2015-2016 Speaker Series

All lectures will be held at 6 p.m.

Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015

Graham Harmon, distinguished university professor, American University of Cairo.

Harmon is a founding member of the well-known Speculative Realism movement, and the chief exponent (since the late 1990s) of object-oriented philosophy. In 2013, he was ranked by ArtReview, along with his Speculative Realist colleagues, as one of the 100 most powerful influences in the contemporary art world. Bells and Whistles: More Speculative Reaslism, Winchester: Zero Books (2013), is the most recent of his 12 books.

Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015

Jimena Canales, Thomas M. Siebel Chair in the History of Science, University of Illinois, will speak on "Einstein and Bergson: from our Earth to outer space and back."

Canales is the author of numerous scholarly and journalistic texts on the history of modernity, focusing primarily on science and technology. She received her MA and PhD from Harvard University in the history of science. Her first book, A Tenth of A Second (hardcover, paperback, Kindle), exploring the relation between science and history as one of the central intellectual problems of modern times, has been widely reviewed and acclaimed. Her second book, The Physicist and the Philosopher: Einstein, Bergson, and the Debate That Changed Our Understanding of Time, has this year been published by Princeton University Press.

Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016

Yarn/Wire is a NYC-based quartet of two pianists and two percussionists.

Yarn/Wire specializes in experimental sounds derived from unconventional uses of instrumental materials and non-musical objects, often in combination with electronically generated sounds. Recent credits include performances at BAM with Sufjan Stevens, and a Lincoln Center Festival performance in the summer that The New York Times described as "mesmerizing." The lecture and demonstration will be held in Casadesus Recital Hall in the Fine Arts Building.

Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016

Susanne Kuechler, professor of anthropology and material culture, University College London, will speak on "Towards an Anthropology of Thought: Thought and Thing Reconsidered."

Kuechler has conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Papua New Guinea and Eastern Polynesia over the past 25 years, studying creativity, innovation and futurity in political economics of knowledge from a comparative perspective. Her more recent work on the history of the take-up, in the Pacific, of cloth and clothing as "new" material has focused on social memory and material translation, and on the epistemic nature of materials and its role in long-term social change. Over the past five years, she has extended the comparative remit of this research to science-based materials innovation, commodification and consumption. Working from within material culture studies, her work is ethnographic in orientation and is influenced by a close reading of German and French writing on epistemology and the culture of things.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Thóra Pétursdóttir, post-doctoral fellow, Institute of Archaelology and Social Anthropology, University of Tromsø, Norway.

Pétursdóttir completed a PhD at the Institute of Archaeology and Social Anthropology, University of Tromsø, in 2013, where she is now a post-doctoral fellow. She works on the politics of contemporary heritage and contemporary archaeology, as well as photography theory. She is a member of the international group "Ruin Memories" and her recent publications include: Imaging modern decay: the aesthetics of ruin photography, Journal of Contemporary Archaeology 1(1), 2014, pp. 7-56 (with Bjørnar Olsen) and Concrete matters: ruins of modernity and the things called heritage', Journal of Social Archaeology 13(1), 2013, pp. 31-53. Co-sponsored with the graduate student-organized conference RATS 2016: Radical Ontologies for the Contemporary Past.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Benjamin Schmidt, Joff Hanauer Faculty Fellow and professor of history, University of Washington, Seattle.

Schmidt teaches at the University of Washington, where he specializes in early modern cultural and visual history. His new book, Inventing Exoticism: Geography, Globalism, and Europe's Early Modern World, looks at the development of European "exoticism" across several media. Previous books include Innocence Abroad: The Dutch Imagination and the New World (2001), which won the RSA's Gordon Prize and Holland Society's Hendricks Prize; The Discovery of Guiana by Sir Walter Raleigh (2007); Making Knowledge in Early Modern Europe: Practices, Objects, and Tests, 1400-1800 (2008, with P. Smith); and Going Dutch: The Dutch Presence in America, 1609-2009 (2008, with A. Stott).

Last Updated: 8/17/16