Memory: Form, Function, and Fallibility (2015–16)
- Dawn Fulton, French Studies
- Adam Hall, Biological Sciences
Memory is crucial to human thought and reasoning; it is fundamental to daily function, to the construction of personal identity, to social interaction and historical documentation. Fields as varied as religion and computer science, literature, linguistics and anthropology have long grappled with the nature of memory and how it functions. Recent research in neuroscience has added new levels of complexity to our understanding of memory and its reliability, and to questions that cut across all disciplines: What is the relationship between memory and an event? Is memory a recording or a re-creation? How are collective memories constructed and sustained? Read the complete project description.
- Michael Thurston, English and American Studies
Spend five minutes watching a small child on the playground. She finds a set of stairs she has not navigated before. Tentatively and painstakingly, she figures out a combination of moves and holds that enable her to get to the top. What does she do then? She makes her way back down and does it again, more confidently, more quickly, more effectively. Read the complete project description
Short-term projects 2015-16
Futurisms II: Intersections: Digital Humanities, Interactive Media and Cultural Heritage
February 25-27, 2016
What role could technology serve in memorializing the dead? Why is it important to not only memorialize, but also archive tragey? What is gained (and lost) if we shift from creating memorials that are material—but also often fragile—to creating memorials that are digital and archival? These questions that emerge in considering how digital technologies might secure the future of an object like the AIDS Memorial Quilt, a cultural treasure whose physical, material status is under threat (due to deterioration). This project will begin with a public lecture by Anne Balsamo, Dean of the School of Media Studies at The New School who is leading a research-design group that is working on creating digital experiences for the AIDS Quilt that will transofrm it into a digital "activist archive" and an example of the possibilities of digital memorialization. Read the complete project description.
Future Fields: "Global" Methodologies and Art of the Middle East
March 31-April 2, 2016
Over the past few years, the field of modern and contemporary art of the Middle East has become increasingly institutionalized within the humanities. The question of what such a field might consist of has given way to the question of how to forge appropriate methodologies to research and teach cultural modernities of the Middle East. This emergent area of study embodies the larger dilemmas that confront the humanities during their ongoing "global turn." Above all it prompts us to ask: How can we reshape existing theories of culture, politics, and society based in Western-derived histories and ideas in order to study the many cultural practices that are only now being integrated into humanities' purview? Read the complete project description.
The Empire of Cotton
Friday-Saturday, April 29-30, 2016
Cotton has been the stuff of conflict and controversies in all parts of the globe for more than 5500 years. It is woven into the histories of cities and connected to disparate concerns. This three-day Kahn colloquium will use as its starting point a book, Empire of Cotton: A Global History, by Sven Beckert, a work that engages with virtually every academic discipline. Faculty from a wide range of disciplines are invited to come together to discuss the book and the interesting evolution of cotton in an informal and open-ended way. Read the complete project description.