The Simpson Center’s offices are currently all online. Our staff is available by phone and email. We do our best to respond as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience.
Simpson Center for the Humanities

Spring 2017

HUM 597A 

Observation, Objectivity, and Object Biographies: Reading Lorraine Daston

(1 credit, C/NC)

Time Schedule | Canvas/Syllabus

Instructor: Alison Wylie (Philosophy)

Meeting Dates:

All sessions meet in Communications 202 unless otherwise noted.

  • Monday, April 3, 3:30-5:30 pm
  • Monday, April 10, 3:30-5:30 pm
  • Wednesday, April 19, 7 pm, Kane Hall 210 (Lorraine Daston Katz Distinguished Lecture)
  • Thursday, April 20
    • 10-11:30 am, morning coffee with Daston
    • 1:30-3 pm, public colloquium with Daston
  • Monday, April 24, 3:30-5:30 pm

This microseminar convenes in conjunction with the visit of Lorraine Daston to the University of Washington as a Katz Distinguished Lecturer in April 2017. Daston is Director of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin and Visiting Professor of Social Thought and History at the University of Chicago. A widely respected historian of science, Daston has published on the history of probability and statistics, wonders in early modern science, the emergence of the scientific fact, scientific models, objects of scientific inquiry, the moral authority of nature, and the history of scientific objectivity. Her recent books include How Reason Almost Lost Its Mind: The Strange Career of Cold War Rationality (co-editor, 2014), Histories of Scientific Observation (co-editor, 2011), and Objectivity (with Peter Galison, 2010).

Daston’s pivotal publications on historical transformations of ideals of objectivity, biographies of scientific objects, and conventions of image-making have been influential well beyond historical science studies (her home discipline). They have inspired generations of scholars who are committed to integrating historical, philosophical, and social/cultural studies of the sciences. This approach to science, technology & society studies exemplifies the interdisciplinary vision that animates our own graduate Certificate in Science, Technology & Society Studies. Daston’s visit marks the creation of this program and will be of particular interest to students who conduct research in this area and those affiliated with the STSS Certificate.

Alison Wylie is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Washington and Durham University, UK. She is a member of the steering committee of the UW Certificate in Science, Technology & Society Studies. Her books include Evidential Reasoning in Archaeology (with Robert Chapman, 2016) and Thinking from Things: Essays in the Philosophy of Archaeology (2002).

Questions? Contact Alison Wylie (

HUM 597B (NEAR E 590)

Writing the Iranian Revolution: Memory, Testimony, Time

(1 credit, C/NC)

Time Schedule

Instructor: Samad Alavi (Near Eastern Languages & Civilization)

Meeting Dates:

All sessions meet in Communications 226 except for the two-day conference.

  • Thursday, April 6, 3:30-5 pm
  • Thursday, April 20, 3:30-5 pm
  • Thursday, May 4, 3:30-5 pm
  • Friday, May 12, 7-8:30 pm (Writing the Iranian Revolution conference)
  • Saturday, May 13, 9 am-3:30 pm (Writing the Iranian Revolution conference)
  • Thursday, May 25, 3:30-5 pm

This seminar invites students to engage with critical debates surrounding the causes, impacts, and historical legacy of the 1979 revolution in Iran. The course is offered in conjunction with a two-day conference on May 12-13, 2017, Writing the Iranian Revolution: Memory, Testimony, Time, hosted by Near Eastern Languages & Civilization. Students will read selections from the conference participants’ published work in disciplines including literary studies, history, sociology, anthropology, political science, and media studies. We will investigate the varied, sometimes conflicting approaches that each scholar takes towards the revolution as a historical event or process and the aesthetic, social, political, and cultural transformations that occurred in the revolution’s wake.

Students who take the seminar as a one-credit course will participate in discussions on assigned readings, attend the conference, and participate in a final discussion session on the issues and ideas raised during the conference. Students who take the seminar as a three-credit course (NEAR E 590) will also write a paper in response to the readings and conference.

Samad Alavi is Assistant Professor of Persian Language & Literature in the Department of Near Eastern Languages & Civilization. He earned a PhD in 2013 from the University of California, Berkeley.

Questions? Contact Samad Alavi (

HUM 597C

Textual & Digital Studies Graduate Certificate - Capstone

(1 credit, C/NC)

Time Schedule

Instructors: Jeffrey Knight (English) and Geoffrey Turnovsky (French & Italian)

See Time Schedule for meeting dates

This course is a capstone colloquium for completion of the Textual & Digital Studies Graduate Certificate.

Questions? Contact Jeffrey Knight (

HUM 597D

Memory Construction and Emotion in India, Past and Present

(1 credit, C/NC)

Time Schedule

Instructor: Heidi Pauwels (Asian Languages & Literature)

Meeting Dates:

All sessions meet in Communications 218D

  • Friday, April 14, 2:30-4:30 pm
  • Friday, April 28, 2:30-4:30 pm
  • Friday, May 5, 2:30-4:30 pm
  • Friday, May 12, 2:30-4:30 pm
This microseminar explores the role of memory construction and emotion in textual and material sources to interrogate the popular view of projecting Hindu-Muslim antagonism in South Asia into the past. The course meets in anticipation of a September 2017 symposium that focuses on memory and emotion in the first Old Hindi warrior epic in fifteenth-century Gwalior, which is now understood as anti-Muslim. 
The seminar meets for four sessions discussing readings that showcase methodology, among other features, by the invited speakers. The first three sessions address specific pre- and early-modern moments now perceived as Hindu-Muslim conflict or collaboration. The last session is about a colonial instance.
Heidi Pauwels is Professor of Asian Languages & Literature. She is the author of two books on sixteenth-century bhakti: Krishna’s Round Dance Reconsidered (Curzon Press, 1996) and In Praise of Holy Men (Egbert Forsten, 2002), and one comparing classical, medieval, and contemporary film and television retellings of the stories of Krishna and Rama: The Goddess as Role Model: S¥tå and Rådhå in Scripture and on Screen (Oxford University Press, 2008). She is editor of Indian Literature and Popular Cinema (Routledge, 2007), Patronage and Popularisation, Pilgrimage and Procession (Harrassowitz, 2009), and Satire in the Age of Early Modernity (with Monika Horstmann; Harrassowitz, 2012). Her book Cultural Exchange in Eighteenth-Century India: Poetry and Paintings from Kishangarh has just appeared from E.B. Verlag.

Questions? Contact Heidi Pauwels (