Midwest Faculty Seminars
MIDWEST FACULTY SEMINARS
Again this academic year Kenyon College will participate in the Midwest Faculty Seminars sponsored by the University of Chicago. Participation permits the College to send up to five (5) faculty members to four (4) seminars, though no more than two (2) can go to any single seminar.
Kenyon has already paid the conference fees and will pay the faculty members' travel and miscellaneous expenses. Due date for the submission of proposals to FAC is September 25, 2012. Please submit, as an attachment, a one page application that explains your interest in the topic and how it may relate to your teaching and/or scholarship to Jami Peelle, Faculty Grants and Fellowships Coordinator at email@example.com.
Below please find the dates, titles, and brief descriptions of the four 2012-13 seminars. Also, the University of Chicago has a Web page that includes information for present and past seminars. http://mfs.uchicago.edu/ (not always up-to-date)
November 8-11, 2012
J.M Coetzee has long been a towering figure in the postcolonial canon. Few of his novels have garnered as much attention, however, as has his last South African novel, Disgrace. The story of an aging English professor and the aftermath of an ill-advised tryst, it is also a searing engagement with the politics of South Africa's post-apartheid transition and the complexities and traumas inherent therein. This seminar considers Disgrace as a text of that transition, focusing on heretofore under-discussed aspects of the novel and the questions with which it deals, such as its relation to Romanticism and the Russian novel, its importance to the history of the pastoral in South Africa, and the implications of its treatment of sexual violence for changing conceptions of rape under international law.
Mind, Brain, and World: On Embodied Cognition
January 10-12, 2013
For years, received understandings of the nature of cognition have tended to view the mind as something akin to a central processing unit that sends and receives signals between the center and periphery on the basis of entirely fixed rules. Of late, however, scholars working in fields as varied as neuroscience, developmental psychology, artificial intelligence, philosophy, and literary theory have moved towards the idea that cognition relies for its foundation not so much on the brain, but on the network of receptors that make up a sensorimotor system. This seminar looks at the various implications of this account, focusing first on its challenge to the distinctions between mind and body and perception and action, and on the proposition that thinking beings should first and foremost be understood as (inter)acting beings. It also considers, however, the implications of this stance for fields not directly involved in the work of neuroscience, such as philosophy and economics, and art and literature as well.
Islam in/and the West
February 21-23, 2013
The "clash of civilizations" thesis made famous by Samuel Huntington has come to inform a great deal of discussion about the history of Islam and its interactions with the peoples of Europe and beyond. But as many scholars know, and as increased immigration from Islamic countries to the West makes clear, the place of Islam in the West is much more complicated than such a heuristic would have us believe. This seminar attempts to think beyond the "clash of civilizations" thesis to look at a variety of intersections and interactions between Islam and the West, with a particular emphasis on identity formation, migration, and cultural and social accommodation in varied locations throughout Europe and the contemporary United States. How do these communities navigate their relationships with neighbors from different religious groups? How do they understand themselves and their participation in their separate public spheres? What defines the place of Islam in the West in historical terms? And how can the history of Islam in the West help us to understand its possible futures?
Climate Change Across the Disciplines
April 18-20, 2013
The problem of climate change has of late become the source of numerous critically important academic debates. Often, however, academic discussion of the topic has been limited to the biological and physical sciences, those areas of inquiry that have done the most to bring its challenges into view. This seminar therefore proposes to examine the problem of climate change from the perspectives of the humanities and the humanistic social sciences in order to better understand the problems climate change poses for the project of humanistic inquiry. How does anthropogenic climate change challenge the way we think about ethics, politics and history? In what way does a problem like climate change alter our approaches to the study of literature and other cultural objects? Are the disciplines as constituted adequate to the task? Or does climate change foretell not just substantial changes in the way we organize our economic life, but in the way we organize our forms of knowledge as well?