Fellows Lectures Archive (2014-2015)
"GROWING BLACK FOOD ON SACRED LAND"
This talk focuses on one Black Nationalist religion’s farming practices in the rural South. Specifically, I will explore how spirituality and black liberation informs this group’s understanding of sustainable agriculture. I argue that through their farming practices, they are creating a geography of hope for black people.
McCutcheon’s post-doctoral project is “Food, Race and Space in an African American Land Ethic.”
During this fellowship year I will continue to develop the concept of an African American Land Ethic (AALE), specifically exploring the connection between urban and rural spaces, how hunger and emergency food fit into an AALE, and the connection between spirituality and the land,” said McCutcheon. “I argue that an AALE has meanings that are shaped both by historical and present-day experiences of African Americans with racialized physical and social landscapes. The lack of recognition of an AALE results, in part, from broader misinterpretations of the relationship between African American people and the environment.
The components of an AALE are not just separate principles that individual black farmers and food cultivators practice on a daily basis. Instead, they are tied to larger racial projects that are both a reflection of, and a response to, racial supremacy. I will continue my work with black religious food programs, with a range of racial and religious ideologies, all of which profess a spiritual and, I would argue, racialized commitment to feeding black people safe and healthy food. The commonalities and differences in these food programs reflect the complexity of an AALE. I will extend my research beyond the southern portion of the United States to black religious food programs in Chicago, many of which have an intimate spatial connection with the South.
Priscilla McCutcheon is an assistant professor at the University of Connecticut with joint appointments in the Department of Geography and the Institute for African American Studies. Her primary research focus is on the intersection of agriculture/food, racial identity formation, and religion. In her dissertation, “‘Heaven on Earth’: Race, Food and Space in Black Religious Food Programs,” McCutcheon examines racial identity formation and place-making through the lens of three black religious food programs that range from a black Protestant church’s emergency food program to a black nationalist Christian organization that is farming over 4,000 acres of land. During her graduate studies, her passion for food and agriculture never waned and she worked with community food groups throughout the South and The Virgin Islands on best practices in their food programs. During her free time, McCutcheon enjoys everything about food including growing her own food, cooking, watching cooking shows, and trying new restaurants. She earned her PhD from the University of Georgia in Geography and a master’s degree in Political Science from the University of Georgia.
"MORAL EFFECTS OF GENETIC MODIFICATION"
Abstract: To what extent should parents be able to use prenatal interventions to modify the genetics of their children? Some commentators think that genetic modifications are not only permissible but that parents must use them to enhance their children’s lives. By contrast, other commentators argue that genetic modifications are usually not only unnecessary but morally wrong. These commentators worry that the very foundations of morality will be lost, if parents start selecting the traits of their offspring. Timothy Murphy will review this debate and make the case that no good moral argument stands in the way of genetic modifications intended to protect and enhance the lives of children.
“HOME/WORK: CINEMAS OF LABORIOUS FEELING”
Skvirsky’s fellowship project is “The Aesthetic of Labor: Work, Toil, and Utopia in Latin American Political Cinema.”
The talk examines the recent cycle of Latin American films about paid domestic service. While maids and servants have long appeared in Latin American cinema, recently they have moved to the center of the frame in art films directed by internationally recognized auteurs. These films nostalgically and ambivalently register a historical transition not in theamount of domestic service contracted, but in its inner character as the relations between employers and domestics are becoming casualized. In Latin America, paid domestic service presents one of the most striking examples of the force of ideology, its capacity to effectively colonize feeling, sentiment, emotion. The films of this cycle are exploring that problematic. The fascination in/of these films is with the question of the domestic’s genuine affective attachment and the existence of a mutually-felt intimacy between master and servant—despite everything, and at a time when the realities of domestic service in the region are shifting.
Salomé Aguilera Skvirsky is an assistant professor in the Latin American and Latino Studies Program. Her research interests include Latin American cinema, documentary film, film theory, ethnographic film, race and representation, and melodrama. Her work has appeared in Cinema Journal, the Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies, Social Identities, and in the edited collection, The Cinema of India (Wallflower Press, 2010).
“PIPELINE: THE TRANSPORT OF OIL AND THE MAKING OF THE MODERN MIDDLE EAST”
Havrelock’s fellowship project is “Pipeline: The Transport of Oil and the Making of the Modern Middle East.”
This talk advocates for a subterranean approach to geopolitics and argues that key vectors of power lie underground in the pipelines that convey oil, gas, and water. Through the story of the world’s first transnational oil pipeline from Kirkuk to Haifa, it shows the influence of global oil companies on the creation and militarization of Middle Eastern nation-states.
Rachel Havrelock is an associate professor in the Department of English and the Jewish Studies Program. Her book, River Jordan: The Mythology of a Dividing Line (University of Chicago Press, 2011), examines the long history of the Jordan as a border, as well as the moments when it was not a border. It argues for five coexistent national myths in the Hebrew Bible and examines which of these myths have had political currency and which have been repressed. River Jordan shows how biblical interpretation impacted the formation of early Christianity and Judaism and, in more recent times, the nature of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Her work on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the modern Middle East has been published in the journal National Identities and in Understanding Life in the Borderlands: Boundaries in Depth and in Motion (University of Georgia Press, 2010). Havrelock is involved with efforts on the part of Friends of the Earth Middle East (FoEME) to develop a transborder ecological peace park at the Jordan River.
"CHILD RESCUE AND THE POLITICS OF CULTURAL INTEGRATION"
In 1915 the Polish Welfare Council in German-occupied Warsaw begin developing formal programs to alleviate the suffering that the First World War brought to the region’s children. The Welfare Council’s actions represented the first attempt in the modern period to organize child welfare on a national rather than local scale. This talk demonstrates how Polish leaders utilized two child-saving schemes to foster connections between urban and rural communities and test the spread of national consciousness in anticipation of an independent Polish state.
Melissa Hibbard is a Ph.D. candidate in history. Her research interests include family and childhood, social welfare and public health, and Polish-Jewish relations. During the 2012-2013 academic year she was a Fulbright Fellow in Warsaw, Poland where her work was sponsored by the Institute of History at the Polish Academy of Sciences. Hibbard’s work has also been supported by the Jacob K. Javits program, the American Council of Learned Societies, and FLAS grants for Polish and Yiddish. Hibbard did her undergraduate work in history and psychology at Carroll College. She holds a master’s degree in history from Michigan State University.
"THE SIXTIES BEHIND THE IRON CURTAIN: YOUTH CULTURE AND THE SEARCH FOR FREEDOM IN POLAND IN THE GLOBAL SIXTIES"
How “iron” was the Iron Curtain? This talk focuses on Poland in the Global Sixties, and the challenges that the globalizing youth culture posed to communist elites and traditional society alike. Looking at the cultural construction of “youth” in response to new expressions of youth identity from jazz and rock and roll to mini skirts and blue jeans, the talk posits the “Second World” as a powerful player in the global story of youth “rebellion,” and the search for alternative identities and spaces.
Malgorzata Fidelis is an associate professor in the history department. Her research focuses on social and cultural issues, particularly everyday life and the relationship between individuals and state power in post-1945 Eastern Europe. Her articles have been published in anthologies including Between the Avant Garde and the Everyday: Subversive Politics in Europe, 1958-2008 (Berghahn Books, 2011), Contesting Archives: Finding Women in the Sources (University of Illinois Press, 2010), and Gender Politics and Everyday Life in State Socialist Eastern and Central Europe (Palgrave, 2009). In 2010, Cambridge University Press published Fidelis’s first book, Women, Communism, and Industrialization in Postwar Poland.
"IMMACULATE CONCEPTIONS: THE RELIGIOUS IMAGINATION IN COUNTER-REFORMATION SPAIN"
In this talk I will examine what it meant—both as a theological prescription and as a social phenomenon—for painting to be thought of as conduit for the interpretation of the divine. I focus on what treatise writers and painters understood were the conditions that allowed for the transmission of sacred knowledge—both rational and mysterious—through the holy image. I am interested in how Vicente Carducho, Francisco Pacheco, and Jusepe Martínez—the three most important art theorists in early modern Spain—deploy theological tenets in the advancement of the status of the painter as a liberal artist, a rank that has tangible professional, economic, and social consequences. These claims—painting as a sacred medium and painting as a liberal art—do not directly explain the fascination with and deployment of the Immaculate Conception, neither as doctrine nor as image. However, the juncture of the two provides fertile ground for the examination of the notable production of Immaculate Conception paintings by some of the most celebrated artists in Spain, including Velázquez, Zurbarán and Murillo, amongst many others.
Rosalie Hernández is an associate professor in the Department of Hispanic and Italian Studies. Her areas of specialization are the literatures and visual cultures of 16th- and 17th-century Spain. She is the author of Bucolic Metaphors: History, Subjectivity, and Gender in the Early Modern Spanish Pastoral (University of North Carolina Press, 2006), as well as numerous articles focusing on Cervantes, women writers, and political and economic treatises in journals such as Hispanic Review, Romance Quarterly, Cervantes, The Bulletin of Spanish Studies, and Hispania. She has co-edited several volumes, the most recent being, with Anne J. Cruz, Women’s Literacy in Early Modern Spain and the New World (Ashgate Press, 2011), which won the Collaborative Project Award from the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women. Until recently, her research has generally focused on the representation of “otherness” within emerging literary genres. Hernández’s present research centers on the interconnection between political, theological, and aesthetic discourses in Counter-Reformation Spain. She is also conducting research on the correlation between medieval nominalism and perspectivism in Don Quixote.
“IMAGINING PEACE IN EL SALVADOR”
This talk examines the ways in which veterans and survivors of El Salvador’s Civil War (1980-1992) pondered the meaning of peace, democracy, and reconciliation in the aftermath of the conflict. It explores crucial aspects of the U.N.-monitored peace process in El Salvador between 1992 and 1995, such as the demobilization and disarmament of state and rebel forces, a land reform program that benefitted both soldiers and insurgents, and the transformation of the former insurgency into a legal political party. The U.N.-brokered peace negotiations that put an end to El Salvador’s civil war in 1992 are still largely considered a successful conflict resolution model, which has been replicated in various other countries during the past two decades.
Joaquín Chávez is an assistant professor in the Department of History. Professor Chávez’s scholarship centers on revolution and intellectuals in El Salvador. He is currently under contract with Oxford University Press for a book entitled “On Poets and Prophets: Intellectuals and the Origins of El Salvador’s Civil War.” Chávez has published scholarly articles in anthologies including Hearts and Minds: A People’s History of Counterinsurgency (The New Press, 2013), Mapping Latin America: Space and Society, 1492-2000 (University of Chicago Press, 2011), and the journal The Americas. He has published articles on peace and reconciliation in El Salvador and has been deeply engaged in peace and reconciliation work there and, more recently, in Nepal.
“WHAT DOES KANT ESTABLISH IN THE SECOND ANALOGY OF EXPERIENCE?”
Kant’s argument in the Second Analogy of Experience has received more attention than any other argument offered in the Critique of Pure Reason. In this talk, I will point out a false dichotomy between the two most popular readings of the Second Analogy, namely the “modest” and “strong” readings, which assume that Kant responds to the Humean problem of causation and the Humean problem of induction respectively. After clarifying some textual and philosophical problems with these readings, I will offer a novel account of what the Second Analogy argument establishes.
Saniye Vatansever is a PhD candidate in the Department of Philosophy. Her research interests include the history of philosophy, Kant’s theoretical philosophy, early modern philosophy, and 19th-century philosophy. As a researcher, she seeks to situate highly sophisticated philosophical ideas within their proper historical context and present these views in clear, non-technical language. By doing so, she hopes to demonstrate the relevance and value of these historically significant and influential ideas to the current debates in philosophy. Vantasever received her bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Bilkent University in Turkey.