Humanities Center 2014-15 Programs

The Lehigh University Humanities Center is a wonderful intellectual and physical gem on campus. It’s center is found in a comfortable home-like setting on the far west side of Packer Avenue.

According to the program description from the LehighU Course Catalog,

The Humanities Center provides a physical home as well as intellectual, financial, and organizational support for students, faculty, and staff who wish to come together to participate in humanistic inquiry, understood in the broadest possible terms.

In addition to providing resources to support faculty research or creative activity, each year the Humanities Center Advisory Board, made up of faculty from various academic disciplines, picks a theme for interdisciplinary discourse. Themes in past years have explored concepts of  “Waste,” “Just Globalization,” “Contagion,” “New Bethlehem,” “Speaking Bodies” and “Excess.”  For each theme, the center presents a series of invited scholars, intellectuals, artists and writers to address related issues.

The theme for the 2014-15 lecture series is “Posthumanitities;” multiple considerations of “the place of the human in the humanities.”  Further description of the theme is available on the Humanities Center website. But also extracted here for ease and interest:

The human has long been the conceptual center of the humanities, disciplines that strive to come to terms with and document human experience in varied historical and cultural contexts. But, unfolding environmental crises, new technologies, and scientific developments in our understanding life prompt new questions about the humanities’ orientation toward the human. Have traditional modes of humanistic inquiry foreclosed, in violent and even catastrophic ways, possible relationships to our world and the beings we share it with? How might humanistic inquiry challenge its own disciplinary limits and its grounding in human, as opposed to non-human, life for a revitalized ethics and politics? And, particularly pressing for a series housed in the Humanities Center, what do the humanities, reimagined, have to offer to posthuman inquiry? While the natural sciences can teach us about the genetic and cognitive similarities between humans and animals, this series on the Posthumanities asks how religion, literature, philosophy, history, and art can help us to analyze why that knowledge does not lead us to treat animal life differently, to give insight into the subjectivities that shape scientific and technological imaginaries, and ultimately to retrain our desires and our politics toward more ethical relationships with plant, animal, technological, and human life.

We aim to provide a separate blog post for each event. For now, we hope that our interested reader will mark their calendars and consider how these speakers and discussions would spur curiosity and engage in the delights of a deeply thinking intellectual community.

Consider this post a “save the dates” notice. The events will take place in the Scheler Humanities Forum, Linderman Library room 200 unless noted otherwise.

Thursday, September 18, 2014 – 4:10pm
Cary Wolfe
Bruce and Elizabeth Dunlevie Professor, Department of English
Founding Director, 3CT: Center for Critical and Cultural Theory
Rice University

Thursday, October 23, 2014 – 4:10pm
Location TBD
David Bates
Professor, Department of Rhetoric
UC Berkeley

Thursday, November 6, 2014 – 4:10pm
Kellie Robertson
Associate Professor, Department of English
University of Maryland

Thursday, January 29, 2015 – 4:10pm
Susan Pearson
Associate Professor, Department of History
Northwestern University

Thursday, February 19, 2015
Kalpana Seshadri
Professor, Department of English
Boston College

Thursday, March 19, 2015 – 4:10pm
J. Andrew Brown
Associate Professor, Spanish and Comparative Literature
Washington University, St. Louis

Thursday, April 23, 2015 – 4:10pm
Kelly Oliver
W. Alton Jones Professor, Department of Philosophy
Vanderbilt University