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Simpson Center for the Humanities

Spring 2015

HUM 595B

Watching Difference: A Microseminar with Herman Gray

1 credit, C/NC

Instructors: Ralina L. Joseph (Communication)

Time Schedule

Meeting Dates
All sessions will be in Communications 202 unless otherwise noted.

  • Friday, April 24, Noon-1:30 pm
  • Friday, May 15, Noon-1:30 pm
  • Thursday, May 28, Noon-1:30 (Colloquium with Herman Gray)
  • Friday, May 29, 10 am-Noon (Lecture by Herman Gray, Communications 120)
  • Friday, June 5, Noon-1:30 pm

This microseminar frames the May 2015 visit of Black Cultural Studies scholar Herman Gray (Professor and Chair, Sociology, University of California, Santa Cruz), arguably the most influential scholar of African American television studies writing today. Gray will deliver the Earl and Edna Stice Lecture in Social Science as part of the launch of the Department of Communication’s Center for Communication, Difference & Equity.

Gray is an award-winning scholar of Black cultural studies whose work traverses a wide terrain of cultural studies scholarship, including metatheoretical mediations on politics of difference in the media; historiographies of racialized television industries; critiques of Black men’s images on television; elucidations on racialized representations in the news; explorations of the nuances of marketing to African Americans through media; and studies of jazz music, musicians, and industries.

Gray is the author of Cultural Moves: Culture, Identity, and the Politics of Representation (University of California Press, 2005), Watching Race: Television and the Sign of Blackness (University of Minnesota Press, 1995 and 2004), and Producing Jazz: The Experience of an Independent Record Company (Temple University Press, 1988). He is the editor of two collections, Towards a Sociology of the Trace (University of Minnesota Press, 2010), and The Sage Handbook of Television Studies (Sage Publications, 2014). He has lectured around the world and is or has been on the editorial board of the most prominent cultural studies and race journals in the field, including Cultural Studies, Callalloo, Velvet Light Trap, Cultural Studies <-> Critical Methodologies, Television and New Media Studies, American Quarterly, International Journal of Cultural Studies, and Cinema Journal.

Participants in the microseminar will attend Gray’s lecture and colloquium, read Watching Race and Cultural Moves as well as Gray’s influential 2013 American Quarterly article, “Subject(ed) to Recognition,” and write a two-page paper.

Co-Sponsored by the Center for Communication, Difference, & Equity and the Simpson Center for the Humanities.


HUM 597A

Toleration and Justification: The Philosophy of Rainer Forst

1 credit, C/NC

Instructors: Amos Nascimento (Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, UW-Tacoma) and Bill Talbot (Philosophy)

Time Schedule

Meeting Dates:

All sessions will be noon-2 p.m. in Savery 408. 

  • April 15: Toleration
  • April 22: The Right to Justification
  • April 29: Lunch with Rainer Forst
  • May 6: Final meeting for further discussion and reflection.

This micro-seminar is linked with the visit of Solomon Katz Distinguished Lecturer Rainer Forst (Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany), who will present his lecture at UW on the evening of Wednesday, April 29, and will be in residence for the week of April 27-May 1.  Forst is the prime intellectual heir of Jürgen Habermas, his former teacher. Forst is the world expert on the historical development of rights to tolerance and the author of one of the most influential theories of the normative justification of such rights. His seminal work on the topic is Tolerance in Conflict (2003) and, more recently, he has published a dialog with Wendy Brown, The Power of Tolerance: A Debate (2014). Forst has also done foundational work on morality, justice, and human rights—especially in his book The Right to Justification (2007).

Like Habermas, Forst bridges what were at one time seemingly separate worlds of political theory (most prominently represented by critical theory of the Frankfurt School) and analytic political philosophy. Also like Habermas, Forst was awarded Germany’s most prestigious research prize, the €2.5 million Leibniz Prize, which he received in 2012. The award of this prize was a symbolic passing of the torch from Habermas to Forst, which was made explicit in the official announcement of the award that declared Forst to be the "most important political philosopher of his generation.” 

The micro-seminar will meet on four successive Wednesdays. In two background sessions, the micro-seminar will discuss the key ideas in Forst’s theory of tolerance and in his work on the right to justification. This will set the stage for a lunch session with Forst. There will be one final meeting after Forst’s visit for further discussion and reflection. Reading assignments will be posted online.