Humanities institute 2014

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News from The Ohio State University Humanities Institute

Text of Humanities institute 2014

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  • ii Humanities Institute

    Physics Activity Labs Enhanced with Technology (PALET Labs) Foster a New Way to Learn Physics These newly renovated spaces can hold up to 80 students and three instructors in one lab at the same time while providing a unique, comfortable learning environment. Not only do students have access to the latest laboratory equipment and technology, everything in the PALET Labs is designed for an optimal learning experience. Specially-designed tables and seating arrangements facilitate working in groups. Floor and ceiling installations muffle sound, lighting provides the right degree of brightness, and the floor plan provides ease in moving around.

    Two PALET labs are up-and-running and a third one is scheduled to be finished next academic year.

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    ABOUT THE HUMANITIES INSTITUTEFounded in 1997, the Humanities Institute is an active community forum for exchange among scholars and citizens. It acts as a significant bridge between 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 culture.

    The institute connects people, nourishes community, promotes intellectual innovation and celebrates vital traditions of wisdom, inspiration and understanding.











    Stained glass window in the George Wells Knight house, inscribed, Nothing is so Beautiful to the Eye as Truth to the Mind, John Locke ( 1632-1704)

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    Dear Friends:

    I am honored to write to you as the director of the Humanities Institute at The Ohio State University, and Im grateful to have the opportunity to have that role at such an exciting time in the institutes 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.

    Acting on that aim, we have created a lecture series that will link the humanities with Ohio States new Discovery Themes. Last year, the series focused on the theme of Health and Wellness in the fall, we hosted the eminent bioethicist Ezekiel Emanuel for a talk on healthcare reform; and in the spring, the distinguished economist Deirdre McCloskey for a presentation on the academic study of happiness. This year, the institutes Discovery Themes Lecture Series has merged with the Provosts Discovery Themes Lecturer Program, and the institute played an important role in bringing to campus two eminent scholars who will be speaking this year: Sherry Turkle, a pioneering researcher on the effects of technology on human interactions; and the Pulitzer Prize-winning anthropologist Jared Diamond.

    In November 2012, we launched the Public Humanities Lecture Series, bringing together university constituencies 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 worlds leading public intellectuals; and Jill Lepore, Harvard University professor of history and author. It continued last year with lectures by Mark Edmundson, Tony Grafton and Eric Klinenberg, and will continue this coming year with a public conversation with celebrated author Zadie Smith.

    We also have two new programs to announce. One is a lecture series we are cosponsoring with the American Academy in Berlin former academy fellow, poet and critic Susan Stewart (Princeton University) will be coming to campus in January 2015. The other program is an outreach course for economically disadvantaged adults who wish to gain experience in the humanities at the college-level. Both programs are described on page four.

    We are mindful of the responsibility of our mission and 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 endorse our model of collaborative, interdisciplinary research, teaching and public engagement. And that, in turn, promotes and sustains a vibrant, curious and intelligent community.

    With warm regards,

    Paul Reitter

    Director Paul Reitter Paul Reitter is professor of Germanic languages and literatures. His work has appeared in an array of venues, from Jewish Social Studies: History, Culture, Society and American Imago to Harpers Magazine, BOOKFORUM, The Paris Review, The Nation and The Times Literary Supplement, to which he is a regular contributor. Reitter is the author of Bambis Jewish Roots: Essays on German-Jewish Culture, On the Origins of Jewish Self Hatred and The Anti-Journalist: Karl Kraus and Jewish Self-Fashioning in Fin-de-Sicle Europe. He recently collaborated with Jonathan Franzen on The Kraus Project (2013), a widely discussed volume of translations and commentary.

    Associate Director Rick LivingstonRick Livingston, senior lecturer, Ohio States Department of Comparative Studies, has been with the Humanities 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 States 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 the Ohio States Second-Year Transformational Experience Program (STEP).

    Administrative Assistant Elizabeth LantzElizabeth Lantz has an MFA in creative nonfiction from Ohio State. Her work has been published in various literary journals, including The Kenyon Review, American Literary Review and South Dakota Review.

    (L-R) Rick Livingston, Elizabeth Lantz, Paul Reitter

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    Geontology of the Global Midwest The Bakken formation in North Dakota has emerged in recent years as one of the most important sources of oil in the United States; its exploitation has catapulted the United States from the worlds largest oil consumer into a net oil producer. This oil boom renders the Bakken formation a major player in the global politics of climate change, and its investigation an urgent task for understanding the global implications of the Midwest.

    The town of Williston, the site of the Bakken formation, is an administrative, technological and cultural hub for the

    Midwestern energy extraction economy, but it has also reconfigured the geontology the systematic socio-political and aesthetic regulation of the land and its subterranean formations throughout the region.

    The Geontology of the Global Midwest project seeks to rework the emergent conceptualization of the Anthropocene epoch to better capture the geontological dynamics of the Bakken extractive economy.

    Latina/o MidwestThis multi-faceted collaboration will engage multiple Midwestern audiences in the university and beyond in learning about the significance of Latina/o literature, art, theatre, performance and oral history in the Midwest. Participants will produce a volume on Latina/o Creativity in the Midwest; develop two traveling exhibits to be used in the region (one on Latina/o literature, art, theatre and performance; a second on oral histories); create curricular units for weekend reading clubs and launch online blog pages on The Latino Midwest and Mujeres Talk websites.

    Courtesy of the artist, Alejandro Gracia-Lemos

    Ohio States 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 that cannot be created or maintained without cross-institutional cooperation.

    The Humanities Without Walls consortium will be the first of its kind to experiment at this large scale with cross-institutional collaboration.

    The Midwest consortium includes 13 institutions that belong to the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC): Indiana University, Michigan State University, Northwester