UIC Institute for the Humanities



Fall 2017:

“Political Ecology as Practice: A Regional Approach to the Anthropocene”
Organized by Ömür Harman┼čah, Art History
Molly Doane, Department of Anthropology

This workshop will investigate the reciprocal relationship and the disjunction between the metropolitan theories of the Anthropocene, climate change, and the global environmental crisis on the one side; and the experience of local ecological conflicts in various micro-regions around the world, on the other. The central research question to be collectively addressed will be whether the current vibrant theories of the academic/metropolitan center derive from or get inspired by the multiplicity of regional ecological conflicts experienced today. Conversely we ask, in what particular ways, these theories impact various human communities in their relationship to their land, its resources, biodiversity, and heritage. The workshop will invite participants to discuss global theories of the Anthropocene and its new ontologies of time and materiality, while investigating their links to regional practices and discourses.

Register for the Political Ecology as Practice event:
The Nov. 4 bus tour is full

Fall 2017

Critical Theory, Psychoanalysis and the Politics of the Archive in Spanish Cinema”
Organized by Steven Marsh, Hispanic and Italian Studies

This workshop will to bring a group of leading scholars currently working on contemporary Spanish visual culture and particularly film to UIC. Its intention is, firstly, to discuss and debate questions of national cinema in an age of globalization. However, it also seeks to defend a theoretical approach to film at a moment when such approaches are under attack within the disciplinary framework of Hispanic Studies. Precisely at a moment in history when the status of the moving image – its indexical relation to reality is being questioned, is when a complex engagement with the materiality of film seems most necessary. The technological changes in the evolution of the filmic image – the so-called digital revolution – raise all kinds of philosophical and political issues regarding filmic representation. 

Furthermore, Spain is a country still experiencing the painful and unresolved aftermath of the lengthy dictatorship that followed a brutal civil war. This in turn has led to intense debate around the question of the politics of memory, as expressed through national cinema. These debates have extended to an interrogation of the value of trauma theory and psychoanalysis in ways that establish a division between the psychic and the social, between subjective and shared experiences. In Archive Fever, Jacques Derrida argues that history, tradition and culture already depend on the way the archive is inhabited by specters. Consigned to the spectral, the archive is never only a place of remembering, but is equally oriented towards modes of forgetting. The archive does not catalog history as much as “write” it, an unconscious impression. The archive perpetuates authority and questions it, monumentalizes the past and reveals haunting traces of the past that carry a promise in an unpredictable future.

This workshop seeks to explore the validity of such approaches to Spanish cinema in the context of post-dictatorship Spain and the legacies of political violence that the country has inherited.

Confirmed participants:

Julián Gutiérrez-Albilla, U. of Southern California

Patricia Keller, Cornell University

Cristina Moreiras, University of Michigan

Camila Moreiras, New York University

Sarah Thomas, Brown University

Teresa Vilarós, Texas A & M University


Exact schedule will be posted.


Spring 2018: 

"Stories of Illness: Building Health Humanities Cases for Medical Training" (Sandra Sufian and Michael Blackie, Department of Medical Education)

“Stories of Illness: Building Health Humanities Cases for Medical Training” will engage invited health humanities experts and UIC faculty in charting a new frontier for health humanities education in medical school. Health Humanities, also known as Medical Humanities, is an interdisciplinary field of humanities, the arts, and qualitative social sciences that deals with humanities content and applies each discipline’s methods and concerns to health professions education and healthcare practice.

Medical training is largely based on case studies that primarily address the clinical, biomedical aspects of a patient’s medical issue. Intended to assess students’ clinical reasoning skills, these fictitious cases center around a specific disease or symptom and therefore tend to gloss over the complexity of patients’ illness experiences. As a result, they fail to prepare students for the complicated, often messy dilemmas patients bring to clinical encounters.

Our project starts with the premise that case-based medical education needs to be more humanities driven and therefore deliberately tied to the contextual, ethical, and affective aspects of illness experiences, a process that demands a critical examination of storytelling itself. We expect humanities perspectives will be more attuned to the complex interplay of bodies, history, and culture that inform patients’ experiences of healthcare, to the different ways that health and illness generate meaning in patients’ lives, and ultimately to the ambiguity that practicing medicine entails. We want to lay the foundation for reinventing the “case” by purposefully structuring it around a social theme, rather than a disease, and by starting with a first-person patient story that will act as the springboard from which all scholarly analysis follows. Here the case consists of the story paired with humanities scholarship (of one or more disciplinary perspectives) that unpacks and situates the wider social, political and cultural forces the story depicts.

Presentations by:

Ellen Amster, Department of History at McMaster University

Gretchen Case, Department of Internal Medicine, Medical Ethics and Humanities, University of Utah School of Medicine

Rebecca Garden, Center for Bioethics and Humanities at Upstate Medical University, Syracuse

Organized by: 

Sandy Sufian, Health Humanities and Disability Studies, and History

Michael Blackie, Medical Education

Fall 2018: 

"Explanation without Essence?" (Mahrad Almotahari, Philosophy)

Visit Us:
Institute for the Humanities (MC206)
701 South Morgan, Lower Level / Stevenson Hall
Chicago, IL 60607-7040

Phone (312) 996-6352   Fax (312) 996-2938
Email huminst@uic.edu

map pinpoint
Download Map of our Location (PDF)
mail iconJoin our mailing list to be notified
about upcoming events: