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Upcoming and Recent IASH Events

November 5, 2014
IASH Fellows' Speaker Series: Purgatories of the Mind: Punishment and Self-Knowledge in Fourteenth-Century Middle English Texts
Presented by Deirdre Riley (English). The medieval mind understood that Purgatory is not an otherworldly realm in the way that Heaven and Hell are; Purgatory was seen as something related to the living temporally, spatially, and even physically. This project argues that purgatory—rather than the more formal, doctrinal, and geographical Purgatory—is a cognitive template, a tool simultaneously personal and universal, used to effect self-awareness and self-initiated amendment while alive. The texts that this study looks at use purgatorial imagery, penitential tropes, and the language of confession in ways that make evident the inescapable human desire to understand the self through punishment. Surprisingly, these purgatorial trappings resist religious dogma even while they participate in religious discourse. 12:00pm, IASH Conference Room (LN 1106)

October 29, 2014

IASH Fellows' Speaker Series: Making a Public Currency/Call it Fascism
Presented by Doug Holmes (Anthropology). In April 2013, Janet Yellen noted, "For the first time [in 2003], the [Federal Open Market] Committee was using communication—mere words—as its primary monetary policy tool....The FOMC had journeyed from 'never explain' to a point where sometimes the explanation is the policy" (emphasis in the original). For more than a decade Holmes has sought to elaborate on the transformation to which Yellen alluded. Working in five central banks—the European Central Bank, the Deutsche Bundesbank, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, the Swedish Riksbank, and the Bank of England—Holmes has analyzed an emerging monetary regime in which "mere words" play a decisive role. Holmes addresses at length how this regime—which Holmes terms a "public currency"— works in theory and practice (Holmes 2014a, 2014b). At the heart of this regime is a far-reaching premise: the public broadly must be recruited to collaborate with central banks in achieving the ends of monetary policy, namely "stable prices and confidence in the currency" (King 2004). 12:00pm, IASH Conference Room (LN 1106)

October 22, 2014
IASH Fellows' Speaker Series: Can there be Government without a State?
Presented by Rochelle DuFord (Philosophy). The paper from which this presentation derives, argues that it is not only possible, but necessary, to develop a concept of government. Generally, 'government' is taken to be interchangeable with 'state.' However, this creates confusion about the roles and functions of distinct political institutions--notably, it creates a false dichotomy for possible global political institutions. The elision of state and government generates the appearance that the only options for global political organization are global governance (a loosely connected set of government networks) or a world state. DuFord challenges this dichotomy in this paper, arguing that it is possible to develop a 'global government' that neither relies on individual governments for functioning, but is also not a world state. 12:00pm, IASH Conference Room (LN 1106)

October 15, 2014
IASH Fellows' Speaker Series: Thomas Adès and the Dilemmas of Musical Surrealism
Presented by Drew Massey (Music). Few scholars of Adès's music would debate the significance of surrealism in the forging of his public image over the course of the last 25 years. Yet the essentially unquestioned absorption of surrealism as a meaningful discursive frame for Adès's music ought to give us pause, and it is the goal of this presentation to explain why that is the case.
First, Massey suggests that surrealism has achieved such purchase in the critical conversation surrounding Adès because of its ability to work so effectively as a proxy vocabulary for other debates. In the first part of this presentation, Massey considers how the idea of surrealism has provided a means to discuss various degrees of "queerness" in Adès's music (including but not limited to gender and sexuality) while avoiding a rhetoric which uses alterity and identity politics as its primary argumentative fulcra. Although Adès is hardly the only openly gay composer writing today, Massey suggests that critics' preoccupation with Adès's relationship to surrealism has served a powerful symbolic role in depicting Adès as a gay composer who simultaneously avoids conspicuous markers of difference.
In the second half of this presentation, Massey considers the historiographic work that is performed by the rhetoric of surrealism that has swirled around Adès and his music. Adès's surrealist works close off an apparent "problem" in the history of modernism insofar as surrealism – unlike other component movements in modernism like futurism and impressionism – has struggled to find its proper corollary in music, and hence enjoy status as a fully realized dimension of modernism with active practices across the arts. Yet such a situation is not without its historiographic dilemmas. On the one hand, the reliance on surrealism vis-à-vis Adès is a somewhat anachronistic approach, situating a large part of Adès's significance in terms of a movement that has mostly run its course. On the other hand, it provides an aesthetic and historical basis for Adès's prominence today, while being ambiguous enough to leave him plenty of room to maneuver in the future without shedding this marker of canonical belonging. 12:00pm, IASH Conference Room (LN 1106)

October 8, 2014
IASH Fellows' Speaker Series: Historical Transformations and the Rise of a New-Consciousness Novel in Egypt

Presented by Mary Youssef (Classical & Near Eastern Studies), this talk examines a recent trend in contemporary Egyptian novels that exhibits, what Youssef identifies as a new consciousness and a critical sensibility towards difference and the complexity of the Egyptian population amidst various political, socio-economic, and cultural instabilities. 12:00pm, IASH Conference Room (LN 1106)

October 1, 2014
IASH Fellows' Speaker Series: Ganymede in the Twelfth-century Classroom: Two Odes by Horace
In this presentation, Tina Chronopoulos (Classical and Near Eastern Studies) will talk about a couple of Horatian poems that contain what can arguable be called 'homoerotic situations' and how these poems were presented to pupils at medieval schools. 12:00pm, IASH Conference Room (LN 1106)

September 17, 2014
IASH Fellows' Speaker Series: Translating the Works of Zenta Maurina: A Reading
Presented by Zoja Pavlovskis-Petit (Comparative Literature). Zenta Maurina, a Latvian writer whose career spanned the 29th Century, was an incisive critic of European culture especially popular in Germany and Sweden. Aside from collections of essays she was the author of novels as well as a slightly fictionalized account of her own life. The latter is particularly interesting because of the historic events in which she was embroiled. Professor Pavlovskis-Petit is translating this work and planning, during this presentation, to read a chapter of the translation. 12:00pm, IASH Conference Room (LN 1106)

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Last Updated: 10/29/14