Doug Berman, creator and producer of NPR’s Car Talk and Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, will be visiting Wesleyan University’s CFA Hall this Thursday 11/1 at 7 PM to chat about public radio, producing a show, and making it in the big time. The event is free and open to the public. If you would like to make a free reservation email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject title “Doug Berman Reservation.”
Robyn Wiegman, Duke University
This talk takes on the Center for the Humanities 2012 theme by surveying debates about temporality in contemporary scholarship. It begins by thinking about how the keywords—stasis, repetition, transformation—are loaded with both critical and political expectations before exploring various contestations that collectively converge on a struggle over the definition and political character of the present: queer theory’s quest for queer time; postcolonial studies’ engagement with “ruination”; and feminist theory’s turn toward a “new materialism.” Seeking less to decipher “the times we are in” than to wonder over our critical certainty that we have a grasp on the present, the talk parses the language, affects, and political investments that shape the circulation of temporality as an object of inquiry in the interpretative human sciences today.
MONDAY NIGHT LECTURE SERIES
Monday, October 1 6 p.m. Russell House
Assistant Professor of Art, Wesleyan
Industrialization introduced new threats to the city (electricity, speed, explosives, etc.) while also dramatically increasing the scale of historical perils (earthquake, deluge, conflagration, etc.). In turn, these threats gave rise to a field of new products, accessory to conventional building. Negotiating the thresholds between the developing infrastructures of the city and its private spaces, these emergency devices may be understood collectively as a crumple zone intended not to prevent urban disaster but to absorb, limit, and contain its effects. Together, these devices (automatic sprinkler, panic bar, emergency light, etc.) trace a narrative of escalation between an expanding urbanism on the one hand and increased risks for catastrophe on the other, rendering all spaces as sites of imminent disaster. Their current ubiquity facilitated by invention, insurance, and legislation, the integration of these devices into the spatial and psychological landscape of the city is the story of the Encyclopedia.
Drawing on a selection of architectural emergency devices, this talk will examine the ways in which disaster events have reshaped the conditions for architectural production, while exploring the mercurial relationships between prediction, projection, imagination, invention, and testing that characterize the invariably speculative activity of designing for the catastrophic moment.
MONDAY NIGHT LECTURE SERIES
Monday, September 24
| Cultural Trauma, National Memory: BDSM Play with Slavery and Fascism
Assistant Professor of American Studies and Anthropology
This talk explores the temporality of desire—the relationships between erotics, cultural memory, and histories of national trauma. It draws on ethnographic fieldwork with BDSM practitioners in San Francisco and Berlin to focus on what practitioners call “cultural trauma play”: play that re-performs real-world or historical trauma. I compare the eroticization of two emblematic national traumas—the Holocaust in Germany and chattel slavery in the United States- and contrast the political and national identifications at work in such play in order to explore what we might claim to know about the historicity of desire.
Professor Danny Unger of Northern Illinois University will be speaking this Thursday, September 20, on “Tackling Tough Decisions in a Democracy: Natural Resource Policy-Making in Thailand.” The lecture is at 4:30 PM in the Freeman Center for East Asian Studies.
Democracy is sometimes said to be associated with stronger protections against environmental degradation. Thailand’s environmental regime has become stronger since 1990, and its policy processes have become generally more participatory since the year 2000. The accompanying environmental gains have been uneven, however, and in some cases have been associated with authoritarian interludes rather than with democratic politics. What can the case of Thailand tell us about the conditions under which democracy contributes to preserving the environment.
You are cordially invited to attend Professor Unger’s talk.
Center for the Humanities
Monday Night Lecture Series
Andrew W. Mellon Post-doctoral fellow
“Chronopolitics of Nineteenth-Century Displays of Difference”
Monday, September 17, 6:00 pm
The nineteenth-century exhibitionary circuit thoroughly incorporated Charles Darwin’s theories of evolution, and various conflicted interpretations of them, into a variety of sites including nationally endowed art and science museums, world’s fairs, dime museums, and aquariums. Exhibitions in the 1800s commonly featured what I call displays of difference, or the staging of people as abnormal and exotic Others in contrast to a putatively normal public. Such presentations of the live body were often invitations for white citizens to make sense of colonial relationships, racial differences, new injuries caused by war and industry, and the role of science in culture.
This lecture focuses on how temporality, typology, and telos converged in displays of difference to engender a conflicted, violent semiotic alchemy that provoked political struggle and social death.
Muslims’ Experiences of Devalutaion: Gendered Images, Gendered Sentiments”
Prof. Patricia Rodriguez-Mosquera, Assistant Professor of Psychology
Russell House 4:30 p.m.
Attitudes toward Islam and Muslims have continued to deteriorate over time. In this talk, Professor Rodriguez Mosquera will discuss how Muslim Americans feel about the societal devaluation of their group. The lecture is based on psychological studies of Muslim Americans’ feelings of anger, sadness, and fear in four studies using multiple methods. These emotions were examined in the context of significant social events for Muslim Americans (i.e., the 9/11 anniversary) as well as in the context of individual experiences of unfair treatment (i.e., emotional narratives). The lecture considers the psychological and social implications of feeling angry, sad, and afraid for Muslim Americans and the relations of these emotional experiences to the gendered nature of societal images and stereotypes about Muslims.