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Simpson Center for the Humanities

Fall 2015

HUM 594

Scholarship as Public Practice

Part of the Certificate in Public Scholarship.

HUM 597A/Greek 590B

Greek Etymology as Cultural History in the Work of Gregory Nagy

1 credit, C/NC

Instructor: Olga Levaniouk (Classics)

Time Schedule

Meeting Dates

All sessions meet 3:30-5:30 pm in Communications 218D.

  • Friday October 9
  • Friday, October 23
  • Friday, October 30
  • Friday, November 6
  • Friday, November 20
  • Friday, December 4

This microseminar anticipates the visit of Gregory Nagy to give the sixteenth annual McDiarmid Lecture in January 2016, hosted by the Classics Department. Gregory Nagy is the Francis Jones Professor of Classical Greek Literature and Professor of Comparative Literature at Harvard University and the Director of the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, DC. He is the author of numerous books, including The Ancient Greek Hero in 24 Hours (2013); Homer the Preclassic (2010); Homer the Classic (2009); Homer's Text in Language (2004); Homeric Responses (2004); Homeric Questions (1996); Poetry as Performance: Homer and Beyond (1996); Greek Mythology and Poetics (1990); Pindar’s Homer: The Lyric Possession of an Epic Past (1990); The Best of the Achaeans: Concepts of the Hero in Archaic Greek Poetry (1979);and Comparative Studies in Greek and Indic Meter (1974).

The starting point for this microseminar is the confluence of classics and historical linguistics in Nagy's work. Nagy is a distinguished Classical scholar and a distinguished historical linguist specializing in Indo-European languages. Beginning with his earliest publications, Nagy compared Greek and Sanskrit languages and Greek and Indic cultures. His work has ranged widely, involving Italic, Anatolian, Celtic, Germanic, and Balto-Slavic language families and cultures. A distinctive feature of Nagy's achievement is his study of Greek etymologies, which he sees as part of an evolving cultural and poetic system.

In the seminar, we will read and discuss some of Nagy's seminal works. We will give special attention to Greek etymologies in his work and the insights derived from them. There will be no written assignments, but to facilitate discussion, students will produce paragraph-long summaries of five of Nagy's etymologies (one per session). This seminar has three goals: The first is simply to enjoy some good discussion of Nagy's work. The second and main goal is to give the students a sense of etymological research as cultural history and of its special importance for Homeric studies. The third goal is to make students familiar with some of Nagy's etymologies and related insights with a view to preparing them to derive maximum benefit from their interactions with Nagy during his visit in January.

HUM 597B

The Politics of Socially Engaged Art

1 credit, C/NC

Instructor: Justin Jesty (Asian Languages & Literature)

Time Schedule

Meeting Dates

All sessions meet 11:30 am-1:00 pm in Communications 218D unless otherwise noted.

  • Monday, November 2
  • Wednesday, November 4
  • Monday, November 9
  • November 13-14: Attend at least two panels of symposium Socially Engaged Art in Japan: Questions for Contemporary Policy and Practice
  • Wednesday, November 18

This microseminar frames the two-day symposium Socially Engaged Art in Japan: Questions for Contemporary Policy and Practice. Students will discuss debates over the politics of art as they have developed over the past twenty-five years in the context of new public art and socially engaged art. Collaboration, participation, dialogue, exchange, and education have become common features of socially engaged practices, which typically involve both artists and non-artists working over a long period of time towards negotiated site-specific and community-oriented goals. These practices have sprung up amid a rich cross-fertilization as two art fields that had previously been mostly separate—contemporary art and community arts—have become increasingly intermeshed. The ferment of new ideas about how art can address contemporary life and politics as well as a vast array of experimental practices have spurred debate over the role of art and artist in society, and the form(s) that politics in art can and should take. We will track these debates, focusing on writings by Nicolas Bourriaud, Claire Bishop, Rosalyn Deutsche, Grant Kester, Suzanne Lacy, Shannon Jackson, Miwon Kwon, and others.

HUM 597C

Making the Case for Environmental History: Stories about Nature, Culture, and History

1 credit, C/NC

Instructor: Sabine Wilke (Germanics)

Time Schedule

Meeting Dates

All sessions meet in Communications 202 unless otherwise noted.

  • Monday, November 16, 1:30-3 pm
  • Monday, November 23, 1:30-3 pm
  • Wednesday, December 2, 7:00 pm (Katz Lecture, Kane Hall 210)
  • Thursday, December 3, 3:30-5 pm (Colloquium)
  • Monday, December 7, 1:30-3 pm

This microseminar is linked with the visit of Christof Mauch, Chair and Professor of American Cultural History at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU). Mauch is the founder and director of the Rachel Carson Center for Environment & Society, one of the largest international research centers for the environmental humanities and social sciences. One of the world’s most distinguished scholars of environmental history, Mauch is currently working on a book entitled Green New Worlds: Travels into the History and Nature of the United States that includes case studies of Portland and Seattle. He is the author of Humans and the Environment: Sustainability from a Historical Perspective (in German, 2014) and Nature in German History (2004) and is the co-editor of American Environments: Climate, Cultures, Catastrophe (2012), Rivers in History: Perspectives on Waterways in Europe and North America (2008), and Shades of Green: Environmental Activism around the Globe (2006). He is also the author of The Shadow War against Hitler: The Covert Operations of America’s Wartime Secret Service (2003).

Since 2007, Mauch has been the chair of American History at LMU Munich, where he also directs the Lasky Center for Transatlantic Studies. From 1998 to 2007 he directed the German Historical Institute in Washington, DC.  Mauch earned a doctorate in German literature from Tübingen University and a habilitation in history from the University of Cologne.

In the microseminar, we will discuss key ideas in Mauch’s approach to American environments to prepare for his lecture, the informal colloquium, and, possibly, a lunch meeting with him.

STSS 591

Science, Technology & Society Studies in Action

Instructor: Leah Ceccarelli (Communication)

2 credit, C/NC

Time Schedule

Meeting Dates

Fridays 1:30-3:20 pm in Communications 218D

This course introduces graduate students from diverse disciplinary backgrounds to Science, Technology & Society Studies (STSS) as an interdisciplinary area of study. It orients students enrolled in the STSS graduate certificate to the expectations of the program, especially the design of their STSS portfolio. Each week, a different member of the STSS core faculty will introduce an area of active research interest. Examples of themes include gender and science, ethical issues in scientific research, science and public policy, and postcolonial science studies.