Transdisciplinary Areas of ExcellenceMaterial and Visual Worlds


2014-2015 Speaker Series

All lectures will be held at 6 p.m.

Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014, in Room 177 of the new admissons center

Jane Bennett, professor of political theory and chair of the Department of Political Science, Johns Hopkins University.

Bennett is the author of, among other books, Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things (Duke University Press, 2010). She is renowned for her work on nature, ethics and affect; her more recent work shifts from the human experience of things to things themselves. Bennett argues that political theory needs to do a better job of recognizing the active participation of nonhuman forces in events. Toward that end, she theorizes a "vital materiality" that runs through and across bodies, both human and nonhuman.

Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, in Lecture Hall 6

Michael Snow, artist and experimental filmmaker.

A Canadian artist and one of the most important experimental filmmakers of his generation, Snow was born in 1928, in Toronto, where he currently lives and works. First a painter and sculptor, he has been intensely involved since 1962 in creating videos, films, slide and audio installations, and photographic and holographic works, as well as public art. His work, particularly his experimental films such as the landmark "Wavelength" (1967), has had international exposure at prestigious institutions and events. His photography-based work is currently the subject of a major museum exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015

Alfredo González-Ruibal, archaeologist at the Institute of Heritage Sciences, Spanish National Research Council.

Although González-Ruibal has worked (and still works) on late prehistoric archaeology in Europe and Africa, his main research focuses on the archaeology of the recent past. In particular, he is interested in the darker side of modernity: wars, mass migration, failed development projects, colonialism, predatory capitalism and totalitarianism. He has conducted fieldwork related to these topics in Spain, Ethiopia, Brazil and, more recently, Equatorial Guinea. His research on the recent past is guided by four main concerns: politics, the poetics of knowledge, materiality and time. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Michael Taussig, Class of 1933 Professor of Anthropology, Columbia University.

Taussig is one of the most innovative, distinguished and socially engaged voices in cultural anthropology. An interdisciplinary thinker and engaging writer, his work combines aspects of ethnography, story-telling and social theory. The range of his intellectual engagements is evident in his numerous books, among them, Shamanism, Colonialism, and the Wild Man: A study in Terror and Healing (1991); Mimesis and Alterity, A Particular History of the Senses (1992); What Color is the Sacred? (2009); My Cocaine Museum (2004); Walter Benjamin's Grave (2006); and I Swear I Saw This: Drawings in Fieldwork Notebooks, Namely My Own (2011), all published by University of Chicago Press.

Thursday, april 16, 2015

Jonathan Sterne, associate professor in the Department of Art History and Communications Studies, and the History and Philosophy of Science Program, McGill University. 

Sterne writes about sound and music, communication technologies old and new, contemporary cultural studies, and a range of other matters. He is the author of MP3: The Meaning of a Format (Duke University Press, Coll. "Sign, Storage, Transmission," 2012) and The Audible Past: Cultural Origins of Sound Reproduction (Duke University Press, 2003).

Spring 2015 (date to be finalized)

Theaster Gates, artist and director of arts and public life at the University of Chicago, and founder of the non-profit Rebuild Foundation.

Gates has developed an expanded art practice that includes space development, object making, performance and critical engagement with many publics. Gates has exhibited and performed at the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Whitechapel Gallery, London; Punta della Dogana, Venice; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Santa Barbara Museum of Art; and Documenta 13, Kassel, Germany; among others.  

Last Updated: 9/25/14