IASH Fellows' Speaker Series for the Spring 2015 Semester

April 1, 2015

IASH Fellows' Speaker Series:Matthew McConn, (Graduate School of Education) History of Literary Appreciation in the United States.

This presentation will look at how we have defined, measured, and taught literary appreciation in the United States, and attempt to answer the following questions: How have literary and psychological theories shaped the definition of appreciation throughout the years? How have these definitions been interpreted, and how have these interpretations impacted the teaching of literature?

April 1, 2015, 12:00pm, IASH Conference Room (LN 1106)


March 18,2015

IASH Fellows' Speaker Series: Jason Moore, (Sociology and Fernand Braudel Center) Cheap Food and Bad Climate: From Surplus-Value to Negative-Value in the Capitalist World-Ecology

Capitalism, understood as a world-ecology that joins accumulation, power, and nature in dialectical unity, has been adept at evading so-called Malthusian limits through an astonishing historical capacity to produce, locate, and occupy cheap natures external to the system. In recent decades, the last frontiers have closed, and this astonishing historical capacity has withered. This "withering" is perhaps most evident in capitalism's failure to offer a new, actually productive, agricultural model - as agrobiotechnology failed to deliver on its promissory notes. Moving from bad to worse, a second set of contradictions is now mediated through climate change. Climate change, one amongst many ongoing biospheric shifts, is interwoven with the totality of neoliberal agriculture's contradictions to produce new contradictions: negative-value. This signals the emergence of forms of nature that are increasingly hostile to capital accumulation, and which can be temporarily fixed (if at all) only through increasingly costly, toxic, and dangerous strategies. The rise of negative-value – whose accumulation has been latent for much of capitalist history - therefore suggests a significant and rapid erosion of opportunities for the appropriation of new streams of unpaid work/energy. As such, these new limits are qualitatively different from the nutrient- and resource-depletion of earlier, developmental crises of the longue durée Cheap Food model. These contradictions within capital, arising from negative-value, are today encouraging an unprecedented shift towards a radical ontological politics, within capitalism as a whole, that destabilizes crucial points of agreement in the modern world-system: What is Food? What is Nature? What is Valuable?

March 18, 2015, 12:00pm, IASH Conference Room (LN 1106)


March 11, 2015

IASH Fellows' Speaker Series: Deneil Hill, (History) 'Redefining Human Rights from a Feminist Perspective': The Global Campaign to Eradicate Violence, 1985-1993.

This talk traces the grassroots feminist effort to assure the recognition of violence against women as a violation of human rights at the UN World Conference on Human Rights (1993) in Vienna. Women's rights originally had not been included on the agenda of this important world conference, so hundreds of women's organizations across the globe joined together to engage in a years-long campaign demanding that the UN comprehensively address gender violence as a human rights issue. By redefining human rights from a feminist perspective, Hill argues, the work of this transnational coalition altered the dominant paradigm of global feminist advocacy and paved the way to new understandings of women's rights as human rights.

March 11, 2015, 12:00pm, IASH Conference Room (LN 1106)


March 4, 2015

IASH Fellows' Speaker Series: John Cheng, (Department of Asian & Asian American Studies. [DAAAS]) When (East) Indians Were White, Then Not: Racial Formation and Naturalization Law in the Early 20th-Century United States

For a brief period in the early 20th century, immigrants from India — or "Hindus" as they were referred to at the time — were allowed to become naturalized U.S. citizens using the logic that they were Caucasian and therefore "white." The Supreme Court, however, ruled in 1923 that Hindus were not white and not eligible for naturalization. When the United States then revoked their citizenship, these previously American Indian immigrants and their families learned firsthand that race in practice was not based on biology or common ancestry; instead through the law, popular social discourse about Asiatic difference hardened into — and validated — exclusionary and discriminatory practices against anyone falling within the emergent category, "alien ineligible for citizenship."

March 4, 2015, 12:00pm, IASH Conference Room (LN 1106)


February 18, 2015

IASH Fellows' Speaker Series: Lysioidia: 'Transgendering' Actresses/Actors in Hellenistic Greek and Roman Republican Theater'

Presented by: John Starks (CLASSICS) Analysis of the few fragments of extant commentary on a lost genre of dramatic song whose female and male actors captivated their audiences with a virtuoso display of re-/transgendered identity and ambiguity. Using comparative evidence (visual and textual) from modern dramatic forms, particularly Weimar cabaret, Elizabethan theater, kabuki, and baroque opera, I posit a reconstruction of the theatrical effects lysiodes presented to their symposium audiences, as I also explain the continuing influence of lysioidia and similar song genres in late Hellenistic and republican theater. 

February 18, 2015, 12:00pm, IASH Conference Room (LN 1106)


February 11, 2015

IASH Fellows' Speaker Series: 'Reinventing Working Class: "Dignity Politics" and Social Entrepreneurship in a Chinese Migrant Workers' Community in Beijing

Presented by Yang Zhan (Anthropology), Just as China comes to be the site of "world factory" in the global system, relying on its huge supply of cheap labor, it is becoming oblivious to the Marxist concepts such as labor and class, which were once its dominant discourse. Believing that those political economic terms are more relevant today than any time in the past, some have tried to reintroduce these terms in a critical analysis of China's society, even though this effort has been confined to a fringe of the academia. It remains to be a question how the framework of class analysis can be combined with the practice of labor organizing and radical politics in contemporary China.

February 11, 2015, 12:00pm, IASH Conference Room (LN 1106)


February 4, 2015
IASH Fellows' Speaker Series:
'Pushkin' is our Everything: Delimiting the Referentiality of the Monument in Tatyana Tolstaya's Slynx

Presented by Sidney Dement (German/Russian Studies), In the post-apocalyptic Moscow of Tatyana Tolstaya's dystopian novel Slynx (2000), a nuclear Blast has disfigured every aspect of Russian civilization. The absence of Moscow's treasured monument to the Romantic poet Alexander Pushkin most tellingly represents the magnitude of traumatic loss. The rebuilding of this monument by the novel's hero, structures the narrative's subversive treatment of literature, authorship, authority, and referentiality after the dual catastrophes of Chernobyl' (1986) and the breakup of the Soviet Union (1991).

February 4, 2015, 12:00 pm, IASH Conference Room (LN1106)

Last Updated: 3/26/15