The Culture & Society Colloquium at Washington and Lee University

The Culture & Society Colloquium (CSC) is an interdisciplinary series of informal colloquia featuring scholars at Washington and Lee or at nearby schools who are working in the humanities and social sciences. Participants present their work-in-progress as a talk, followed by discussion. It is an opportunity to air and discuss with colleagues work as it is being developed, and is not meant to be a formal, public lecture.  Rather, it is an opportunity for participants to talk about the work in which they are already engaged — something from an article, chapter, or book in progress.

The talks should be pitched to a non-specialist academic audience. The idea is to stimulate interdisciplinary discussion and highlight shared interests.  The diversity of background and research method of the participants offers a real advantage: the comments of colleagues in allied fields but focused in different areas or periods can point to broad issues and methodological considerations that a specialist readers might not bring into view.

Next Presentation:

Tuesday, November 13, 11:15-12:10 in Tucker 114

Danna Agmon (Associate Professor of History, Virginia Tech)
“Failure on Display: Historiography, Colonial Administration, and the 1931 Paris Exposition”

This talk considers twentieth-century engagement with the history of eighteenth-century French India, and in the process reveals the importance of the imperial past for colonial administrators during France’s Third Republic. In the first three decades of the twentieth century, a group of French colonial administrators in Pondichéry, India, were amateur but devoted historians. They were engaged in large-scale projects of archival preservation and crafted ambitious works of original scholarship. Their efforts then culminated in the surprisingly central place that the tiny French colonies in India held in the 1931 Colonial Exposition in Paris.

This study asks, Why was the eighteenth-century so “good to think with” for modern colonial administrators? It investigates the relationship between French colonial governance and projects of historical preservation and historiographical writing and offers three interventions into colonial studies and intellectual history of France. First, it unsettles the tendency in the historiography of French empire to posit an epistemic rupture between the “first” empire of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and the “second” empire of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Second, it points to the existence of a rhetoric of failure in colonial discourse – one exemplified by concern with the perceived failure of French India – as an undercurrent to the triumphant tone of the “Civilizing Mission.” Finally, it considers the importance of historical writing in the building and consolidation of empire beginning in the late nineteenth century.

Cosponsored by the Middle East and South Asia Studies program and the Department of History

Past Presentations:


November 8

Melissa Vise (Assistant Professor of History, WLU)
“In the Courtroom of the Poets: Verbal Violence, Justice, and The Decameron”

Cosponsored by the Culture & Society Colloquium, the W&L Italian Studies Cohort, and Medieval and the Renaissance Studies Program


13 October
Reshef Agam-Segal (Assistant Professor, VMI)
“Clarifying Clarification: Wittgenstein on Moral Clarity”
Abstract: I trace a strand in the development of Wittgenstein’s moral thought. I argue that the view in the Tractatus, which links moral language to nonsense, emerges out of an interest in a particular, somewhat peculiar, kind of uses of language. I further claim that Wittgenstein did not lose interest in this type of language in his later philosophy. Following a claim by Anne-Marie Christensen, I argue that these peculiar uses of language are characterized by their special clarificatory function; they allow for moral clarification. I compare and contrast moral clarity with logical clarity. My claim is that whereas to logically clarify is to clarify available possible courses of reasoning, e.g. a proposition’s role in inferences, to morally clarify is to bring about an imaginative involvement with the facts clarified. I elucidate this in terms of Wittgenstein’s later discussion of aspect-perception.
* Reshef invites you to read a draft of the larger article from which his presentation is extracted: LINK 

20 October
Andrew McGonigal (Visiting Assistant Professor, W&L)
“Erysichthonic Tragedy, or, A Puzzle in Profundity”
On the idea of profundity in tragedy, and its relationship to the ‘unqualified horror’ alluded to in Northrop Frye’s description of ‘sixth-phase’ tragic works:
“Oedipus Tyrannus, however, is already moving into the sixth phase of tragedy, a world of shock and horror in which the central images are images of sparagmos, that is, cannibalism, mutilation and torture…Any tragedy may have one or more shocking scenes in it, but sixth-phase tragedy shocks as a whole, in its total effect.  This phase is more common as a subordinate aspect of tragedy than as its main theme, as unqualified horror or despair makes a difficult cadence” (Frye, Anatomy of Criticism, 222).


April 23, 2014
Matt Gildner (Assistant Professor of History)
“‘This Prehistoric Metropolis of South American Whites’: Race, Science, and the Consolidation of Ethnic-Minority Rule in Bolivia”

Around the turn of the twentieth century, Bolivia’s preeminent scientific authority made a remarkable discovery. The quiet, bespectacled Belisario Díaz Romero had long been consumed by the origins and evolution of the human species. It was, after all, the most popular scientific issue of this unquestionably modern age. For years he contemplated his own existence in light of recent advances in Victorian anthropology, German biology, and French anatomy. After a decade of research, he concluded that the small, European-descendant, or creole, minority that ruled Bolivia traced their racial lineage to Atlantis. Praised among his peers in the Liberal scientific vanguard and celebrated by the creole elite, Diaz Romero’s discovery transformed Atlantis into an icon of ascendant creole nationalism. Diplomats and scholars, publishers and politicians—the luminaries of La Paz société reveled in their Altantean heritage. The leading weekly carried the name of Plato’s mythical lost city, and so too did bars, cafes, theaters—even puteros—in upscale neighborhoods like Miraflores and Sopocachi. Haunted by history, cursed by geography, and outnumbered by an indigenous population seen as racially inferior and impervious to progress, creole aristocrats would look to their ancient past and imagine a utopian future—one in which they were no longer the provincial elite of a doomed backwater republic, but the Children of Atlantis.

This talk will explore the racial convictions and scientific knowledge associated with the enduring creole fascination with Atlantis as a lens onto the broader transformations underway at the fin de siècle as Latin America entered the international flow of goods, peoples, and ideas associated with Western modernity. Creole claims of Atlantean descendancy were inextricable from the web of knowledge, power, practices, and institutions that sustained both the idea of race and the myth of white supremacy during this unprecedented period of republican nation-state formation and liberal modernization. The decades spanning the violent ascent of the La Paz-based Liberal Party in the 1890s and the 1952 National Revolution comprise a particularly-contested period of land privatization, hacienda expansion, indigenous enserfment, and growing resistance to the emerging seigniorial order. Not coincidentally, it was also during this era when creoles introduced an array of formal legal instruments and informal social practices intended to limit the political agency, social status, and geographic mobility of indigenous Bolivians. They hoped to transform Bolivia into a seigniorial republic, one in which a laboring indigenous underclass maintained both the wealth and privilege of creole society. Prevailing at a moment marked by the consolidation of ethnic-minority rule, Atlantean fantasies were much more than a quirky fixation. They reinforced the racial ideology and territorial claims of the emergent creole aristocracy, and legitimated their right, even responsibility, to govern the postcolonial Andean republic.

Based on archival research in Bolivia, Mexico, and the United States, this talk will be divided into three sections that span Bolivia’s defeat in the War of the Pacific in 1880 and the republican centennial celebrations of 1925. The first section chronicles the development of the Atlantis myth within the La Paz scientific community during the 1880s and 1890s, a period of rapid modernization, mounting secular authority, and the proliferation of scientific institutions. Drawing on the work of David Livingston and Bruno Latour, it traces the rise and ultimate triumph of secular authority, and how science generated the sociocultural realms of both universal truth and objective possibility that validated the Atlantean myth in the first place. The second section explores the ontological origins and scientific foundations of Díaz Romero’s hypothesis as a window onto the broader systems of knowledge circulating in the wake of the Liberal Revolution of 1899. It then chronicles the transformation of Atlantis into a symbol of exclusionary creole nationalism during the transition to ethnic-minority rule. In light of prevailing assertions that indigenous Bolivians were in a state of inevitable decline and eventual extinction, hopes of reviving a forgotten time before creole civilization was burdened by the ‘Indian problem’ take on a distinctly millenarian tone. The third and final juxtaposes the central position occupied by Atlantis in official celebrations of the 1925 centennial with the growing threat posed to creole hegemony by grassroots indigenous mobilization.

March 19, 2014
Charles Lowney (Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy)
“For Authenticity: Charles Taylor and the Ethics of Modernity”

“This above all: To thine own self be true,” says Polonius—but he goes on… “And it must follow, as the night follows the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man,”  thus indicating that being sincere, or authentic, is an avenue towards moral behavior in the wider context of human interactions.
The modern obsession with self-congruence can indeed be symptomatic of a narcissistic egoism. But while being sincere or authentic is often an excuse for being arbitrary or self-indulgent, Charles Taylor shows that the notion of authenticity is linked to the more promising developments in modernity, such as an empathetic respect for autonomy.

The question, “Who am I really?” when examined conscientiously, reveals not a purely Nietzschean self-creator, but a ‘horizon of significance,’ constituted by others, history and nature, against which meaningful values are constituted. Authenticity can thus mark the proper synthesis of individual and other, rather than a run to one extreme or another.

Furthermore, exploring the concept and the feeling of being authentic can open a dialogue between competing factions in modernity—conservative traditionalists, secular moderns, and expressive individualists—and perhaps provide a common ground for common values.

March 5, 2014
Melissa R. Kerin (Assistant Professor of Art History)
“Decoding Devotional Photographs: Their Subject Matter, Material, Circulation, and Re/uses at Tibetan Buddhist Shrines in Ladakh”

At Tibetan Buddhist shrines one immediately notices a preponderance of photographs; layers and layers of photographs large and small, old and new are incorporated within a temple’s larger presentation of ritual and art objects.  While many of these photographs are clearly displayed on thrones or temple pillars, there are scores of other photographic images that easily go unnoticed if one is not looking to find them, tucked between the cracks and fissures of the altar or slipped between the mount and glass of a framed image.  Often aged and sometimes damaged, these photographic images range from sepia prints and postcards to images cut from newspapers and even travel brochure advertisements. It is this diverse collection of religious photographic imagery—much of it snipped and saved from the quotidian world—that I analyze in this paper.  Through the objects’ materiality, production, circulation, and display (placement and visibility) I examine the sometimes altered meanings and purposes of these re-purposed objects, as a way of deciphering the types and functions of devotional photography used at contemporary Tibetan Buddhist shrines.

February 24, 2014
Howard Pickett (Assistant Professor and Director of the Shepherd Program for the Interdisciplinary Study of Poverty and Human Capability)
“Against Authenticity: Emmanuel Levinas and the Ethics of Theatricality”

“This above all: To thine own self be true.” So says Shakespeare’s Polonius — and countless moderns after him. But is that good moral advice? Is the obsession with self-congruence (whether “authenticity” or “sincerity”) compatible with satisfaction of morality’s demands? Or is it little more than narcissistic egoism disguised as a virtue? For that matter, if I ought to be true to myself, then who am I really? Am I, as Polonius’ modern heirs so often assume, an atomistic individual separated from others? Or am I, as the twentieth-century philosopher Emmanuel Levinas suggests, a relational subject always already constituted by others? Is the only “sincerity” worth pursuing the one in which I am true to the fact that I am, first and foremost, a person who is there-for-others? In short, is the only “sincerity” worth pursuing the one in which I replace my own narrowly selfish concerns with the needs of my neighbor?


December 4
Niels-Hugo Blunch (Associate Professor of Economics)
“Health Knowledge, Caste, and Social Networks in India”

Addressing several methodological shortcomings of the previous literature, this paper explores the relationship among health knowledge and caste and a number of important mediating factors in India — attempting at estimating causal impacts through a combination of instrumental variables and matching methods, where possible. The results indicate the presence of a substantively large health knowledge caste gap (favoring high caste women) and also provides evidence that while observed individual characteristics such as education, information exposure, and access to social networks explain part of the gaps, a substantial part of the health knowledge gap is left unexplained. Overall, these results are consistent with the presence of discrimination towards low caste women in terms of health knowledge but at the same time also point towards the importance of continued attention towards education, institutions and economic policy for decreasing the health knowledge caste gap in India.

May 9
Domnica Radulescu (Edwin A. Morris Professor of Romance Languages and Director of the Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program)
“The Path of No Return – Trauma Tourism and the Fallacy of Going ‘Home Again'”

The presentation will discuss the issue of the return of the exile writer or artist to the home country and the tenuous relations to “home,” native space, time and language.

March 27
Michael Laughy (Assistant Professor of Classics)
“The Mystery of the Athenian ‘Snake Goddess’: New Light on a Dark Age in Early Athenian Religion”

In 1932, a large Protoattic votive deposit was discovered lying directly atop the ruins of a Geometric period oval building, located near the southwest corner of the Athenian Agora. This deposit is among the largest and best preserved seventh-century B.C.E. votive assemblages found in all of Attica. Included within the deposit are a number of terracotta tripods, shields, horses, and chariots, as well as a remarkable terracotta plaque of a goddess with snakes. The consensus among archaeologists today is that these terracotta votives are indicative of hero or ancestor worship. A reexamination of the deposit suggests a rather different conclusion: the votives came not from a hero or ancestor shrine, but from a sanctuary to Demeter. The “snake” goddess on the plaque is none other than Demeter herself.

Solving the mystery of the Athenian “Snake Goddess” opens up a new line of thinking not only for this deposit, but for the study of Athenian religion in general. An examination of terracotta votives at contemporary deity sanctuaries in Athens and Attica suggests that dedications of votive tripods, shields, horses, and chariots provide the earliest evidence that ritual processions and competitions, common at elaborate Late Geometric funerals, became part of festival life at some deity sanctuaries by the beginning of the seventh century B.C.E. As such, these terracotta votives provide valuable insight into a period in which the center of the Athenian ritual world shifted from the grave to the sanctuary.

March 5
Amy Langenberg (Instructor in Religion and Women’s Studies, Auburn University)
“Obstetrics and Enlightenment: Childbirth and Its Meanings in Mainstream Indian Buddhism”

Indian Buddhist elites “attended” to childbirth in theory and in practice. The canonical discourses remind us time and time again that birth is fundamentally unsatisfactory, a precursor to disease and death. Later, monastic scholars composed lengthy, technically sophisticated, but tendentious accounts of the painful human birth process such as the Garbhāvakrānti-Sūtra (the “Descent into the Womb Scripture”). Buddhist poets from the classical period composed narrative texts like the Lalitavistara, a Sanskrit telling of the Buddha’s life that offers a remarkably sanitized vision of how the future Buddha takes a new body, one meant to inspire devotion as well as dissatisfaction with the blood-streaked path the rest of us travel. This paper traces connections between doctrinal formulations regarding birth (such as the twelve links of dependent co-origination) found in the Pali suttas and later, more, colorful narratives of birth, arguing that, while these later birth narratives are more obviously focused on the negative qualities of the female body, they should not be regarded as departures from a more egalitarian early tradition, but rather as poetic elaborations of an understanding of birth already present in the early tradition.


November 28
James L. Flexner (Visiting Assistant Professor of Archeology)
“Towards a Historical Archaeology of Reformation and Reform in the South Pacific”

The Protestant Reformation had wide-reaching effects, not only in religious life, but across all aspects of Western cultural experience. As Max Weber argued over a century ago, these events would be instrumental in shaping the “spirit of capitalism”, and arguably these same ideas would shape the various reform movements of the 19th century, which were often an integral part of Protestant charitable works. But what happened when cosmologies and everyday practices shaped by this tradition were projected to other parts of the world?  In what ways were they assimilated, resisted, co-opted, or avoided in local contexts? How were they inflected or transformed by local cultures? Historical archaeology has a unique role to play in exploring these dynamics, by examining the material detritus left over by modern projects of reform.

While still in its early stages, recent archaeological research on the earliest Presbyterian missions to the New Hebrides (now Vanuatu) hints at the potential of such an approach, by examining the ways that both missionary and indigenous lives were transformed in the Pacific Islands context. The primacy of material and spatial relationships in the interactions of missionaries and Melanesians is expressed in the archaeological record of mission sites. Comparing this material with other places of reform in Hawaii and New Zealand, a historical archaeology of reform derived from Reformation ideologies might be used beneficially to understand the underlying motivations of colonial pursuits, the material expression of these motivations, and the ways that such projects were experienced on a local scale.

November 7
Athena Kirk (Mellon Junior Fellow in Classics)
“Inscriptions in Greek Thought”

This paper investigates the ancient Greek discourse on inscriptions (‘epigraphai’ in Greek).  Modern scholars tend to define an ‘inscription’ as a text written on a hard surface such as stone, bronze, or pottery, but such pragmatic distinctions are not so apparent in antiquity.  Rather, I argue, an investigation of literary and epigraphic sources shows that the Greeks understand a more theoretical definition of an ‘epigraphe,’ as a permanently fused text-object with an inherent physical quality, or materiality.  Furthermore, defining ancient ‘epigraphai’ this way suggests that Classical authors do not recognize the notion of a discrete, floating text divorced from its medium: rather, all words, whether inscribed, spoken, or otherwise performed join together with a surface, poetic form, or other type of structure to make a complete, composite entity.

March 28
Hyunggon Kim (Professor of History, Konyang University)
“The Background and Cause of the Division of Korea into North and South … and North Korea’s Nuclear Politics”


November 30
Yanhong Zhu (Assistant Professor of East Asian Languages and Literatures)
“Globalizing the Nanjing Massacre: Re-presentation of the Past in City of Life and Death”

November 2
Howard Pickett (Adjunct Professor of Poverty Studies)
“Virtuous Hypocrisy: Kant and the Imitation of Moral Perfection”

March 23
William John Green (Visiting Professor of Latin American History)
“Dirty War Dead: The Political Uses of Murder Victim Corpses in Modern Latin America”

January 20
Ellen Mayock (Professor of Spanish)
“Darwin and Spain’s Neo-Naturalists”


September 29
Mónica González (Assistant Professor of Spanish)
“Subaltern Journalism as a Trans-American Stage for Globalization. José Martí on Buffalo Bill”

May 5
William Patch (Kenan Professor of History)
“The Catholic Church, the Third Reich, and the Origins of the Cold War: On the Utility and Limitations of Historical Evidence”

April 7
Molly Michelmore (Assistant Professor of History)
“Tax and Spend: Welfare, the Federal Income Tax and the Limits of American Liberalism”

March 8
Françoise Fregnac-Clave (Professor of French)
“The ‘Undesirable’ in France: An Inquiry into the New Retention Centers for Foreigners”

February 10
Laurent Boetsch (Professor of Romance Languages and Director of International Education)
“Cultivating the Liberal Arts Abroad: New Models for Liberal Arts Education within the Bologna Process for the Transformation of European Higher Education”

January 14
Christian Jennings (Assistant Professor of History)
“Naturalists of Zanzibar: The Cultural Landscape of Scientific Knowledge in 19th-Century East Africa”


December 2
Hossein Sheiban (STINT Scholar, Department of History, and Professor of History at the University of Stockholm)
“Intellectuals, Revolution and Islam. A Comparative Analysis of Intellectual Discussions in Iran and Sweden from the beginning of 1970s to the end of 1990s”

November 9
Pam Simpson (Professor of Art History)
“Corn Palaces and Butter Sculpture, The Interaction of Agriculture, Industry and Art”


October 22
Timothy Lubin (Associate Professor of Religion)
“Ritual Self-Discipline as a Response to the Human Condition: Toward a Semiotics of Ritual Indices”
[abstract]   [International Conference on “Ritual Dynamics and the Science of Ritual,” Heidelberg]

May 20
Patrick Hatcher (Instructor of Religion)
“Mission, Conscience, and Territory: Reexamining Conversion in Early Islam”

April 1
Ayşe Zarakol (Assistant Professor of Politics)
“Why so Stubborn? War-Crimes Denial in Turkey and Japan”
[2008 International Studies Association mtg. program]

March 13
Mark Carey (Assistant Professor of History)
“Glacier Cultures in the Andes: Disasters, Science, and the Social Implications of Climate Change in Peru”


November 30
Hongchu Fu (Associate Professor of East Asian Languages and Literatures)
“A Play of Different Kind in Classical Chinese Drama: Reading the Yuan-Period Zaju Drama, ‘Loyal and High-Minded Yu Rang Swallows Charcoal'”

November 9
Edwin D. Craun (Henry S. Fox, Jr. Professor of English)
“Fraternal Correction: Ethics and Power Relations in Middle English Reformist Writing”
How can we think about a religious/social practice that is constructed by texts in terms both intrinsic to the texts and critical of how the practice operated within existing social relations?  This study’s first two chapters marry sociological analysis/theory (Jean and John Comaroff, Anne Swidler) and virtue ethics (chiefly Alasdair MacIntyre) to analyze how the late medieval clergy created a practice, fraternal correction of sin, that both licensed social criticism of disciplinary superiors (laic of cleric, parish priest of bishop, citizen of major or judge) and attempted to supervise it by inculcating ethical constraints.  As a literary historian and a historian of disciplinary practices, I am eager to see how colleagues across the human sciences respond to my twinned forms of analysis. Is this study coherent?  Its theorists apt?  Might other theorists be useful, as well?

October 18
Jonathan Eastwood (Assistant Professor of Sociology)
“Nationalism and the Sociology of the Novel”
The talk revisits some classic accounts of the “rise of the novel” and suggests that their economistic reductionism leads them (a) to overstate the causal significance of early capitalism and (b) to downplay the role that the emergence of national identity played in problematizing the basic social categories that the early novel seeks to rationalize.  It will be argued that the emergence of nationalism itself contributes to the rise of the novel.

May 25
Rina Williams (Associate Director, Center for South Asian Studies, and Lecturer in Political Science, University of Virginia)
“Gender, Nation, Religion: Intersecting Identities in India’s Personal Laws”

May 9
Donald R. Davis, Jr. (Assistant Professor of South Asian Languages and Cultures, University of Wisconsin, Madison)
“Matrilineal Adoption, Inheritance Law, and Rites for the Dead among Hindus in Medieval Kerala”
Co-Sponsored by the University Lectures Series and the Department of Religion

February 21
Harvey Markowitz (Visiting Professor of Religion)
“Medicine Men: The Good, the Bad, and the Plastic”


November 30
Winston Davis (Jessie Ball duPont Professor of Religion)
“Does Religion Drive American Foreign Policy in the Middle East?  A Critique of Culturology”

November 16
Tim Lubin (Associate Professor of Religion)
“Punishment and Expiation: Secular and Religious Forms of Correction in Hindu Law”

March 3
Bernard Means (Assistant Professor of Anthropology [then Adjunct Professor of Anthropology, School of World Studies, Virginia Commonwealth University])
“Communities in the Round: Anthropological Perspectives on Ring-Shaped Villages of the Recent and Distant Past”

May 5
Leslie Cintron (Assistant Professor of Sociology)
“American Attitudes towards Work and Family Balance”
Cross-listed as a Women’s Studies Colloquium

February 10
Hongchu Fu (Assistant Professor of East Asian Languages and Literatures)
“In Memory of Jacques Derrida: Deconstruction, Gödel’s Theorem and the Studies of Genre”


November 11
Laura Galke (Archaeology Research Assistant and Instructor)
“Strategies of Consumption and Display in a Company Iron Mining Town: the Longdale Mining Community of Allegheny County, Virginia”

October 28
Hongchu Fu (Assistant Professor of East Asian Languages and Literatures)
“Nature, Spontaneity and Logocentrism: A Reexamination of the Concept of Nature in Chinese Literary Criticism”

May 6
Winston Davis (Jessie Ball duPont Professor of Religion)
“Ludwig Feuerbach’s Second Look at Religion: Phenomenology without Brackets”

February 24
Stephen Poulson (Visiting Professor of Sociology)
“Shi’i Culture and Social Movement Strategies: Using the Muharram Processionals to Frame Contentious Action”

January 27
Elisa DiCaprio (Visiting Professor of History)
“The Betrayal of Srebrenica: A Ten Year Commemoration. A Photographic Exhibit Proposal”
This exhibit, which will open at Washington and Lee in January 2006, is inspired by Prof. DiCaprio’s current research project on the international campaign for justice for Srebrenica and also by her recent collaboration with Paula Allen, a human rights photographer. This fall, Prof. DiCaprio organized an exhibit of Ms. Allen’s photographs on the “disappeared” of Chile and related educational programs at New York University.


November 13
Harvey Markowitz (Visiting Professor of Religion)
“Converting the Rosebud: Sicangu Lakota Catholicism in the Late 19th and Early 20th Centuries”

October 30
Richard Marks (Professor of Religion)
“Jewish India: 19th c. Jewish Travelogues and Geographies”

October 9
Ken White (Professor of Sociology)
“Polygamy and Mormon Identity”

May 29
Anna Brodsky (Associate Professor of Russian)
“The Construction of Nationalist Identity: Representations of the Current War in Chechnya in Russian Prose”

May 1
Hongchu Fu (Assistant Professor of East Asian Languages and Literatures)
“Imaging Politics: The Case of Pan Jinlian in Chinese Drama”

April 23
Sascha Goluboff (Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology)
“Are they Jews or Asians? A Cautionary Tale about Mountain Jewish Ethnography”

April 8
Ellen Mayock (Associate Professor of Romance Languages)
“Constructing Nationalist Identity: Bilingual Friends and Foes in Catalan Narrative”

February 4
Domnica Radulescu (Associate Professor of Romance Languages)
“Women as Creators of Humor”


October 2
Tim Lubin (Assistant Professor of Religion)
“Arya Identity and Brahmanical Knowledge in Early South Asia”

November 13
Françoise Frégnac-Clave (Associate Professor of Romance Languages)
“Traces of Celtic Other World Representations in French Literature”

October 30
Kevin Crotty (Associate Professor of Classics)
“From Mythos to Logos and Back Again: The Greek Case”

April 2
Praveena Gullapalli (Ph.D. candidate in archeology, University of Pennsylvania)
“Culture through Technology in Archaeology: The Case of Iron in Early India”

February 26
Suzanne Keen (Professor of  English)
“Empathy and the Postcolonial Novel in English: Authors, Readers, Markets, and the Problem of Universality”

The CSC was founded by Tim Lubin (Department of Religion) in early 2002.  From July 2003 to June 2005, the series was convened by Sascha Goluboff (Department of Sociology and Anthropology), and from July 2009 to June 2011 by Jon Eastwood (Department of Sociology and Anthropology).