Calendar of Events

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January 2015

Make a difference in service and leadership by becoming a part of the prestigious Savant Leadership Honorary, the most progressive leadership honorary at the University of Florida! Savant will be accepting applications from January 16-30, 2015. and the application itself can be found here. Be sure to attend our "Perception Is Reality" recruitment events from January 19-30, 2015 and learn more about how to make your success a reality!


More Human than Human: The Work of Life in the Age of Biotechnical Reproduction
Thursday, January 29th
Smathers Library 100, 5:30pm
Priscilla Wald (Duke University)

A woman pregnant with her grandchild; a hamster in a state of suspended animation; human cells reproducing into eternity. These are some of the biotechnological innovations that seemed to blur the line between science and science fiction in the decades following the Second World War. Public accounts of these innovations emerged against the backdrop of debates in social and political thought surrounding the atrocities of two global conflagrations and, more broadly, colonialism. Legal cases and policy debates, the mainstream media and popular fiction and film all attest to the convergence of scientific innovation and geopolitical transformation in new accounts of the human—and of life itself—in the decades following the war. Questions abounded: if we can create life in a laboratory and patent it in the courts, what will happen to the basic dignity of humankind? What will happen to human relationships to other humans and to the world at large? Such questions circulated through the courts and the media, but it was in the science fictional scenarios that writers could work through the dangers and possibilities, the hopes and fears, associated with the science and register as well the emergence of new histories—scientific creation stories—for humanity in the age of biotechnology. This talk draws on the legal cases and policy debates, news accounts and especially science fiction—with a focus on Ridley Scott's cinematic adaptation of Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?: the 1982 cult classic Bladerunner—to chronicle the scientific creation stories that emerged to explain the radically changing figure of the human, to forecast its destiny, and to create by imagining a biotechnological world.

Priscilla Wald teaches and works on U.S. literature and culture as Professor of English and Women's Studies at Duke University. Her current work focuses on the intersections among the law, literature, science, and medicine. Her recent book, Contagious: Cultures, Carriers, and the Outbreak Narrative, studies the evolution of the contemporary stories we tell about the global health problem of "emerging infections." She is currently at work on a book-length study entitled Human Being After Genocide, which chronicles the challenge to conceptions of human being that emerged from scientific and technological innovation in the wake of the Second World War. She is especially interested in analyzing how the language, narratives and images in mainstream media promote a particular understanding of genomic science that is steeped in (often misleading) cultural biases and assumptions. She is committed to promoting conversations among scholars from science, medicine, law and cultural studies in order to facilitate a richer understanding of these issues. Wald is the author of Constituting Americans: Cultural Anxiety and Narrative Form (Duke, 1995). Dr. Wald has served on the Executive Council of the Modern Language Association (MLA) and is currently the MLA representative to the American Council of Learned Societies; she recently completed a term as President of the American Studies Association. She has a secondary appointment in Women's Studies, is on the steering committee of ISIS (Information Sciences + Information Studies) and is a member of the Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy and an affiliate of the Trent Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities and the Institute for Global Health.

The Work of the Humanities series is made possible by the Rothman Endowment and Yavitz Fund at the Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences with co-sponsorship from the UF Informatics Institute, Smathers Libraries, Honors Program, College of Public Health and Health Professions, Department of Political Science, Department of English and Phillip Wegner (Marston-Milbauer Eminent Scholar Chair), Department of Philosophy, Department of Classics, Elizabeth B. and William F. Poe Center for Business Ethics Education and Research, Pamela Gilbert (Albert Brick Professor), Center for Women's Studies and Gender Research, UF Research Computing, and the Bob Graham Center for Public Service.

This event is free and open to the public and includes time afterward for questions and discussion.

February 2015

Success and the Good Life in the Renaissance
Wednesday, February 11th
University Auditorium, 5:30pm
Dr. Konrad Eisenbichler, Professor of Italian Studies, University of Toronto

Dr. Eisenbichler will deliver the Good Life Common Lecture for Spring 2015. Sponsored by HUM 2305: What is the Good Life? and cosponsored by the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Bio: Dr. Konrad Eisenbichler, Professor of Italian Studies at the University of Toronto, has been inducted into the Royal Society of Canada for academic excellence. He has received the Medaglia al merito from the Autonomous Region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia and has been inducted into the Knights of St. Mark, the knightly order of the ancient Republic of Venice, in recognition of his services for Venetian culture and history. He received the Ennio Flaiano prize for his book, The Sword and the Pen: Women, Poetry and Politics in Sixteenth-Century Siena (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2012). His monograph, The Boys of the Archangel Raphael: A Youth Confraternity in Florence, 1411-1785 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1988) received the Howard A. Marraro Prize from the American Catholic Historical Association. Other recent publications include L'opera poetica di Virginia Martini Salvi (Siena 2012) and Renaissance Medievalisms (Toronto 2009). In his work, Professor Eisenbichler focuses on the intersection of literature, politics and religion in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Italy.

Abstract: The enormous cultural and scientific changes that marked the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries in Europe also marked the way Europeans saw themselves and the world around them. It has become a commonplace to say that the "medieval" focus on the afterlife and the salvation of the soul gave way in those centuries to a "humanist" focus on this life and the health of the physical body. While this commonplace, like all commonplaces, holds a grain of truth and a bushel of misinformation, it does point to the seismic change that pushed Europe to the forefront of global developments and turned it into the dominant civilization that, in many ways, it still is today. In the course of changing their ways of thinking and living, Europeans had, first and foremost, to change themselves. They did so by, among other things, producing self-help manuals that taught them to improve themselves, to do things more efficiently, and to obtain desired goals. One of these self-help books was Archbishop Giovanni Della Casa's innovative and still very relevant Galateo, a book of manners that taught its readers how to behave and how not to behave in public.

Start-up Democracy: Innovating Citizenship with the Ancient Athenians
Thursday, February 12th
Pugh Hall Ocora, 5:30pm
Cynthia Farrar (Yale University)

Entrepreneurship rules: as a way to make a living, and to remake the world. Human striving tends to be interpreted through the prism of disruptive innovation. We call change agents "social entrepreneurs." And yet, we don't innovate our democracy. We take its structure for granted: as a framework fixed by the Founders, or (increasingly) as irrelevant. In a variety of spheres, we are attenuating the significance of the political system. We seek to achieve political as well as economic aims through individual initiative, data gathering and targeting, and technological ingenuity. What will digitally-driven decentralization and fragmentation mean for democratic aspirations? Has the system we take for granted ever made good on the promise of democracy? Will the networked public do better? Perhaps the innovations of the first democracy can help us re-invent our own. The ancient Athenians were civic entrepreneurs. In an unprecedented restructuring that provoked Plato's scorn, they accorded political equality "to equals and unequals alike." We assume that our democracy means equal power; the Athenians knew they had to have a political app for that.

Cynthia Farrar is a scholar and civic entrepreneur who applies her understanding of ancient Athenian democratic theory and practice to the challenge of engaging citizens as full partners in American democracy. From 2001 - 2007, she orchestrated non-partisan conversations among randomly-invited citizens, with local partners and MacNeil-Lehrer Productions. In 2007, Farrar founded Purple States, a video production company that brings the experiences and perspectives of ordinary people into discussions of the politics, policies, and programs that affect them. Purple States documentary video series have aired on the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and USA TODAY. As a Research Scholar at Yale's Institution for Social and Policy Studies, Farrar teaches and writes about the theory and practice of democracy, ancient and modern, with a special focus on deliberative democracy. She holds a B.A. from Yale and a Ph.D. from Cambridge University.

This event is free and open to the public and includes time afterward for questions and discussion.

Do you know the benefits of studying Humanities or Language?

Join the Career Resource Center and Eta Sigma Phi at one of our interactive session to identify and learn how to communicate the benefits you bring to employers as a Humanities or Languages major/minor.

Wednesday, February 18th
Pugh Hall room 210, 5:10 – 6:30 pm
Explore Lab
Wednesday, February 25th
Pugh Hall room 210, 5:10 – 6:30 pm
Planning for the Future

March 2015

Unpaid and Unpriced: Toward a Feminist Political Economy
Monday, March 16th
Ustler Hall Atrium, 5:30pm
Nancy Folbre (Emerita, University of Massachusetts Amherst)

In both theory and practice feminism has always reached beyond an emphasis on gender equality to interrogate the causes and consequences of inequality writ large. In recent years, the emergence of feminist social science has generated a distinctive approach to political economy that emphasizes the intersection of many different forms of collective identity and action, with important implications for the trajectory of our economic system. Growing attention to the economic importance of unpaid work within families and communities parallels, in many respects, attention to the other unpriced resources crucial to a sustainable environment. Feminist theory can help construct a new paradigm for progressive political change.

Nancy Folbre is Professor Emerita of Economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Much of her research focuses on the economic dimensions of care work and its impact on gender inequality. She recently edited For Love and Money: Care Provision in the U.S. (Russell Sage Foundation, 2012), and has authored many articles and books, including Greed, Lust, and Gender: A History of Economic Ideas (Oxford, 2009). Between 2009 and 2014 she was a weekly contributor to the New York Times Economix blog.

This event is free and open to the public and includes time afterward for questions and discussion.

April 2015

Queer Cinema and the Spaces of Europe
Thursday, April 9th
5:00-7:00pm, Smathers Library East 100

Karl Schoonover (University of Warwick) and Rosalind Galt (King's College London)

Queer cinema creates worlds. It intervenes in existing debates on the national, transnational and global as well as envisioning new modes of being in the world. This talk will explore how contemporary queer films are imagining Europe, and how dissident gender and sexual identities intersect with persistent questions of European politics, spaces, and identities. It will analyze border-crossing films (e.g. Dvojina, Unveiled, Edge of Heaven), considering how tropes of immigration and mobility articulate sexuality with race, nationality, and marginality within and outside the EU. In interrogating queer European cinema, it will consider both art films (She Male Snails, Wedding Song) and popular genres, such as the lesbian romcom (Stud Life, I Can't Think Straight) and the gay road movie (Parade, Adventures of Felix). By examining a range of cinematic styles and genres, the talk will draw out queer cinema's richly varied responses to debates on homonationalism, multiculturalism, and queer belonging in today's Europe.

Karl Schoonover is an Associate Professor of Film Studies at the University of Warwick. He is the author of Brutal Vision: The Neorealist Body in Postwar Italian Cinema (Minnesota UP, 2012), as well as coeditor of the collection Global Art Cinema: New Theories and Histories (Oxford UP, 2010). He has published essays in numerous anthologies and in journals such as Art Journal, Cinema Journal, Framework, and Screen. His research interests include theories of cinematic time, the politics of film style, and the emergence of 'world cinema' as an institutional category.

Rosalind Galt is Reader in Film Studies at the King's College London. She is the author of The New European Cinema: Redrawing the Map (Columbia UP, 2006) and Pretty: Film and the Decorative Image (Columbia UP, 2011), as well as coeditor of the collection Global Art Cinema: New Theories and Histories (Oxford UP, 2010). She has published in journals such as Camera Obscura, Screen, Cinema Journal and Discourse. Her research interests include the intersections of film theory and aesthetics, postwar world cinemas, and European avant-garde movements.

Funding and contact info:
The lecture is co-sponsored by the Jean Monnet Chair and the European Union funded Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence at the University of Florida, the Waldo W. Neikirk Term Professorship, and the Center for Women's Studies and Gender Research. For questions, please contact Barbara Mennel at or Amie Kreppel at

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