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Washington State University
CAS Connect January 2014

Humanities Planning Group sets Humanities Week Jan. 27-30

The importance of scholarship and research in the humanities will be underscored in three community-wide events Jan. 27-30 at WSU Pullman.

Humanities Week, sponsored by the WSU Humanities Planning Group, begins on Monday with “Is a Little Pollution Good for You? How the Humanities Can Contribute to Science and Policy,” by Kevin Elliott, associate professor of philosophy at Michigan State University.

Bridging the divide between the humanities and sciences, much of Elliot’s work focuses on the ethical implications of research in the biological, chemical, and technological sciences. The author of Is a Little Pollution Good for You? Incorporating Societal Values in Environmental Research (Oxford University Press), Elliott scrutinizes the space where social values and scientific activities come together. His presentation at 4:10 p.m. in Biotch/Life Sciences Building, room 402, and all other Humanities Week events are free and open to the public.

Christopher Lupke Foreign Languages and Cultures
Christopher Lupke, Foreign Languages and Cultures
Linda Heidenreich Critical Culture, Gender, and Race Studies
Linda Heidenreich, Critical Culture, Gender, and Race Studies
Michael Myers Philosophy
Michael Myers, Philosophy
Victor Villanueva English
Victor Villanueva, English

On Tuesday, a roundtable of WSU faculty will discuss their various research projects and connections to broader themes in the humanities. These scholars—Victor Villanueva in English; Michael Myers in philosophy; Linda Heidenreich in critical culture, gender, and race studies; and Christopher Lupke in foreign languages and cultures—will speak about issues such as race, identity, the redefinition of humanity, gender, and religious tolerance—all issues that are at the heart of humanities thinking and discourse. The event will be in Honors Hall, 4:30-7:00 p.m., and refreshments will be served.

On Thursday, Srinivas Aravamudan, dean of humanities at Duke University and former director of the Franklin Center for the Humanities at Duke, will speak about “Cosmopolitan Humanities.” The event at 4:30 p.m. in the Fine Arts Auditorium will be followed by a reception and refreshments.

Dean Aravamudan has distinguished himself with path-breaking scholarship on the incorporation of exotic tales into 18th-century England in a phenomenon he calls “enlightenment orientalism.” His first book Tropicopolitans: Colonialism and Agency, 1688-1804, which won the national Modern Language Association prize for a first book, argues that those colonized in the great wave of global imperialism actually retained a form of agency that allowed them to resist the mechanisms of colonialist representation.

Aravamudan also will meet with WSU faculty in the Humanities Planning Group (HPG), who are working to develop a center for the humanities, and with University leaders to offer advice about how best to accomplish this project.

“The humanities are a critical dimension of higher learning central to all academic life and to the lives and activities of people everywhere,” said Lupke, professor of Chinese and organizer of Humanities Week. “Great scholarship and teaching in the humanities is happening at WSU all the time, and has been since its founding.”

HPG works to highlight humanities scholarship across the University. One of the group’s primary goals is the creation of a Center for the Humanities at WSU, similar to centers at most prominent American universities.

Events schedule

  • Monday, Jan. 27
    “Is a Little Pollution Good for You? How the Humanities Can Contribute to Science and Policy,” by Kevin Elliott, Michigan State University, 4:10 p.m., Biotech/Life Sciences 402, with reception to follow. Co-sponsored by the WSU Center for Reproductive Biology.
  • Tuesday, Jan. 28
    “Four Glimpses of Scholarship in the Humanities: A Roundtable,” moderated by Jennifer Thigpen, history, 4:30 p.m., Honors Hall Lounge, with reception to follow.
    Panelists and topics include: Victor Villaneuva, English, “The Language of Columbus’ First Indians”; Michael Myers, politics, philosophy and public affairs, “Empathy and Religious Diversity;” Linda Heidenreich, critical culture, gender and race studies, “The Mestiz@ as Witch: The third sex in 19th-century greater Mexico”; Christopher Lupke, foreign languages and cultures, “History and the New Human in Contemporary Chinese Poetry.”
  • Thursday, Jan. 30
    “Cosmopolitan Humanities,” Srinivas Aravamudan, Duke University, 4:30 p.m., Fine Arts Auditorium, with reception to follow. Co-sponsored by the Museum of Art at WSU.

More details on the HPG Facebook page.