Sep. 12, 2006
Society for the Humanities marks 40th anniversary with symposium on universities and globalization
Cornell's Society for the Humanities, one of the oldest humanities centers in the country, will celebrate its 40th anniversary Sept. 15-16 with a two-day symposium, "The University in Translation: Globalization and the University."
The international symposium will feature Cornell and visiting faculty discussing such topics as faculty governance and globalization as institutional imperatives. Yann Moulier Boutang of l'Université de Compiègne, France, will give the keynote address on "Cognitive Capitalism and Education: New Frontiers," Sept. 15 at 4 p.m. at the Johnson Museum. The talk is free and open to the public.
"Most of us are aware that the American university defines itself as a transnational institution," says Brett de Bary, director of the society and a scholar of Japanese studies and comparative literature. "We are less aware that universities around the world are increasingly being asked to conform to an American model. The conference will examine these interrelated issues."
The society, based on campus at the A.D. White House, typically sponsors or co-sponsors more than 120 events each academic year covering the broad range of humanities interests across campus, from Africana and other ethnic and area studies to literature, theater, film, government and philosophy.
The society also is a major teaching center, every year sponsoring 11 to 13 visiting fellows to teach innovative humanities courses.
"Cornell's society has been closely intertwined with developments in the American humanities for nearly half a century," de Bary says. "Many of its former fellows are now leading humanists. Some, like Judith Butler, are theorists. Others are editors of major humanities journals, such as Critical Inquiry, Diacritics and Social Text. Others now direct humanities institutes at Cambridge University, Duke, Brown and elsewhere. We have invited some of these former fellows to visit us during this anniversary year."
Meaghan Morris of Lingnan University, Hong Kong, a society fellow in 1993 and one of the founding editors of the journal Cultural Studies, will participate in the symposium and deliver a University Lecture, "What Is Foreign in Cultural Studies: Mapping the Field From Hong Kong," Sept. 18 at 4:30 p.m. in Goldwin Smith Hall's Hollis E. Cornell Auditorium.
The society designates an annual focal theme of timely interest, chosen and shaped by a faculty council. The focal theme incorporates faculty research and provides support for Cornell Faculty Fellows teaching courses on the theme. This year's theme, Historicizing the Global Postmodern, includes the courses America in the 1970s; Transnational Method Then and Now: Historiography, Theory, Practice; Science and Race: A History; Caribbean Popular Literature; and Modernization and Fiction.
Past themes include Culture and Conflict (2005-06), The Humanities and Race (1987-88) and Feminism and the Humanities (1988-89).
A unit of the College of Arts and Sciences, the society works with other colleges to foster interdisciplinary collaboration at Cornell. The society also operates the School of Criticism and Theory, a summer session based at Cornell since 1997 that attracts scholars and graduate students from around the world.
For more information on the symposium and the society, contact Mary Ahl at (607) 255-4086 or email@example.com.