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Field research students Dan, Ada, Austin and Kati pictured with Wat Buddhasamakidham Theravada monk Ajanh Sun inside the barn temple. (The Religious Soundmap of the Midwest, see page 7)

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ABOUT THE HUMANITIES INSTITUTE Founded in 1997, the Humanities Institute seeks to be an active community forum for exchange among scholars and citizens. It acts as a significant bridge to the university and the city of Columbus as well as the broader public culture. The institute serves the university by encouraging exploration of the formative contexts of discovery, learning and engagement; examining recurrent problems and emergent issues across cultural milieus, disciplinary boundaries and historical periods; fostering creative inquiry at the intersections of the arts, humanities and social sciences; and engaging faculty, students and the community around ideas, values and movements that shape the culture at large. The institute connects people, nourishes community, promotes intellectual innovation and celebrates vital traditions of wisdom, inspiration and understanding.


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WELCOME FROM THE DIRECTOR I am honored to write to you as the director of The Ohio State University’s Humanities Institute, and I’m grateful to have the opportunity to have that role at such an exciting time in the institute’s history. The Humanities Institute provides a place to raise and address fundamental questions about the role of humanities. Our mission is to support innovative and collaborative forms of inquiry, to enable discussion of institutional challenges and to promote broader understanding of humanities perspectives across the university and in the community at large. Acting on that aim, in fall 2012, we created a lecture series that links the humanities with Ohio State’s Discovery Themes. In its first year, we hosted the eminent bioethicist Ezekiel Emmanuel, and the distinguished economist Deirdre McCloskey presented her views on the academic study of happiness. Last year, the series merged with the Provost’s Distinguished Discovery Themes Lecturer series, and the institute played an important role in bringing to campus Sherry Turkle, a pioneering researcher on the effects of technology on human interactions, and the Pulitzer prize-winning anthropologist Jared Diamond. This Humanities Institute Discovery Themes Lecture Series continues this year with Marc Bosquet, Ann Blair, Susanne Freidberg and David Blackbourn. Also in fall 2012, we launched the Public Humanities Lecture Series, bringing together the university and the community to explore and discuss a wide variety of issues that impact our lives daily and have profound implications for the quality of life in communities everywhere. The series opened with presentations by Louis Menand, one of the world’s leading public intellectuals and Jill Lepore, Harvard University professor of history and author. It continued in 2013 – 2014 with lectures by Mark Edmundson, Tony Grafton, and Eric Klinenberg, and in 2014 – 2015 with a public conversation with the celebrated author Zadie Smith. This year, the series will feature talks by James Young, Maria Tatar and the acclaimed historian of the Holocaust Timothy Snyder.

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Our third young lecture series, a collaboration with the American Academy in Berlin, features former American Academy fellows. The first visiting scholar, poet and critic Susan Stewart, of Princeton University, spoke here in early 2015, about the figure of ruins in world literature. This year, we welcome artist Leslie Hewitt, on Aug. 31, 2016. We have two new programs — or really, two new outreach courses — to announce. In partnership with Ohio State’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI), we are offering a credit-granting, introduction to the humanities course for parents of students in ODI’s Young Scholars Program. The second course, a collaboration with the Franklin County Municipal Court CATCH program, is for survivors of human trafficking. Along with our 2015-2016 lectures, both courses are described in greater detail in the magazine. Our faculty working groups program remains an important part of the humanities landscape at Ohio State, and we are gratified to have helped many worthy events and initiatives, such as the “Literature and the Brain” summer institute for high school students, through co-sponsorships. We remain keenly aware of our obligations to the campus and greater Columbus communities, and we are extraordinarily proud to play a significant part in promoting collaboration, dialogue, education and a forum for exchange of ideas. With that in mind, I would like to ask that you consider giving to the Humanities Institute. By investing in and supporting the work and events of the institute, you will be endorsing our model of collaborative, interdisciplinary research, teaching and public engagement, which promotes and sustains a vibrant, curious and intelligent community. In closing, I would like to thank the institute’s Oversight Committee for their enthusiasm and wise counsel. With warm regards,

Paul Reitter

Paul Reitter is professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures. His work has appeared in Representations; Jewish Social Studies; American Imago; Harper’s Magazine; Bookforum; The Paris Review; The Nation; and The Times Literary Supplement. Reitter is the author of Bambi’s Jewish Roots: Essays on German-Jewish Culture (2015); On the Origins of Jewish Self Hatred (2012); and Anti-Journalist: Karl Kraus and Jewish Self-Fashioning in Fin-de-Siècle Europe (2008). He is also the co-editor of two new books, Friedrich Nietzsche’s Anti-Education: On the Future of Our Educational Institutions (with Chad Wellmon, 2015) and The Rise of the Research University: A Sourcebook (with Louis Menand and Wellmon, 2016). Reitter collaborated with Jonathan Franzen and Daniel Kehlmann on The Kraus Project (2013), a widely discussed volume of translations and commentary that was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Associate Director Rick Livingston, senior lecturer, Ohio State’s Department of Comparative Studies, has been with the institute since its founding. He has research interests in environmental citizenship and ecocriticism, postcolonial and world literature, globalization studies and literary and cultural theory. Livingston teaches courses in world literature and culture, nature and technology. Livingston is a member of Ohio State’s AWASH Focus Group (Animal Worlds in the Arts, Sciences and Humanities) in the Center for Ethics and Human Values, and he is currently working on the project, Bio-Presence: Bringing (Other) Animals into the Framework, with an Ohio State Framework Award. He serves on the board of the Ohio Humanities Council and on the steering committee of the Humanities Without Walls consortium. He is also actively involved in Ohio State’s Second-Year Transformational Experience Program (STEP).

HUMANITIES BEYOND THE CLASSROOM WALLS For several years, Paul Reitter, institute director and professor in the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, and Maurice Stevens, associate professor in the Department of Comparative Studies, have been talking about ways to bring the study of the humanities to non-traditional students and, at the same time, capture the experiences of those whose journeys take place well outside campus walls. “Maurice and I wanted to create a learning environment where nontraditional students could learn about the humanities and develop confidence in their critical reading and writing skills, as well as their skills at oral exposition, in a unique way,” said Reitter. “And we wanted to make it affordable and accessible.” And so, Introduction to the Humanities: Our Journeys Our Selves! took shape. The course itself is a journey – with readings and writing exercises designed to introduce students to the journeys of others, while challenging them to give words and shape to their own journeys. Selected readings for the course included: Playing in the Dark (Toni Morrison); The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Junot Diaz); The Odyssey (Homer); Prudence (David Treuer); Grimm’s Fairy Tales; and Bambi (Felix Salten). In August, armed with funding from Ohio State’s Office

of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) and support from the Department of Comparative Studies, Reitter and Stevens taught the course to their first class of non-traditional students, the parents of students in ODI’s Young Scholars Program (pre-college development program for academically gifted first-generation students with financial need from urban school districts in Ohio). These parents have, for the most part, little or no college experience but are interested in earning a college degree. “We’re creating a new, multi-generational learning environment,” said Stevens. “These parents are embarking on a journey at the same time their children are beginning their own journeys as undergraduates.” Benisha Wright places a high premium on education and was looking for some guidance in preparing her daughter for college. At a pivotal point in her own life journey — moving into her ‘30s and looking for new


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career paths — Wright signed up for the class to stretch her abilities and step outside her comfort zone. “The books we read were and are awesome,” said Wright. “They helped me to seek really who I am and what I want to accomplish in life. Our class conversations were enriching and challenging; it took a lot of looking deeper to discover issues that were not in plain sight.” One of Dionne Ball’s sons is currently an undergraduate student at Ohio State; her other sons are not yet in college. All were supportive of her going back to school. “I thought it was a great opportunity and it could help me determine if I am ready to go back to school to further my education,” said Ball. “It made me think of my own journey and it was a good thing at this time in my life.”

Introduction to the Humanities to round out the curriculum. Over the course of 16 Sunday afternoons, Reitter joined Stevens, McCambridge and Gieseler at the Relson Gracie Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy to help a group of women from Alvis, a community reentry house and CATCH partner, navigate their journey of self-defense and awareness and the humanities. According to Koko McDade, Alvis case manager, all of the women who participated in the course did so because they wanted to be there. “They put in the time and made the sacrifices to be a part of the program.”

The class met every Tuesday and Thursday evening from 7:30-9:30 p.m. at the Knight House. College credit for the course was provided, at no cost, along with stipends for books, transportation and child care. “The one thing that struck me about this class, said Stevens, was the degree to which these women were really committed to being here. There was something really affirming going on in these classes.”

“What I liked about this class was that there was no right or wrong. You were there to learn. I read things I’ve never read before (The Odyssey) and it challenged me. I like learning.”

And this course, while not traditional, was far from a book club. “These women tackled some very, very challenging material,” said Reitter. “From Homer’s epic poem to works of literary criticism and a literary narrative by one of the great child psychologists of the 20th century. Over the course of 16 weeks, they challenged themselves and one another to find and develop their voices and self-narrative.” At the same time that Reitter and Stevens were teaching the Tuesday/Thursday class, they taught a slightly different version of the course to participants in CATCH, a treatment program of the Franklin County Municipal Court that Stevens has been involved with over the last two years. CATCH — Changing Actions To Change Habits — provides treatment as an alternative to incarceration for persons with multiple solicitation arrests and for women caught in the trade of human trafficking.

Amanda, one of the participants, signed on to the course for the joy of learning.

As a client support assistant at Alvis, Lynn Stevens values programs that help her clients turn their lives around and maximize their potential. “This kind of class is so valuable for these women. It gives them confidence to plan for a future; to see that they are capable of doing challenging, difficult work.” For Reitter and Stevens, Introduction to the Humanities becomes a gateway for many people, in many different kinds of communities, to either go back to college or enroll in college for the first time. That would be a journey indeed.

A year ago, Stevens, along with Tracie McCambridge, educator for Docent and Teacher Programs at the Wexner Center for the Arts and Robin Gieseler, lead instructor, Relson Gracie Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy, taught a course to CATCH participants, with the focus on personal challenge and transformation. According to Stevens, it seemed only logical to bring in a number of components of

Paul Reitter

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Maurice Stevens

REMAPPING THE ARTS AND HUMANITIES Rick Livingston, associate director, Humanities Institute With the Humanities Institute relocating to Hagerty Hall, we find ourselves freshly attuned to questions about where the arts and humanities are now. Last spring, we began asking a number of younger colleagues about the direction of their work and their experiences at other institutions, hoping to gain some insights into what makes Ohio State distinctive. In the fall, we broadened the discussion to include a larger cross-section of faculty in humanities and the arts, and held four sessions of what we’re calling “Remapping the Arts and Humanities: Toward a New Commons.” The conversations have ranged widely, from recruitment and enrollment policies to interdisciplinary research questions, but always returning to the values and vital energies that inform creative, interpretive and critical practices.

The project of re-mapping emerges from a sense that the old maps are no longer adequate, and that our purposes would be better served by a fresh round of way-finding. As post-colonial experience and scholarship has demonstrated, re-mapping is not neutral: it involves critical arguments, about purposes and priorities; it uncovers buried histories, hidden minefields, forgotten strategies; it evokes memories and attachments, complex and compromised identities, encounters and evasions. Our own experiments with re-mapping suggest that it can also be exhilarating, unleashing passions and energies usually damped-down by the burdens of routine. As the Humanities Institute prepares to make its new home, we hope to nourish those vital energies, and to turn them to constructive, common ends. We’re looking forward to continuing the conversation.

Portolan Map by Francesco Ghisolfi:

Much ink has been spilled, many screens lit up, about “the crisis in the humanities” (The arts took a beating back in the 1990s, but may have stabilized somewhat more recently). In the political arena, anthropologists, art historians and philosophers have all taken turns as punching bags for populist outrage, emblems of what a greater America can do with less of. The contrast with 50 years ago, when Congress established twin Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities, could hardly be more striking. Calls to abolish the NEA and NEH, once rallying cries on the right, have receded somewhat, although proposals to “zero out” their funding surface regularly in the ritual combat surrounding the federal budget. Meanwhile, recurrent efforts to secure the terms by which the arts and humanities can be properly valued—to establish,

using the current jargon, “appropriate metrics”—provoke no end of heartache and soul-searching among those of us whose lives are illuminated when an image or a story, a sound argument or a resonant chord, strikes the sparks of wonder and curiosity among our students. In the age of Google Earth, it is worth remembering that mapmaking is more than a technical exercise. Maps serve multiple purposes, and remapping cannot be a single, simple task. As anthropological theorist Tim Ingold reminds us, way-finding precedes map-making: specific itineraries, individual stories, variant trajectories, circuitous routes, doubling-back, shortcuts and dead-ends—all need to be compiled and reconciled.


IN THE SHADOW OF CLIMATE CHANGE: ENVIRONMENTAL CITIZENSHIP 2016 Rick Livingston, associate director, Humanities Institute

By way of background, in 2010, Ohio State adopted the One Ohio State Framework, devised by Sasaki Associates, to govern how the university should relate to the physical campus over the next half-century. Among its principles is a commitment to “greening” the campus in the light of developing understanding of our environmental impacts. In early 2014, AWASH received a Framework Grant to examine how we understand the place of other species on campus, in the light of concerns about biodiversity worldwide. Over the next 18 months, the BioPresence initiative organized a range of activities, from posting snapshots to #AnimalOSU to installing cameras and recording equipment at the Wetlands Research Park and arranging birding and bat-watching walks. These activities became the basis for artworks created by students in the Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design (ACCAD) and a series of maps produced by ACCAD graphics research specialist, Matt Lewis, all collected in an exhibition curated by Amy Youngs, associate professor and Ken Rinaldo, professor, Department of Art.

As the archive grew, it became clear that other-thanhuman animals served as indicator-species for the campus ecosystem, evidence of the ways our surroundings foster or thwart what E.O. Wilson and others call “biophilia,” the awareness of inhabiting a living world. And as our awareness grows, how do we allow this knowledge to inflect plans whose contours were laid down years ago? All in all, 2015 may have been a watershed year for environmental citizenship at Ohio State, with a year-long discussion of sustainability hosted by the Conversations on Morality, Politics, and Society (COMPAS) program of the university’s Center for Ethics and Human Values. The program featured visits by Gro Harlem Brundtland (author of the UN’s path breaking report, Our Common Future), and Cardinal Peter Turkson, a driving force behind the Papal Encyclical Laudato Si: On Care for our Common Home. With the university’s Office of Energy and Environment releasing an updated set of sustainability goals in October and fresh thinking emerging from Ohio State’s Discovery Themes, the institute’s long-standing initiative on Environmental Citizenship in the arts and humanities may be poised to roll with the momentum.

Photo courtesy of Jo McCulty, University Communications

December 2015: As negotiators from nearly 200 nations gathered in Paris to hammer out an agreement to slow the pace of global warming, I convened a somewhat smaller group of staff, faculty and students to take the temperature of Ohio State’s environmental commitments — to wit, the ecological aspects of the 50-year plan for the university’s physical campus. The immediate occasion: the BioPresence exhibition organized by members of the AWASH (Animal Worlds in the Arts, Sciences and Humanities) working group, documenting the place of other-than-human animals across the campus. We examined a number of questions: how do we make connections between the moments when species meet; the affects and habits of daily life; the policies and priorities that regulate our shared habitat; and our common aspiration to living sensibly and equitably over the generational long-term? What are the ecological dimensions of Ohio State’s Campus Framework Plan?

Rick Livingston with students

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HUMANITIES WITHOUT WALLS Ohio State’s Humanities Institute is part of a consortium of 15 universities in the Midwest that has received a $3 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to create new avenues for collaborative research, teaching and the production of scholarship in the humanities, forging and sustaining areas of inquiry with cross-institution cooperation.

The Religious Soundmap of the Midwest, organized by Isaac Weiner, assistant professor, comparative studies What does religion in the Midwest United States sound like? Where does one hear it? How might we understand religious diversity differently if we begin by listening for it? These questions animate the Religious Soundmap Project, which invite multiple public audiences to experience the religious diversity of the Midwest through sound. Working under faculty supervision, student researchers are producing high-quality audio recordings of religion in practice. These recordings will be edited, archived and integrated, along with interviews, visual images, explanatory texts, and interpretive essays, onto a publicly accessible online mapping platform. This innovative digital humanities project will provide new research and pedagogical tools for scholars, experiential learning opportunities for students, and an interactive resource for the general public.

In January 2015, three projects were selected as winners of Global Midwest grants for a total award amount of $77,000. The projects are:

ThereThere ThereThere is an online journal of contemporary global art focused on works exhibited in museums, studios and gallery spaces across the Midwest, organized by Kris Paulsen, assistant professor; and Lisa Florman, professor and chair, Department of Art History. A symposium will take place in February 2016 at the Wexner Center for the Arts, featuring curators, artists and scholars from across the region. These papers will be turned into the feature articles for the first issue of the online journal, the focus of which will be creating arts worlds and the Midwest as a site for contemporary art. Additional curators, students and scholars have been invited to produce reviews of exhibitions taking place across the Midwest.

The Midwest Heritage Language Network, organized by Glenn Martinez, professor and chair, Department of Spanish and Portuguese The network has made significant progress in the creation of a corpus of heritage language speech samples from the Midwest. This past year was dedicated mostly to cleaning and systematizing a large corpus of interviews with heritage speakers of Spanish from the Chicago area. This year, the network will calibrate the interviews in order to design a standardized methodology, an IRB template and a data management plan.


AMERICAN ACADEMY OF BERLIN PARTNERSHIP In 2015, the Humanities Institute and the American Academy in Berlin formed a partnership to sponsor a lecture series, bringing to Ohio State former fellows of the academy for lectures and presentations. This year’s lecture will take place on Aug. 31, 2016 and feature visual artist Leslie Hewitt. Working with photography, sculpture and site-specific installations, Hewitt addresses fluid notions of time. Her work oscillates between the illusionary potential of photography and the physical weight of sculpture. Hewitt graduated from The Cooper Union School of Art in 2000 and went on to earn an MFA from Yale University in 2004. Her work is in the public collection at the Museum of Modern Art; the Guggenheim Museum; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and the Studio Museum in Harlem, among others. In 2012, Hewitt was awarded the Guna S. Mundheim Fellowship in the Visual Arts from American Academy in Berlin, Germany. LESLIE HEWITT

LESLIE HEWITT in collaboration with Bradford Young Untitled (Level). 2010 dual channel projection 35 mm film transferred to HD

HUMANITIES WITHOUT WALLS PRE-DOCTORAL FELLOWS ANNOUNCED The Humanities Without Walls Pre-Doctoral Fellowship program is designed to equip the next generation of humanities scholars to work effectively in the public realm and provides summer stipends for graduate students to affiliate with Chicago-based cultural institutions through the Chicago Humanities Festival. Elizabeth Newton (History) and Kelly Taylor (Classics) are the 2016 recipients of the Public Humanities fellowships.  

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THE PUBLIC HUMANITIES LECTURE SERIES Connecting people, nourishing community, catalyzing intellectual innovation and celebrating vital traditions of wisdom, inspiration and understanding.






Timothy Snyder Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning Feb. 1, 2016 4-5:00 p.m., Book signing will follow Mershon Auditorium Timothy Snyder, author of the New York Times bestseller, Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning (Time Duggan Books, 2015), is the Bird White Housum Professor of History at Yale University and a member of the Committee on Conscience of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. He is the author of Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin, which received the literature award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Hannah Arendt Prize and the Leipzig Book Prize for European Understanding. Snyder is a frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books and the Times Literary Supplement and a former contributing editor at The New Republic. He is a permanent fellow of the Institute for Human Sciences, serves as the faculty advisor for the Fortunoff Archive for Holocaust Testimonies and sits on the advisory council of the Yivo Institute for Jewish Research. This lecture is presented in conjunction with the Luebeck Lecture in Germanic Languages and Cultures. Co-sponsors include Ohio State’s Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures; the Melton Center for Jewish Studies and the Wexner Center for the Arts.

Susanne Freidberg On Food March 24, 2016 Susanne Freidberg is professor of geography and chair of the Department of Geography at Dartmouth College. She is the author of two books, French Beans and Food Scares: Culture and Commerce in an Anxious Age and Fresh: A Perishable History, as well as numerous articles. Her work spans the fields of political ecology; cultural economy; and science and technology studies (STS). Much of her research has centered on the politics and cultural meanings of food provisioning, in and between different parts of the world, from small-scale green bean export farmers in West Africa to lobster traders in Hong Kong, from French gardeners in the 18th century to Danish industrial ecologists in the 21st century. Freidberg works toward an understanding of the social worlds they work in, the practical and ethical challenges they face and how these influence the broader workings and politics of food supply. continued on page 10


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David Blackbourn Nature and Environment in Modern Germany: A Difficult History April 7, 2016 David Blackbourn is professor of history and the Cornelius Vanderbilt Distinguished Chair of History, Vanderbilt University; He has taught courses on Western Civilization, modern European history, modern German history, the history of religion and popular piety, Germany in the Twentieth Century, Religion and Popular Culture in Nineteenth-Century Europe, and Max Weber in His Time, as well as a graduate seminar on Problems and Sources in Modern German History. His book, The Conquest of Nature: Water, Landscape and the Making of Modern Germany (2006), won the George Mosse Prize and the Charles A. Weyerhaeuser Prize for Best Book in Forest and Conservation History.

Andrew Piper Of Topics and Topoi: Close Reading Distant Reading April 19, 2016 Andrew Piper is associate professor and William Dawson Scholar of German and European Literature in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at McGill University. His work explores the application of computational approaches to the study of literature and culture with a particular emphasis on network theory and questions of transtextuality. He is the director of .txtLAB, a digital humanities laboratory at McGill, as well as leader of the Digging into Data Project, “Global Currents: Cultures of Literary Networks, 1050-1900,” and the multinational partnership grant, “NovelTM: Text Mining the Novel,” which brings together 21 partners across North America and Europe to undertake the first large-scale quantitative and cross-cultural study of the novel. He is the author of Book Was There: Reading in Electronic Times and Dreaming in Books: The Making of the Bibliographic Imagination in the Romantic Age, which was awarded the MLA Prize for a First Book and honorable mention for the Harry Levin Prize for the American Comparative Literature Association.  

COLLABORATIVE WORKING GROUPS Humanities Institute Faculty Working Groups develop two-year collaborative programs which include public presentations, conferences, publications, courses, digital productions and more. The institute provides these groups with funding, meeting space, publicity and organizational support.

Continuity and Change in the Andes and Amazonia Michelle Wibbelsman (Spanish and Portuguese), Kendra McSweeney (Geography) and Barbara Piperata (Anthropology) Recently funded for a third year, the group’s past events included “Rehearsing Change,” a theater and social action workshop presented by Daniel Bryan, director of Pachaysana Institute of Ecuador, and “All You Need is Ecuador,” an event featuring the Chicago-based Ecuadorian Consul and Vice Consul. The working group will devote its third year to the Indigenous Languages and Cultures of Latin

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America (ILCLA) Conference to take place at Ohio State in October 2016.

Dialectics East and West Anh Ho (Philosophy), Joel Wainwright (Geography) and Christopher Brown (Classics/Modern Greek) Since Plato and Aristotle, dialectic has been understood as a method external to its object. Against this tradition of static alienation, Hegel and Marx return to the Pre-Socratic understanding of dialectic as the self-movement of being itself, the historical self-movement of consciousness becoming historical consciousness of itself. Dialectic is also found in Asian traditions such as Buddhism, the Vedas and Daoism. This working group examines how the dialectic appears in these diverse sources to better understand its nature and relevance for our lives. In spring 2016, the focus is on the Dialectics of the Self, examining themes of alienation, false consciousness and narcissism.

All are welcome at weekly meetings for reading and discussion held at 4 p.m. every Thursday in the Kermit Hall Videoconference Center in Hagerty Hall. On April 7, at 4 p.m. in 180 Hagerty Hall, Tom Kasulis, professor emeritus, comparative studies, will deliver a keynote address entitled “The Dialectical Self in Modern Japanese Philosophy: Negotiating the Alterity of the West.”

Humanities and Medicine David Horn (Comparative Studies), Susan Lawrence (History), Julia Nelson Hawkins (Classics), Jim Phelan (English) and Dana Renga (French and Italian) This working group seeks to establish Ohio State as a leading center for the study of medical humanities. Building on the success of the 2013 Conference on Narrative Medicine in the Twenty-First Century, the group seeks to enhance the teaching of and research on humanities and medicine currently being carried out across

the university. In 2014-15, the group focused on developing a minor in Medical Humanities (which should soon be officially approved) and an MA in the Medical Humanities and Social Sciences. In 2015-16, the group will focus on creating a broader community of scholars working on the humanities, social sciences and medicine.

Music and Sound Isaac Weiner (Comparative Studies) and Ryan Skinner (Music) This working group aims to create an interdisciplinary space for conversations among Ohio State faculty and students interested in the cultural study of sound. It has sponsored lectures by visiting scholars such as Jonathan Sterne (McGill University), Amanda Weidman (Bryn Mawr College), Marina Peterson (Ohio University) and Jason Bivins (North Carolina State University). It organizes opportunities for Ohio State faculty and graduate students to share works-in-progress, and provides support to the Religious Soundmap Project, a new collaborative research initiative led by Isaac Weiner. Future plans include a regional conference that will aim to create a network of sound studies scholars based at Midwestern research institutions.

Space and Sovereignty


Juno Parrenas (Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies) and Noah Tamarkin (Comparative Studies) This newly formed working group fosters interdisciplinary conversation on space and sovereignty. Its shared conceptual framework is the crossdisciplinary interest in how power is enacted, contested and reconfigured in specific places, and how that specificity in turn expands humanistic understanding of sovereignty, biopower and political ecology. The group will foster intellectual community, alternating between works-inprogress workshops and discussions of recently published scholarship. It will also host four public lectures from visiting scholars over the course of two years (2015-2017). Along with The Ohio State University chapter of the Society for Advancement of Hispanics/ Chicanos and Native Americans in Science, this new working group is co-sponsoring a public lecture in early April by Professor Kim TallBear, author of Native American DNA.

Alejandra Rojas Silva is an art historian specializing in colonial Latin America. In particular, her work studies the role of botanical illustration in the intellectual formation of the early modern Hispanic Empire. Her dissertation, Flora Incognita: Picturing the New World, investigates herbals produced in the New World in the mid-16th century, positing a connection between the representation of flora and the social position of the indigenous population.

FROM WORKING GROUP TO UNIVERSITY-WIDE PROGRAM LiteracyStudies@OSU Now a university-wide program, LiteracyStudies@OSU originated in 2004 as a working group of the Humanities Institute, with which it continues to partner. Led by Harvey Graff (English and History) with colleagues from across the College of Arts and Sciences and the university, including Elaine Richardson (Teaching and Learning); Michael Bevis (Earth Sciences); Ruth Colker (Law); Lorraine Wallace (Medicine); Graeme Boone (Music); Jack Nasar (Engineering); and Sandra Tanenbaum (Public Health) among others. The aim is to foster critical, comparative and historical understanding and encourage the study of literacy through a variety of initiatives, including programs and working groups on History of the Book, Literacy in Translation, Literacy in the Sciences, Literacy in Health and Medicine, the Interdisciplinary Seminar in Literacy Studies for Graduate Students and the Graduate Interdisciplinary Specialization in Literacy Studies.

Christian Zacher is professor emeritus, Ohio State’s Department of English. He served as director of the Humanities Institute from its inception in 1998 until June 2011. He is co-editor of The Encyclopedia of the American Midwest, and he most recently authored The Holbrook Years 2002-2007. Zacher has held a number of administrative positions at Ohio State including the director of the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies; associate dean of humanities; chair of the Department of Comparative Studies and secretary of the University Senate.


LASER/HUMANITIES INSTITUTE GRADUATE FELLOWS The LASER/Humanities Institute Graduate Student in Residence Fellows program is a collaboration between the Humanities Institute and Ohio State’s Latino and Latin American Space for Enrichment and Research (LASER)

Fellows are selected on the basis of intellectual distinction, quality and precision of their dissertation proposal, and on the promise of further outstanding achievements in the areas of diversity, inclusion and scholarship on the Latin/o Americas.

Current Fellows

Marie Lerma received her BA in history and women’s studies from California State University, Fresno. She is currently a second year PhD student in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies. Her research interests involve writing and theorizing about Latinos in the Central Valley of California and Latino youth’s reactions to the Californian drought.

Luis Fernando Macías is currently PhD student in the College of Education and Human Ecology at Ohio State. He received his BA in Spanish and Translation from the University of Texas at El Paso and an MA in cross cultural and international education from Bowling Green State University. He was a Peace Corps volunteer in Kazakhstan and a Board of Immigration Appeals Accredited Representative in El Paso, Texas. His research interests include immigrant youths’ access to post-secondary education and investigating and theorizing Latinidad in the contemporary Midwestern U.S. Rocio Isabel Prado is first-generation Chicana from Anaheim, California. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from California State University, Fullerton. Her research includes applying decolonial theory to Latino/a comic books, comedy, postcolonial theory and feminist theory. She is involved in community organizing, co-founding CSU Fullerton’s Queer People of Color club, a Dream Summer internship at the LGBT Center OC, and being an active member of DeColores Queer Orange County.

LASER PROGRAMS DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) is a student-run support and resource group that meets biweekly to share information about DACA resources and create various forms of support. DACA provides temporary formal immigration status for many youth and young adults who came to the U.S. as children but do not have formal immigration documents. Graduate-Undergraduate Writing groups meet weekly on an informal basis to brainstorm ideas and review course assignments, scholarship and grant proposals. Structured exchanges take place between graduate and undergraduate students to answer questions about undergraduate experiences and the transition to life in graduate school.

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Math Tutoring, conducted by mathematics professor Gary Gutman and LASER Scholar and doctoral candidate in physics, Matthew Webber, is available on a weekly basis for homework help and GRE testing preparation. GALA (Graduate Association of Latin@/ Latin American Students) meetings take place the first Tuesday of every month. The Heritage and Emerging Spanish Speakers Conversational Group meets every Friday. This informal group of students meet to practice their Spanish skills in a healthy conversational environment. All grade levels and ability levels are welcome.


The Ohio State University Humanities Institute

We would like to extend our deep appreciation to our many partners — both within the university and in the larger community — for their continued support and confidence in the quality and caliber of our programming.

DIRECTOR Paul Reitter ( ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR Robert E. Livingston (

National affiliations and program partners:


American Academy in Berlin


Chicago Humanities Festival Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes (CHCI) Humanities Without Walls Consortium

Philip Armstrong associate professor, comparative studies Jonathan Burgoyne associate professor, Spanish and Portuguese

Community partners: Columbus Art Commission Columbus Museum of Art Franklin County Municipal Court Ohio Humanities Council

Ohio State partners: The Center for Ethics and Human Values College of Arts and Sciences College of Education and Human Ecology College of Medicine College of Nursing College of Public Health Disability Studies

Lilia Fernandez associate professor, history Angus Fletcher associate professor, English Naomi Fukumori associate professor, East Asian languages and literatures Jill Galvan associate professor, English Rebecca Harvey professor, art Julia Nelson-Hawkins associate professor, classics Chris Otter associate professor, history Karl Whittington assistant professor, history of art

Health Sciences Administration Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity Knowlton School of Architecture Mershon Center for International Security Studies Moritz College of Law The Ohio State University Alumni Association, Inc. Office of Academic Affairs Office of Distance Education and eLearning Office of Diversity and Inclusion Society of American Indians (SAI)

Please consider a gift or donation to the Humanities Institute, fund #302086. Each and every gift makes a tangible difference in the lives of our faculty, staff, students and in the community where we live.

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LASER CHOSEN BY WHITE HOUSE AS BRIGHT SPOT IN HISPANIC EDUCATION In September, Ohio State’s LASER was selected a 2015 Bright Spot in Hispanic Education by the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. The announcement was made by Alejandra Ceja, executive director of the initiative, at the launch of Hispanic Heritage Month and in honor of the initiative’s 25th anniversary. “This is an incredible honor that recognizes all of the hard work that so many of our students, staff, faculty and community members invest in future generations of Latinos in the greater Columbus area and beyond,” said Frederick Aldama, professor of English, LASER founder and director and Humanities Institute affiliate. Established in 2010, LASER is the country’s first hub for scholarship and mentoring that centers on Latinos and the knowledge and cultural production of the Latin/o Americas.

14 Humanities Institute

LASER utilizes a total system for mentoring Latino students from high school to college and professional schools, as well as those students who seek to learn more about Latino and Latin American history, culture, economics, literature, geography and other areas. In addition to supporting Latino students’ access and success in college, LASER also teaches parents what they can do to support their children’s college readiness, including financial planning for college expenses. “LASER has positioned Ohio State as a leader in preparing, recruiting and retaining Latino scholars from high school through graduate school,” said Aldama. As a Bright Spot, LASER will be part of a national online catalog that includes more than 230 programs that invest in key education priorities for Hispanics.

Profile for College of Arts and Sciences at Ohio State

Humanities Institute 2016  

Humanities Institute 2016  


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