Simpson Center for the Humanities


Quarterly Event Highlights - Winter 2013
This list of events and announcements is provided as a service by the University of Washington Simpson Center for the Humanities. Events and times are subject to change.


Events Digest

For more details or to submit an event, visit our web calendar.

Indigenous Women Migrants and Human Rights in the Era of Neoliberial Multicriminalism
Communications 120 - Thursday, Jan 17 - 4:00 PM

Shannon Speed (Anthropology, University of Texas) takes indigenous women migrants’ oral histories as a point of departure for analyzing the larger structures of power that mark them for violence and render their human rights all but non-existent in the violent era she calls “neoliberal multicriminalism.” Indigenous women who migrate to the United States suffer human rights violations at every step: in their homes, as they cross the wide expanse of Mexico, and once they enter the United States. This is not what was supposed to happen. The multicultural reforms of the 1990s in various Latin American countries generated hope and unprecedented social mobilization for indigenous women seeking full access to their human rights. However, the promises of neoliberal multiculturalism never materialized. Indigenous people suffered all the damage of ruthless neoliberal economics, without the democratic politics, rights regimes, and rule of law it was supposed to bring with it. In their stead, there are illegal economies on a massive scale and increasingly authoritarian states militarizing to combat illegality, while corruptly participating in it to reap some profits. Part of the 2012-2013 John E. Sawyer Seminar on the Comparative Study of Cultures at the University of Washington on B/ordering Violence: Boundaries, Indigeneity and Gender in the Americas.
The Facial Closeup in Audio-Visual Testimony: The Power of Embodied Memory
Communications 120 - Thursday, Jan 24 - 4:00 PM

What is the special power of the close-up in the documentary film, especially for audio-visual testimony of Holocaust or 9/11 survivors? Inspired by the writings of Belá Balázs and Emmanuel Levinas, Michael Renov (School of Cinematic Arts, University of Southern California) interrogates the aesthetic, psychological, and ethical stakes of the facial close-up with examples drawn from Shoah Foundation testimony and Jim Whitaker's Rebirth (2011). Renov is Professor of Critical Studies and Vice Dean for Academic Affairs at University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts, and the author of Hollywood's Wartime Woman: Representation and Ideology and The Subject of Documentary, editor of Theorizing Documentary, and co-editor of Resolutions: Contemporary Video Practices, Collecting Visible Evidence, The SAGE Handbook of Film Studies and Cinema's Alchemist: The Films of Peter Forgacs. Sponsored by the Moving Image Research Group (MIRG).
Tokyo Stories: Reading Urban Space
Communications 202 -Saturday, Jan 26 - All Day

This one-day interdisciplinary symposium will investigate the transformation of Tokyo from both macro- and micro-cosmic scales spanning World War II to the present. In bringing together the perspectives of literature, art, and architecture, the discussion will focus on the multiple interpretations of Japan’s capital as envisioned and actually experienced. Sponsored by UW faculty of Japanese Studies, the Japan Foundation, and the Simpson Center.
 New Books in Print
Cold Modernism: Literature, Fashion, Art
Communications 202 - Thursday, Jan 31 - 4:00 PM  Details

From Coco Chanel and the impact of the little black dress on modernism, to re-readings of Henry James, the inventions and poetry of Mina Loy, photographs of Hans Bellmer's sex doll, and why playing cards is not the same thing as thinking, Jessica Burstein's (English) account of modernism seeks to recenter the field and awaken us to the aesthetic virtues of taking surface appearance seriously. Central to her analysis in Cold Modernism: Literature, Fashion, Art (Penn State UP, 2012) is the important premise that our current understanding of modernism is fundamentally incomplete.
Yaqui Profiles of Deportability, 1899-1912
Communications 120 -Thursday, Feb 7 - 4:00 PM  Details

During the Porfiriato, between 1899 and 1912, Yaqui deportations from Sonora to the Yucatan Peninsula were estimated at 2,000 in number. Based on preliminary findings from Mexico City and Hermosillo archives, Nicole Guidotti-Hernández (American Studies, University of Texas) has developed a small-scale statistical database holding a sample of 4000 deportees. Her talk uses the data collected for the years 1906-1907 to demonstrate how the Mexican state created an actual profile of Yaqui deportability. By analyzing the major tenets of the deportability of Indigenous bodies (age, gender, site of detainment, social association, etc.), her research exposes Mexico’s desires to compete with U.S. empire with its own colonial designs. Part of the 2012-2013 John E. Sawyer Seminar on the Comparative Study of Cultures at the University of Washington on B/ordering Violence: Boundaries, Indigeneity and Gender in the Americas.
Flu Forum: The Ethics and Politics of Influenza Research in a Global Context
Communications 202 - Friday, Feb 8 - 2:30 PM

Each year as flu season approaches we're alerted to the threat posed by new strains of influenza--evolving in the wild, in laboratories, and in society. In September 2011 flu hit the headlines when researchers at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam announced that they had successfully engineered a transmissible mutant H5N1 virus, generating intense debate about the ethics and politics of biomedical research: Is there research scientists should not undertake? How should such research with dangerous organisms be regulated, and what responsibilities do scientists have to assess and to communicate its risks? The historical geographies in which flu viruses evolve raise still another set of questions. This Flu Forum considers the ethics and politics of H5N1 research in the context of the global political and economic inequalities that condition devastating pandemics and determine how we respond to these threats. Sponsored by Biological Futures in a Globalized World.
Are We Researching Our Way Into a Deadly Pandemic?
Communications 202 - Monday, Feb 11 - 12:00 PM

Influenza strains operate across multiple levels of biocultural organization: molecularly, pathogenically and clinically; evolutionarily, geographically and economically; across wildlife biologies, agroecologies and circuits of capital. The expanse of influenza's causes and effects plays out to the virus's advantage. Influenza appears to use opportunities it finds in one domain or scale to help it solve problems it faces in other domains and at other scales. Scientific collaboration, then, is mission critical, even as the logistics are difficult. How do we get different research disciplines to talk to each other in such a way as to address influenza's full dimensionality? Rob Wallace will discuss the difficulties in studying influenza across epistemological domains. Rob Wallace is an evolutionary biologist and public health phylogeographer presently visiting the University of Minnesota's Institute for Global Studies. He is co-author of Farming Human Pathogens: Ecological Resilience and Evolutionary Process. Sponsored by Biological Futures in a Globalized World.
Traces of a Viennese Childhood: Uncovering the Early Life and Career of Edgar G. Ulmer
Denny 308 - Friday, Feb 15 - 1:30 PM

Noah Isenberg, Director of Screen Studies at Eugene Lang College and Associate Professor of Liberal Studies at the New School for Social Research, presents part of his new book, Edgar G. Ulmer: A Filmmaker in Transit, forthcoming from the University of California Press. Co-sponsored by the Department of Germanics, the Stroum Jewish Studies Program, the Department of Slavic Languages & Literatures, and the Moving Image Research Group (MIRG).
The Rite, Then and Now
Henry Art Gallery - Friday, Feb 15 - 7:00 PM

The Rite Centennial Lecture Series will explore how the premiere of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring had a lasting impact on Western culture and aesthetics, from the original Nijinsky choreography performed by Ballets Russes and subsequent reconstructions and re-imaginations of this ballet, to today’s composers and their own revolutionary visions for the future of music. In this event, Jürg Koch (Dance) and Betsy Cooper (Dance) discuss The Rite of Spring over the years and share film clips of influential versions of it. Koch shares his experience choreographing his own version of The Rite of Spring for the UW faculty dance concert, premiering on January 18 at Meany Hall for the Performing Arts. Part of the UW’s Rite of Spring Centennial Celebration.
Performing Authenticity and the Labor of Dance
Communications 120 - Wednesday, Feb 20 - 5:00 PM

From the Rockettes to flash mobs, from ballet to planking: how is the labor of performance represented? Do dancers labor when they learn a dance technique? Does dancing transcend labor? Does dancing offer a kind of authenticity that no other physical practice does? Susan Leigh Foster's (World Arts & Cultures, University of California, Los Angeles) talk focuses on current theories of labor and their applicability to dance through consideration of experimental concert dance and also televised reality competition shows such as “So You Think You Can Dance.” Co-sponsored by the UW Dance Program, the Simpson Center for the Humanities, and the UW Philosophy Department.
 Katz Lecture
Now You See It: Why the Future of Higher Education Demands a Paradigm Shift
Kane 210 - Thursday, Feb 21 - 7:00 PM

Interactive digital technologies have changed how we learn in everyday life far faster than they’ve changed the structures, motives, and metrics of our educational systems. Until now. According to Katz Lecturer Cathy N. Davidson (English and Interdisciplinary Studies, Duke University), we are on the threshold of a monumental transformation in higher education, one aimed at the needs and expectations of the next generation of resilient, connected, self-paced, peer-inspired, creative, multidisciplinary, and multicultural global learners. Recently appointed by President Obama to the National Council on the Humanities, Davidson teaches at Duke University, where she co-directs the PhD Lab in Digital Knowledge and is the Ruth F. DeVarney Professor of English and the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies. She has written more than twenty books, most recently Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn (2011).
On Learning and Teaching: Digital Knowledge
Communications 202 - Friday, Feb 22 - 9:30 AM

In her recent writing, Winter 2013 visiting Katz Lecturer Cathy N. Davidson (English and Interdisciplinary Studies, Duke University) argues that new forms of thinking are required by our distributed and digital workplace, and new forms of learning must be embraced by our educational institutions. In this colloquium, she explores self-learning, collaboration, and participatory learning as key capacities demanded of us in the digital twenty-first century.
 New Books in Print Lecture
Ferocious Reality: Documentary According to Werner Herzog
Communications 202 - Wednesday, Feb 27 - 4:00 PM

Over the course of his career Werner Herzog, known for such visionary masterpieces as Aguirre: The Wrath of God (1972) and The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (1974), has directed almost sixty films, roughly half of which are documentaries. And yet, in a statement delivered during a public appearance in 1999, the filmmaker declared: “There are deeper strata of truth in cinema, and there is such a thing as poetic, ecstatic truth. It is mysterious and elusive, and can be reached only through fabrication and imagination and stylization.” Eric Ames’ (Germanics) Ferocious Reality (U of Minnesota Press, 2012) is the first book to ask how this conviction, so hostile to the traditional tenets of documentary, can inform the work of one of the world’s most provocative documentarians.
‘Confessions of a Mexican American Hoarder’ or ‘Prowling the Caucasian Bestiary’: The Existential and Insane Consequences of Collecting Latina/o Artifacts and Stereotypes
Communications 120 - Thursday, Feb 28 - 4:00 PM Details

William Nericcio (English and Comparative Literature & Chicana/o Studies, San Diego State University) delivers a presentation examining dominant trends in the 21st century representation of Latinas and Latinos in American popular culture. From Hollywood to Madison Avenue, specific and damaging visions of Latina/o subjectivity have infected the synapses of Americans and Mexicans alike. “Ethnic mannequins” (such as William Levy, Eva Longoria, and Sophia Vergara) infect consciousness even as they entertain, fueling the talk-radio renaissance on racialized hatred, and contributes to a resurgence of anti-Latino hate and hate crimes at the very moment that the U.S. becomes more demographically and decidedly Latino/a. Part of the 2012-2013 John E. Sawyer Seminar on the Comparative Study of Cultures at the University of Washington on B/ordering Violence: Boundaries, Indigeneity and Gender in the Americas.
Liberation Mythologies: Quests for Roots, Spirit and Justice in Afro-Puerto Rican, Afro-Dominican and Mexica Music and Dance
Kane 120 - Thursday, Feb 28 - 6:30 PM Details

Raquel Rivera uses the term "liberation mythologies" to explore the intersections between artistic practice, spiritual belief and grassroots activism. She regards myths not as stories or beliefs that are (necessarily) untrue but as tropes that poetically attempt to explain or get us closer to the unexplainable. Most importantly, these tropes give individuals and communities the strength to keep crafting and pursuing their dreams of freedom. Her work as a scholar and artist focuses on two communities of practice: an extended community of New Yorkers who specialize in Afro-Puerto Rican bomba and Afro-Dominican palos and gagá roots music; and a New Mexico-based community of concheros and danza mexica (Mexica or Aztec dance) practitioners. Rivera is co-editor of the anthology Reggaeton (2009) and author of New York Ricans from the Hip Hop Zone (2003). Free, but tickets required. In conjunction with the 2013 Women Who Rock (Un)Conference and Film Festival.
Bringing the Medieval World to Cyberspace: Strategies and Problems in Online Medieval Art History Pedagogy
Communications 202 - Tuesday, Mar 5 - 12:30 PM

Anne McClanan (Art History, Portland State University) introduces three digital humanities projects that she has recently completed or is currently developing. The projects offer a range of options, strategies, and tools that other instructors may choose to adapt in the teaching in a range of disciplines across the humanities. The first project is the Medieval Portland website. While multi-faceted, the website primarily offers an online database of research conducted by students on locally housed medieval artworks, mostly manuscript pages. This project is part of the community-based learning program at Portland State University. The second project involves an educational iPad app about Byzantine icons that can be used as part of a class or by self-directed learners, while the third concerns a Wikipedia entry research assignment. This assignment type has been profiled in general news sources such as the New York Times. McClanan will discuss the process and some best practices learned from a recent implementation in a course on the Art of Trecento Siena.
Art and Social Change
Chemistry Library 015 - Thursday, Mar 7 - 10:30 AM

Nobuko Miyamoto is a founder of Great Leap, an arts organization that has been at the forefront of creating a cultural voice for Asian Americans since 1978. Miyamoto started her career as a dancer on Broadway, and in the film; helped Italian filmmaker Antonello Branca document the Black Panther Party for his film Seize the Time (1968), and became an activist in the social movements of the 1970s, leading her to find her own voice as a singer/songwriter. Known as the Joan Baez of the Asian American movement, Miyamotoused music to help organize young Asian Americans connect then with black and Latino communities as well. In 1973, with her group Yellow Pearl, she created the first Asian American folk rock album A Grain of Sand. Her recent works focus on climate change. Moderated by Gail Nomura (American Ethnic Studies). In conjunction with the 2013 Women Who Rock (Un)Conference and Film Festival.
"Rock the Archive": The Politics of Collective Digital Archives
Communications 120 - Friday, Mar 8 - 3:30 PM

Rock the Archive: The Politics of Collective Digital Archives Symposium marks the launch of the Women Who Rock Digital Oral History Archive, an archive hosted by the UW Libraries that preserves the oral histories of a racially diverse array of women from the U.S., Mexico, and beyond who have made significant contributions to music scenes, social justice movements, public scholarship, and community life. Structured as a roundtable, the symposium will feature scholars, including Deborah Wong (Musicology, University of California, Riverside) and Sherrie Tucker (American Studies, University of Kansas), librarians, and web designers who will explore how the inclusion of these women and their stories demands new forms of feminist archiving and meta-data praxis and new paradigms for popular music studies and new media studies. In conjunction with the 2013 Women Who Rock (Un)Conference and Film Festival.
Women Who Rock (Un)Conference and Film Festival
Historic Washington Hall (153 14th Ave, Seattle) - Saturday, Mar 9 - All Day Details

The third annual Women Who Rock (Un)Conference celebrates the launch of the UW Women Who Rock Oral History Archive. Women Who Rock responds to the ways women's participation in independent music scenes has often been downplayed or unacknowledged. The Women Who Rock Oral History Archive preserves the stories of women who have built community through the making of music and media in Seattle, the Pacific Northwest and beyond. This on-line archive is freely accessible to the public. At 3:00 pm, the “Rock the Archive” Film Festival highlights films by and about women and organizations across a variety of musical genres featured in the archive, which is on-line and free to the public. Full program and details at the Women Who Rock site.
Not the Whole Story(ville): New Orleans Jazzwomen as New Jazz Studies
Music 219 - Monday, Mar 11 - 11:30 AM

Sherrie Tucker (American Studies, University of Kansas) is the author of Swing Shift: 'All-Girl' Bands of the 1940s and co-editor, with Nichole T. Rustin, of Big Ears: Listening for Gender in Jazz Studies. As with other fields in which women have been largely omitted from historical memory and gender taken for granted, jazz has often been remembered, represented, and historicized as a sequence of male innovators. From “all-girl” swing bands to early New Orleans bands to women brass players, Tucker has revisited and researched many jazz histories, representations, and performances, using theories from gender studies, intersectional analysis of race, gender, class, sexuality, nation and tools from women's history to illuminate perspectives inclusive of gender and women. She will share some useful research strategies for exploring jazz history that are also applicable for research of other fields from which considerations of gender and women have been sparse. In conjunction with the 2013 Women Who Rock (Un)Conference and Film Festival.
Music of Today with Huck Hodge
Henry Art Gallery - Thursday, Mar 21 - 7:00 PM

The Rite Centennial Lecture Series will explore how the premiere of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring had a lasting impact on Western culture and aesthetics, from the original Nijinsky choreography performed by Ballets Russes and subsequent reconstructions and re-imaginations of this ballet, to today’s composers and their own revolutionary visions for the future of music. In this lecture/performance, Huck Hodge (Music) will demonstrate his unorthodox approach to sonic art through the use of sound-making toys and the repurposing of acoustic instruments. It will also demonstrate how seemingly unmusical noises (satellite chatter, ambulance sirens, cell phone radiation, short-wave radio transmissions, etc.) can be transformed into tapestries of immense sonic beauty. Part of the UW’s Rite of Spring Centennial Celebration.

Manage Your Subscriptions or Unsubscribe