Monism, Dualism, Pluralism and Absolute Spirit: Debates on the Oneness of Nature from Spinoza, Descartes and Leibniz to the Romantics and Hegel
Faculty Leader: Mark Kulstad, Professor of Philosophy
Student Participants: Jonathan Abdalla (philosophy), Ryan Foster (history), Stan Husi (philosophy), Brandon Mulvey (philosophy), Brian Prince (philosophy)
This seminar emerges Professor Kulstad's current work on the philosophical controversies in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries concerning monism for Spinoza, dualism in Descartes, and pluralism in the work of Leibniz. The course was part of an ongoing collaboration between philosophers and historians. It therefore emphasized the importance of collaboration at every stage of intellectual endeavor, from project conceptualization to writing and revision. A balance of History and Philosophy students, the seminar participants reflected this interdisciplinary dialog as they thought through the intersections of the two disciplines that was at the core of the seminar topic.
Doing Things with Emotion
Faculty Leader: Meredith Skura, Professor of English
Student Participants: Jill Delsigne (English), Kara Marler-Kennedy (English), Kevin Morrison (English), Joy Pasini (English), Teresa Wei (English)
This seminar interrogates the longstanding scientific model that tends to discourage the academic study of emotion. Understood to both elude scientific measurement and to be peripheral to academic inquiry, emotions have only recently begun to be understood as deeply implicated in out sense of "rationality." The seminar began with readings that represented the different ways scholars have explored emotions in such disciplines as History, Anthropology, Sociology, Psychology, Gender Studies, Linguistics, and Literary Studies. It then proceeded to case studies of how such disciplinary approaches might shape the work of the participants' ongoing research, which theorizes the often surprising relationship between individual and cultural constructions of emotion in early modern England. Because the study of emotion is a field very much still in search of productive methodology and theoretical perspectives, the seminar offers graduate students a rich opportunity to engage in a newly developing interdisciplinary research field.