Quanta, Psyche, Cell: Epistemologies of Temporality and Presence

Faculty Leader: Judith RoofWilliam Shakespeare Professor of English

Student Participants: Andrew Battaglia (English), Brooke Clark (English), Kristin Gupta (Anthropology), Matthew Southey (Religion), Eliot Storer (Anthropology), Els Woudstra (English)

This seminar will bring together theories and conceptions about time, temporalities, and temporal perception offered by quantum theories, psychoanalysis, and biology. Focusing on epistemologies of time and the problem of perceiving and capturing presence, the seminar will engage the multiple aspects of the multi-layered sensory, epistemological, psychological, and phenomenological registers through which humans perceive, remember, represent, and calculate time. Just as such quantum physicists as Einstein, Heisenberg, Schrödinger, and Feynman forged theories of relativity and space/time, and psychoanalysts, Freud and Lacan, theorized the ways human subjects discerned the production and operation of various temporalities in psychic processes (the drive, psychosis, memory), so, too, do biologists, geneticists, and philosophers of biology—Margulis, Serres, Haraway, Grosz—consider the temporalities attendant to cell biology, the working of the senses and other apperceptive functions, genetic processes, and ideologies of evolution. In relation to the insights of such post-quantum philosophers as Merleau- Ponty and Heidegger, the discernments of these other disciplines offer complex, alternative insights about temporality’s complexities as well as the problems of registering presence in a contemporary environment assailed by the “absences” enacted by technological intermedia (digital communications, virtual worlds).


Spatial Studies 

Faculty Leader: Farès el-Dahdah, Professor of the Humanities

Student Participants: Laurin Baumgardt (Anthropology), Konstantin Georgiev (Anthropology), Gebhard Keny (Anthropology), Meredith McCullough (English), Mallory Pladus (English)

The seminar will introduce students to Spatial Studies as an emerging field of knowledge production, as well as to prominent scholars working in the field. Throughout the year, the seminar will be structured around the visits of scholars who will give public lectures during regularly scheduled class time. In addition to the public lectures, students will look into ongoing research that not only stems from a surge of scholarly interest in space but that also exploits a vast assortment of information technologies; explore, critique, and experience the modeling and mapping of historic sites and events; and together incubate a multidisciplinary and broadly humanistic collaboration among interested tech innovators, faculty, and students.


Critical Platform Studies - Writing Extension

Faculty Leader: Melissa BailarDirector of Grants and Initiatives and Adjunct Lecturer

Student Participants: Annie Lowe (English), Michael Miller (English), Waleed Rikab (religion), Clint Wilson (English)