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Fall | Winter | Spring | Program Director: Ivy Wilson





Colloquium on Ethnicity and Diaspora 2016-17 programming

Colloquium on Ethnicity and Diaspora (CED) provides an interdisciplinary intellectual space for faculty and students to interrogate issues in comparative race and ethnic studies, social and economic inequalities, public culture, and transnational history alongside gender, sexuality, class, and religion. 

Fall Quarter 2016

Saturday, October 8th, 2016 || Annie May Swift Hall

"The Public Image: Reimagining Civic Spectatorship" symposium
Brian Wallis: Curator for the Walther Collection
Wendy Kozol: Oberlin College
Liam Kennedy: University College Dublin
Brian Ulrich: Rhode Island School of Design
Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities

This symposium enters into a paradigm shift that is underway in understanding photography and the public art of photojournalism. As photography becomes a digital art operating throughout global media, critical understanding has to move beyond iconoclastic anxieties about the medium’s capacity for distraction, deception, and manipulation. In order to unlock photography from viewing habits that inhibit active civic spectatorship, photographers, curators, and scholars are reconsidering problems of visual meaning and citizen engagement. As they do so, they demonstrate how the public image can guide reflection on chronic problems of the twenty-first century.

This event is co-sponsored by the ALICE KAPLAN INSTITUTE FOR THE HUMANITIES and with the generous support of the Department of Communication Studies/Program in Rhetoric and Public Culture, The Graduate School, the Program in American Studies, and the Department of Art History.

Monday, October 17, 2016 || 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM || University Hall  || Hagstrum Room UH201

"Between June ’67 and Global ’68: A Shadow History of Civil Rights and Decolonization"
Keith Feldman: University of California, Berkeley
Middle East and North African Studies program: New Directions in MENA

This talk examines the ways U.S. civil rights and antiwar struggles, Israeli military and administrative occupation, and Palestinian narratives of dispossession, dispersion, and resistance were forged, felt, and thought together. As became increasingly evident, the dialectic of occupation (June ’67) and liberation (Global ’68) animated a slew of incisive cultural production, from novels and poetry to pamphlets to posters.

Keith P. Feldman is currently an assistant professor of Comparative Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of "A Shadow over Palestine: The Imperial Life of Race in America" (Minnesota 2015), and the co-editor of a forthcoming issue of "Social Text" on race, religion, and war.

Co-sponsored by the Dept. of African American Studies and the Program in American Studies.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016 || 5:30 - 6:30pm || University Hall || Hagstrum Room UH201

"The Life and the Adventures of a Haunted Convict: Race, Penal Servitude, and Prison Writing before Emancipation"
Caleb Smith: English and American Studies, Yale University   [Event Poster]
American Studies Lecture Series: The Carceral State

This lecture introduces Austin Reed's recently discovered prison memoir, "The Life and the Adventures of a Haunted Convict" (1858). Born to a free black family in Rochester, Reed spent most of his early life confined to New York's House of Refuge, America's first juvenile reformatory, and Auburn State Prison, the birthplace of industrial penal servitude. His book documents the rise of large-scale imprisonment in the years before the Civil War and invents literary strategies for enduring and refashioning the experience of captivity.
Caleb Smith is professor of English and American Studies at Yale University. He is the author of The Prison and the American Imagination (2009) and The Oracle and the Curse (2013) and the editor of Austin Reed's The Life and the Adventures of a Haunted Convict (2016).

Tuesday, November 1, 2016 || 5:00 - 7:00pm || Kresge Hall Suite 2351 || Kaplan Humanities Institute 1880 Campus Drive

“Four Events that have led to Large Discoveries (about Merce Cunningham)”
Douglas Crimp: Fanny Knapp Allen Professor of Art History at the University of Rochester
Department of Performance Studies: Bodies in Motion lecture series

In this lecture Douglas Crimp, Fanny Knapp Allen Professor of Art History at the University of Rochester, plays off the title of Cunningham’s 1994 essay “Four Events that Have Led to Large Discoveries.” Reflecting on his own encounters with Cunningham’s work from 1970 to the present, Crimp addresses the relations of dance, music, cinema, and design. What happens when Cunningham deprives us of the illusion of seeing totality?

Douglas Crimp is Fanny Knapp Allen Professor of Art History at the University of Rochester and the author of On the Museum’s Ruins, 1993; Melancholia and Moralism: Essays on AIDS and Queer Politics, 2002; “Our Kind of Movie”: The Films of Andy Warhol, 2012, and Before Pictures, 2016. He was the curator of the Pictures exhibition at Artists Space, New York, in 1977 and, from 1977 to 1990, an editor of the journal October, for which he edited the special issue AIDS: Cultural Analysis/Cultural Activism in 1987. With Lynne Cooke, he organized the exhibition Mixed Use, Manhattan for the Reina Sofía in Madrid in 2010, and he was on the curatorial team for the 2015 iteration of MoMA PS1’s quinquennial Greater New York.

Co sponsored by Department of Performance Studies, Mellon Dance Studies, the Department of English and the American Studies Program.

Thursday, November 3, 2016 || 5:00 - 7:00pm || Kresge Hall Suite 2351 || Kaplan Humanities Institute 1880 Campus Drive

"Where Credit is Due"
Elizabeth Chin: Art Center College of Design, Pasadena
Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities: 2016-17 Debt Dialogues lecture series

In partnership with two dozen departments and programs across Northwestern, the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities will present a year-long series of conversations around the theme of DEBT in 2016-2017. Distinguished scholars and artists from across humanities fields will explore financial debt; the ethics and politics of obligation; cultural and artistic indebtedness; religious and environmental responsibilities; indebtedness to sources; the psychology of debt; labor and slavery; liability and dependency; human burdens, protests and narratives. Elizabeth J. Chin (Art Center College of Design, Pasadena), is a professor and author of My Life With Things: The Consumer Diaries.

This event is co-sponsored by the ALICE KAPLAN INSTITUTE FOR THE HUMANITIES, the Department of Anthropology and the Gender and Sexuality Studies Program.

Monday, November 28, 2016

“Choreographic Copyright: Race, Gender, and Intellectual Property Rights in American Dance”
Anthea Kraut: Chair of Dance at University of California-Riverside
Department of Performance Studies: Bodies in Motion lecture series

Co sponsored by Department of Performance Studies, Mellon Dance Studies, the Department of English and the American Studies Program.


Wednesday, March 1st, 2017 || 5:30 PM - 6:30 PM ||  Harris Hall Room 108

A. Naomi Paik (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign), "Rightlessness: Hunger Strikes, Force-feeding, and Testimony at Guantanamo."

Professor Paik grapples with the history of U.S. prison camps that have confined people outside the boundaries of legal and civil rights. Removed from the social and political communities that would guarantee fundamental legal protections, these detainees are effectively rightless, stripped of the right even to have rights.

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017 || 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm || Kresge 5520 (American Studies Lounge)

Informational Meeting for Prospective Students

First year students and sophomores are invited to attend an informational about the Program in American Studies. Stop by with your questions about the curriculum and opportunities of the American Studies degree and how to apply for the Program.Faculty and current majors will be available to answer questions.

Spring Quarter 2017

Wednesday, May 10, 2017 || 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm || University Hall Room 201

Robert Perkinson (University of Hawai'i), “Dismantling Mass Incarceration: The Role of Race and Profit

Nick Turner (Vera Institute), “Are We Now Witnessing the Early Demise of the Criminal Justice Reform Movement?”

If a conspicuous element of American nationalism fetishizes terms like “democracy,” “citizen,” and “freedom,” then the U.S. as a nation-state has, from its very inception, been formed by a set of policies that produce and guarantee sites of unfreedom. These talks address issues of the prison-industrial complex in relation to the racial economies of super-max prisons and policy work for social justice. In so doing, the speakers ask not only what is at stake in analyzing prisons as physical places but critiquing carcerality as a fundamental condition of the U.S.

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