Humanities Events

Humanities Events

Power & Enchantment

Power & Enchantment

This year, Humanities at UR is exploring the theme of Power and Enchantment. While the story of modernity is often told as a triumph of secular, universal reason over “enchanted” worldviews, our theme focuses on how enchantment remains crucial in our world. The theme is meant to include projects such as: 1) studies of religion, magic, witchcraft, alchemy, and so on as historical, cultural, and political phenomena; 2) investigations into the ways contemporary scientific and cultural thought reignites questions about the “aliveness” of the world and the “agency” of nonhuman entities and systems; 3) studies of how people become enchanted by power and those perceived to be powerful; and 4) remembering that “enchantment” is etymologically related to singing, explorations of how aesthetic or artistic texts and experiences shape our sense of worlds, including by generating feelings like wonder and awe.

Shakers at the Center

Shakers at the Center

Thursday, November 10, 7 p.m.

Brown-Alley Room of Weinstein Hall

Please join the Department of Religious Studies for "Shakers at the Center," an academic symposium examining the history of the famed nineteenth-century American communitarians. Visiting scholars Brett Grainger (Villanova University) and Dana Logan (UNC-Greensboro) will discuss works of art and unusual rituals created by members of the sect during a period of intense spiritualism known as the Shaker Era of Manifestations (1837-1850s).

Sponsored by the A&S Dean’s Office, this event is free and open to the public.

Repair and Recovery Events
Our humanities theme for the 2021-2022 academic year is Repair and Recovery, a focus that includes questions about what it means to recover from the pandemic (and other disasters), questions about repairing historical and ongoing injury, and questions about how scholarship attends to lost, forgotten, or neglected texts and histories. These events — all free and open to the public — offer us the opportunity to gather in the newly opened Humanities Commons spaces in order to consider how humanistic practices of thinking and interpretation are vital to how we imagine and enact different futures.

Melissa Gregg

The Productivity Imperative in a Global Pandemic.

Melissa Gregg
Senior Principal Engineer for Sustainability and User Experience at Intel

POSTPONED | Humanities Commons (220)

The immediate shift to so-called "remote work" in the pandemic created an extraordinary instance of corporate reckoning: hierarchies seemingly so solid and impenetrable evaporated within weeks as workers rapidly adjusted to doing their job in sweatpants. Previously commonsense notions of the day’s rhythms - the obligatory performance of a 9 to 5 persona — faced critical contaminants in the form of children, spouses, and pets. Meanwhile the surprisingly social elements of office life became apparent in their obvious absence. Zoom fatigue replaced team-building drinks as the dominant affective mode. This talk draws on multiple studies of technology users in lockdown and previous research on productivity to understand the condition of professional intimacy during and after COVID-19. In doing so, it reflects on the psychological, physical, and environmental burdens embedded in the idea of "work from anywhere." What lessons have been learned about the workplace from this once in a century experience?

Melissa Gregg is senior principal engineer for sustainability and user experience at Intel. With a Ph.D. in gender and cultural studies, she is an international expert on the future of work and a specialist in applied ethnography. Her over 60 peer-reviewed publications and books have anticipated key shifts in the experience of connected work and home life, from Work’s Intimacy (Polity 2011) to Counterproductive (Duke 2018), The Affect Theory Reader (Duke 2010) to the new collection, Media and Management (Meson Press 2021). Following an academic career in Australia, Melissa led Intel’s first university investment in social computing before building user research to a position of strategic impact in the PC business. Her current focus is driving sustainability strategy through software and open source partnerships, in service of Intel’s RISE 2030 goals.

University Dancers 37th Anniversary Concert

Move! "Through It All"

February 25-27 | Modlin Center for the Arts

Directed by Anne Van Gelder
Costume Design by Johann Stegmeir
Light Design by Maja E. White

University Dancers celebrates 37 years of engaging dance with our annual concert that brings to the University of Richmond the work of innovative guest choreographers Juel D. Lane and Peter Pucci. Juel D. Lane¿s choreography fuses West African, contemporary modern, hip-hop, and ballet, resulting in a unique movement vocabulary.  Mr. Lane pushes the boundaries of contemporary dance through choreography that, in his own words, ¿strips labels and shows humanity.¿ Whether he examines political concepts, gender roles, or his own intimate experiences, Lane stays unapologetically true to his singular perspective. Peter Pucci will create his first work for the University Dancers during a week-long residency. Former performer and rehearsal director for Pilobolus Dance Theater, Pucci has received numerous awards for his work that combines athleticism, humor, and integration of music and dance. 

The concert will also feature new works choreographed by Angelica Burgos, Eric Rivera (both former dancers with Ballet Hispánico), Starrene Foster (founder/artistic director of Starr Foster Dance), and Department of Theatre & Dance faculty Alicia Díaz, and Anne Van Gelder. Outstanding adjudicated student choreography will be featured and department faculty members Johann Stegmeir and Maja E. White will design costumes and lights, respectively. Do not miss these talented dancers perform in a variety of contemporary works.

Toril Moi and Rita Felski

The Uses of Experience

A set of talks and conversation with Toril Moi and Rita Felski

March 2, 2022, 3-4:30 p.m | Zoom

Hosted by the Department of English and the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures.

Rita Felski is the John Stewart Bryan Professor of English at the University of Virginia. Toril Moi is the James B. Duke Professor of Literature and Romance Studies, Professor of English, Philosophy, and Theatre Studies, and director for the center of Philosophy, Arts, and Literature (PAL) at Duke University.

Rita Felski will discuss the relevance of what she calls ¿experiential concepts¿ to her book in progress on contemporary thinkers associated with the Frankfurt School, while questioning the tendency among some literary critics to confuse having an experience with reflecting on experience. Toril Moi will focus on the idea of experience as a fundamental concept for phenomenology and existentialism, and briefly show how the concept helps us to understand the new "autofiction" as exemplified by Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle.

Recommended reading for those who have time: "Describing My Struggle" by Toril Moi, The Point

Kandice Chuh

Teaching Relations, Teaching Asian America, Rehearsing (for) Life.

Kandice Chuh
Professor of English, Asian American Studies, & Critical Social Psychology, CUNY 

March 30, 6:30-8 p.m. | Humanities Commons

What is it we are doing in teaching a subject called "Asian America"? What is the content and pedagogy and purpose of such a course in an era defined by both spectacular violence in the U.S. against people of Asian descent and the accumulation of enormous wealth and soft power in Asia? But also, what is it we are doing in teaching? That is, what are we doing in teaching in an era when criticisms of liberal models of education (rightly) abound, when the impact of the concerted withdrawal of public funding over many decades now expresses as suffocating foreclosures to social mobility for especially the most vulnerable populations? Kandice Chuh uses the occasion of this talk to consider the prospects, possibilities, and politics of teaching, and teaching Asian American studies, in these times.

LLC Symposium Language of Covid

Language of Covid Symposium

Hosted by the Department of Languages, Literatures, & Cultures

April 13 & 14 | Humanities Commons and Brown Alley Room

Daryl Dance and Julietta Singh

Life. Writing.

A conversation between...

Daryl Dance
Professor of English Emerita, University of Richmond  

Julietta Singh
Associate Professor of English, University of Richmond

April 14, 5-6:30 p.m. |  Humanities Courtyard

Please join us for a conversation between two UR faculty, Daryl Dance, Professor Emerita of English, and Julietta Singh, Associate Professor of English and WGSS, who both write about autobiography and write autobiographically. Their work, in different ways, pressures the borders we often posit between truth and fiction, academic and creative, scholarly and personal. They both keep their attention on how senses of place or home are related to histories of colonialist, racist, and heterosexist violence.

This event is a celebration of our new Humanities Commons space and the work Dance and Singh have done, including inside the building (still) called Ryland Hall where the two were colleagues for years. Their careers summon us to think about other histories of this place, to remember as we renew our questions about what it means to repair UR’s historical wrongs that other worlds, other possibilities have always been here too.

Daryl Cumber Dance is Professor of English Emerita at the University of Richmond and the author of Land of the Free… Negros: A Historical Novel (2020, Yore), In Search of Annie Drew (2016, University of Virginia Press), ong Gone: The Mecklenburg Six and the Theme of Escape in Black Folklore (1987, University of Tennessee Press), Shuckin’ and Jivin’: Folklore from Contemporary Black Americans (1978, Indiana University Press), and many others.  

Julietta Singh is Associate Professor of English and WGSS, and author of three books: The Breaks (2021, Coffee House Press), No Archive Will Restore You (2018, Punctum), and Unthinking Mastery: Dehumanism and Decolonial Entanglements (2018, Duke University Press).

loss. nothing. memorial. sounds of the dead but not departed.

Ashon Crawley
Associate Professor of Religious Studies & African American Studies, University of Virginia

April 19, 7-8:30 |  Humanities Commons

"loss. nothing. memorial. sounds of the dead but not departed" is part of Ashon Crawley’s ongoing research regarding the role of music and memory with regard to Black social life, how listening to performance practices of black Hammond organists in churches between 1980 and 2005 can give a way to think about the practice of creativity and imagination in the context of deep uncertainty and unkindness, how to announce and enunciate one’s breath and becoming when surrounded by loss and death. Taking the sounds of Hammond organists in Black churches as exemplary, Crawley will discuss the ways to honor the dead that are not yet departed because their music, their narratives and their spirits, endure and remain and haunt.