against the Flow of Time: And Say the Microorganisms Responded?
Astrid Schrader, Science, Technology & Society, Sarah Lawrence College

– Coffee Break –

4:15 – 5 PM
ResponseDonna Haraway, Emerita, History of Consciousness, University of California, Santa Cruz


Thursday-Friday, March 24-25 at the FHI Garage – C105, Bay 4, Smith Warehouse is a two-day event marking the end of the 3rd year of the Mellon HBCU Fellowship Program at the Franklin Humanities Institute. Day 1 focuses on the legacies of writer Octavia Butler. Day 2 includes a keynote address by the distinguished poet Sonia Sanchez and two panels on the impact of social movements in the US.

March 25 Program Schedule

2:00 – 3:30 PM
Keynote: Imagining Black Bodies in the Future
Gregory Hampton, Howard University

4:00 – 6:00 PM
Roundtable Discussion
William “Sandy” Darity
, Duke University
Sandra Y. Govan, Emerita, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Karla Holloway, Duke University
Tarshia Stanley, Spelman College / 2010-11 FHI Mellon HBCU Fellow

Friday, March 26 Program

(Updated 2/28/11). Keep checking this link for schedule updates.

9 – 10:30 AM
Panel: The Legacies of New Negro Activism
Jelani Favors
, Morgan State University / 2008-09 FHI Mellon HBCU Fellow
Claudrena Harold, University of Virginia
Rhonda Jones, North Carolina Central University / 2009-10 FHI Mellon HBCU Fellow

10:45 AM – 12:15 PM
Panel: Garveyism is Global
Tshepo Chéry
, University of Pennsylvania
Adam Ewing, Harvard University
Asia Leeds, University of California at Los Angeles

1:30 – 3:00 PM – Keynote (book signing to follow)
Sonia Sanchez

You should be at the theater

This weekend there is no reason in the world not to spend at least some of your time in one of the many theater venues in the area.

The Abbey Theatre performs Terminus at the Carolina Theater. Final performance tonight, Feb. 26.

One of the most acclaimed avant-garde theater companies, Mabou Mines, completes its two-week residency at Duke with workshop performances tomorrow, Feb. 27, of its take on Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie at 3 and 6pm in the Sheafer Theater on Duke’s West Campus.

Playmakers Repertory Company’s production of both parts of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America concludes its run this coming week.

Little Green Pig Theatrical Concern continues its Japanese season  with this weekend’s opening of David Terkel’s adapatation of two Noh plays in a production titled Stroke/Book being performed at Golden Belt (Building B).

This weekend also finds Chapel Hill’s Deep Dish Theater opening Superior Donuts, a play by Tony Award and Pulitzer-Prize winning playwright, Tracy Letts (August: Osage County).

Them’s Fighting Words (and Bodies)

Duke’s Theater Studies department is sponsoring a guest speaker, Matthew Ferrari, in Professor Claire Conceison’s “Sport as Performance” course on Monday, February 28 at 11:40am in 059 Langford (basement of Divinity School, around the corner and down the hall from the Refectory).  Matthew will be speaking about a growing sport in the US, Mixed Martial Arts (cage fighting), from a performance perspective, including performance of submissive and combative masculinities. Attendees are invited to would like to have lunch with Matthew at the Refectory after class (class ends at 12:55). If you have questions please contact Dr. Conceison.

Matthew’s talk is titled, “Questioning MMA’s Naturalizing Imagery.” In this piece, he questions the significance of the masculine primitive element in the world’s fastest growing sport –mixed martial arts. Looking broadly at the burgeoning sport, from fighter’s “primitive performatives” within the cage, to the present profusion of naturalizing imagery in MMA commodity culture, a linking of the “natural” with the commercial is articulated through visual  and discourse analysis.

Speaker Bio:
Matthew Ferrari is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Communication at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst where his work addresses politics of cultural representation and spectatorship in film and television culture. His dissertation research theorizes popular primitivism(s) in contemporary media culture, primitivism and modernity, and discourses of rural/urban and “nature” in film and television. Check out some of his posts for FLOW TV critical blog forum.

Beauty & Brains: Aesthetics & Neuroscience Lecture on Valentine’s Day

Another fabulous science + humanities event co-sponsored by the Franklin Humanities Institute, the Center for French and Francophone Studies and Center for Cognitive Neuroscience

On Mon, Feb 14 @ 4:00pm in the FHI Garage (C105, Bay 4, Smith Warehouse), Italian neurophysiologist Vittorio Gallese presents “The Body in Aesthetic Experience: A Neuroscientific Perspective.” Professor Gallese is most known for his work on “mirror neurons” and the philosophy of mind.

Herrnstein-Smith Symposium: Science + Humanities

On Friday, February 11, the Franklin Humanities Institute presents Science, Scientism, and Anti-Science in the Humanities: A Symposium in Honor of Barbara Herrnstein Smith.

Information from the FHI listserv: Spring 2011 is Prof. Smith’s final semester teaching at Duke. Author of Contingencies of Value: Alternative Perspectives for Critical Theory (1988), Belief and Resistance: Dynamics of Contemporary Intellectual Controversy (1997), Natural Reflections: Human Cognition at the Nexus of Science and Religion (2010) among many other publications, her work has been vital in fostering critical and institutional exchanges between the humanities and the sciences. This symposium will honor and extend that work by convening a group of leading scholars on the relationships between science, religion, culture, and literature.

Program Schedule (Download a poster with the schedule here ScienceScientismAntiScience)

10 – 10:15am

  • Welcome – Ian Baucom, Franklin Humanities Institute, Duke
  • Introduction – Fredric Jameson, Duke

10:15am – 12:15pm – Panel Chair: Ian Baucom

  • “Mutuality, Incommensurablity, and Credulity,” Elizabeth Wilson, Emory
  • “Science and the Lyric,” Jonathan Culler, Cornell
  • “Common Sense,” Mark Hansen, Duke

1 – 3pm – Panel Chair: Jane Tompkins, Emerita, Duke

  • “What Was Nature? Revisiting the Nexus of Science and Religion,” Andrew Janiak, Duke
  • “Contingencies of Science and Culture: Some Inspirations from Barbara Herrnstein Smith,” Casper Bruun Jensen, IT University of Copenhagen
  • “Reflections on Natural Reflections,” Kate Hayles, Literature, Duke

3:30 – 5:30pm: Roundtable Moderator: Nancy Armstrong, English, Duke

  • Stanley Fish, Florida International University College of Law
  • Susan Hegeman, English, University of Florida
  • Tim Lenoir, Jenkins , Duke
  • Rob Mitchell, English, Duke

5:30 Remarks from Barbara Herrnstein Smith

Edwidge Danticat @ Duke

This information is provided by the Provost’s Lecture Series for 2010-2011.

Natural Disasters/Human Responses presents “Writing Tragedy, Writing Hope: Haitian Writers At Home and Abroad Respond to The January 12, 2010 Earthquake,” featuring author Edwidge Danticat.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011
5:15-6:45 p.m.
Smith Warehouse
The Garage, C105 Bay 4 (first floor)

Ms. Danticat will examine ways in which writers both in Haiti and in the Haitian dyaspora have responded creatively to the earthquake and will also read excerpts from her own work. Copies of two of her books, Brother, I’m Dying and Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work, will be available on site for purchase.

About this year’s Provost’s Lecture Series

The list is endless: Southeast Asian Tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, Sichuan Earthquake, Haiti Earthquake. All of these conjure images of human suffering, shattered lives, broken communities and heroic rebirths. With burgeoning global populations and increasing residential densities in hazard prone areas, the frequency and seeming enormity of recent disasters has had a horrific toll.  The speakers of the Provost’s series, drawn from experts in the media, government, arts, and other fields, will explore questions concerning planning, response, ethics, memorialization, history, literature, logistics, and most of all, human impacts related to mitigating and responding to these recurrent tragedies.

Guest scholar @ Duke — Jorge Huerta

The Duke Theater Studies department and the Program in Latino/a Studies in the Global South in conjunction with UNC-Chapel Hill is pleased to present an open seminar with Professor Jorge Huerta.

Tuesday, Feb 15, 9:30-11:30am, PAGE 106

Jorge Huerta is a leading authority on Chicana/o theatre and a professional director. He has published anthologies, books and many articles about Chicana/o and Latina/o theatre and has directed in regional theatres throughout the United States. He has lectured and conducted workshops throughout the U.S., Latin America and Western Europe.

Please RSVP to Sean Metzger at to reserve a space and to obtain readings.