Fellows Lectures Archive (2013-2014)
"CITIZENSHIP VERSUS UNAUTHORIZED IMMIGRATION/ PERSONHOOD VERSUS PRESENCE"
“Citizenship versus Unauthorized Immigration
Personhood versus Presence”
Among strong nation-states with wealthy economies and viable democracies, the distinction between citizenship and alienage is a foundational institution—indeed, the “institution of institutions” as Etienné Balibar names it. Of late both in the EU and the United States, the rights of unauthorized immigrants as persons, despite not being citizens, has been hotly argued. United States Supreme Court decisions have granted rights in some contexts, usually on the basis of personhood claims established in the Fourteenth Amendment, but denied them in other contexts. This paper is interested in the conceptual distinctions between citizenship and personhood, and will examine another conception, presence, that has remained latent in U.S. political and legal theory since at least 1790.
"HOW TO DEFEND SOCIETY AGAINST SCIENCE, AND SCIENCE AGAINST SOCIETY"
“How to Defend Society Against Science, and Science Against Society”
Abstract: Science is a truth finding enterprise. That’s why the word “scientific” conjures an aura of supreme epistemic authority. This perceived authority and the respect it commands are often exploited in ways that can ultimately harm the society. What is less obvious is that they also harm science itself by diverting the practice of science away from its raison d’être: finding the truth.
“KANT'S CONCEPTION OF NUMBER: A SUMMING UP”
“Kant’s Conception of Number: A Summing Up”
Abstract: We can arrive at a better understanding of Kant’s philosophy of arithmetic
by first determining what his conception of number is. Is it fundamentally
cardinal, ordinal, or something else? I argue that Kant’s sensitivity to the
requirements of number representation lead him to include both cardinal and
ordinal elements in his conception of number.
“BERKELEY'S POLITICAL METAPHYSICS: IMMATERIALISM AND SOCIAL CHANGE”
“Berkeley’s Political Metaphysics: Immaterialism and Social Change”
The 18th century Irish philosopher George Berkeley is best known for his attack on the concept of material substance and his defense of the claim that the only things that exist are minds and their ideas. Although Berkeley denies the existence of material things he also claims to be a defender of common sense. Berkeley was not only a metaphysician and I will argue that consideration of his attempt to found a college in Bermuda and his proposals for reforming the Irish economy will shed light on how he thought he could combine radical metaphysics with a defense of ordinary thought.
"SUPERNAFTA VS. EL GRAN MOJADO: ALTERNATIVE FICTIONAL REALITIES AND THE FIGHT FOR FREE TRADE"
Ryan Brooks, Dissertation Fellow, Department of English
Date(s): Tuesday, 2/25 3:00 PM to Tuesday, 2/25 5:00 PM
Campus Address: Institute for the Humanities, Lower Level, Stevenson Hall
Address: 701 South Morgan Street
Location: Chicago, IL
Contact: Linda Vavra
“Supernafta vs. El Gran Mojado: Alternative Fictional Realities and the Fight for Free Trade”
Whereas Karen Tei Yamashita’s Tropic of Orange (1997) uses the conventions of magic realism to depict the material struggles of the “mojado” (the “wetback”) as an epistemic wrestling match between nationalism and transnationalism, Sesshu Foster’s Atomik Aztex (2005) suggests that such a framing is a mistake, imagining an alternative history in which a radically different set of epistemic values have triumphed but the violence of exploitation remains. At the same time that Foster’s novel dispels the utopian potential of this “Aztek” world, however, it also creates a different type of alternative timeline, an “alternative future” that opens up precisely because the main character embraces a social vision committed to the antagonism between labor and capital rather than between epistemes. Situating both books in the context of the neoliberal turn crystallized by Bill Clinton’s support for NAFTA, I show how this turn has produced not only a range of political positions but a range of aesthetic responses, including strange new deployments of non-realist literary genres like magic realism and alternative history.
“BETWEEN REVOLUTION AND THE RACIAL GHETTO: HAROLD CRUSE AND HARRY HAYWOOD DEBATE CLASS STRUGGLE AND THE ‘NEGRO QUESTION,’ 1962-1968”
“Between Revolution and the Racial Ghetto: Harold Cruse and Harry Haywood Debate Class Struggle and the ‘Negro Question,’ 1962-1968”
This lecture explores an exchange between two black ex-Communists, Harold Cruse and Harry Haywood. Their debate was precipitated by Cruse’s influential 1962 essay for Studies on the Left, “Revolutionary Nationalism and the Afro-American,” which declared that the American Negro was a “subject of domestic colonialism.” Written against the prevailing liberal integrationist commitments of the civil rights movement, his essay called for black economic and political independence, and inspired many of the younger activists who would give birth to the black power movement. In a series of essays for the radical journal, Soulbook, Haywood criticized Cruse’s mishandling of class politics among blacks, and his retreat from anti-capitalism. This forgotten exchange between Cruse and Haywood is important on its own terms, for what it says about the character of left political thinking during the sixties, and equally for understanding commonsensical notions of black public life in our times which too often remain rooted in the vanished sociological context and political realities of the twentieth century racial ghetto.
SHIFTING RECIPES: CHANGING ENVIRONMENTS AND MAINTENANCE OF THE FAMILIAR IN LOWLAND BOLIVIA
Recent economic developments and environmental changes in the Bolivian Amazon have shifted how and what types of foods the Tsimané Indians, a historically forager-farmer population, have access to. Increasingly, the everyday diet includes less diversity in forest-based foods and more commodity goods. However, cooking techniques have remained similar over time, allowing new ingredients and ratios of ingredients to resemble more traditional dishes. In this paper I argue that cooking techniques are a vital characteristic for achieving food security in an increasingly food insecure population.
Ariela Zycherman is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute of Humanities focusing on food studies. She graduated from the PhD program in Applied Anthropology at Columbia University in 2013. Her research focuses broadly on cultural constructions related to food practices. More specifically she looks at the role food plays in the formulation of modernity, the production of livelihoods, environmental politics in the Amazon, and contemporary forms of identity in Latin America. She has conducted research in Bolivia, Argentina and Brooklyn, NY. Recently, her paper “Shocdye as World: localizing modernity among the Tsimané of Lowand Bolivia” won the Alex McIntosh paper award presented by the Association for the Study of Food and Society.
“'DO YOU BLEED SALSA OR SOFRITO?': INTER-LATINO LANGUAGE AND IDENTITY AMONG 'MEXIRICANS'”
“’Do You Bleed Salsa or Sofrito?’: Inter-Latino Language and Identity among ‘MexiRicans’”
Emerging configurations of latinidad are being transformed by inter-Latino contact in urban areas around the United States, including two generations of individuals in Chicago who self-identify as “MexiRican”. Despite their staunch insistence that they are both Mexican and Puerto Rican, the authenticity of this claim is frequently challenged by monoethnic family, friends, and strangers. Through an analysis of their narratives, I examine MexiRicans’ fluid and situational identity performances and the tangible cultural resources mobilized therein, with the Spanish language constituting a particularly important site of ethnic identity enactment. The spoken Spanish features and the daily lived experiences of these inter-Latino subjects force an interrogation of assumptions of monolithic Latino identity while contributing to broader conversations about hybridized cultural and ethnolinguistic identity.
STATE SECULARISM, CONTESTED MEANINGS OF RELIGIOUS TEXTS AND WOMEN THEOLOGIANS
“State Secularism, Contested Meanings of Religious Texts and Women Theologians”
Despite the pivotal global role assigned to Turkey as the only secular Muslim democracy, its secularism, laicite, remains largely understudied. Existing literature either promotes Turkey as a model or criticizes its authoritarian secularism. Both approaches fail to question the state’s main institution, the Directorate of Religious Affairs (DRA) which, in addition to other pursuits, reviews the authenticity of exegetical practices. Notwithstanding its popular and scholarly depictions Turkey’s laicite is not simply a purely statutory restriction of religious expression, but is actually a deeply rooted religious affair. Secularism‘s institutional design has many internal contradictions while Islamic symbols ideas and metaphors are used by it to re-imagine political and market relations, endorsing a new political order. The exegetical positions, the inner workings of the DRA and the ways in which the state’s power is exercised in the religious sector poses the question of how people can challenge the dominant exegeses and religious practices. What role, if any, do women play in these debates? More important, do different interpretations of the Quranic texts and different religious practices, especially those of woman theologians, have any political and social impact?