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Values for Theory

Organizer: Anna Kornbluh

What key concepts or foundational principles might best equip theory as an engaged practice for the 21st century?  What sorts of norms and ideals should organize criticism and theory; how and... more

Emotion and the Future of the Nation

Organizer: Mazalit Haim

In conceptualizing nationalism and “nation-ness,” Benedict Anderson considered not only their emergence and historical transformations but also “why […] they command such profound emotional... more


Organizer: Johanna Winant

This seminar focuses on how literary texts ask and don’t answer questions. Attentive to literary fascination with puzzles, riddles, enigmas, obscurity, perplexity and uncertainty, mystery and... more

Pornography, Propaganda, Representation

Organizer: Dana Glaser

This seminar investigates “pornography” and “propaganda” as two categories that attempt to set boundaries around acceptable language. They work as genre designations as often as they work as... more

Informing Life

Organizer: Armando Mastrogiovanni

This seminar was organized by Adam Rosenthal, Deborah Goldgaber, and Armando Mastrogiovanni. Since the birth of modern molecular biology and genetics in the middle of the last century, the life... more

South Asian Untranslatables

Organizer: Eesha Kumar

South Asian texts and cultures offer a panoply of terms that are difficult to translate. Consider bhāva — a keyword in premodern philosophy, dramaturgy, and poetics — which may refer to an emotion, a... more

Hotel Cosmopolitan

Organizer: Ethan King

This panel brings together diverse readings of the hotel as a peculiarly evocative transfer point in narratives of modernity and postmodernity. It examines the uncanny power of the hotel to symbolize... more

Antisocial Femininity: Refusal Toward the Relational

Organizer: Chelsea Largent

As we figure out what new social configurations look like, and whether or not we want to be a part of them, it seems we are at a point in queer and feminist theory where the futurity of our current... more

Pascal at 400: A Critical Prospective

Organizer: Chad Córdova

Pascal at 400: A Critical Prospective While those with whom he was engaged in complex dialogue, like Montaigne and Descartes, have been the subject of critical rereadings and returns – ones that... more

Visual Cultures of Colonialism

Organizer: Olimpia Rosenthal

The production, circulation, and display of images offers critical insight to understand the myriad ways in which colonial domination has been justified and contested across time and geographies.... more

Theories of the American Novel

Organizer: Alex Moskowitz

This seminar will explore what might be considered the coherence and incoherence of “the American novel.” We intentionally use scare quotes around that phrase to draw attention and elicit doubt... more

The Literature of Plasticity

Organizer: Tyler Williams

Catherine Malabou places her signature concept of “plasticity” within the material encounters between the Kantian, Hegelian, and Derridean threads of the continental philosophical tradition and... more