Upcoming Events

New Books in the Arts & Sciences: Celebrating Recent Work by Brendan O'Flaherty and Rajiv Sethi

Competing Truths: Art and the Objects of History after the Council of Trent

Friday, November 15, 2019 - Saturday, November 16, 2019

Competing Truths: Art and the Objects of History After the Council of Trent is a two-day symposium to be jointly held at the Italian Academy and the Frick Collection on November 15th & 16th, 2019. The event will bring together scholars and museum professionals in order to investigate how Italian art helped to formulate competing truths in the long aftermath of the Council of Trent, and how the strategies of that era continue to affect our understanding of historical truth today. Italian art of this period is often dismissed as propagandistic and derivative. This symposium instead fosters recent scholarship that shows the potency of art in shaping people’s beliefs during a time of deep political and spiritual divisions. Understanding how images and objects give shape to history and knowledge has never been more urgent. Thus, the aim of the symposium is not merely to advance scholarship, but to meet an acute contemporary need for perspective on how to navigate an era of competing truths.

As a set of disciplines, the humanities face the challenge of how to write about embodied experiences that resist easy verbal categorization such as illness, pain, and healing. The recent emergence of interdisciplinary frameworks such as narrative medicine has offered a set of methodological approaches to address these challenges. Conceptualizing a field of medical and health humanities offers a broad umbrella under which to study the influence of medico-scientific ideas and practices on society.  Whether by incorporating material culture such as medical artefacts, performing symptomatic readings of poems and novels, or excavating the implicit medical assumptions underlying auditory cultures, the approaches that emerge from a historiographical or interpretive framework are different from those coming from the physician’s black bag. The Explorations in the Medical Humanities Series explores the enigma of how what we write relates back to the experience of bodies in different stages of health and disease. Our speakers consider how the medical and health humanities build on and revise earlier notions of the “medical arts.”  At stake are the problems of representation and the interpretation of cultural products from the past and present through medical models, and the challenge of establishing a set of humanistic competencies (observation, attention, judgment, narrative, historical perspective, ethics, creativity) that can inform medical practice.

New Books in the Arts & Sciences: Celebrating Recent Work by Gil Eyal

New Books in the Arts & Sciences: Celebrating Recent Work by Sarah Cole

In Critique 13/13, we turn to 13 critical texts—ranging from Althusser, Beauvoir, Foucault, and Freire to Adorno, Arendt, Sartre, Lorde, and Said.

Julie Livingston discusses her latest book, Self Devouring Growth: A Planetary Parable as Told from Southern Africa. This talk calls into question the common assumption that economic growth is a necessary basis of well-being. It does so by tracing out the collateral environmental effects of this disposition, revealing how our current climate, pollution, and extinction crises emerge out of the ways we have organized our global, national, and local economic systems around a desire for endless growth. The lecture unfolds a series of linked examples of fundamental needs (water, food, mobility, energy) that have been reworked around growth in the southern African nation of Botswana. It discusses how the systems to provide these needs become harnessed to growth and linked in a web of consumption that are part of a system of unfolding environmental catastrophes that threaten long-term harm and deprivation. Though the lecture will use Botswana, as an example to reveal the system, it will trace commodity chains that are global in their reach, and draw parallels in the US and elsewhere, to show that this growth machine is everywhere and it is unsustainable. It will draw on older histories, repositories of the imagination to consider other ways to organize our world. 

In Critique 13/13, we turn to 13 critical texts—ranging from Althusser, Beauvoir, Foucault, and Freire to Adorno, Arendt, Sartre, Lorde, and Said.

The “colonial turn” considerably transformed the field of French history and led to the publication in the last 30 years of a large number of scholarly contributions concerned with the cultural, political, legal, and social aspects of French colonialism. Meanwhile, the political economy of the French colonial empire has received far less attention. The 2008 financial crisis triggered renewed interest in the history of capitalism and economic history more generally, and we are now witnessing the effects of these changes in the field of French colonial history. This conference thus seeks to bring together a new generation of historians and economists who have recently published, or are about to publish, important contributions to the economic history of the French formal and informal empires. The conference does not seek to celebrate the “return” of concerns that were central in the 1970s but rather to better delineate the contours of a new momentum.

How did Beethoven influence the other arts? And how did literature shape the composer’s reputation? In an exploration of Beethoven’s literary afterlife through the lens of chamber performance, this event will examine the formation of a musical legacy. The event will feature faculty lectures by professors Nicholas Dames (Columbia), Arden Hegele (Columbia), and Nicholas Chong (Rutgers), as well as a performance of Beethoven’s violin sonata no. 7 (Op. 30, no. 2) by Chad Hoopes and Anne-Marie McDermott.

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