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Special Events Archive (2018-2019)

Kathyrn Tempest: Killing Caesar: How History Remembers His Assassin Heading link

April 2, 2019 from 3:30 – 5:30 PM
Kathryn Tempest, University of Roehampton
Author of Brutus: the Noble Conspirator (Yale University Press, 2017)

Conspirator and assassin, philosopher and statesman, promoter of peace and commander in war, Marcus Brutus (ca. 85-42 BC) was a controversial and enigmatic man even to those who knew him. His leading role in the murder of Julius Caesar on the Ides of March, 44 BC, immortalized his name forever, but the verdict on his act remains out to this day. How did his contemporaries view Brutus? And how have their reactions coloured the legacy of Caesar’s famous assassin? Drawing on the burgeoning body of literature devoted to memory studies, this paper will explore how the site of Brutus’ memory became actively contested and politicised in a struggle for ‘ownership’ over the cultural trauma that set in after Caesar’s assassination and the battles at Philippi. From freedom-fighting patriot to a cut-throat king-slayer, we will see how the variety of responses he inspired in those who knew him were precisely the qualities that gave rise to the adaptation and appropriation of his memory in the centuries that followed.

Date(s): Tuesday, 4/2 3:30 PM to Tuesday, 4/2 5:30 PM
Address: 701 S. Morgan St.
Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Contact: Linda Vavra

Marcia Chatelain, Mellon Lecture In Engaged Humanities Heading link

The UIC Engaged Humanities Initiative and the Institute for the Humanities present:
The Mellon Lecture in the Engaged Humanities
March 11, 2019 from 4 – 6 PM
Marcia Chatelain, Georgetown University
“Better Living Through the Humanities: Teaching, Research, and Social Justice”
Georgetown University Professor Marcia Chatelain discusses the intersection between her academic research in African American life and history and her public scholarship. In this talk, Chatelain reflects on transforming her dissertation into the book South Side Girls: Growing up in the Great Migration, her appearance on the podcast, “Undisclosed: The Killing of Freddie Gray,” her creation of the digital humanities project #FergusonSyllabus, and her work on Georgetown University’s Working Group on Slavery, Memory and Reconciliation.  In sharing her experiences on these projects, she reveals how her graduate training prepared her to make a difference inside and outside of academia.
The Mellon Lecture Series in the Engaged Humanities brings a speaker to campus each semester, and is part of the Engaged Humanities Initiative, made possible through grant support provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The award mentors undergraduate students to conduct research in and explore the humanities at UIC.  Please contact for additional information.

Date(s): Monday, 3/11 4:00 PM to Monday, 3/11 6:00 PM
Address: 701 S. Morgan St.
Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Contact: Linda Vavra
Phone: 312-996-6354

THATCamp at IFTH Heading link

January 2, 2019 from 9 AM – 5 PM

For the first time ever, the UIC Institute for the Humanities is collaborating with THATCamp, a Humanities and Digital Technology “camp” designed to facilitate knowledge and conversation among scholars who wish to incorporate digital methods into their work.  Participants can be at any level of knowledge/skill regarding digital methods. The program will be on January 2nd at the Institute (the precise hours will be posted later, but please reserve the day for this). The January 2 date allows participants in both the AHA and MLA to attend, and it allows members of the UIC community a chance to network with scholars from a range of fields, and from many institutions, who are interested in digital humanities work.   If you are interested, please read further and register at the url provided below. There is no cost, but ONLY REGISTER IF YOU ARE DEFINITELY COMING!

Date(s): Wednesday, 1/2 9:00 AM to Wednesday, 1/2 5:00 PM
Address: 701 S. Morgan St.
Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Contact: Linda Vavra
Phone: 312-996-6354

WWI Commemoration Events: A Conscientious Objector With a Very Seared Conscience Heading link

November 2, 2018 from 3 – 5 PM

“A Conscientious Objector with a Very Seared Conscience”

Tom Sleigh, American poet, dramatist, essayist and academic

Poetry reading, and discussion about writing about the trauma of war

In a letter, Wilfred Owen once described himself as “a conscientious objector with a very seared conscience.” That description seems to accurately describe what I’ve often felt as a journalist and poet who, by writing about refugees, inevitably finds himself writing about mental and physical wounds. So by looking back at World War I poets like Wilfred Owen and David Jones, I’ll explore what’s at stake in learning how to speak the language of the wound in our contemporary world.

Date(s): Friday, 11/2 3:00 PM to Friday, 11/2 5:00 PM
Address: 701 S. Morgan St.
Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Contact: Linda Vavra
Phone: 312-996-6354

An Interdisciplinary Commemoration Of The End Of World War I: “Interdisciplinary Conversations: The War That Made Today” Heading link

November 1, 2018 11 AM –  4 PM

An Interdisciplinary Commemoration of the End of World War I:
“Interdisciplinary Conversations:  The War that Made Today”

11:00 – 12:15 pm

WWI, Nationalism and the New Global World Order

Moderator: Dr. Neal R. McCrillis, Department of History—20th century British & Irish History

Dr. John Abbott, Department of History—Modern Germany & Europe

Dr. Katharine M. Floros, Department of Political Science—International Relations & American Foreign Policy

Dr. Rama Mantena, Department of History—Modern India

Dr. Marina Mogilner, Department of History—Modern Russia & Eastern  Europe

Dr. Nasser Mufti, Department of English—19th century British & Postcolonial Literature


1:00 – 2:15 pm

Art at War: The International Avant-Garde and World War I

Moderator Julia Vaingurt, Associate Professor, Slavic and Baltic Languages and Literatures, in conversation with UIC graduate students:

Daniel Sanchez Bataller — Art History

Andrzej Brylak — Slavic and Baltic Languages and Literatures

Zachary Fitzpatrick — Germanic Studies

Andrei Gorkovoi — Slavic and Baltic Languages and Literatures

Nicoletta Rousseva — Art History

Charlie Smith — Slavic and Baltic Languages and Literatures

2:30 – 3:45 pm

Healing the Walking Wounded: Shell-Shocked WWI Soldiers through a Contemporary Cultural Lens

Moderator Dr. Sara Hall, Moving Image Arts and the Department of Germanic Studies

Dr. Christian K. Messenger, Department of English

Dr. Jennifer Rupert, Department of English

WWI Programming Partners:

The Honors College, The Institute for the Humanities, Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, Student Veteran Affairs.

Please see complete listing of all Interdisciplinary Commemoration Events

Date(s): Thursday, 11/1 11:00 AM to Thursday, 11/1 4:00 PM
Address: 701 S. Morgan
Location: Chicago, IL, USA
Contact: Linda Vavra
Phone: (312) 996-6354

Political Futures Conference Heading link

Political Futures Conference

October 12-13 2018

Room 302, Tower, Student Center East

This conference explores the relation between conceptual or aesthetic work and future political organizations, institutions, and affiliations. Our aim is to practice the power of the engaged humanities to envision futures, while also reflexively exploring the benefits, challenges, and limits of future-projection. Questions that we want to consider include: what aesthetic and theoretical modes and discourses are adequate to the task of political imagining? How do the resources of critical theory both enable and challenge future-directed thought? Why have pessimism and anti-futurism been frequent trajectories in theories of race and sexuality? How does future thinking depend upon or depart from presentism? What are the advantages and disadvantages of “utopian” thinking? When, where, and how is utopian thinking happening? How does the question of the future reframe the theory/practice divide? To what degree do certain theoretical models enable or disable the practical work of apportioning resources, addressing inequalities, or redressing injuries?  How valid are conventional distinctions between revolution and evolution/change/progress?

October 12, 2018 from 10 AM – 5:30 PM

9am-10am Breakfast, Welcome
Welcome: Mark Canuel

 Reading Group: Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin and Foundations of Inequality among Men in Basic Political Writings, ed. and trans. Donald A. Cress. Hackett, 2011. [Discussion Leaders: Anthony Laden (UIC) and Yann Robert (UIC)].

12pm-1pm Lunch

1pm-3pm  Futures on the Ground
Moderator: Nasser Mufti (UIC)

Ralph Cintrón (UIC)
Midwest Farm Life, Techno-Positivism, and Futurist Rhetoric

Anthony Laden (UIC)
Future Imperfect: Two Ways of Thinking About Tomorrow

Caroline Levine (Cornell University)
Reformolution? Reconsidering Reform in the Humanities

Karuna Mantena (Yale University)
Means and Ends of Political Action

3:30pm-5:30pm Resources and Resourcefulness
Moderator: Anna Kornbluh (UIC)

Angela Cooley (Minnesota State University)
Freedom’s Farms: Food Security Past, Present, and Future

Molly Doane (UIC)
Sanctuary Gardens: Thinking Through Human/Animal Futures in the City

Robert Grillo (Activist, Author)
Farm to Fable

Rachel Havrelock (UIC)
How Oil Found God

Imre Szeman (University of Waterloo)
Energy Commons

October 13, 2018 from 10 AM – 3 PM

9am-10am Breakfast

10am-12pm Future Critique
Moderator: Mark Canuel (UIC)

Jodi Dean (Hobart and William Smith Colleges)
Lenin and Projected Time

Madhu Dubey (UIC)
“Not-Quites and Almost-Could-Be’s”: Speculative Futures

Lee Edelman (Tufts University)
The De/Ontology of the Future

Roderick Ferguson (UIC)
The Blackheart Prison Issue and the Question of Futurity

Anne-Lise François (UC Berkeley)
What Seasons for the Future? What Future for the Seasons?

12pm-1pm Lunch

1pm-3pm Institutions: Then, Now, and Later

Moderator: Anna Kornbluh (UIC)

Shiben Banerji (School of the Art Institute)
Supplementing Hope

Stephen Engelmann (UIC)
Institution, Corruption, Crisis

Robert Meister (UC Santa Cruz)
Can Capitalism Short Itself? Funding Historical Justice

Christopher Newfield (UC Santa Barbara)
Activism, Education, and Big Data

Yue Zhang (UIC)
Inequality, Informality, and Urban Resilience: Perspectives from Cities

Date(s): Saturday, 10/12-13 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Address: 750 S Halsted
Location: Chicago, IL, USA
Contact: Linda Vavra
Phone: (312) 996-6354

Paige West, Mellon Lecture In Engaged Humanities Heading link

October 4, 2018 from 4 – 6 pm

Paige West, Columbia University

“A Prayer for the World: Imagining a Future in the Face of Climate Change, Dispossession, and Transformation”

Each new day, it seems, we wake to a barrage of terrible global news and horrifying images. This is particularly true with regard to climate news. It is enough to paralyze even the most empathetic and concerned citizens. In this lecture anthropologist Paige West asks us to consider what each of us can do as students, scholars, writers, and thinkers to understand the historical processes that set the conditions of possibility for our present world, to document or to witness the transformations of the present, and to use our scholars skills to work towards transforming the future.

Paige West is The Claire Tow Professor of Anthropology at Barnard College and Columbia University where she holds an endowed chair. Her broad scholarly interest is the relationship between societies and their environments. Since the mid 1990s she has worked with indigenous people in Papua New Guinea. She is the author of three books and the editor of five more. Dr. West is the founder of the journal Environment and Society, the chair of the Ecology and Culture University Seminar at Columbia University, a fellow (and past chair) of the Association of Social Anthropology in Oceania, and is the past president of the Anthropology and Environment Society of the American Anthropological Association. In addition to her academic work, Dr. West is the co-founder, and a board member, of the PNG Institute of Biological Research, a small NGO dedicated to building academic opportunities for research in Papua New Guinea by Papua New Guineans. Dr. West is also the co-founder of the Roviana Solwara Skul, a school in Papua New Guinea dedicated to teaching at the nexus of indigenous knowledge and western scientific knowledge.

Sponsored by the Engaged Humanities Initiative and the Institute for the Humanities.

Date(s): Thursday, 10/4 4:00 PM to Thursday, 10/4 6:00 PM
Address: 701 S. Morgan St.
Location: Chicago, IL, United States
Contact: Linda Vavra
Phone: 312-996-6354

Workshop: Research Vs. Non-Research: How Do I Know If I Need IRB Approval? Heading link

October 2, 2018 from 2:00-3:30 PM

Workshop: Research vs. Non-Research: How do I Know if I Need IRB Approval?

With Charles Hoehne and Jennifer Joaquin, OPRS and discussion with LCSL representatives

Are you conducting interviews or surveys as part of your research in humanities and/or cultural studies?  Do you interview of survey surviving family members, eye-witnesses, or audience members? Are you working in the area of language studies and including human participants in your study design? Are you doing pedagogical research that involves students as research subjects?

Continuing education credits will be given for this workshop

Sponsored by OPRS, LCSL, and the Institute for the Humanities

Date(s): Tuesday, 10/2 2:00 PM to Tuesday, 10/2 3:30 PM
Address: 701 S. Morgan St.
Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Contact: Linda Vavra
Phone: 312-996-6354

Flash Conference: Andreas Malm: The Progress Of This Storm: Nature And Society In A Warming World Heading link

Flash Conference

Andreas Malm: The Progress of This Storm: Nature and Society in a Warming World

September 24, 2018 from 1 – 3 PM

Introduced with critical commentaries by Rachel Havrelock (English) and Corbin Hiday (English)

This discussion, concentrating on the introduction and chapters 6-8, anticipates our Political Futures Conference, a conference that explores the relation between conceptual and aesthetic work and future political organizations, institutions, and affiliations.

Date(s): Monday, 9/24 1:00 PM to Monday, 9/24 3:00 PM
Address: 701 S. Morgan St.
Location: Chicago, IL, United States
Contact: Linda Vavra
Phone: 312-996-6354

Political Futures Reading Group: Arjun Appadurai's The Future As Cultural Fact Heading link

July 11, 2018 from 12 :00-2:00 PM

The Political Futures Conference at the Institute for the Humanities (Oct 12-13 2018), co-organized with Anna Kornbluh (English) and Nasser Mufti (English), will explore and critique our current modes of imagining new affiliations, resource distributions, and institutions across a range of disciplines.

At this point, we are supplying a conference “reading list.” The list is composed of illuminating texts that the organizers and participants collaboratively chose as a useful background for the conference discussions.

On July 11 at 12-2pm at the Institute for the Humanities at UIC, we will host a reading group on one of these texts, Arjun Appadurai’s The Future as Cultural Fact (Verso, 2013).

Lunch will be provided.

Please register/rsvp for the lunch and to request a PDF of Appadurai’s book at

Come connect with colleagues and friends in a casual atmosphere to discuss this exciting and important book!

Date(s): Wednesday, 7/11 12:00 PM to Wednesday, 7/11 2:00 PM
Address: 701 S. Morgan St.
Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Contact: Linda Vavra
Phone: 312-996-6354