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Past Events

Spring 2015

George Makari

The Humanities Center welcomed author George Makari

   Revolution in Mind

   Thursday, April 30, 2015
   6:00-8:00 pm

   Gilman 208

George Makari is the Director of the DeWitt Wallace Institute for the History of Psychiatry and Professor of Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College. He is Adjunct Professor at both Rockefeller University and the Columbia Psychoanalytic Center. Makari published his acclaimed history, Revolution in Mind: The Creation of Psychoanalysis, in 2008. This coming fall, his history of the origins of Western mentalism, Soul Machine: The Invention of the Modern Mind, will be published by W.W Norton.

Workshop "Practices of the Ordinary"

The Humanities Center hosted an international workshop on "Practices of the Ordinary"

   April 15, 2015
   Gilman 208

   The schedule of the workshop
   is available here.

Philosophy between Old and New Media

   The Humanities Center organized
   an event on "Philosophy between
   Old and New Media" chaired
   by Paola Marrati

   Martin Shuster (Avila University)
   "Worlds on Screen: Cavell's Ontology of the Screen"

   Sandra Laugier (University of Paris 1-Sorbonne)
   "TV Shows and Forms of Life"

   Monday, April 13th, 2015
   4:00-6:30 pm

   Gilman 208

Rens Bod

The Humanities Center and the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures welcomed Rens Bod (University of Amsterdam) for a lecture


   "Writing the Global History of the Humanities"

   Monday, April 6, 2015
   4:00 PM to 6:00 PM

   Macksey Seminar Room
   M-Level, Brody Learning Commons

Rens Bod is professor in Digital Humanities at the University of Amsterdam and the author of the recently published A New History of the Humanities (Oxford UP, 2014).

Jennifer Ashton

The Humanities Center is glad to announce a lecture by Jennifer Ashton (Department of English, University of Illinois at Chicago)

   "'All that silent stone, in agony':
   American Poetry since 2001,
   a View from the Pergamon Altar"

   Wednesday, March 25, 2015
   5:15 pm, Gilman 208

David Wellbery

The Humanities Center welcomed David Wellbery (LeRoy T. and Margaret Deffenbaugh Carlson University Professor and Chair of the Department of Germanic Studies at the University of Chicago), Associate of the Humanities Center

  March 9, 4:00 pm
  March 10, 4:00 pm
  March 11, 5:15 pm

  Gilman 208

Graduate Student Conference, "The Horizons of Community"

The Graduate Students of The Humanities Center organized a conference, "The Horizons of Community," with keynote speakers Boris Groys (Global Distinguished Professor of Russian and Slavic Studies, NYU), Joshua Kotin (Assistant Professor, Department of English, Princeton), and Molly Warnock (Assistant Professor, Department of Art History and The Humanities Center, JHU). 

   February 27 and 28, 2015

   Click here for a program of the conference.

"Merce Cunningham and his Legacies in Postwar Art"

The Humanities Center and the Department of the History of Art are pleased to announce an event on Merce Cunningham with speakers Carrie Noland (UC Irvine) and Katherine Markoski (Smithsonian American Art Museum)

   Thursday, February 19, 2015
   4:00-6:00 pm
   Gilman 208

Michael Marder

The Humanities Center and GRLL are pleased to announce a lecture by Michael Marder (Ikerbasque Research Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of the Basque Country, UPV-EHU, Vitoria-Gasteiz)


   "Plant Philosophy"

   Wednesday, February 18, 2015
   5:15 pm

   Gilman 479

Fall 2014

Workshop on Spiritual Exercises

The Humanities Center hosed a one-day workshop under the title “ASpiritual Exercise Every Day,” which discussed various concepts and practices of Spiritual Exercises in different fields of humanities, notably philosophy, literature and cinema.

   Thursday, December 4, 2014
   9:00 am to 4:00 pm
   Gilman 208

Workshop: Principles of Cultural Dynamics

The workshop discussed the work of this year's participants in the research network "Principles of Cultural Dynamics" and presented the exchange program with the Freie Universität Berlin.

   Tuesday, December 2, 2014
   4:30 pm
   Gilman 208

Matthew Engelke

Matthew Engelke (London School of Economics) gave a lecture

   Secular Shadows:
   African, Immanent, Post-colonial

   Tuesday, October 28, 2014, 4 pm

How to Really Do Things with Words

The Humanities Center presented three lectures by Barbara Cassin (CNRS, Léon Robin Center for Research on Ancient Thought, and Collège International de Philosophie),  Associate of the Humanities Center:

   Oct. 21: "Ontology/Logology"
   Oct. 22: "South African TRC: 'Enough of
      the Truth for...'"
   Oct. 23: "Lacan, or 'The Presence of the
      Sophist Nowadays'"

   4:00 pm in the Humanities
   Center Seminar Room (Gilman 208)

Ulrich Koch

Ulrich Koch (ETH Zurich, Swiss National Science Foundation), Visiting Scholar in the Humanities Center, gave a lecture


   "Cruel to be kind?" Professionalization,
   Politics and Psychoanalytic Neutrality

   Tuesday, September 30, 2014, 4 pm
   Gilman 208

Spring 2014

"Ibsen and the Play of Politics"

    The Humanities Center, in collaboration
    with the Ibsen Center at the University of
    Oslo and the Department of Philosophy
    at Temple University, hosted the
    second in a series of three workshops on
    Ibsen and Philosophy, to be hosted at
    Johns Hopkins on May 2-3, 2014.

David Wellbery

David Wellbery, LeRoy T. and Margaret Deffenbaugh Carlson University Professor at the University of Chicago and Associate of the Humanities Center, gave two lectures

   April 21, 2014
   "The Self-Articulation of Form in
   Sufferings of Young Werther"

   April 22, 2014
   "Freedom and Form: Pandora"

   4:45 pm
   Gilman 130D

Graduate Student Speaker Andrew Cole

The students of the Humanities Center welcomed Professor Andrew Cole of Princeton University's Department of English for a lecture and a seminar.

   Lecture: "Rethinking Fetishism and
   Historical Materialism:
   On Hegel and Marx"
   April 17, 4:30 pm

   Seminar: "Objects on the Loose"
   April 18, 11 am

   Gilman 208

Sari Nusseibeh

Associate of the Humanities Center, Professor of Islamic and Political Philosophy and President of the Al-Quds University, East Jerusalem, presented "The Story of Reason in Islam."

   April 8, 2014, 4:15 pm
   Gilman 130D

   April 9, 2014, 4:15 pm
   Gilman 208

   April 10, 2014, 1:30-4:00 pm
   Gilman 208

John McDowell

The Humanities Center and the Department of Philosophy welcomed John McDowell, University Professor of Philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh.

"Self-consciousness in Acting"
Monday, March 31, 2014
5:00 pm
Gilman 130D

Workshop with Esa Kirkkopelto

Esa Kirkkopelto of the Theater Academy of Helsinki,  Fulbright Senior Scholar in the Humanities Center, conducted a workshop.

   Performing Animals, Plants, and Stones
   Workshop on Bodily Transformation and
   Its Philosophical Interpretations

   Friday, March 28: 1 - 5:30 PM
   Glass Pavilion, Levering Hall

Mary Under Duress Conference

The Humanities Center co-sponsored the conference, "Mary Under Duress: The Cult of the Blessed Virgin Mary In Anglo-Spanish Europe, ca. 1525-1675," at which Elizabeth Patton  presented.

   March 20-22, 2014.

Nidesh Lawtoo

Visiting Scholar in the Humanities Center, gave a lecture entitled "Bataille and the Homology of Heterology."

   Tuesday, March 11
   4 pm

Fall 2013

Tracy McNulty

The graduate students of the Humanities Center welcomed Tracy McNulty, Professor of Romance Studies and Comparative Literature at Cornell University.

Lecture: "Enabling Constraints:
Experiments in Symbolic Life"
December 2, 5 pm

Seminar: "Formalization and
the Calculus of the Death Drive"
December 3, 11 am

Geoffrey Brock

The Humanities Center and the English Department welcomed award-winning poet and translator Geoffrey Brock.

Friday, November 15, 2013
4:00 pm
Gilman 208

"Walter Benjamin on the Colors of Fantasy"

Eli Friedlander, Associate of the Humanities Center and Professor of Philosophy at Tel Aviv University, gave a series of lectures entitled "Walter Benjamin on the Colors of Fantasy"

Oct. 9: "Colors and the Intuitive
Oct. 10: "Aesthetics of Fantasy"
Oct. 11: "Colors, Childhood and

"Kierkegaard Repetitions"

    On September 20 and 21, 2013, the
    Humanities Center, in co-operation with
    The Royal Danish Embassy, Washington, DC,
    hosted an international conference to
    celebrate the bicentenary of the birth of
    Søren Kierkegaard.

Spring 2013

Queneau Reading

Jacques Neefs (JHU French) and Rachel Galvin (JHU Humanities) read from Raymond Queneau's 1967 collection, Courir les rues, and Rachel Galvin's 2013 translation, Hitting the Streets

   April 29, 2013
   6:30 pm
   Gilman 208

François-David Sebbah

The Humanities Center hosted a lecture by François-David Sebbah (Professor of Contemporary Philosophy at Compiègne University of Technology--Sorbonne Universities).

     The Ghosts of the Digital Age:
     A Derridean Approach

     April 4, 2013, 4 pm
     Gilman 208

Rebecca Comay

The Humanities Center welcomed Rebecca Comay (University of Toronto Philosophy Department), who gave a lecture on Monday, March 25, and a seminar for  graduate students on March 26.

Lecture: "Proust's Remains"
March 25, 4 - 6 pm
Humanities Center Seminar Room (Gilman 208)

Seminar: "Hegel's Last Words: Mourning and Melancholia at the end of the Phenomenology"
March 26, 10 am -12 pm
Tudor &  Stuart Room (Gilman 288)
(the pre-circulated paper will be available in the Humanities Center office, Gilman 213)

Sari Nusseibeh

Associate of the Humanities Center, Professor of Islamic and Political Philosophy and President of the Al-Quds University, East Jerusalem, will present "The Israeli-Palestinian Impasse: A case study."

   March 13 Why Negotiations Sometimes
        Fail, And What to Do About This
   March 14 Are there alternatives to
   March 15 Secular Faith and Political Ends

   4:00 pm in Gilman 208

The Graduate Students of the Humanities Center organized a conference, "Repetition: The Future Remembered, the Self Dismembered," held February 22-23, 2013, with keynote speakers Prof. Stephen Mulhall (Oxford University) and Prof. Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen (University of Wisconsin).

Jean-Luc Marion

Associate of the Humanities Center, Member of the Académie Française, Docteur d'État at Université Paris-Sorbonne, and Greeley Professor of Catholic Studies and Professor of the Philosophy of Religions and Theology at the University of Chicago, gave three lectures on Courbet and on Descartes.

    February 12, 2013: "Courbet's
    February 13, 2013: "Descartes on
       Passive Thought I"
    February 14, 2013: "Descartes on
       Passive Thought II"

    4:00 pm in Gilman 208

Fall 2012

Gregory F. Ball

   The Humanities Center hosted a
   lecture by Gregory F. Ball (JHU):
   "Why and How Do Birds Sing?
   Why is it Interesting?"

   November 29, 2012
   5:15 pm
   Gilman 208

Richard Moran and Martin Stone

   The Humanities Center hosted
   a presentation and discussion
   of a paper by Richard Moran (Brian D.
   Young Professor of Philosophy, Harvard
   University) and Martin Stone (Professor
   of Law, Yeshiva University):
   "'I'm building a treehouse': Anscombe
   on Expression of Intention"
   November 30, 2012
   4:00 pm
   Gilman 208

Mark McMorris

    The Humanities Center hosted
    a poetry reading by
    Mark McMorris

    November 27, 2012
    6:30 pm
    Gilman 208

Rachel Galvin

    The Humanities Center hosted
    a poetry reading by
    Rachel Galvin

    November 16, 2012
    6:00 pm
    Gilman 208

1962/2012: The World After Algerian Independence

   A conference hosted by the Centre Louis
   Marin, cosponsored by the Humanities
   Center and the Program for Jewish Studies;
   the Center for Advanced Media Studies; the
   Center for Africana Studies; the Program
   for the Study of Women, Gender, and
   Sexuality; the Race, Immigration, and
   Citizenship Program; and the departments
   of History, Anthropology, and German and
   Romance Languages and Literatures
   November 1 and 2, 2012
   Click here for a schedule

Islamic Studies and the Literary Imagination

   A workshop co-sponsored by
   The Humanities Center, the departments
   of Anthopology, History, and the History
   of Art, The Arrighi Center and The Office of
   the Dean of Arts & Sciences

   October 27, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
   Donovan room, Gilman 130D

Eli Friedlander

Associate of the Humanities Center and Professor of Philosophy at Tel Aviv University

   October 10: "Missing a Step up the Ladder"
   October 11: "Ethics and Significance"
   October 12: "The Life of Colors"

   4:00 pm
   Gilman 208

Philippe Van Haute

    The Humanities Center welcomed
    Philippe Van Haute, Radboud University

    "Humankind: A Sick Animal?
    On the Meaning and Significance of
    Freud’s Primacy of Sexuality"

    October 1, 2012, 4 pm, Gilman 208

Spring 2012

Eli Friedlander

Associate of the Humanities Center and Professor of Philosophy at Tel Aviv University

    April 30: "Problems of Content in
       Kant's Aesthetics
    May 1: "
The Appearance of the Ideal of
       Philosophical Questioning in the
       Work of Art
    May 2: "On Types, the Everyday and
       Fantasy in Benjamin

    4 pm
    Gilman 208

Thomas Elsaesser

   The Humanities Center and the
   Center for Advanced Media Studies
   welcomed Thomas Elsaesser,
   Professor Emeritus, Department of
   Media and Culture, University of

      "Black Suns and a Bright Planet:
      Lars von Trier's Melancholia"

    April 23, 5:15 pm, Gilman 208

Sari Nusseibeh

Associate of the Humanities Center, Professor of Islamic and Political Philosophy and President of the Al-Quds University, East Jerusalem

  April 17: "On Whether One is

  April 18: "Avicenna and Descartes
on the Cogito and the Flying

  April 19: "Avicenna and Leibniz on
     What is Possible and What is

  4 pm, Gilman 208

Lucy Nusseibeh

  The Humanities Center &
  the Center for Advanced
  Media Studies welcomed
  Lucy Nusseibeh

     "Grappling with the
     Future: The Need to
     Demilitarize our Minds"

  April 12, 4 pm, Gilman 208

Walter Benn Michaels

   The graduate students of the
   Humanities Center welcomed
   Walter Benn Michaels,
   University of Illinois at Chicago

    April 5, 4 pm, Lecture
     "Formal Feelings: Political Economy
     and Aesthetic Autonomy"
    April 6, 10 am, Seminar
     "The Beauty of a Social Problem"
   Gilman 208

Willemien Otten

   The Humanities Center
   welcomed Willemien Otten,
   Professor of Theology and the
   History of Christianity, Divinity
   School, University of Chicago

       "Eriugena and Emerson on
       Nature and the Self"

   April 3, 4 pm, Gilman 208

Regina Schwartz

   The graduate students of the
   Humanities Center welcomed
   Prof. Regina Schwartz of
   Northwestern University
   for a lecture and a seminar:
      March 27, 4 pm, Lecture
         "Thinking about Contracts:
         The Merchant of Venice"
      March 28, 10 am, Seminar
         "Biblical Justice"
      Gilman 208

Michael V. Marder


    University of the Basque Country Vitoria-Gasteiz
       "The Project of Critical Phenomenology"
    March 7, 2012, 5-7 pm, Gilman 388

Adorno Today

    The Humanities Center hosted
    the Inaugural Meeting of the
    Association for Adorno Studies

    March 2-3, 2012

    You can find a full schedule here;
    for more information, please consult
    the Association's website.

Joshua Landy

    Associate Professor of French at
    Stanford University

          February 13, 4 PM, Lecture:
             "Formative Fictions: Imaginative
              Literature and the Training of
              the Capacities"

          February 14, 1:30 PM, Seminar:
             "La Recherche du Temps Perdu:
              Why a Novel?"

Fall 2011

Ruth HaCohen 

    Artur Rubinstein Chair in Musicology at
    The Hebrew University, Jerusalem

      "Dissonances in the Synagogue: The
       Theological Subconscious of Modern Music"

    November 16, 4:00 PM, Gilman 208

Robert Pippin

    Associate of the Humanities Center and Evelyn Stefansson
    Nef Distinguished Service Professor at the Committee on Social Thought,
    Department of Philosophy, University of Chicago

   "After the Beautiful: Hegel and Pictorial Modernism" (Continued)

November 8, 4:00 PM, Gilman 208
Lecture: "Politics and Ontology in Modern Art:
                              Clark, Fried and Left-Hegelianism"

      November 9, 8:00 PM, Gilman 208
Lecture: "Philosophy and Art:
                              Heidegger on Modernist Art"
      November 10, 4:00 PM, Gilman 130D

                              Workshop on "Active and Passive Skepticism
                              in Nicholas Ray's In a Lonely Place:
                              Some Themes from Cavell"

Spring 2011

Martine de Gaudemar   

    Professor of Philosophy at the
    Université de Paris Ouest Nanterre-
    La Défense
       "Individuation and Personalization:
        Leibniz's Philosophy of Virtual
    April 13, 2011, 5:00 PM, Gilman 208

Philosophy and New American TV Series

In his groundbreaking book on classic Hollywood comedies, the?Pursuit of Happiness, Stanley Cavell explores the philosophical significance of popular movies and emphasizes their relation with, and importance for, a certain idea of American democracy as initially outlined by Emerson and Thoreau. The emergence in last two decades of a new genre of popular American TV series (mainly but not exclusively produced by HBO), highly innovative both in visual and dramatic terms, calls for similar analyses of their philosophical and political underpinnings in the context of a different cultural and social landscape largely shaped by cable TV and the Internet. Finally, the impressive international success of American TV series like The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, The Wire, Mad Men or True Blood is an interesting case of the larger problem of the relation between the local and the global and may offer a new perspective on what is stake, philosophically and politically, when the most singular proves to be the only access to true universality as Gilles Deleuze claims in Difference and Repetition.

    Hédi Kaddour (Poet and Novelist)
    Sandra Laugier (University of Paris 1--Sorbonne)
    Paola Marrati (Humanities Center)
    Yi-Ping Ong (Humanities Center)
    Martin Shuster (Hamilton College)
    Jeroen Gerrits (Humanities Center)

   April 15, 9:30 AM-6:30 PM, Gilman 208

Jocelyn Benoist

   Professor of Theory of Knowledge and
   Contemporary Philosophy, University
   of Paris-I, Panthéon-Sorbonne
       "From One and Another's
       Point of View"
   April 20, 2011, 4:00 PM, Gilman 208

Sarah Beckwith

   Professor of English, Duke University
      10 AM, Seminar on Shakespeare,
         Arendt, and Austin
      4 PM, Lecture:"Shakespeare,
         Tragedy, and The Names of
    April 21, Gilman 208

Stanley Cavell Symposium

The Humanities Center was proud to host a symposium celebrating the publication of "Little Did I Know: Excerpts from Memory" and its author, Stanley Cavell, on Friday, April 22, 2011.

With the participation of Stanley Cavell, James Conant, Veena Das, Byron Davies, Michael Fried, Sandra Laugier, Paola Marrati, Yi-Ping Ong, Hent de Vries, and Michael Williams.


Robert Pippin

     Associate of the Humanities Center and Evelyn Stefansson
     Nef Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago

  Fatalism in American Film Noir:
  Some Cinematic Philosophy II

    Lecture: "Sexual Agency in Fritz Lang's
          Scarlet Street"
    Seminar Discussion on Robert Aldrich's
          Kiss Me Deadly

  Philosophy by Other Means I

    Lecture: "After the Beautiful: Hegel
          and the Philosophy of Visual

    April 26, 27, and 28, 4:00 PM
    Gilman 208

Fall 2010

Constance Borde and Sheila Malovany-Chevallier

       "Translating Simone de Beauvoir: The Philosophical,
       Political and Historical Significance of The Second Sex"
September 8,  5:15 PM, Gilman 208

Humanities Center Fall Reception

    September 11, 5-7:00 PM, chez Macksey

New Faculty Welcome Reception

    September 16, 4-6:00 PM, Hodson 110

Celebrating the Humanities at Hopkins

    September 17, 2-5:30 PM, Gilman 50

    Stanley Fish
Florida International University
     How to Write a Sentence?

    Elizabeth Cropper
Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Gallery
    of Art

    A Sense of Place: Florence, Bronzino, and Baltimore?
    David E. Wellbery
Department of Comparative Literature, The University of

    Kafka's Wish?

Eric Santner

    Department of Germanic Studies, The University of Chicago
    "Modernism and the Vital Sphere: Rainer Maria Rilke's
    The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge"
September 30, 5:00 PM, Gilman 208

Meredith Williams

    Department of Philosophy
    "The Builders"
    October 13, 4:00 PM,
Gilman 208

Chantal Bax

    Department of Philosophy, University of Amsterdam
    Wittgenstein and/as Philosophy?
    October 21, 4:00 PM, Gilman 208

Futures Seminar

October 28, Mason Hall, 4:00 PM
October 29, Charles Commons, Room 304 and the Barber Conference Room, 9:00 AM

  Alessia Ricciardi (French and Italian,
    Comparative Literature, Northwestern)
        "Becoming Woman, Becoming
        Imperceptible in Antonioni's Films"

  Daniel Morgan (Film Studies,
"Max Ophuls and the Limits of
         Virtuosity: On the
Aesthetics and
        Ethics of Camera Movement"

  Bernard J. Rhie (English, Williams College)
        "Wittgenstein and the
        Philosophy of the Face"

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Style DIV, please skip.