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Conferences Archive (2016-2017)

Cutting Edge Conferences:


Organized by Aidan Gray and Mahrad Almotahari, UIC Department of Philosophy

In the background of our project is a “big” question: what is the relationship between treating human beings as thinkers (that is, as believing, desiring, intending, etc.), and treating them as computers (that is, as processing information by manipulating symbolic representations according to mechanistic rules)? This question has, in one way or another, been a central issue for philosophers at least since Descartes.

Our project aims to address this perennial philosophical question in the context of cutting­ edge research on, what philosophers have called, “Frege’s Puzzle”.

The last ten years or so has seen a substantially new approach to Frege’s puzzle. Kit Fine, in a book called Semantic Relationism, and Richard Heck, in a paper called “Solving Frege’s Puzzle,” developed relational approaches to Frege’s Puzzle.

Relational approaches to Frege’s puzzle have been a hot topic in philosophy, spawning numerous articles in top journals.  Despite that, foundational questions about the approach have yet to be satisfactorily resolved:  What is the substantive difference between semantic and computational varieties of relationism? What kind of evidence could be marshalled to choose between them? Are they potentially complementary? Our workshop will bring together a number of important researchers to explore these foundational questions.

Friday September 16, 2016

10:00-11:45 am: Gurpreet Rattan, University of Toronto

1:30-3:15 pm: Rachel Goodman, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

3:30-5:15 pm: William Taschek, The Ohio State University

Saturday September 17, 2016 

10:00-11:45 am: Dilip Ninan, Tufts University, “Attitudes and the Self”

1:30-3:15 pm: Ángel Pinillos, Arizona State University

3:30-5:15 pm: Richard Heck, Brown University, “Sense as Mode of Representation”


Organized by Rama Sundari Mantena, UIC Department of History

October 14, 2016

This workshop will bring together scholars working on themes relating to the history of modern empires for a series of panels and a roundtable discussion on rethinking political imaginaries of the early- to mid-part of the twentieth century and its relevance to our current understandings of the future of democracy in both the metropole (former imperial powers) as well as the former colonial territories.

The inevitability of the national form unfolds from political conditions in the early decades of the twentieth century.  However, political discussion was far more expansive and open-ended than the passionate quest for a nation state.   There were more complex political imaginaries circulating that considered alternatives entailing a wider set of political goals than the establishment of the nation-state.

The workshop would help to foster a much needed critical discussion in empire studies, colonial studies and the study of South Asia and map innovative methodologies for the historical study of twentieth-century decline of European empires and decolonization.

Opening remarks 9:15-9:30 AM

9:30-11:30 AM

Alexander Semyonov (National Research University Higher School of Economics, St Petersburg), TBA

Kavita Datla (Mt. Holyoke College, History), “Sovereignty and the End of Empire: The Transition to Independence in Colonial Hyderabad”

Marina Mogilner (University of Illinois at Chicago, History), Discussant

12:30-2:30 PM

Adom Getachew (University of Chicago, Political Science), “The Federal Moment in the Black Atlantic”

Bhavani Raman (University of Toronto, History), “The Scale of Political Community: Nation and Federation in Tamil Political Thought 1930-1962”

Serguei Glebov (Smith College, History), “Imagining the Post-Imperial Future: Regionalist and Federalist Alternatives in Late Imperial Siberia and the Far East.”

Rama Mantena (University of Illinois at Chicago, History), Discussant

2:30-3 PM coffee break

3-5 PM

Roundtable: “Rethinking anti-colonial pasts and the future of democracy”

Jane Burbank (New York University (History)

Frederick Cooper (New York University, History)

Karuna Mantena (Yale University, Political Science)

Rama Mantena (University of Illinois at Chicago, History)

Marina Mogilner (University of Illinois at Chicago, History)


Organized by Adrienne Massanari, UIC Department of Communication
Friday, 11/4 9:00 AM to Friday, 11/4 5:00 PM

Game studies has traditionally focused on why we play video and computer games, how individuals understand their relationship to the characters they play, and what kinds of mechanics might lend themselves to games that are “serious” in nature. Less interrogated, particularly in computational and social science approaches to gaming, are the ways in which games engage with issues of embodiment and identity. As we’ve seen in the past year with the rise of anti-feminist activism in the form of Gamergate, gaming culture is increasingly influential, and often troubling, especially when it comes to issues of race, class, sexual identity, gender identity, and disability.

This workshop will gather scholars working in the areas of gaming/ new media and race/ class/gender studies, as well as game designers, to define and frame the space where intersectionality meets games.

Confirmed participants:

Andre Brock, University of Michigan

Shira Chess, University of Georgia

Kishonna Gray, Eastern Kentucky University

Patrick Jagoda, University of Chicago

Indira Neill, University of Illinois at Chicago

Whitney Pow, Northwestern University

Adrienne Shaw, Temple University


9-9:30: Breakfast/coffee

9:30-9:45: Welcome and introductions

9:45-10:15: Definitions: what do we mean by intersectionality? Embodiment? Where do these meet game studies? (group discussion)

10:15-11:15: Discussion of distributed papers (participants will each have 5 minutes to discuss their paper, perhaps reframing their comments in light of the other papers they read, and then we will open it up to a general conversation)

11:15-11:30: Break

11:30-1:00: Workshop: Intersectionality and… [game design, critique, gaming culture, bodies, pedagogy, theory/methods] (open conversation and brainstorming)

2:00-3:00: Workshop: Interventions and futures (open conversation and brainstorming)

3:00-3:15: Wrap-up and next steps

3:15-3:30: Break

3:30-4:30: Tour of Electronic Visualization Lab (EVL)

4:30-?: Gaming in Mobile/Gaming lab in Communication department (BSB)


Saturday, 11/12 9:00 AM to Saturday, 11/12 5:00 PM

thumb_IMG_0939_1024thumb_IMG_0940_1024Workshop 1
Organized by Sally Sedgwick, Daniel Sutherland, and John Whipple, Philosophy

Papers by:

Martha Bolton, Rutgers University
“Harmony, Reality, and Temporal Unity of a Monad: 1695-1705”

Stephen Engstrom, University of Pittsburgh
“The Category of Substance”

James Messina, University of Wisconsin-Madison
“Will the Real Substances Please Stand Up”

John Whipple, University of Illinois at Chicago
“Leibniz on Fundamental Ontology:  Idealism and Pedagogical Exoteric Writing”


9 AM – 9:30 AM      Coffee/Breakfast

9:30 – 10:45 AM: John Whipple, University of Illinois at Chicago “Leibniz on Fundamental Ontology:  Idealism and Pedagogical Exoteric Writing”

10:45-11:00 AM       Break

11 AM – 12:15 PM: Martha Bolton, Rutgers University “Harmony, Reality, and Temporal Unity of a Monad: 1695-1705”

12:15-1:15 PM         Lunch

1:15-2:30 PM: James Messina, University of Wisconsin-Madison “Will the Real Substances Please Stand Up”

2:30 -2:45 PM          Break

2:45 – 4 PM: Stephen Engstrom, University of Pittsburgh “The Category of Substance”

4 – 5:00 PM              Reception


The Logistical City

Organized by Clare Lyster, Associate Professor, UIC Architecture

February 7, 2017

We live in an era where logistical systems have become central to how we work and live. We now think nothing of dropping a priority package in a drop box in Chicago at 9:30pm knowing it will arrive in L.A. by 7:30am the next morning. Talking in real time with a friend in a remote location via video-telephony is taken for granted, using nanosecond transmission signals is fundamental in the financial industry, while ordering groceries with an app and having them delivered later the same day is the norm rather than the exception. Given there is so much material and information flow in and around the spaces we inhabit, one could argue that infrastructural systems and their associated procedures are now the primary shapers of the urban environment. Yet, there are few, if any, intellectual models in place for architecture to contemplate the city from this perspective.

The one-day workshop, featuring national and local scholars and designers as well as faculty from UIC will review the social, political, formal and cultural implications of logistical procedures for architecture and urbanism and debate ways in which logistical intelligence could be deployed, or re-routed toward the future design of the city. Speakers will be asked to present a definition of the Logistical City through the lens of their own unique research.

The workshop is run in conjunction with a year-long graduate research seminar and design studio, titled, The Logistical City, currently being conducted by Associate Professor, Clare Lyster, at the School of Architecture in 2016/2017.

Presentations by: 

Tarini Bedi | UIC Anthropology

Neeraj Batia | CCA / The Urban Works Agency

Laura Forlano | Institute of Design and School of Architecture, IIT

Ron Henderson | Director, Landscape Architecture Program, IIT

Jesse LeCavalier | New Jersey Institute of Technology

Franceso Marullo | Garofalo Fellow, UIC School of Architecture

Conor O’Shea | Department of Landscape Architecure, UIUC

Eric Rothfeder | AIADO, SAIC

Mark Shepard | Architecture and Media Study, SUNY Buffalo

Jonathan Solomon | Director, AIADO, SAIC

Kathy Velikov | Univerity of Michigan Taubman College

Liam Young | SCI-Arc

Remarks by:

Penelope Dean | UIC School of Architecture

Alexander Eisenschmidt | UIC School of Architecture

Clare Lyster | UIC School of Architecture

8:45: Coffee/Breakfast

9:00-9:30: Opening Remarks: Clare Lyster

9:30-11:45: Session 1: Frictions

Jesse LeCavalier

Tarini Bedi

Eric Rothfeder

Francesco Marullo

Remarks: Penelope Dean

11:45-12:45: Lunch

12:45-3:00: Session 2: Formats

Neeraj Bhatia

Jonathan Solomon

Conor O’Shea

Kathy Velikov

Remarks: Clare Lyster

3:00-3:30: Coffee Break

3:30-5:30: Session 3: Techno-Cultures (Real and Imagined)

Mark Shepard

Ron Henderson and Laura Forlano

Liam Young

Remarks: Alexander Eisenschmidt

6:30pm: Dinner




“Early Modern Epistolary Culture”
Organized by Nina Dubin, Art History Department

In recent years, scholars across the humanities have brought new and critical attention to the subject of early modern epistolarity, and more specifically to the ways in which the growth of letter writing—with its attendant social, cultural and political implications—effectively changed the course of history. For decades, scholarship on this subject has been dominated by literary studies on eighteenth-century epistolary novels. What distinguishes the new wave of research is in part its focus on material practice: letters are not only texts but also objects—possessed of blotches of ink, signatures, folds and seals—whose histories often involve unintended readers, postal messengers, eventual inheritors, archivists, and others. The proposed workshop would gather the key authors of recent scholarship along with scholars working on epistolarity from a variety of disciplines and at various stages of research.

This growing body of scholarship attests as well to a new emphasis on the visual. Though paintings by the likes of Vermeer and Fragonard of women sending and receiving love letters attest to the aesthetic importance of epistolarity, only now has the subject begun to emerge as a “cutting edge issue” in art history.  Art historians will comprise about half of the workshop’s participants, thus providing a rare opportunity for researchers to consider epistolarity through the lens of the visual arts.


9:30 Welcome and Introduction: Nina Dubin

9:40 Ellen McClure, Francophone Studies, UIC, “The Materiality of the Letter in Sévigné’s Correspondence: Between Idolatry and Relic”

10:30 Jessica Grzegorski, Principal Cataloging Librarian , Newberry Library, “Spice and Vice: The Secret Life and Crimes of Antoine-François Dérues”

11:30 Jay Caplan, Emeritus Professor of French, Amherst College, “Postal Culture”

12:20 Nina Dubin, Art History, UIC, “Banknotes and Billets-doux

2:10 Martha Pollak, Art History, UIC, “Cabinet Secrets”

3:00 Shira Brisman, Art History, University of Wisconsin-Madison, “The Worth of a Ring, Rewritten”

4:00 Frances Ferguson, English, University of Chicago, “Letter, Novel, Conversation (What Anna Laetitia Barbauld Saw)”

4:50 Sunil Agnani, English and History, UIC, “Edmund Burke, the Brahmin and the Hot-House”


9:20 Welcome and Introduction: Shira Brisman

9:30 Jennifer Nelson, Art History, Theory and Criticism, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, “War Machines for Kids (Nuremberg, 1558)”

10:20 Rebecca Zorach, Art History, Northwestern University,  “Vain Images, Compound Creatures, and the Serpentine Stone: Ulisse Aldrovandi’s Correspondence with (and about) Cardinal Paleotti”

11:20 Christopher Heuer, Interim Director, Research and Academic Program, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Center, “Arctic Ink”

12:10 Andrei Pop, Committee on Social Thought, University of Chicago, Respondent; Final Discussion

1:00 Workshop Ends