Fall 2013 Colloquiua
Monday September 23rd, 11am AH 209
Noemi Marin, Communication Department
"Rhetorical Crossings: Communist and Post-Communist Rhetoric of Transformation"
This contribution focuses on rhetoric of transformation in Eastern and Central Europe. The traditional approach on “history of rhetoric” can be challenged when events force a multitude of perspectives to coexist as legitimate co-rhetorics. Post-communist era creates a transgression of borders not only in physical sense, but in a rhetorical sense, by reinventing, redefining, and/or reevaluating history of discourse. After 1989, which of the rhetorics takes priority over political discourse, and over which political discourse? How can argumentative structures address both new AND past discursive traditions that encompass pre-; communist; and post-communist approaches to political power? Rhetoric of transformation problematizes a fundamental dimension of history crossing, by configuring the relationship between rhetoric and history as a continuously re-activated approach to political discourse. This analysis examines also “otherness” and historical constraints of politics of “‘we vs. they,” prevalent in communist times as rhetorical actions of disassociation and fervent nationalism. I would like to add a specific notion about public space and public representation in 1989 and 1990 in Eastern European discourse.
Wednesday October 16th, 11am AH 209
Susan Love Brown, Anthropology Department
"Ayn Rand and American Culture"
Thursday November 7th, 11am AH 209
Oliver Buckton, English Department
"'My Name is Palmer?':Narration and Identity in Spy Novels by Ian Flemming and Len Deighton and their Film Adaptations"
In 1962, the course of the spy novel—and arguably of British postwar fiction—was changed by the appearance of a new hero in espionage literature. The opening sentences of Len Deighton’s The Ipcress File introduced a spy and anonymous first-person narrator that marked a dramatic departure from the model established by James Bond, whose first appearance in Casino Royale had occurred a decade earlier. As Kingsley Amis argued, Fleming’s work had itself marked a departure from the gentleman-amateur spies of authors such as John Buchan and Sapper. Fleming’s taut, quasi-objective, third person narrative voice created a sense of mystery around his lethal “machine,” 007. Indeed, as Umberto Eco points out, in Casino Fleming takes a decisive step away from narrative introspection: “Fleming in fact renounces psychology as the motive of narrative and decides to transfer characters and situations to the level of an objective structural strategy” (Eco, 146). This talk will explore the significant differences in narrative style of Deighton and Fleming, discussing their novels as symptomatic of the growing popular distrust of Britain’s ruling elite in post-war society. The talk will focus on Ipcress’s protagonist as a resolutely working-class figure, in perpetual conflict with authority and a harsh critic of Britain’s dysfunctional class system. In contrast to the patrician Bond, Deighton’s first-person narrator was an effective tool with which to highlight the realism of espionage, offering a subversive intimacy with the narrator’s cynical worldview. The talk will also explore the film adaptations of Dr No and Ipcress File, examining how the latter’s purpose of constructing an “anti-Bond” figure in popular culture is undermined by decision of producer Harry Salzman—who had also co-produced Dr No (1962)— to name the film’s protagonist (in Bond style) as Harry Palmer, sacrificing the subversive anonymity of Deighton’s spy.
Spring 2013 Colloquia
Wednesday February 20th, 1:00pm SO 285
Elizabeth Swanstrom, Department of English
"Animal, Vegetable, Digital: Experiments in New Media Aesthetics and Environmental Poetics"
“Animal, Vegetable, Digital” takes its name from the popular children’s game, which consists of trying to guess the identity of an unknown object after asking a series of questions about it. Questions vary, but the query that launches every game is comprised of three words: “animal, vegetable, mineral?” Armed with the answer to this first question, the player then begins her cross-examination in order to hone in on the mysterious object, in effect creating an idiosyncratic taxonomy for it. Our natural spaces are, conventionally, comprised of the same animal, vegetable, and mineral domains that start off the children’s game, but the status of nature is no more settled than it was at the dawn of the environmental movement. Determining the dominant feature that a particular slice of earth has to offer remains an important and politically charged pastime (this space is reserved for mineral mining; that space is an animal sanctuary; this other one a site where corn crops are grown and harvested, etc). To make matters more interesting, with the emergence of ubiquitous computing, this new category of the digital has been rubbing against these three with increasing friction. The past thirty years have seen an astonishing increase in digital technology worldwide, yet there has not been much careful reflection about the ways this technology might have something to contribute to our understanding of natural spaces and to environmental practice in general, nor has there been any serious or sustained discussion of how environmental poetics and new media aesthetics might engage with each other in productive, even positive, ways. The aim of “Animal, Vegetable, Digital” is to bridge this eco-digital divide.
Wednesday March 27th, 1:00pm SO 285
Melanie Loehwing, School of Communication and Multimedia Studies
"Mourning the Marginalized Body: The Rhetorical Corrective of the Homeless Persons' Memorial Day Advocacy Campaign"
The Homeless Persons' Memorial Day Campaign began in 1990, an initiative created by the National Coalition for the Homeless to coordinate annual community services held in cities across the United States. Each year, these memorial services publicize the deaths of individuals experiencing homelessness that have occurred in the preceding twelve months. The services are each held on or near December 21, which is "The first day of winter. The longest night of the year," in the words of the campaign's slogan. The campaign calls on the community to participate in a mourning ritual that converts the private act of remembering loved ones' passing to a public performance of solidarity with individuals marginalized by anti-homeless laws and sentiment. This performance stands in for much more pragmatic, materially oriented appeals typically made by advocacy groups, favoring instead the pursuit of a more symbolic corrective: a policy program of commemoration. Within the world of contemporary homeless advocacy, programs tend to be evaluated on purely economic grounds, and by such measures, the HPMD fails as a useful attempt to advocate on behalf of those experiencing homelessness. I argue, however, that what marks the HPMD as a compelling artifact for rhetorical analysis is the method by which it calls into question reigning norms of democratic citizenship---namely, the seemingly unshakeable articulation of empowered citizenship with housing status. Specifically, I argue that the HPMD campaign illustrates how rhetorics of the body shape contemporary notions of democratic citizenship, and how advocacy campaigns can potentially enact the forms of social justice they simultaneously call on legislators to make materially possible.
Friday April 12th, 1:00pm SO 285
Talitha LeFlouria, Department of History
"'Only Woman Blacksmith in America is Convict': Black Women and Prison Labor in the Post-Civil War South"
This presentation will underscore black women’s experiences of imprisonment within the carceral polities of the Deep South, and explores how mediums of space and economy impacted the gendered outplay of convict leasing in the southern states. By taking on the understudied subject of black female convict labor in the post-Civil War South, this essay answers all important questions about the extent of African-American women’s contribution to the construction of New South modernity.
Fall 2012 Colloquia
Tuesday, September 18, 11:00am SO 285
Papatya Bucak, Department of English
“Rock, Paper, Scissors: Methods of Creating Conflict in Short Fiction”
Short story structure is almost always referred to in terms of an arc, or when writers want to sound more technical, as following Freytag's Pyramid: rising action, climax, falling action. But when, in writing classes, this structure gets emphasized above all others, it short-changes the many moves writers can mak e during a story's rising action. This craft lecture will explore three variati ons on Freytag's pyramid each of which demonstrate how story structure c an help writers create more compelling conflicts.
Thursday, October 11, 11:00am SO 285
Yolanda Gamboa, Department of Languages, Linguistics, and Comparative Literature
"Bodies, Inventories, and Homes: Searching for Spanish Women in Colonial Saint Augustine"
How does one start studies in a field left aside by the established disciplines? How does one approach a body of knowledge when the textual sources are rare?
The history of the Spanish women of Early Colonial Florida (1565-1763) has been one of those topics left aside, with a few notable exceptions, both by scholars of American history as well as by those of Spanish Colonial history, yet it is a relevant aspect of a comprehensive study of colonial women, as well as of the interrelations between Spain and North America. This presentation questions the reason behind such absence and then proceeds to make some strides with the help of a feminist historiographic approach, as well as of material studies. Accounting for women as bodies, through inventories, or in relation to property, provides a number of avenues in this search.
Wednesday, November 7th, 11:00am SO 285
Mirya Holman, Department of Political Science
“Implicit and Explicit Gender Cues in Political Advertising”
What role does identity targeting play in voters’ reactions to male and female political candidates? I extend Mendelberg’s model of implicit and explicit communication effects (2001) and Hillygus and Shield’s (2008) idea of targeted messages to theorize about how implicit and explicit messages targeting gender identity will influence voters. Specifically, I predict that, among intended recipients, implicit identity targeting (as opposed to explicit) will have the most effect on producing fear, in-group identity salience, and positivity towards the candidate. Two experiments demonstrate that males can be targeted implicitly using messages that invoke threat, and that female respondents respond negatively to ads with implicit or explicit gender references. Party also conditions the responses to these ads. These results show evidence that implicit targeting is more successful than explicit targeting while also showing the role social identity plays in targeted messages. The research includes a discuss the implications of this study for representation.
Spring 2012 Colloqiua
(Click Here for the Spring 2012 flyer)
Wednesday, January 18th, 11:00am CU 321
Dr. Jane Caputi, School of Communications and Multimedia Studies
"Feeding Green Fire"
In his (1948) classic essay, “Thinking Like a Mountain,” environmental philosopher Aldo Leopold describes a “fierce green fire” as it died out in the eyes of an old mother wolf he had shot and the ensuing epiphany he experienced, resulting in an ecological conversion. Green fire has gone on to become a kind of imprimatur for environmental concerns. Here I consider the deep and veritably archetypal connotations of green fire. I begin with symbols from world religious, folk, and popular traditions, with particular attention to the 12th century theology of Hildegard of Bingen. Understanding green fire as an emblem of the life force/source, I explore its link to photosynthesis, traditional concepts of mother nature, the faking of green fire in biotechnological ventures as well as the “transgenic art” of international artist Eduardo Kac. Throughout, I consider the relationship of green fire to Leopold’s core concept of integrity, reading his understandings in conversation with feminist theologian Mary Daly’s “elemental philosophy” and her conception of Quintessence as the living presence behind the elemental integrity of the universe.
Wednesday, February 15th, 11:00am CU 321
Dr. James Cunningham, Department of Music
"The Music of the Right Coast: Florida's instrumental Surf Rock from the 1960s to the Present"
The Music of the Right Coast: Florida’s Instrumental Surf Rock from the 1960s to the Present.” This colloquium, presented by James E. Cunningham Associate Professor of Ethnomusicoloy at Florida Atlantic University, is based on ongoing research into Florida’s musical surf culture. Beginning with an overview its origins in the Western United States by early 1960s pioneers such as Dick Dale and The Ventures, this presentation will then trace surf rock through its successive second and third waves to the end of the twentieth century. Central to this study is the role of Florida surf-rock bands in the development and continuation of the genre to the present day.
Wednesday, March 21st, 11:00am CU 321
Dr. Karen Leader, Department of Visual art and Art History
Culture is what responds to man when he asks himself what he is doing on the earth. –Andre Malraux
To consider body modification, in this case tattooing, in the 21st century, is no longer to assume that you know something about the tattooed. While the scholarship on deviant behaviors, subcultures, risky behaviors, and self-mutilation might be relevant to pockets of the population, prisons for example, or gangs, a stroll around a shopping mall or college campus will reveal that the old assumptions no longer apply, and haven't for some time.
This paper will present some preliminary thoughts on a long-term creative collaboration I have undertaken with the Jaffe Center for Book Arts. The project, Stories on the Skin: Tattoo Culture at FAU, begins with the metaphor of tattooed individuals as walking books, with pages that can be read and interpreted, that have aesthetic merit and narrative content, and that include rich mythological and meaningful cross-cultural content. Encounters with hundreds of students reveal that a deepened understanding of the complexities of being and living tattooed poses broader questions about the nature of embodiment in the information age.
As the project has developed, my thinking has led to the following questions about its scholarly import. First, the phenomenon of the widespread, mainstream popularity of tattoo is occurring at the precise moment when our lives are becoming more virtual. What is the significance of this profoundly bodily performance of self in a world where bodies are being left behind for avatars? Second, if tattooing offers a positive value to individual subjectivity, can this active practice of a tradition as old as culture itself contribute to a renewed appreciation of the body as carrier of universal meanings? Finally, can this significant embodiment of self offer an ethical model for that affirms our lived experience, on an increasingly endangered planet?
Wednesday, April 25th, 11:00am CU 321
Dr. Raphael Dalleo, Department of English
"Bourideu and Postcolonial Studies"
Postcolonial studies emerged as an academic discipline in the 1980s as figures like Edward Said, Gayatri Spivak, and Homi Bhabha adapted post-structural theory by Foucault, Derrida, and Lacan to examinations of the non-European world. By the 1990s, the center of the field shifted to Paul Gilroy’s and Antonio Benítez-Rojo’s interest in the rhizomes of Deleuze and Guattari. But in the last 10 years, the European theorist who has inspired the most innovative and important work in postcolonial studies has been Pierre Bourdieu. Graham Huggan’s The Postcolonial Exotic (2001) crystalized much of the anxiety about the field’s institutionalization, inspiring new work from Sarah Brouillette and Richard Watts, as well as surprising turns towards sociological approaches to postcolonial literature by previously post-structuralist critics like Chris Bongie. In this presentation, I will explore the reasons for this turn towards Bourdieu as well as its implications for our understanding both of Bourdieu’s work and of postcolonial studies as a field.
Fall 2011 Colloquia
( click here for the Fall 2011 flyer)
September 7th at 11:30 AM
Dr. Adam Bradford from the English Department presented:
“The Collaborative Construction of a Death-Defying Cryptext:
Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass.”
This presentation examines Walt Whitman’s largely ignored relationship to the sentimental literature and culture of mourning of nineteenth-century America, nuancing those literary and historical accounts of the emergence of Leaves of Grass that characterize it as stemming largely from nineteenth-century artistic and philosophical movements such as Romanticism and Transcendentalism. Indeed, as this presentation discloses, much of the literature that Whitman wrote in the 1830s and 40s, before the 1855 publication of Leaves of Grass, was sentimental by nature, and several pieces, such as those written to memorialize the death of MacDonald Clarke, are elegiac in tone and follow the conventions of mourning and memorializing of the time period. Whitman’s participation in this culture through these highly conventional 1830s and 40s literary pieces seems, and has seemed to many critics, like a rather strange foreground for the unconventional Leaves of Grass. Yet, as this investigation shows, Whitman’s famous direct address – the radical “you” that lies at the heart of his 1855 poetry – grows out of the apostrophic styles of address that were commonly used in sentimental mourning poems during this period. Whitman’s reliance upon this culture, its rituals, practices, and literary conventions of mourning, ultimately allowed him to achieve that remarkably intimate sense of “presence,” of “perpetual existence beyond the grave,” that not only marked his otherwise unconventional Leaves of Grass, but forged an unquestionable resonance between it and a rather remarkable array of more conventional mourning objects proliferating during the time period.
October 4th - 11:00 AM
Dr. Clifford Brown from the Anthropology Department presented:
“The Emergence of Inequality”
Archaeological studies of the distribution of wealth are revealing that early civilizations exhibited extreme inequalities in the distribution of wealth much like those we see in modern industrial societies. Both modern and ancient distributions of wealth appear to be Pareto distributions, which are power-laws. We present evidence that Classic and Postclassic period ancient Maya sites present Pareto distributions of wealth, while in the earlier Preclassic period the distribution was different and may have more closely approximated an exponential distribution. Political scientist Manus Midlarsky has suggested a process by which the distribution of wealth in pre-state societies would evolve from exponential to power-law. Our evidence supports this view and opens a window onto the process of social differentiation.
November 8th - 11:00 AM
Dr. Frederic Conrod from the Department of Languages, Linguistics, and Comparative Literature presented:“ Beyond Hate: Representing the Parisian Banlieue in Recent French Cinema”
Spring 2011 Colloquia
Wednesday, January 19, 11 AM, CU 321A, Douglas Broadfield, Department of Anthropology
"The Consequences of Being Human: Perspectives from Biological Anthropology"
Humans often perceive themselves as the pinnacle of evolution. This creates the misconception that we are the perfect form. However, our evolution has been far from perfect. This talk will look at how the baggage of our past is reflected in our bodies and minds.
Tuesday, February 22, 11 AM, CU 321, John Golden, Department of English
“The Co-Presence of Something Regular”: Rhythm and Motion in Wordsworth’s Prosody”
Wordsworth’s descriptions of meter as “superadded” to poetry and as “the co-presence of something regular” can give the impression that meter is extrinsic to the body of a poem, a secondary consideration that even constitutes a secondary text (a “co-presence”). This paper seeks instead to understand Wordsworth’s conception of poetic rhythm—both in his theory and in his practice—as more fundamentally embodied and embodying. In this conception, rhythm is an active attunement of bodies that emerges from language’s own sonic materials; it coordinates the presences of the poem. I consider the Wordsworthian motif of the encounter in nature as a model for understanding the expressive and cognitive nature of language’s materiality. Often such encounters involve the poet finding a human figure, such as the leech gatherer of “Resolution and Independence,” who calls attention to the expressive limits of language and the relative eloquence of bodily gesture and movement. In what way can we (or did Wordsworth) understand prosody to be such a matrix of “gesture,” “movement,” and expression?
Clifford Brown, Department of Anthropology ( Postponed, date and time TBA)
"The Emergence of Inequality"
Archaeological studies of the distribution of wealth are revealing that early civilizations exhibited extreme inequalities in the distribution of wealth much like those we see in modern industrial societies. Both modern and ancient distributions of wealth appear to be Pareto distributions, which are power-laws. Political scientist Manus Midlarsky has suggested a process by which the distribution of wealth in pre-state societies would evolve from exponential to power-law. We have present evidence from the ancient Maya civilization that this may be true.
Wednesday, April 20, 11 AM, Jennifer Low, Department of English
"Pictorial Tradition and the Body Onstage: Acting and the Iconography of Tableaux"
In this paper I attempt to trace a genealogy for the way the body is used in theatrical traditions that provide an alternative to emotional realism (and, in the twentieth century, to Stanislavski’s method). I search for historical connections among the more spectacular and physically oriented theater movements that communicate emotion through what Brecht termed gestus, an action placed in a specific social context). Underlying this project is Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s influence upon theories of theatrical performance; here I consider whether the actor’s habitus is as significant as the audience’s expectation of reading the body. I begin by examining the role that Stanislavsky thought the body played in dramatic performance. Moving to alternative approaches, I discuss allegorical elements, specifically allegorical moments, in early modern dramas and compare the pictorial tradition evident in nineteenth-century tableaux vivants. I go on to compare the antipathy to emotional realism of Artaud to that of Brecht and conclude by a brief case study of the Propeller Company’s Twelfth Night as an example of Artaudian appropriation of the Brechtian Verfremdungseffekte.
Fall 2010 Colloquia
Tuesday, September 28, 2010- Coffee Colloquium: 11:00 AM in AH 105 ( History seminar room), Brian McConnell (Visual Arts & Art History) will present:
"Hey there, what's that sound -- an inscription in Greek meter on the Temple of Apollo (Syracuse, Sicily) and Synaesthetic Response?"
The Temple of Apollo at Syracuse (Sicily) is generally considered to be the first Greek temple that was fully built in stone. Except for the uppermost members of the roof structure, the platform, interior cella (naos), columns, and the entablature were constructed from ashlar blocks or other sculpted elements in limestone. This was a major achievement anywhere in the Greek Mediterranean, although it certainly needed further refinement. The erection of columns from single blocks of stone was changed quickly to a system of column drums; nevertheless, this first success was cause for celebration, and it was commemorated in a large inscription on the eastern side of the stylobate, the uppermost step of the temple platform.
Scholars have debated the reading of the Greek inscription, but relatively little attention has been given to its metrical qualities. Our discussion will focus on reading and scanning the text, which may hold a key to understanding not only to whom the temple was dedicated, but perhaps what may have gone on at the temple’s dedication. Reading the inscription, in fact, may evoke a synaesthetic response, which brings us closer, in a physical way to the moment of the building’s initial celebration.
Tuesday, October, 19, 2010- Coffee Colloquium: 11:00 AM in AH 105 ( History seminar room), Marcella Munson (Languages, Linguistics, and Comparative Literature) will discuss:
"Célibat et Nature: Disputing Masculinities in Late Medieval France"
Although new twelfth-century laws requiring priestly celibacy were intended to be a major turning point in ecclesiastical practice, these complex laws were not uniformly enforced, and were still being sorted out centuries later. In the early fifteenth century this long-standing debate was reinvigorated with the publication of Guillaume Saignet's treatise Lamentacio humane nature. Saignet's text summarizes the major strands of the debate begun decades earlier, and also provokes the explicit response of Jean Gerson, chancellor of the University of Paris and key participant in France's first literary debate in which one side advocated the literary merits of the Romance of the Rose, and the other side condemned it for its turpitude.
Gerson's response to Saignet highlights the existence of two strongly competing models of masculinity in medieval culture. While Saignet's model valorized an ideal of virile paternity based on a proliferative Nature, Gerson's emphasized celibacy in a performative context (what Megan McLaughlin calls "virile celibacy") in which celibate clerks echoed the gestures, movements and styles of secular fathers, often through the creation of elaborate narratives. Gerson presents a new normative model of celibacy-based masculinity in which to interpret the Rose, the better to condemn it.
Tuesday, November 16 2010- Coffee Colloquium: 11:00 AM in AH 105 ( History seminar room), Taylor Hagood (English) will present:
"Faulkner and the Embodying of Cognitive Disability"
William Faulkner created one of the most famous cognitively disabled characters in American literature in Benjy Compson of The Sound and the Fury. A decade later in his novel The Hamlet, Faulkner introduced Ike Snopes, a character so similar to Benjy as to be practically his poor-white twin. While these characters’ cognitive disabilities distinguish them and occupy scholars’ attention, equally intriguing are the ways that Faulkner vivifies those disabilities in his depiction of their bodies. Replete with nonhuman animal imagery and aberrant characteristics, Faulkner’s descriptions of these characters’ bodies make external and physically active the disabilities that are otherwise relentlessly internal and that ostensibly render the characters passive objects. This embodying of cognitive disability thus allows a paradoxical enablement of agency that both binds the characters in a hermetic identity of disability and yet also permits their violation of social strictures that apply both to disabled and nondisabled characters in Faulkner’s created world and implicitly in the real socio-political world that is its referent.
Spring 2010 Colloquia
The Center for Body, Mind, and Culture will present the following speakers in our ongoing coffee colloquium series:
Wednesday, January 27, 2010- Coffee Colloquium: 12:00 PM in AH 105 ( History seminar room), Professor Robin Fiore (Philosophy) will discuss:
“Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Healthcare: Research on Implicit Attitudes and Disparities Arising From the Clinical Encounter”
Differences in treatment recommendations and in health care outcomes for racial and ethnic minorities are consistently found across a wide range of disease areas and clinical services and across a range of clinical settings. Disparities are found even when clinical factors, such as stage of disease presentation, co-morbidities, age, and severity of disease are taken into account. There are a number of potential sources of racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare: health systems-level factors such as third party financing, patient-level factors such as patient poor adherence, and a third category, “disparities arising from the clinical encounter.” [Institute of Medicine, Unequal Treatment]. This last category includes stereotyping, bias, and cultural uncertainty on the part of clinicians. In this presentation, I discuss recent work in cognitive psychology on implicit attitudes in connection with racial and ethnic disparities in health care.
Robin N. Fiore is an Associate Professor of Philosophy and Adelaide R. Snyder Professor of Ethics at Florida Atlantic University. Her present research focuses on issues of social justice in health care, particularly with respect to women’s health and racial and ethnic disparities.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010- Coffee Colloquium: 12:00 PM in AH 105 ( History seminar room), Prisca Augustyn (German) will present:
"Meaning in Nature – A New Translation of Jakob von Uexküll’s ‘Bedeutungslehre’"
Prisca Augustyn will talk about her translation project of works by Jakob von Uexküll (1864-1944) from the original German into English. Uexküll's ‘Theoretical Biology’ and other texts revolving around his ‘Umweltlehre’ first influenced scholars like Heidegger, Plessner, Cassirer, Lorenz and Merleau-Ponty. Thomas A. Sebeok (1920-2002) considered the discovery of Uexküll's work one of his most important contributions to semiotics; and Uexküll was included in the 'Classics in Semiotics' (1981) among Peirce, Morris, Saussure, Hjelmslev, Jakobson, Bühler, and Sebeok. Do the recent references to Uexküll's work in a wide variety of progressive contemporary theoretical currents (such as biosemiotics, biolinguistics, posthumanism, practice anthropology, philosophical anthropology, and environmental philosophy) call for a new translation of his work? What should this translation look like?
Prisca Augustyn is an Associate Professor of German and Linguistics at Florida Atlantic University and the co-editor of Stationen. Kursbuch für die Mittelstufe . Her current research interests include semiotics and language learning, and the importance of Jakob von Uexküll's Umweltlehre for the field of Biosemiotics.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010- Coffee Colloquium: 11:00 AM in AH 104 ( English seminar room), Eric Berlatsky ( English) will discuss:
"Time and Free Will: Agency in Four Dimensions in the Graphic Novels of Alan Moore."
At the heart of Alan Moore’s Watchmen (habitually called the “greatest graphic novel of all time”), is a rarely observed contradiction between the book’s radical politics and its scientific/metaphysical ruminations. On one hand, as in Moore’s earlier works, Watchmen focuses on each individual’s responsibility to “change the world” for him or her self, not to cede control to individuals with “superpowers” or to the governments of the “super powers” (the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.). The book’s catchphrase, “Who Watches the Watchmen,” reminds us that if we allow others to “watch over” us, there will be nothing to “watch over” them. While the phrase does insist that we “keep an eye” on our governments and those in power, it is better read as an objection to letting them “watch over” us in the first place. If we assert our own wills and our own desires, the phrase suggests, there will be no need for an “overclass” to tell us what to do. Moore’s earlier V for Vendetta makes a similar plea for anarchy (“no rulers”) and insists on human agency (despite the very human tendency to abdicate such freedom). On the other hand, Moore’s dabbling in Einsteinian and quantum physics makes the very notion of “freedom” or “free will” dubious. Einstein’s and Hermann Minkowski’s model of a four-dimensional spacetime continuum suggests that all time and space exist continuously or “simultaneously,” and that it is only our consciousness that moves forward in time. In Watchmen, Earth’s sole “superhero,” Dr. Manhattan, escapes the limits of human consciousness and experiences all four dimensions at once. As such, he occupies the future before it happens for the remainder of the book’s characters. Periodic access to Dr. Manhattan’s point-of-view in the novel implies that all events have, in some sense, “already happened” and that the human characters have no power to change them. This paper, then, explores the problematic relationship between radical politics and modern physics as it is enacted in Watchmen, in Moore’s other graphic novels, and through the prism of the debate between Einstein and Henri Bergson ( from whose 1889 book Time and Free Will the title of this talk originates ). Despite Moore’s antagonism to all hierarchical structures and his deep investment in anarchism and feminism, this paper will explore the possibility that his parallel interest in science (and later magic) projects an image of an inevitable universe that leaves little or no room for human agency, political or otherwise.
Eric Berlatsky is an Assistant Professor of English at FAU. Some of his work appears in Narrative, Arizona Quarterly, the Journal of Narrative Theory, and Cultural Critique. He also has a forthcoming article in Twentieth-Century Literature and his first book is forthcoming from Ohio State University Press.
Thursday, April 15, 2010- Coffee Colloquium: 11:00 AM in AH 104 ( English seminar room), Douglas McGetchin ( History) will present:
"Global Cultural Connections in the Indian Swadeshi Movement, 1903-1908"
This talk examines the global connections of the Swadeshi (self-sufficiency) movement, including the degree of connection to foreign sympathizers and their intellectual-ideological cross-cultural influence. Foreigners in Calcutta included the Irish Home Rule advocate Margaret Noble (a.k.a. Sister Nivedita, a follower of Swami Vivekananda) and Japanese art critic Kakuzo Okakura who advocated a pan-Asian cultural identity as a means to rid Asia of colonial rule. The Indian Hemchandra Das visited Paris in 1906, making contact with European extremists and acquired bomb-making knowledge that he put to use back home.
The modern border between independent Bangladesh and Indian West Bengal one can trace back to the decision of the British in 1903 to partition the capital province of Bengal. This scheme to split the Bengali-speaking population and thus weaken opposition to British rule had a progressively radical backlash. Indians initiated the Swadeshi resistance movement which at first pursued a peaceful campaign of petitions, speeches, and meetings. But when these methods failed to stop the British partition, it turned to more direct action, including economic boycotts and eventually assassination and bomb-throwing. Exploring the larger context of the conflict over method—the use of violence and the most effective ways to challenge colonial power—informs our understanding of connections between moderates and extremists both in Europe and India. Bolstering this political struggle were international cultural connections that played an important role in forming a strong Indian cultural identity
Douglas McGetchin is an Assistant Professor of History at Florida Atlantic University and co-editor of Sanskrit and “Orientalism”: Indology and Comparative Linguistics in Germany, 1750-1958.
Fall 2009 Colloquia
Wednesday, September 2, 2009- Coffee Colloquium: 11:00 AM in AH 105 ( History seminar room), Professor Mary Cameron (Anthropology) discussed:
"Nature and Health in the Himalayas"
Ayurveda is one of the most popular forms of healthcare in Nepal for it provides a theory of health and illness that is supported by people's extensive knowledge of medicinal plants. Indeed, Ayurvedic doctors and rural farmers share a caring devotion for medicinal plants (called jadibuti, 'healing entities from roots') corresponding to what environmental anthropologist Kay Milton has identified as a human-environment orientation of "loving nature" that is common to communities directly dependent on natural resources. Furthermore, Ayurveda explicitly acknowledges that plants contribute to the growth and well-being of humans within an ethos (shared, I argue, by lay Nepalis) that might be interpreted to claim that humans and plants are different forms of the same phenomenon. In contrast, environmentalists working to preserve Himalayan biodiversity, often in unique partnership with Ayurvedic physicians, approach human-nature relationships quite differently. They typically see humans as impediments to sustainable plant conservation. This talk explores how human-environment orientations are complementary, conflictual, and mutually influential in responding to modernizing forces and to achieving the development goals of health care improvement and biodiversity conservation.
Mary Cameron, an Associate Professor of Anthropology, FAU and the author of On the Edge of the Auspicious: Gender and Caste in Nepal. University of Illinois Press
Wednesday, October 28, 2009- Coffee Colloquium: 11:00 AM in AH 105 ( History seminar room), Professor Nora Erro-Peralta (Languages, Linguistics, and Comparative Literature) presented:
"Reconstructing the Past Through Women's Eyes: the New Latin American Historical Novel"
Over the course of the last twenty-five years, a large number of Latin American historical novels have been written and published in Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America. This talk will explore how certain Latin American women writers have created a unique and challenging portrayal of women who have been marginalized and even omitted from historical accounts and will reconsider the role of women in writing national history and forming national identity.
Specifically, I will focus on two Latin American novelists: Alicia Yánez Cossío from Ecuador and Isabel Allende from Chile. Both have recently published works that recreate the lives of women during the Spanish conquest and early colonization of the Americas (1500-1600). In her latest novel, Memorias de la Pivihuarmi Cuxirimay Ocllo Yánez Cossío tells the history of the Incas through the eyes of Cuxirimay Ocllo, Emperor Atahualpa’s pirihuarmi, who narrates her own life from her birth to the fall of the Empire and then her subsequent life under Spanish rule; and Isabel Allende in her 2006 novel entitled Inés del alma mía recounts the story of the first woman to arrive in Chile with the conquistadors in the 1500s. Inés Suárez, a real historical figure who came to Chile with Pedro de Valdivia narrates her life in her own words, emphasizing the role she played in the conquest of the new territory for Spain and the founding of the first Spanish settlement in Santiago in 1540. Both novels subvert the official history by replacing its patriarchal male discourse with a rebellious feminine discourse.
Nora Erro-Peralta, is a Professor of Spanish and Latin American Literature, FAU and the co-editor of Beyond the Border: A New Age in Latin American Women's Fiction . University of Florida Press
Tuesday, November 3, 2009- Coffee Colloquium: 11:00 AM in AH 105 ( History seminar room), Professor Eric Freedman (Communication) discussed:
Eric Freedman, is an Associate Professor of Communication and Multimedia Studies, FAU and the author of Transient Images, forthcoming from Temple University Press.
Spring 2009 Colloquia
Wednesday, January 21, 2009- Coffee Colloquium: 12:00 PM in AH 105 ( History seminar room), Professor Carol Gould ( Philosophy) will present:
"Aristotle's Ethical Taxonomy and the Histrionic Personality Disorder"
This talk focuses on the Histrionic Personality Disorder, a diagnosis from the DSM IV, which, I argue, raises some intriguing philosophical problems.
The disorder has been relatively ignored by philosophers, researchers, and non-psychoanalytic therapists, perhaps because HPD is often conflated with the more vague notion of hysteria. (HPD is not unrelated to hysteria in that both are defined in terms of externalizing emotion.) HPD raises questions about the precarious line between the pathological and the moral as well as some concerns about the biases embedded in diagnostic categories.
HPD is classified as a Cluster B personality disorder along with the widely discussed Anti-Social, Narcissistic, and Borderline Personality Disorders. These characters are perennially fascinating, as we see in the concerns of theoretical and literary writers since Plato and those reflected in popular culture. Philosopher L. Charland argues in a recent article that Cluster B disorders are not really psychological disorders but instead moral disorders, and, as such, require moral therapy not psychotherapy. He scarcely discusses the Histrionic, adding a few remarks only at the end of his discussion. Similarly, most empirical studies of Cluster Bs focus less on HPD than the other three. The Histrionic, I believe, does not belong with Cluster Bs.
My project is to show that the Histrionic is not a moral disorder (and possibly not a personality disorder) by using Aristotle's ethical theory. In doing so, I propose some ideas about what a moral disorder is, how psychological disorders are culturally 'constructed,' and whether the DSM IV diagnostic categories articulate real distinctions.
Dr. Gould, professor of Philosophy at FAU, is the author of numerous journal articles. Most recently, " Dogen and Plato on Enlightenment" appeared in the Japan Studies Review and "Glamour as an Aesthetic Property of Persons" was published in the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism.
Monday, February 9, 2009- Coffee Colloquium: 12:00 PM in AH 105 ( History seminar room), Professor Jeffrey Morton ( International Law and Politics) will discuss:
"The Iraq War: A Failure of Democracy"
Over the course of the past century, the American public has experienced periods of intense political debate over foreign policy as well as periods of foreign policy consensus. The implication of periods of consensus is a failure to fully and meaningfully debate alternative foreign policy paths. This presentation, based upon a published journal article, examines the causes and policy implications of periods of public consensus over foreign policy. In so doing, it offers an explanation for America's two greatest foreign policy errors, the Vietnam War and the 2003 Iraq War.
Dr. Morton, Professor of International Law and Politics at FAU, is the author of The International Law Commission of the United Nations and the senior editor of Reflections on the Balkan Wars: Ten Years After the Break-up of Yugoslavia .
"The Public Realm and Academic Interface"
My professional work engages teams of participants from diverse fields and, at times, academics. I will discuss two projects related to this cross-disciplinary process. One is a current project I'm leading, the planning of the W.E.B. Du Bois Homesite in Great Barrington, Massachusetts with the University of Massachusetts' Du Bois Center and the Friends of Du Bois, The other is a recently published white paper "Infrastructure and Community" for the Environmental Defense Fund.
Michael Singer held the Dorothy F. Schmidt Eminent Scholar Chair in the Arts from 2002-2005. He is currently the Special Consultant to the Dean of Arts and Humanities.
Michael's work crosses several disciplines. One of his key roles at the University is establishing opportunities for cross-college academic work within the institution and engaging academic interactions with his projects.
"Ransoming Cuban history between poetry and archives"
This presentation focuses on the history behind the 1608 poem "Espejo de paciencia" [Mirror of patience] generally considered the first poem written in colonial Cuba and attributed to a scribe/notary public from the Canary Islands by the name of Silvestre de Balboa. Written in Renaissance epic style, the poem narrates, in 152 stanzas, the kidnapping of Bishop Juan de las Cabezas Altamirano by French pirates in 1604 and the colonists' ploy to punish the marauders. Only meriting a passing line by historians, Espejo de paciencia owes its place as Cuba's foundational text to literary critics and nationalist propagandists. Revealing documents she uncovered in Spanish and Mexican archives, Cruz-Taura rescues the poem from myth and offers a historian's nuanced reading of the intricate network that tied the lives of a bishop, a poet, smugglers, and Inquisition officials in the Spanish Caribbean at the turn of the seventeenth century.
Dr. Graciella Cruz-Taura is Associate Professor of History at Florida Atlantic University. Rescate: "Espejo de paciencia" en la historia de Cuba will be published by Iberoamericana Editorial/Vervuert Verlag in 2009.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008- Coffee Colloquium: Professor Oliver Buckton ( English) presented "Robert Louis Stevenson, William Gladstone, and the Politics of Late-Victorian Masculinity" from 11:00 AM-12:00 PM in FAU's room AH 105. Dr. Buckton , professor of English at FAU, is the author of two books, Secret Selves: Confession and Same-Sex Desire in Victorian Autobiography and Cruising with Robert Louis Stevenson: Travel, Narrative, and the Colonial Body.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008- Coffee Colloquium: Professor Michael Horswell (Languages and Linguistics) spoke about "Re-writing Imperial Subjects of Treason: Amazons and Cañaris in Spanish Transatlantic Literature" from 11:00 AM- 12:00 PM in FAU's room AH 105. Dr. Horswell, an associate professor of Latin American literature and Spanish at Florida Atlantic University, is the author of Decolonizing the Sodomite: Queer Tropes of Sexuality in Colonial Andean Culture .
Wednesday, November 12, 2008- Coffee Colloquium: Professor Benno Lowe ( History) discussed: "Commonwealth and Reformation: Protestantism and the Politics of Religious Change in the Gloucester Vale (1350-1560)" from 11:00 AM-12:00 PM in FAU's room AH 105. Dr. Lowe, associate professor of History at Florida Atlantic University, is the Author of Imagining Peace: A History of Early English Pacifist Ideas.
Thursday, April 17, 2008 - Coffee Colloquium: Dr. Susan Love Brown spoke about American individualist anarchism from 2-3:30 PM in FAU's room AH 105. Brown, associate professor of anthropology and acting director of comparative studies at FAU, is the editor of Intentional Community: An Anthropological Perspective and the co-author of Meeting Anthropology Phase to Phase . She has published on topics varying from Ayn Rand and Anarcho-Capitalism to ethnography in the Bahamas and a yoga community called Ananda Village.
Monday, March 17, 2008 - Coffee Colloquium: From 2 - 3:30 PM in FAU's room AH 105, Frederick E. Greenspahn, Gimelstob Eminent Scholar in Judaic Studies, discussed "Jewish Theologies of Scripture." Greenspahn suggests, "It is common in the study of religion for unfamiliar traditions to be treated as structurally similar to those that are familiar. That fallacy is responsible for the assumption that the Bible plays the same role in Judaism as in (Protestant) Christianity. A survey of Jewish thought on the matter reveals three broad understandings of the Bible's role, some of which are quite distinct from what is commonly assumed." Dr. Greenspahn is Director of the Jewish Studies Program at FAU.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008 - Coffee Colloquium: At 2:30 PM, poet, biographer, and literary critic, Mark Scroggins, discussed his new book, The Poem of a Life: A Biography of Louis Zukofsky. For more information about FAU Associate Professor of English Mark Scroggins, click here. For more information about the event, contact the Center for Body, Mind, and Culture. To learn more about The Poem of a Life, click here. This event took place in FAU's room AH105.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007 - Coffee Colloquium: From 4:00 - 5:00 PM in AH 108, Lester Embree, William F. Dietrich Eminent Scholar, spoke about the "Phenomenology of Nursing." For more information about the event, contact the Center for Body, Mind, and Culture.
Tuesday, October 23 - Coffee Colloquium: At 4:30 PM in AH 108, National Book Award finalist Susan Mitchell discussed the "Poetic Process as Menage ? Trois." For more information about poet and professor Susan Mitchell, click here. For more information about the event, contact the Center.
March 12, 2 PM Coffee Colloquium, History Seminar Room, Ken Holloway, Assistant Professor of History and Levenson Professor of Asian Studies discussed "Opposing Views on Chinese Government"
April 9, 2007 - Coffee Colloquium : "Food and Self" presented by Wen-ying Xu
Xu writes: "In this short presentation, I will argue that food, as the most significant medium of the traffic between the inside and outside of our bodies, organizes, signifies, and legitimates our sense of self in distinction from others who practice different foodways. Food not only nourishes but also signifies. Cuisine, the process of transforming raw materials into safe, nourishing, and pleasing dishes, is central to our subjectivity, because this transformation operates in 'the register of the imagination' more than of the material. I will also briefly demonstrate how to read food in literature."