The Humanities Research Center awards competitive grants to host lectures, symposia, and speaker series that are intended to spark programming and curricular development in areas that do not fit within departmental structures, help develop innovative paradigms for conducting humanities research, or ask new questions within existing paradigms.


Principal Investigator:
Sydney Boyd
February 16, 2019
This is a concert-length work for between nine and 99 percussionists by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Luther Adams with landscape architecture in place specifically designed for the performance in the southern live oak grove behind Entrance One at Rice University.

Creativity Up Close
Principal Investigator:
Anthony Brandt
January 22, February 26, & March 19, 2019
The “Creativity Up Close” lecture series in coordinated with the undergraduate course MUSI 379, which takes an inter-disciplinary look at creativity through both academic study and hands-on projects. Guest speakers will give both in-class lectures and evening public presentations—all to be held at the Moody Center for the Arts.

Words and Music
Principal Investigator:
Christina Keefe
March 21, 2019
This is a one-night performance of Samuel Beckett’s 45-minute play “Words and Music,” with music by Morton Feldman at the Rice Chapel.

Project Row Houses Lectures
Principal Investigator:
Lisa Lipinski
January/February and April, 2019
This is a collaboration on a student exhibition, a series of talks, and workshops with non-profit art organization Project Row Houses, located in Houston’s historic Third Ward, one of the city’s oldest African-American neighborhoods.

A Night of Philosophy and Ideas
Principal Investigator:
Timothy Morton
January 26, 2019
The Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States has invited Rice University andthe Moody Center for the Arts to host the international event, “A Night of Philosophy and Ideas.”This multifaceted evening combines philosophical discourse, performances, screenings,academic talks, art, and music. Originated by l’Institut français in Paris, “A Night of Philosophy and Ideas” has been presented in London, Berlin, Mykonos, Helsinki, Lima, New York and LosAngeles, taking a slightly different form in every city. 2019 will be its first presentation in Houston.

Infrastructures and Ecologies of the Middle East
Principal Investigator:
Kali Rubaii
April 19-20, 2019
The Middle East, often imagined as a bleak desert, and has remained broadly under- theorized in environmental and ecological discourse. “Infrastructures and Ecologies of the Middle East” will offer a deep view of the region through detailed ethnography, historical, geographic, and environmental attention. The speakers, from an array of disciplinary backgrounds, will engage the political dynamics attached to infrastructures as they interact with the regional diversity of the region’s many ecological worlds.

Beyond Validity: Social and Ethical Consequences of Assessment
Principal Investigator(s):
M. Rafael Salaberry & Wei-Li Hsu
April 12-14, 2019
Dr. Fulcher and Dr. Shohamy have agreed to be keynote speakers at the annual CLIC conference. The 2019 conference will address the theoretical, practical, and ethical challenges prompted by the assessment of an expanded construct of second language (L2) competence that incorporates the socio-interactional aspects of communication. These two renowned researchers will anchor the conference. Additionally, Dr. Shohamy will present an interdisciplinary lunch talk in collaboration with the Program in Jewish Studies.

Thinking Media After Flusser: Theory and Practice
Principal Investigator:
Judith Roof
April 5-6, 2019
This is a two-day symposium on the media work of Vilèm Flusser and its relation to broader issues of media theory and practice. Flusser’s writing about media ranges in its topics from writing to photography, cinema, sound technologies, digital transduction, fictional organisms, design, nomadism, history, and gestures. Addressing these issues both philosophically and pragmatically in short essays, Flusser’s explorations of various media represent simultaneously an analysis, an interrogation, and a critique of media phenomena, offering new ways of conceiving of the histories, philosophies, and inter-relationships among various modes of transduction and the ways they operate in the everyday world. Comprehending media as having long, often related archaeologies, Flusser’s writings envision media as neither McLuhan’s “message” nor his “massage,” but as sets of apparatuses that both produce and represent ways of thinking that enmesh with, alter, and even undo human systems of reception and communication, shifting, augmenting, transforming modes of thinking about the the possibilities of expression and rendition.

Parahumanities Speaker Series
Principal Investigator(s):
Samuel Stoeltje & Timothy Grieve-Carlson
January 18, 2019
The Parahumanities Speaker Series will bring speakers to the Rice University campus working within the vicinity of our new concept of the "parahuman." In dialogue with critical trends such as speculative realism, ecocritical thought, decolonial theory, and animal studies, the parahumanities proceeds from a similar troubling of the categories of “man” and "human," but with a distinct turn in mind: a turn toward radically alternative metaphysics, knowledges, and modes of thinking and feeling. The parahumanities imagines itself as an ally in the destabilization of establishment western theory and philosophy, toward bringing new conceptual worlds into focus and making new material worlds possible.

Ecopolitics of Cement and Concrete
Principal Investigator:
Allison Turner
March 1-2, 2019
This two-day symposium focuses on concrete, the almost ubiquitous building material. Concrete is a strange sort of material, an aggregate of other materials (cement, sand, rocks, plastics, metal, rubble, and so on), as much as a material in itself. As a method of aggregation, it can quickly be adapted to almost any context and has now seemingly conquered the entire world. Its plasticity makes it perfect for a wide range of uses, from modernist State projects to illegal seaside constructions, from latrines to nuclear waste repositories, with effects on everyday life as on geopolitics. The purpose of this symposium is to present concrete as a total social fact, and to examine it from as wide a variety of approaches as possible. We focus on the different forms of abstraction in which concrete is already involved: formation, genericity, speculation, speculation, and concreteness.


Faculty Led Workshop: The Wide Nineteenth Century: A Collaborative Seminar and Workshop
Principal Investigator(s):
Helena Michie
April 26, 2018
The two workshop papers will be pre-circulated: PROFESSOR ROY’S PAPER, “ON VERMINOUS LIFE,” examines nineteenth-century debates around animal protection, parsing the morality and politics of nonhuman life in imperial colonies; and PROFESSOR VOSKUIL’S PAPER, “PEOPLE, PLANTS, AND EMPIRE,” is part of the introduction to her book on horticulture and imperialism.

Health/Design Symposium
Principal Investigator(s): Kirsten Ostherr
April 27, 2018
As stakeholders working from inside of their institutions to bring the “outside” practice of design thinking into the clinic, the Health/Design presenters share their views on why it is necessary to bring creative problem solving into medicine, and what they have seen come out of these experiments that is unique, valuable, and currently absent from medical practice. What if design thinking were considered a required clinical competency? What new kinds of doctors might emerge? How might those doctors engage differently with their patients? How might those doctors – and patients – engage differently with the emerging challenges of our healthcare system? This day-long program organized by the Medical Futures Lab includes a series of presentations along with hands-on design learning that tackles a core challenge for medicine in the age of big data: how to bridge the data-driven practices of evidence-based medicine with the patient-centered practices of empathic listening and integration of the patient story into healthcare practice.

Medicine and Healing in the Age of Slavery
Principal Investigator(s): Sean Smith, Jim Sidbury
February 23-24, 2018
In the last three decades, scholars have increasingly identified connections between slavery and medicine. They have uncovered how medical theories and practices helped to reinforce the institution of slavery, just as enslaved people used their knowledge of healing to gain autonomy and power. Increasingly, these studies have left the narrow confines of Western biomedical ideas of health behind and expanded their scopes to consider enslaved healing traditions such as herbalism, Obeah, and conjuring. However, these narratives have remained confined by artificial temporal and national boundaries. This conference will bring together scholars of medicine, health, and slavery to explore its transnational dimensions. It seeks to breakdown temporal and geographical borders normally imposed upon these studies by including researchers examining the health histories of enslavement through various temporal and geographic prisms, including comparative slavery, the Atlantic World, and Second Slavery. This conference conceives of the Atlantic World as a singular geographic unit as well as a set of forces and exchanges that shaped local medical knowledge and disease environments in the Americas. In this sense, the conference will examine the localities as well as the channels of transmission that made up the Atlantic World and how these connections created creolized, local healing cultures.

Art and Embodiment Artist Talk by Hirsch Perlman
Principal Investigator: Alison Weaver
February 3, 2018
An artist's talk by Hirsch Perlman, who will draw from his latest work, and explore themes of art, meaning, and embodiment. Lisa Lapinski will give a slide lecture followed by a musical performance by Tom Watson in the Central Gallery in response to the exhibition Pile the Wood High!, which features work by Lapinski, Perlman, and Anna Helm.

Dark Frames: the art of image processing
Principal Investigator(s): Michelle Chang, Alice Weaver
February - March, 2018
A series of events that reflects on the ways artists, architects, and scientists interpret images to understand the real world. In workshop, lecture, and symposium formats, the project asks: How can the visual arts use scientific models of objective image-making towards creative ends? These events are organized by Rice Architecture assistant professor Michelle Chang to investigate how objective and non-objective practices create different kinds of knowledge.

ASE conference 2018: Eros, Sexuality, and Embodiment in Esoteric Traditions
Principal Investigator(s): Claire Fanger
Esoteric writings offer a range of possibilities for investigating both literal and figurative erotic and sexual configurations, from the allegorical couplings of alchemy down through the ages, to the practices of late antique Valentinian Gnosticism, to descriptions of angelic sex in nineteenth-century spiritualist authors like Ida Craddock. Connectedly, esoteric thinkers have described numerous unusual ways to embodiment, from phenomena of possession to the making of magical children, to golems and animated statues. The conference theme has been designed to dovetail with current academic interests in material culture, lived religion and embodied practice.

Faculty Led Workshop: Why so Few?
Principal Investigator(s): Richard Grandy, Vida Yao, Gwen Bradford
Underrepresentation of women in philosophy nationally has been a long term concern. Unlike the previous academic year, there have been no high profile cases of alleged sexual harassment in the Chronicle of Higher Education or the New York Times, and the graduate program at the University of Colorado has been permitted to admit another class of students. But even if the discipline is making progress on reducing harassment and overt bias, major problems persist. Only about 20% of full-time faculty in philosophy are women, approximately 30% of graduate students in Ph. D. programs are women, and approximately 35% of undergraduate majors are women. The pipeline leaks at every step. The aim of this conference series is to gain a more accurate understanding of the status of women in the profession of philosophy and present eye-opening research on the underlying contributing factors in local academic cultures.

Faculty Led Workshop: The Nahda Project on Question of Tolerance in the Modern Middle East
The rationale for the project was (1) to underscore at a time of extreme sectarian pressures on and in the Middle East the extraordinary history of coexistence in the Levant that involved different Muslim, Christian and Jewish communities and individuals (2) to recover, reconstruct and document the lived experiences, trajectories and works of these individuals (3) to push back against orientalist, Islamist and minoritarian narratives that obscure the degree to which modern coexistence was both a lived experience and a modern cultural norm in the region (4) and finally to underscore the degree to which this coexistence was a choice and an expression of will and an act of interpretation of an undeniable historic social reality of religious and ethnic diversity that has long defined the Middle East. Organized by Ussama Makdisi (History)

Vital Constitutions: The Appearance of “Health” in History
Principal Investigator(s): Claire Spadafora
Oct 14, 2017
Conceptions of health and the healthfulness of bodies, societies, and environments, are sprawling. Vital Constitutions aims to facilitate an open and interdisciplinary dialogue about representations and realities of care and condemnation across time and geography as related to imaging in art, art history, and visual culture; architecture, anthropology, and beyond. A group of nine emerging scholars and artists will share their research and practices during three panels: “Biology, Politics, and Mutation,” “Building, Memory, and the Forsaken,” and, “Ritual, Remedy, and Form.” We encourage the public to not only attend the presentations but also participate in a town hall style discussion that will conclude Saturday’s programming. This portion of the conference will be led by invited panelists Dr. Suzannah Biernoff, Erika Blumenfeld, and Dr. Jairo Moreno—whose research engages subjects such as mixed-ability communities, the Anthropocene, and music history, respectively—who will speak on their work, respond to the panels, and encourage conversation.

(Un)Making the Self Symposium
Principal Investigator(s): Samuel Stoeltje
April 7, 2018
This spring, the English department graduate symposium will bring together scholars from within and outside of the Rice community to explore topics related to the concept of “the self.” With this broad focus, we intend to foster a conversation between multiple disciplines, although we will encourage proposals engaging with: the aesthetics of self-making; decolonizing the self; gendered selves; human and non-human selves; the commoditized self; sovereignty and selfhood; self-fashioning; among others. Our keynote speaker will be Professor Zakiyyah Jackson of the University of Southern California, whose own work makes keen interdisciplinary inquiry into matters of the self.

Vital Constitutions: The Appearance of "Health" in History
Principal Investigator(s):
Claire Spadafora
October 14, 2017
Conceptions of health and the healthfulness of bodies, societies, and environments, are sprawling. Vital Constitutions aims to facilitate an open and interdisciplinary dialogue about representations and realities of care and condemnation across time and geography as related to imaging in art, art history, and visual culture; architecture, anthropology, and beyond. A group of nine emerging scholars and artists will share their research and practices during three panels: “Biology, Politics, and Mutation,” “Building, Memory, and the Forsaken,” and, “Ritual, Remedy, and Form.” We encourage the public to not only attend the presentations but also participate in a town hall style discussion that will conclude Saturday’s programming. This portion of the conference will be led by invited panelists Dr. Suzannah Biernoff, Erika Blumenfeld, and Dr. Jairo Moreno—whose research engages subjects such as mixed-ability communities, the Anthropocene, and music history, respectively—who will speak on their work, respond to the panels, and encourage conversation.

Jane Austen in the Information Age Lecture by Sean Silver
Principal Investigator(s):
Kevin MacDonnell
April 12, 2018
This talk positions Jane Austen in the information age—not the relatively brief burst of interest in “information” of the last half-century or so, but the far longer transformation of information that began in the long eighteenth century. We tend to treat facts as nugget-like and atomic; there is a habit of treating Austen’s prose as similarly discrete: two inches of ivory, or (in Charlotte Brontë’s memorable phrase) “a carefully fenced, highly cultivated garden.” But a closer look shows us that information named a variety of discourse before it named a type of content. Placing Austen in her moment can help us recapture this historically richer, relational theory of knowledge. It shows us a world in which interiors are regularly larger than their boundaries and wholes greater than their parts, in which decisions are made without intentions and effects occur without cause. It means, in short, to offer an alternative history of the novel, not as a realist genre invested in facts and particulars, but an informational genre concerned with the irreducible interweaving of persons and things, the bewildering state of affairs which we have come to call “complex.”


NEH Workshop: Genealogy of Texts and Ideas: Looking Back and Forth Through the Early English Books Online (EEBO)
Principal Investigator(s)
: Benjamin Brochstein
February 8-11, 2017
This workshop was devoted to delivering on a promise to the NEH and the public: a convincing portrait of an unborn DTA framework that non-computational humanities scholars can use to evaluate the recently enhanced Early English Books Online corpus.

Faculty-Led Workshop: TEX 2016
Organized by Sophie Horowitz TEX (the Texas Epistemology eXtravaganza) was a collaborative workshop for philosophers around the Houston and Austin areas, specializing in epistemology. There were five pre-read paper sessions at a rented house in a central Texas location. TEX was the first (and only) forum for epistemologists at Rice, Baylor, UT, SMU, and other schools to meet and exchange ideas.

Exploring the Mind through Music 2016
Principal Investigator(s)
: Anthony Brandt, Xaq Pitkow
June 6, 2016
Shepherd School of Music hosted its 3rd international “Exploring the Mind through Music” Conference. The goal of the Conference was to promote collaboration between musicians and scientists and spur research, as well as increase public interest in this growing field. Because music is a universal feature of human culture, music cognition research has implications in fields as diverse as anthropology, biology, electrical engineering, linguistics, psychology and sociology. By bringing artists and scientists together, the Conference helped position Rice as a leader in promoting inter-disciplinary collaboration in this important field.

Being Spiritual but Not Religious
Principal Investigator(s)
: William B. Parsons
February 19, 2016
This conference focused on the determining "past" cultural strands, "present" circumscription, and possible future(s) of the "spiritual but not religious movement" (SBNRM). As a whole, it delved into issues concerning present characterizations and definitions (including genealogies/histories/definitions of relevant terms [e.g.,"religion", "spirituality," mysticism"], empirical data, sociological surveys, and cultural factors; past cultural strands (i.e., the various and complex historical and cultural roots that have aided its formation and rise [e.g., western and eastern mysticism, transcendentalism, esotericism, democracy/capitalism, the rise of the therapeutic social space and psychology, secularization/disillusionment, etc.]), and possible futures (which includes consideration of the various problems, defenses, and critiques that are now being leveled for and against it [e.g., spiritual narcissism, pop culture, sustainability, perennialism, gender, race, structural cohesiveness, etc.]).

A Talk and Reading by Sheila Heti, author of "How Should a Person Be? A Novel from Life"
Principal Investigator(s)
: SJ Stout, Michael Miller
March 27, 2018
Sheila Heti is the author of seven books, including the 2012 novel, How Should a Person Be? whichwas a New York Times Notable Book and was called by Time magazine “one of the most talked-about books of the year.” She is co-editor of the New York Timesbestseller Women in Clothes, which features the voices of 639 women from around the world. Her books have been translated into a dozen languages. She will be publishing a new book, called Motherhood, in May 2018.

Harun Mehmedinovic’s SKYGLOW
Principal Investigator(s):
Sarah Silberman, Dominic Boyer
March 31, 2018
With its technically impressive filming styles, SKYGLOW aims to inform people about the effects of light pollution in America today, and how right now we are at a pivotal point in dark sky protection. Harun makes this presentation interesting to all, however, by talking about these environmental issues, their health and scientific effects, all while showing his audience an astoundingly beautiful slideshow and movie. Originally hailing from Bosnia Herzegovina, Harun graduated from UCLA School of Theater and the American Film Institute. When he’s not touring the country making presentations or filming Leonardo DiCaprio’s upcoming HBO documentary, Harun teaches film and photography at Northern Arizona University. SKYGLOW is a truly revolutionary documentary that aims to inspire its audiences, and in doing so it goes above and beyond.


Faculty Led Workshop: The Nahda Project
The rationale for the project was (1) to underscore at a time of extreme sectarian pressures on and in the Middle East the extraordinary history of coexistence in the Levant that involved different Muslim, Christian and Jewish communities and individuals (2) to recover, reconstruct and document the lived experiences, trajectories and works of these individuals (3) to push back against orientalist, Islamist and minoritarian narratives that obscure the degree to which modern coexistence was both a lived experience and a modern cultural norm in the region (4) and finally to underscore the degree to which this coexistence was a choice and an expression of will and an act of interpretation of an undeniable historic social reality of religious and ethnic diversity that has long defined the Middle East. Organized by Ussama Makdisi (History)

Faculty Led Workshop: History of Philosophy
The workshop focused on the history of European thought from Greek antiquity to the present, seeking to contextualize contemporary intellectual debates on both sides of the Atlantic and thus to bridge conventional institutional boundaries between philosophy, political thought, literary studies, and the history and philosophy of science. Organized by Martin Blumenthal-Barby (Philosophy)

Faculty Led Workshop: Why so Few?
Underrepresentation of women in philosophy nationally has been a long term concern. Unlike the previous academic year, there have been no high profile cases of alleged sexual harassment in the Chronicle of Higher Education or the New York Times, and the graduate program at the University of Colorado has been permitted to admit another class of students. But even if the discipline is making progress on reducing harassment and overt bias, major problems persist. Only about 20% of full-time faculty in philosophy are women, approximately 30% of graduate students in Ph. D. programs are women, and approximately 35% of undergraduate majors are women. The pipeline leaks at every step. The aim of this conference series is to gain a more accurate understanding of the status of women in the profession of philosophy and present eye-opening research on the underlying contributing factors in local academic cultures. Organized by Richard Grandy; Gwen Bradford, Sophie Horowitz (Philosophy)

Faculty Led Workshop: Texas Epistemology eXtravaganza
TEX (the Texas Epistemology eXtravaganza) was a collaborative workshop for philosophers around the Houston and Austin areas, specializing in epistemology. As a result of recently made hires in epistemology at a number of nearby Texas schools, including Rice, Baylor, UT Austin, and Texas A&M, this event offered a forum for local epistemologists to meet one another and exchange ideas. Recent hires constituted an opportunity to forge collaboration between schools in the area, and to establish a strong Texas epistemology community. Organized by Sophie Horowitz

Mariano Azuela y la narración de lo urgente: Primer Centenario de Los de Abajo
Principal Investigator(s): Jose Aranda, Manuel Gutierrez, Nicolas Shumway
March 13, 2016
2015 marks the 100th anniversary of Mariano Azuela’s highly influential novel, Los de Abajo. Hailed then and now as the Novel of the Mexican Revolution, this anniversary year compelled a revisit of the critical legacies of this work that has marked popular and elite Mexican culture in unprecedented ways.

New Perspectives on the Mid-Nineteenth-Century United States
Principal Investigator(s): John Boles, Randal Hall, Bethany Johnson, Caleb McDaniel
February 19 to February 20, 2016
With this conference, timed to coincide with the completion of the published Papers of Jefferson Davis, a group of leading American historians met at Rice University to consider what it means to look unblinkingly on the nineteenth-century United States as a nation in which Jefferson Davis, more than Lincoln, was in many ways the typical figure. Like the preeminent African American historian W. E. B. DuBois said, we "wish to consider not the man, but the type of civilization which his life represented," with papers focused less on Jefferson Davis than on the forces –territorial expansion, slavery, capitalism, nationalism, Civil War memory, and empire– with which his life intersected at crucial moments in the history ofthe United States. The result was a stimulating symposium that will contribute to a larger rethinking of nineteenth-century American history and its lasting influence on our own time.

Vagantes Conference on Medieval Studies
Principal Investigator(s): Kyle G. Sweeney, Carolyn Van Wingerden, Linda Neagley, Diane Wolfthal
February 18 to February 20, 2016
Established in 2002, Vagantes is North America’s largest and most successful medieval studies conference for graduate students. The primary aim of this national conference was to provide graduate students from all fields and disciplines the opportunity to discuss their research on any aspect of medieval studies while highlighting the resources of the host institution. In addition to some 30 student presentations, this conference featured two keynote speakers, a workshop with two conservators from the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and a tour of the Menil Collection’s medieval and Byzantine collections with an internationally recognized scholar.

Atlantic Environments and the American South
Principal Investigator(s)
: Blake Earle; Andrew Johnson; Randal Hall
February 05 to February 06, 2016
This conference explored how people altered, interacted with, and thought about the environments of the American South in the Atlantic World. While the past decades have seen the phenomenal growth of both environmental history and Atlantic studies they have, curiously, remained separate lines of inquiry. This conference sought to place these two dynamic subfields in direct dialogue.

Rice Linguistics Society
Principal Investigator(s): Christina Willis Oko, Lisa Jeon

This was the sixth biennial conference held by the Rice Linguistics Society (RLS) run by graduate students. The conference welcomed presentations from all areas of linguistics as well as from other fields (particularly in the Humanities and the Social Sciences) where language is used as the primary source of data. This year's conference brought as a Keynote speaker, Dr. Dennis R. Preston, linguist and Regents Professor at Oklahoma State University.


Faculty Led Workshop: After Globalization and Theory
To study problems of post-globalization, this workshop examined the ways that recent fiction by international creative writers negotiate what Caribbean novelist and theoretician Edouard Glissant identifies as the chaos and instable memory inherent in the fluidity of contemporary geocultural production. Invited speakers explored the conflicts and confluences between cultural memories and utterances in multiple disciplines, as well as proprietary imagination approached from a longitudinal perspective. Organized by Bernard Aresu (French Studies)

Faculty Led Workshop: Cognition, Culture, and the Humanities
Situated cognition is considered dependent on the situation or context in which it occurs, locally or globally. The workshop fostered interdisciplinary exchange and innovative research across the humanities to challenge dominate views of the mind, such as the idea that the mind is identical to or realized in the brain, or that cognition is explained by reference to computational and representational theories of mind. Organized by April DeConick (Religion)

Faculty Led Workshop: Cultural Studies of Science, Technology, Engineering, Medicine, and Mathematics
This workshop has presented wide-ranging topics such as courtroom evidence as considered in law and science, the "perfect model" of science itself and distinctive features of nanoscience research. This year, it continued to bring speakers to campus whose work engages the intersection of the humanities, sciences (both social and natural), engineering, medicine, and mathematics. Organized by Richard Grandy (Philosophy)

Faculty Led Workshop: Global Hispanism
​Brazil's prominent role as a global and regional leader presumes a shift in the configuration of power relations in which the periphery becomes part of the center. This workshop interrogated to what extent such re-location reflects Brazil's current social and cultural realities. The workshop's main theoretical line of inquiry stemmed from Roberto Schwarz' seminal analysis of how cultural production and social organization in Brazil have been inherently informed by the place the country occupies in the periphery of capitalism. Organized by Leonora Paula (Spanish and Portuguese)

Faculty Led Workshop: History of Philosophy
This workshop focused on the history of European thought from Greek antiquity to the present to contextualize contemporary intellectual debates and bridge conventional boundaries between philosophy, political thought, literary studies, and the history and philosophy of science. To provide a focused forum for the presentation, discussion, and dissemination of research in the history of philosophy and European intellectual history, it connected existing research at Rice to new developments in both North America and Europe through the invitation of distinguished guest speakers. Organized by Martin Blumenthal-Barby (German studies)

Faculty Led Workshop: Nontenure Track Faculty First-Book Workshop
This workshop addressed the gap in institutional support for non-tenure track faculty in the humanities and social sciences as they work toward publishing their first books. This was accomplished by providing internal peer feedback within the group, general publishing advice from junior and senior scholars, and discipline-focused feedback from colleagues beyond Rice. Organized by Brian Riedel (Center for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality)

Faculty Led Workshop: Women in Philosophy: Why So Few?
Underrepresentation of women in philosophy leadership has been a growing subject of concern in institutions. The impact of implicit bias and stereotyping on academic decisions in philosophy has largely not been understood. Through conferences to highlight gender and other inequalities and focused discussions with prominent scholars to identify underlying factors for the marginalization of underrepresented groups, this workshop strove to find ways to effect positive change. Organized by Richard Grandy (Philosophy)

Emerging Disciplines Lecture: Architecture 2.0
Rodolphe el-Khoury, Dean of the School of Architecture, University of Miami

November 20, 2014​/100 Herring Hall
More than ever before, the line between the digital and real worlds is increasingly blurred. Computers and communication devices have functioned as a separate layer within our lives but they are increasingly becoming integrated into objects and environments. Rodolphe el-Khoury described a not-too-distant future in which “the internet of things” will become a reality. In this world, our homes, workplaces, and the objects within them will all be wirelessly connected, intelligent, and responsive.

The American Yawp
November 7-9, 2014
“American Yawp” is a collaboratively-built, open-access American history textbook constructed through the cooperative energies of nearly 300 prominent historians. This event went beyond merely putting a textbook online and involved the critical reflection on the nature of the digital medium and strategies for the practical construction of new resources. The conference brought together several contributors to consider the future of textbooks in an open digital age.

Technology, Cognition, and Culture Lecture: The Emerging Research Environment & the Digital Public Library of America
Dan Cohen, Executive Director, Digital Public Library of America
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
A new environment for scholarly research is emerging out of the steady accumulation of digitized sources over the last two decades, contemporary models for accessing those sources, and novel methods for searching, sorting, and mining them in ways that forge new connections and enhance serendipity. With a look at the Digital Public Library of America’s approach to research and discovery, Cohen surveyed today’s and tomorrow’s electronic landscape.
Dan Cohen is the Founding Executive Director of the DPLA, where he works to further the DPLA’s mission to make the cultural and scientific heritage of humanity available, free of charge, to all.

Technology, Cognition, and Culture Lecture: David Shaffer, Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Engineering the Future of Education
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Dr. Shaffer looks at the future of education through the lens of two decades of research and development of educational games and simulations. His talk showed how the spread of digital tools frame both the challenges and solutions to the problems of education in a time of cognitive, social, and economic change. David Williamson Shaffer is a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the departments of Educational Psychology and Curriculum and Instruction, and a Game Scientist at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research. He is the chief PI on the Epistemic Games grants.
Before coming to the University of Wisconsin, Dr. Shaffer taught grades 4-12 in the United States and abroad, including two years working with the Asian Development Bank and US Peace Corps in Nepal. His M.S. and Ph.D. are from the Media Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and he taught in the Technology and Education Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Dr. Shaffer studies how new technologies change the way people think and learn. His particular area of interest is in the development of epistemic games: computer and video games in which players become professionals to develop innovative and creative ways of thinking.

Reporting from the Front Line: The Middle East and the Challenge to Tell the Truth
May 9, 2014
Speaker: Robert Fisk, Middle East Correspondent for The Independent
[in collaboration with the Arab-American Educational Foundation]

Robust Action and the Rise of the CCRMA-lites: The Emergence, Sustenance and Renewal of Computer Music at Stanford
Andrew Nelson, Assistant Professor of Management and Bramsen Faculty Fellow in Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Sustainability, Charles H. Lundquist College of Business, University of Oregon

April 18, 2014​/307 Sewall Hall
Nelson's research focuses on the diffusion and commercialization of scientific and technological knowledge, and on the influence of institutional factors and network structures on these processes. His ongoing research projects focus on the fields of digital music, green chemistry, information technology, and biotechnology. In the 1960s, a small group of musicians, hackers, engineers, composers, and psychologists established a computer music program, “CCRMA,” at Stanford University. Their efforts, while fraught with difficulties, laid the foundation for a new academic field and for a suite of technologies that, to this day, form the backbone of modern media and audio technology companies. In this presentation, Nelson explored the emergence, sustenance and renewal of the Stanford computer music program. His analysis employs Padgett and Powell’s concept of “multivocality,” exploring the ways in which key participants framed the same activities in different ways to different audiences, leveraging these differences to garner new resources and to build legitimacy among a diverse constituency. Nelson also explored how the flexibility of the technologies themselves enabled this strategy, while simultaneously presenting unique challenges tied to this very flexibility. Ultimately, his analysis of the Stanford computer music program serves to extend multivocality into a new empirical setting, while also elaborating upon the ways in which new technological capabilities can co-evolve with different rhetorical frames, both supporting and emerging from them.

April 2, 2014
Speakers: Melani McAlister, George Washington University, Fady Joudah, Poet, and Khaled Hafez, Visual Artist
[in collaboration with Fotofest]

Al-Andalus and its Afterlife: Moorish Spain and the "Muslim Problem" in Europe Today
March 21, 2014
Speaker: Charles Hirschkind, Associate Professor of Social Anthropology
[in collaboration with the Arab-American Educational Foundation]

How Neuroscience Can Make the Humanities More Human: The Example of Neuroarthistory
John Onians, Professor of Visual Arts Emeritus and Director of the World Art Research Programme, University of East Anglia

February 11, 2014/Founder's Room, Lovett Hall
Within the 'humanities' there has been surprisingly little reflection on what it is that make us human. Thus, although there is general agreement that the miraculous mental products we study depend on such attributes as socialisation, language, and culture, little thought is given to the attributes of our unique biology on which they, in turn, ultimately depend. Today, however, thanks to discoveries about the brain made possible by new technologies this is changing, and new revelations are transforming the understanding of our humanity. These revelations empower - indeed require - each humanities discipline to look again at its materials to explore what light the new neuroscience can shed on old problems. Neuroarthistory does so for the visual arts, but given the revolutionary significance of its upgrading of the role of passive visual exposure in human mental formation and its downgrading of the role of the conscious and the verbal, its findings have, it will be argued, profound implications for all the others.

Sectarianism in the Middle East: History and Political Exploration
February 7, 2014
Speaker: Ussama Makdisi, Professor of History and Arab-American Educational Foundation Chair of Arab Studies, Rice University
[in collaboration with the Arab-American Educational Foundation]

Shipwreck! Excavating the Gnalić, a 16th Century Merchant Ship lost off the Coast of Croatia
Luis Filipe Viera de Castro, Associate Professor, Frederic R. Mayer Fellow II of Nautical Archaeology, Texas A&M University

January 31, 2014/117 Anderson Hall (School of Architecture)
Castro is an expert in post-medieval seafaring and the techniques of underwater excavation. He has excavated various wrecks, particularly those of Portuguese and Spanish ships involved in the India and Americas trade. He had been working on a project in Italy on the history of a river over time, an excavation of a 16th century wreck in Croatia, and a 2D and 3D modeling of nautical remains.

Africa at AD 1000: Scalar Transformations and Global Interactions at the Turn of the Millennium
This conference explored regional transformations that occurred across Africa in the crucial centuries that straddle AD 1000. Papers addressed the period leading up to and beyond the end of the millennium, thus exploring the basis for dramatic transformations that occurred at that time: the emergence of large-scale complex societies, significant increases in long-distance trade, and transformations in the scale of production and consumption. Through this focus, the conference challenged the way that AD 1000 is often offered as a hard break in the historical trajectory of the African past.
David Killick, Professor of Anthropology, University of Arizona; Kathryn de Luna, Assistant Professor of History, Georgetown University
Vincent Serneels, Professor of Archaeometry, Universite de Fribourg; Susan McIntosh, Herbert S. Autrey Professor of Anthropology, Rice University
Peter Robertshaw, Professor of Anthropology, California State Univ., San Bernardino; Jeffrey Fleisher, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Rice University

Earth, Air, Water, Fire: Brenda Hillman and the Art of Ecology
Earth, Air, Water, Fire represented the first major symposium on the works of award-winning contemporary poet and activist Brenda Hillman, whose poetry represents a high watermark for poetic engagements with both the politics and the lived experience of ecology, energy and climate change. A consideration of this particular author’s poetic accomplishments offered the opportunity to consider the larger landscape of eco-poetics and activism in North America.


Volatility of Meaning
Nicole Brossard, Poet and Novelist

November 22, 2013​/Kyle Morrow Room in Fondren Library
Where do we stand in the new configuration of meaning, its redistribution in art, science, socio-cultural identity and its accelerated renewal through new technologies of communication? Why is it that telling a story in a political meeting is now much more of consequence than telling the truth or having ideas? Stories are at the origin of cultures, of civilization, because they are links to figure out our relation to time and space, desire, meaning and ethics. “I don’t want to talk about me but to spy the century, the noise and the germination of the time” -Ossip Mandelstam.What happens when words like storytelling, new lexicon and creativity prove to be efficient concepts to manage, to sell, to impose political agendas? Where is the poet, the novelist, the intellectual, the feminist in that landscape of morphing meaning? Some answers are bound to be about the energizing core of language. Brossard’s writing pushes the boundaries of convention, reconceiving language itself as a part of a quantum universe with its paradoxes, non-linear organization, and multiple, simultaneous states of meaning. She has been instrumental in catalyzing feminist collaborations among artists in multiple media as well as co-founding literary journals. Her work ushers an emerging new discipline of writing as a medium that can engage, enact, and further complex conceptions of the universe and the order of things.

Enlightened Graphics: Blake and New Technologies
Joseph Viscomi, The James G. Kenan Distinguished Professor of English, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

November 1, 2013/Founder's Room in Lovett Hall
“Enlightened Graphics: Blake and New Technologies” introduced and demonstrated the William Blake Archive, a hypermedia resource for the study of Blake’s art and poetry integrating editions, catalogues, databases, and digital tools. To date, the Archive includes over 6400 images from 42 collections and has published 127 electronic editions of Blake's illuminated books, manuscripts, watercolors, paintings, color prints, and engravings. Conceived in 1993, it is one of the oldest digital humanities projects extant; it is considered the “gold standard” in digital editing and was the first electronic scholarly edition to receive the Modern Language Association’s (MLA) Prize for a Distinguished Scholarly Edition (2003) and to receive the Approved Edition seal from the MLA Committee on Scholarly Editions (2005). The Blake Archive is among the National Endowment of the Humanities’ Top Humanities Web Sites and was awarded the MERLOT Classic Award (Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching) for 2011.

Holy Monsters, Sacred Grotesques
October 25-27, 2013
An interdisciplinary investigation of the cultural work of the monstrous figure: marking crisis, interrogating cultural boundaries and traversing thresholds between the normative and the pathological.

Publishing Symposium
October 25, 2013
This one-day symposium, geared towards graduate students in literary studies, addressed several central aspects of academic publishing, and gave the opportunity to receive guidance on how to proceed with the publication of their own materials. Visiting speakers for this event all had a comprehensive understanding of graduate education in the United States and how publishing is an integral part of a graduate’s transition into the profession.

Race and Nation in the Age of Emancipations: A Symposium on the Atlantic World
February 21-24, 2014
This event sought to explore the complicated relationship of race, citizenship, and national identity during the tumultuous long nineteenth century. By examining this connection in particular contexts within a broad Atlantic perspective, this symposium contributed to a better understanding of if, how, and why enslaved and free blacks throughout the Americas came to understand themselves as citizens of a particular nation (or possibly multiple nations) during an era of emancipation. Along with several panels focusing on varying aspects of this topic, the symposium also featured a roundtable on the Atlantic World as a field, analytical concept, and pedagogical tool. Visit for a full schedule and list of speakers.

Alligator-Horses: Documentary Film Becomes Creative Non-Fiction
Documentary filmmakers Brian Huberman, associate professor of visual and dramatic arts, and Edward Hugetz, Interim Provost at the University of Houston-Downtown, completed their three hour film series and sought the assess the result and their efforts by inviting four speakers who play central roles in the film. Alligator-Horses uncovered the experience of young people in the 1830s who found unlimited freedom to act in America's growing cities. Speakers addressed the effectiveness of the documentary and how well it addresses early 19th century urban America.

As Others See Us: The British Perspective on Nineteenth-Century US History
April 3-6, 2014
The Association of British American Nineteenth Century Historians (BrANCH) convene every fall in the United Kingdom to sponsor and showcase scholarship in US history and culture. As Others See Us is an extension of these meetings, bringing British historians to the Rice campus for networking, discussion, and partnerships. Scholars presented on various topics in US history over the course of three days with two keynote addresses from US-based historians.

On Sectarianism in the Modern Middle East
Friday, April 11, 2014 - Saturday, April 12, 2014
The premise of this symposium was that there is no single, peculiar problem of sectarianism in the Middle Eastern region, but rather particular arenas and contexts that make various sectarian problems imminent. This event was not open to the public.


Dis/Locating Culture II: Narratives and Epistemologies of Displacement
December 7, 2012
The colloquium was a continuation of the 2011 Dis/Locating Culture conference at Rice, in which scholars explored the notion of knowledge and displacement. The conference examined representative cultural artifacts (literary, artistic, theoretical) in order to explore the repositioning of knowledge and aesthetics that grew out of colonial experiences and evolved into contemporary transcultural reterritorializations of linguistic practices, genres, and traditions. Focusing on Asia, Brazil, and the Middle East, the conference will further reflected on displacement, migration, and relation. These three invite us to think about culture beyond national and disciplinary boundaries; they also force a reflection that displaces Eurocentric paradigms of knowledge, opening a rich, multidimensional map through which to challenge unequal power relations within the Global South.
This conference was organized by Bernard Aresu, L.H. Favrot Professor of French Studies and Luis Duno-Gottberg, associate professor of Hispanic studies

Race and PlaceThe Past and Present of Race and Place in Houston, Texas
February 26-27, 2013
“The Past and Present of Race and Place in Houston, Texas” brought new work on the history of race in Houston into conversation with current investigations of the city’s racial landscape in order to probe the ways that historical and contemporary scholarship inform one another, and, in places, to highlight how such work offers solutions to current problems rooted in the ways race works, and has worked, in the city.
This conference was organized by Alexander Byrd, associate professor of history and Emily Straus, postdoctoral fellow at the Kinder Institute for Urban Research

Beyond Multiculturalism?: Brazil as a Model for Affirmative Action Policies in Contemporary Latin America
March 5, 2013
This conference brought together historians, anthropologists, sociologists, and political scientists from Brazil and the United States to reflect on the question: Is Brazil "good-to-think-with" as a model for framing affirmative action policies in contemporary Latin America? While the question indicates a focus on policy, several conceptual questions and interests arise for historian, anthropologists, and sociologists.
This conference was organized by Elizabeth Farfan-Santos, Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, HRC

New Directions in Anthropology
March 22-23, 2013
A collaboration between the Departments of Anthropology at Rice and the University of Texas, New Directions in Anthropology represented the overlapping strengths and questions of the two departments and new directions in the field at large. Specifically, students and faculty from the two universities studied experts and expertise, the study of Latin America and the US-Mexico border, and the study of aesthetics, media, and genre. This conference also offered an important opportunity for conversations on graduate student professionalization, undergraduate advising, and graduate student advising and pedagogy.
This conference was organized by Eugenia Georges, professor of anthropology; Marcel LaFlamme and Ian Lowerie, graduate students, anthropology

Digitization in the Humanities
April 5-7, 2013
Collaborating with scholars at Oxford University, Rice held an interdisciplinary workshop to provide baseline instruction for scholars at various stages of familiarity with digitization. The purpose of the workshop was to further develop research skills and facility with innovative software tools and nurture better understanding of the field overall. This workshop offered an opportunity for further instruction in digital methodologies and provides opportunities to build inventive collaborations between digitization and humanistic research.
This conference was organized by Anne Chao, Rice University; Hilde De Weerdt, University of Oxford

Medical Futures Lab Symposium
April 26, 2013
The Humanities Research Innovation Fund supported the 2012 Medical Futures Lab symposium. The Medical Futures Lab was a new digital medical humanities collaboration between Rice, the University of Texas Health Science Center, and Baylor College of Medicine and is supported by a Rice Faculty Initiatives Fund. The Lab offered pedagogical training, hands-on critical thinking and design, publication, and dissemination online. The purpose of the Lab was to pioneer innovative approaches and methods for medical education that can keep pace with the accelerating information technologies driving the mobile, social, personalized and global health practices of our contemporary knowledge economy.
This conference was organized by Kirsten Ostherr, associate professor of English

Rice Seminar "Human Trafficking Past and Present" Closing Symposium
May 2-3, 2013
Co-directed by Rice University history professors James Sidbury and Kerry Ward, this seminar began with the history of slavery and slave trading, considering both U.S. and global histories of slavery through the 19th century. With these foundational discussions in mind, the course turned to modern forms of human trafficking, exploring how 20th century political initiatives sought to globalize the suppression of slavery through human rights discourses. This closing symposium featured each of the seminar participants presenting summaries of their work this year and two keynote speakers.


Technology, Cognition, and Culture Lecture: Interaction Design and the Active Experience of Music
David Wessel, Professor of Music, UC-Berkeley
October 18, 2011
Music search engines, play list generators, streaming audio, and portable players have taken much of the focus of music technology. The emphasis is on delivery, and experiencing music is by playback - playback while jogging, while working about the house, and even while studying. In this talk, in the hope of providing an antidote, Wessel examined the role of bodily action in the experience of music and the importance of human computer interaction design in the development of computationally-based musical instruments.

Dunia na Nchi Moja: Tanzania and the World
October 14-15, 2011
This conference explored the relationship between a space defined as the modern nation-state of Tanzania and the relationship between the local and the global in historical context. Papers in the workshop ranged from the time long before the existence of ideas about the space named Tanzania, Tanganyika, Zanzibar, German East Africa, Mrima, or Zanj – to the present, when Ujamaa and Bongo Flava (Tanzanian hip-hop) have global currency.
This conference was organized by Kerry Ward (history).

Consciousness, Intentionality, and Phenomenality
October 27-29, 2011
Professor Charles Siewert, a distinguished philosopher of mind and recent recipient of an endowed chair in Philosophy at Rice, is author of The Significance of Consciousness (Princeton University Press, 1998). This seminal book on the philosophical and conceptual understanding of phenomenally conscious experience and its relationship to the intentionality of the mental shapes this conference and its goals. The conference convened the world's leading scholars on this topic in order to share research that reflects the state of the art and to set the agenda for future work. The past several decades have witnessed a tremendous amount of research by philosophers, psychologists, and neuroscientists on the nature of the mind. Mental phenomena such as thoughts, beliefs, desires, actions, sensations, perceptions, memories, and experiences form our ideas of ourselves as subjects and as human beings. Three concepts are at the core of our current philosophical understanding of the mental: (i) intentionality, (ii) consciousness, and (iii) phenomenality (or the phenomenal). This conference aimed to build a collective strategy to tackle remaining questions on these topics and to identify the most appropriate methodologies and argumentative strategies, and was organized by Steve Crowell (Chair of the Department of Philosophy).

Revolution and Representation: Germany, 1917-23
November 11-12, 2011
The Weimar Republic has long been regarded, historically as well as theoretically, as a test case for the possibilities and limits of constitutional democracy. While most assessments of the Weimar Republic have understandably focused on the disintegration of democratic structures in Germany and the rise of the Nazi Party, the workshop addressed the early phase of the Weimar Republic, examining the transition from an authoritarian nation-state to what has been one of the most liberal democracies in twentieth-century Europe. Bringing together experts from the U.S., Germany, the UK, and Ireland, the workshop investigates the political and cultural effects of this transition as well as the legal framework within which this transition occurred. This conference was organized by Peter Caldwell (history) and Christian Emden (German studies).

Dis/Locating Culture: Narratives and Epistemologies of Displacement
December 9-10, 2011
The colloquium examined representative cultural artifacts (literary, artistic, theoretical) in order to explore the repositioning of knowledge and aesthetics that grew out of colonial experiences and evolved into contemporary transcultural reterritorializations of linguistic practices, genres, and traditions. There was a focus on the French, Spanish, and Portuguese experience and broadly revolve around three topoi - inextricably esthetic and theoretical: displacement, migration, and relation. These three invited us to think about culture beyond national and disciplinary boundaries; it also forces a reflection that displaces Eurocentric paradigms of knowledge, opening a rich, multidimensional map of cultural flows between the Americas, Africa, and Europe. This conference is organized by Bernard Aresu (French studies) and Luis Duno-Gottberg (Hispanic studies).

Women in Philosophy Symposium
Friday, March 9, 2012
This symposium aimed to gain a richer, more accurate understanding of the situation in the profession and at Rice. The discussion focused on understanding the factors that contribute to the underrepresentation of women in philosophy, both through causes unique to the field and those common across academia. There was also an aim to discuss ways forward, in teaching, mentoring, hiring, and on the career path beyond appointment. This symposium was organized by the philosophy department.
As a result of this event, Gwen Bradford, assistant professor, was invited to submit a report on our workshop by the organizers of the leading blog relating to women's issues in the profession; view it here.

Sports Writing and the Writing of Sport: The Rice International Sports Colloquium
March 30-31, 2012
This colloquium sought to place the analysis of sports writing firmly at the center of the emerging discipline of sports studies. The study of sports writing calls for an interdisciplinary team with a strong anchor in literary studies and cultural analysis. This conference built upon on the firm foundations of a preliminary, international event held at the University of Cambridge in 2010. This conference was organized by Alexander Regier (English).

Reappraising Revolutions: France and Haiti
April 20, 2012
This conference undertook a comparative history of the French and Haitian Revolutions in the effort to uncover potentially new and exciting connections and affinities between these two movements, but also better throw into relief the political, social and cultural distinctiveness of each revolutionary episode. This conference was organized by Kenneth Loiselle (HRC External Faculty Fellow 2011-12 and Department of History at Trinity University)

Renaissance Posthumanism
May 4-5, 2012
Renaissance Posthumanism explored the connections between the cultures of early modern Europe and current work in the posthumanities. The project culminated in a symposium followed by an edited collection that will bring together scholars of national and international renown to address the intersection of early modern literary, cultural, and historical studies and notions of the human as viewed through the lens of recent work referred to under the rubric of "the posthuman." Did Renaissance humanism in fact produce the vision of the human against which much posthumanism militates? How might emerging theories of “the posthumanities,” which tend to emphasize highly contemporary forms of media and technology with little reference to their longer histories, benefit from incorporating the tangle of humans, animals, environment, and machines that comprises Renaissance humanism? This conference was organized by Joseph Campana (English).

Global Modernities: 1750-1920
May 18-19, 2012
This interdisciplinary project within the humanities began with the recognition of faculty strengths in eighteenth- and nineteenth- century studied across departments and geographic specializations. It also responded to the increasing globalization of these historical fields, which have been enriched by attention to relations among nation states and national cultures.


Epistemic Ecologies
October 28, 2010 and December 3, 2010
This series explored the common ground of a broad concept concerning the production of knowledge and expertise in order to address the many conditions and constraints on scientific research, including organizational imperatives, material infrastructure, inter-institutional entanglements, and the definition of epistemic authority. Speakers broadened the inquiry to include natural sciences, ethics, politics, economics, law, and aesthetics. The series was organized by James D. Faubion, professor of anthropology, and Dominic Boyer, associate professor of anthropology.

Surrealism and the Americas
November 4-6, 2010
Focusing on the interactions and patterns of influence among surrealist artists and collectors within the Americas who have been marginalized within dominant narratives of Surrealism and European exile, this conference addressed three primary areas: 1) the reception of Surrealism by collectors and curators in the Americas; 2) Latin American artists’ engagement with the surrealist project; and 3) Surrealism’s “after-life” in art and criticism in the Americas since the 1960s. Featured presenters led historians of art and photography from the US, France, Mexico, Australia, and the UK and a keynote address by Mari Carmen Ramírez, Wortham Curator of Latin American Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. This conference was organized by Graham Bader (Assistant Professor of Art History).

Beyond Socialism and Liberalism? Transnational Perspectives from Eastern Europe and East Asia
January 28-29, 2011
"Beyond Socialism and Liberalism?" explored whether our inherited oppositional understandings of socialism and liberalism can really account for the new kinds of political ideas and social subjectivities, the new aesthetics and mediated forms of knowledge and the new relations of practice and property that have emerged in China and Eastern Europe after the collapse of Cold War geopolitics. We investigated what new kinds of analytical strategies and conceptual categories might emerge by taking the hybridity (rather than incommensurability) of socialist and liberal influence as our point of departure. One provocative consideration was that we may need to think beyond the categories of socialism and liberalism altogether, these categories having been deeply embedded in the political ontologies of modern (western) Europe in its historical phase of state consolidation and colonial expansion in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Guest speakers included: Ann Anagnost (U Washington), Elizabeth Dunn (U Colorado-Boulder), Lisa Hoffman (U Washington-Tacoma), Janine Wedel (George Mason University) and Alexei Yurchak (U California-Berkeley). This conference was organized by Dominic Boyer (Associate Professor of Anthropology).

Emerging Disciplines II
February 25, 2011
Continuing a discourse begun at the initial Emerging Disciplines event in September 2009, this symposium featured prominent scholars from across academic disciplines shaping important new fields of scholarly inquiry. Participants discussed the research questions that have served as the impetus for their new approaches, the methodological strategies that their emerging field entails, intellectual opportunities and challenges requisite to the emerging field, graduate student engagement, strategies for sustaining new research models, and other related issues. The speakers represented a broad range of interdisciplinary fields, including digital humanities, architecture and geography, business history and corporate strategy, history and sociology, moral psychology and neuroscience, and literature and digital technologies. Guest speakers included: Katherine Hayles (Duke University), John May (UCLA), Christopher McKenna (University of Oxford), Randolph Roth (Ohio State University), Jeffrey Schnapp (Stanford University), and Liane Young (Boston College). ​To view the webcast of this event, click here.

This one-day symposium was hosted by Rice University's Humanities Research Center, with support from the Dean of Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Panel 1, Moderator: Sarah Whiting
Jeffrey Schnapp (Harvard University) "Knowledge Design"
John J May (University of Toronto) "One Continuous Lie" (excerpts from The Control Papers)

Panel 2, Moderator: Richard Grandy
Randolph Roth (Ohio State University) "Can We Learn to Play Well with Others? Enlisting the Humanities, the Sciences, and the Social Sciences in the Study of Violence"
Liane Young (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) "The Brain Behind the Moral Mind"

Panel 3, Moderator: Mary Poovey
Katherine Hayles (Duke University) " How We Think: Transforming Power and Digital Technologies"
Christopher McKenna (University of Oxford) "The Very, Very Long View: Reintegrating Corporate Strategy and History"

Round table with symposium presenters (Moderator: Caroline Levander)

Katherine Hayles
Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in Literature at Duke University and author of (among others) How We Think: The Transforming Power of Digital Technologies (2009), Electronic Literature: New Horizons for the Literary (2008), My Mother Was a Computer: Digital Subjects and Literary Texts (2005), Writing Machines (2002), and How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature and Informatics (1999).
"How We Think: Transforming Power and Digital Technologies"
Compared to the practices of print-based research, the Digital Humanities initiate new kinds of research strategies, new forms of pedagogy, and new modes of explanation and expression. This talk will explore the implications of these changes and speculate on the future of the Digital Humanities as an emerging discipline.

John J. May
John J. May is an Assistant Professor in the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Urban Design at the University of Toronto. May is a graduate of Harvard University (Architecture) and UCLA (PhD, Geography). He previously held joint appointments in the departments of Geography and Architecture + Urban Design at UCLA, where he was also a research fellow in the Institute of the Environment.
"One Continuous Lie" (excerpts from The Control Papers)
Within the short span of a few decades, the digital control surface has supplanted nearly all other representational techniques within the design fields (including industrial, architectural, landscape-architectural, and urban design). In doing so it has rather silently erased an older mode of representation--which was essentially geometrical and mechanical--substituting in its place an entirely different visual logic, rooted in an ongoing coalescing between statistical reasoning and electrical engineering. Although the most obvious effects of this substitution are aesthetic, its reverberations are in fact extensively epistemological and even (increasingly) ontological, undercutting and refashioning certain long-standing conceptual divisions among technology, subjectivity, perception, and political agency.

Christopher McKenna
McKenna is University Reader in Business History and Strategy at the Said Business School, a Fellow of Brasenose College, and the Research Director of the Novak Druce Centre for Professional Service Firms, all within the University of Oxford. A graduate of Amherst College and the Johns Hopkins University, McKenna’s research focuses on the historical development and evolving strategies of professional firms and their role in the global transformation of business, nonprofits, and the state. His first book on the growth of the elite management consulting firms, The World's Newest Profession, was awarded the Newcomen-Harvard Book Award by the Business History Review, the Hagley Prize by the Business History Conference, and named one of the best books of the year by the Financial Times. McKenna's next book, Partners in Crime, will examine the international history of white collar crime from the eighteenth century to the present.
"The Very, Very Long View: Reintegrating Corporate Strategy and History"
McKenna talked about a re-emerging discipline that is reuniting two academic fields that were divided for more than thirty years: corporate strategy and business history. Corporate strategy, an academic discipline which began in the 1960s through the work of historian Alfred Chandler is now returning to its origins in business history through the work of a group of “Neo-Chandlerians” who are challenging the ahistorical theories of the recent scholarship. The re-emerging discipline is pushing both business historians to consider more clearly the long-run strategies of corporate executives and corporate strategists to reconsider their analytical theories within the long-run evolution of industries and firms.

Randolph Roth
Roth is Professor of History and Sociology at Ohio State University. Randy’s work focuses on the history of violent crime and violent death. His most recent book is American Homicide (The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2009), an interregional, internationally comparative study of homicide in the United States from colonial times to the present. He is also the co-founder and co-director of the Historical Violence Database, a collaborative effort to gather data from medieval times to the present on accidents, homicides, suicides, and non-lethal assaults. Randy recently received the Teaching Award of the Ohio Academy of History (2007) and the Ohio State University Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching (2009).
"Can We Learn to Play Well with Others? Enlisting the Humanities, the Sciences, and the Social Sciences in the Study of Violence"
We humans are, as primatologist Franz de Waal observes, a “bipolar” species. Our capacity for cooperation, teamwork, friendship, empathy, kindness, forbearance, forgiveness, compromise, and reconciliation is unparalleled, because our happiness and survival depend on the strength of our social groups and on our commitment to them. But we also have an unparalleled capacity for competition, factionalism, hostility, sadism, cruelty, intransigence, and domination. Which side of our nature prevails depends on historical circumstances, especially the effects of those circumstances on our feelings and beliefs (a humanistic concern) and the impact of those feelings and beliefs on our brains, hormones, and behavior (a scientific concern). Roth discussed the deep patterns that social science historians are discovering in the history of homicide, and suggested how collaboration among humanists, scientists, and social scientists could further our understanding of why humans can be prone to violence in one circumstance and to nonviolence in another.

Jeffrey T. Schnapp
Before moving to Harvard in 2011, Jeffrey T. Schnapp occupied the Rosina Pierotti Chair of Italian Studies at Stanford, where he founded the Stanford Humanities Lab in 2000. A cultural historian with interests extending from antiquity to the present, his most recent books are Italiamerica,Speed Limits, and The Electric Information Age Book (forthcoming with Princeton Architectural Press). His pioneering work in the domain of digitally augmented approaches to cultural programming have included curatorial collaborations with the Triennale di Milano, the Iris and Gerald Cantor Center for the Visual Arts, the Wolfsonian-FIU, and the Canadian Center for Architecture. His Trento Tunnels project — a 6000 sq. meter pair of highway tunnels in Northern Italy repurposed as a history museum – was featured in the Italian pavilion of the 2010 Venice Biennale. He is Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures, Comparative Literature and also regularly teaches courses at the Graduate School of Design. He currently directs metaLAB(at)Harvard, a brand new digital humanities and arts research center hosted by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society.
"Knowledge Design"
Knowledge Design [=KD] is an unidentified disciplinary object that has been seen by a few observers of the contemporary scholarly scene. The cohort of true believers in KD, once a small but dedicated group associated with the art/technology, counterculture/cyberculture criss-crossings of the late 1960s, recently grew thanks to the digital turn of the past few decades. True believers describe KD as the field of experimentation that arises when the well-oiled machinery of print culture finds itself jammed by a volatile intermedia mix with the consequence that the form that knowledge assumes can no longer be considered a given. Knowledge-making and knowledge-design become radically intertwined endeavors. Most cool-headed observers doubt the field's existence (or, if it does exist, would prefer that it become the business of Schools of Education).

Liane Young
Liane Young is a post-doctoral associate in the Brain & Cognitive Sciences Department and a visiting scholar in the Philosophy Department at MIT. Starting Fall 2011, she will be an an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Boston College. Young studies the cognitive and neural basis of human moral judgment. Young's research employs methods of social psychology and cognitive neuroscience, including functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), examination of patient populations with selective cognitive deficits, and modulating activity in specific brain regions using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). Young received her Ph.D. in psychology from Harvard University in 2008, and her B.A. in Philosophy from Harvard University in 2004.
"The Brain Behind the Moral Mind"
When we make moral judgments of people's actions, we consider not only the outcomes of the actions but also people's mental states concerning their actions. Typically, beliefs and intentions match the outcomes: when a person thinks she is sweetening her friend's coffee by putting sugar in it, she is usually not mistaken. Mismatches occur, however, in the case of accidents (e.g., when the ''sugar'' is in fact poison) and failed attempts to harm (e.g., when the ''poison'' is in fact sugar). The current work used behavioral methods, functional neuroimaging (fMRI), TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation), and neuropsychological methods to characterize the cognitive and neural mechanisms for judgments of innocence and guilt. Behavioral and MRI results suggest that mental states such as beliefs and intention matter more for moral judgments of harmful actions than actions considered to be morally impure (e.g., incest avoidance, food taboos).

Thinking Across the African Past: Archaeological, Linguistic, and Genetic Research on Precolonial African History
March 11-13, 2011
This international conference brought together archaeologists, linguists, geneticists and historians who use a range of methodologies to study the early history of Africa (and elsewhere). Despite a long tradition of varied scholarly approaches to Africa’s past, the complementary nature of archaeological and historical-linguistic data, assumed in the first decades of African Studies, came under fire in the 1970s and 1980s. The resulting hiatus of multiple studies to inquiry characterizing the last decades of the 20th century posed a severe challenge to studying the early history of Africa’s oral societies. With the advent of genetic research in Africa and advances in archaeology and linguistics, this conference reassesd the possibility of interdisciplinary research in the reconstruction of African history. This conference was organized by Susan McIntosh (Professor of Anthropology), Kathryn de Luna (Assistant Professor of History), and Jeff Fleisher (Assistant Professor of Anthropology).

The Classics Renewed: New Approaches to the Latin Poetry of Late Antiquity
March 17-19, 2011
With a look ahead to the Carolingian Age, this international conference examined a pivotal era in western literary history, from the third to the sixth century CE. Topics included the use of poetry to advertise, appeal to, or resist political power; the role that poetry plays in preserving cultural identity; and the development of a Christian Latin poetic tradition, in which authors worked with classical forms, but fitted them to new religious content to produce a hybrid literature. While the focus was on poetic texts, presenters also considered later Roman political and military history, late-antiquity art and architecture, and Christian controversy. This conference was organized by Scott McGill (Associate Professor of Classical Studies).

Private Places, Public Power
Friday, April 8, 2011
Private space is premised on the ability to exclude, whereas public space embodies an ideal of access to all members. The territoriality of public and private is seen most clearly when those boundaries are transgressed or challenged, transgressions which may come either from marginal groups or from those in power. Through the lens of four unusual case studies—Jewish homes in interwar Paris and Berlin, Walter Benjamin’s childhood memories, Adolf Hitler’s private homes, and maps of Auschwitz—this symposium explored the physical and imagined connections between the private individual and public power as expressed through objects, housing, site plans, and other embodied spatial forms.


Instruments in Manufacturing
June 17-18, 2009
With a major grant from the National Science Foundation, and with additional support from the HRC, this two-day workshop presented and critiqued papers to be collected into a published volume. Since 1985, much work has been done on the critical role of instruments in the Scientific Revolution. This collection sought to continue and correct that effort by focusing on the role of instruments in the Industrial Revolution, a topic thus far neglected, in order to enrich current scholarship on the relationship between science and technology. Organized by Cyrus Mody, assistant professor of history.

Emerging Disciplines I
September 18, 2009
Featuring prominent scholars from across academic disciplines who are shaping important new fields of scholarly inquiry. The international selection of speakers represented a broad range of fields, including music and the mind, neurohistory, cultural economy, broad-spectrum history, cognitive approaches to art history, Judaic studies, and new approaches to Americas studies.

Panel 1, Rice Faculty Chair: Martin Wiener
Daniel Smail (Harvard University) "Deep History: A Broad Spectrum Approach to the Study of the Past"
Hermann Herlinghaus (University of Pittsburgh) "From Transatlantic Histories of 'Intoxication' to a Hemispheric 'War on Affect': On the Paradox of Narconarratives"

Panel 2, Rice Faculty Chair: Jim Faubion
Mary Poovey (New York University) "What is Cultural Economy?"
Todd Presner (University of California Los Angeles) "Digital Humanities 2.0: A Report on Knowledge"

Panel 3, Rice Faculty Chair: Diane Wolfthal
Aniruddh D. Patel (The Neurosciences Institute) "The Growth of Music Neuroscience"
Pamela Sheingorn (Baruch College and The Graduate Center, City University of New York) "Perceiving the Object: Cognitive Studies and Art History"
Daniel Smail (Harvard University) "On the Prospects for a Neurohistory"

Round table (Moderators: Caroline Levander and Charles Henry)

Hermann Herlinghaus, University of Pittsburgh
"From Transatlantic Histories of 'Intoxication' to a Hemispheric 'War on Affect': On the Paradox of Narconarratives"
What are the uncommon driving forces behind this new field of Hemispheric-American Studies? A complex array of questions around which cultural, “pharmacological,” and bio-political concerns commingle relates to the status that conflicts over psychoactive substances have been acquiring. Psychoactives have passed, in the course of three centuries, from being highly esteemed commodities of transatlantic exchange and stimuli of modern life styles to matters that are today either banned, or restrictively codified. Using narcotics as a focus for transdisciplinary historicization can make evident how the Western Hemisphere has become the decisive scenario of conflict across which processes of long duration spanning discovery and colonization, modernization, and contemporary adjustments to geopolitical and psycho-cultural imperatives of advanced globalization link together. At the same time, paying attention to informal economies, spreading across and along the Mexican-American border and other zones, and to the way symbolic “narconarrative” territories are currently reshaping parameters of ethical imagination and epistemological debate in the Americas can help challenge existing boundaries regarding the fields of American studies, U.S. Latino studies, and Latin American literary and cultural criticism.

Aniruddh D. Patel, The Neurosciences Institute
"The Growth of Music Neuroscience"
The past decade has seen a rapid rise in the study of music and the brain, prompted by the application of neuroscientific tools to long-standing questions about music and the mind. Dr. Patel discussed how neuroscientific methods have recently been applied to the much-debated question of whether human music is a biological adaptation.

Mary Poovey, New York University
"What is Cultural Economy?"
Dr. Poovey discussed this emerging genre, which lies at the crossroads of the humanities and the social sciences. Contributors to the new journal, The Journal of Cultural Economy, and to the book series related to the journal use interpretive paradigms and empirical analysis to explore the changing relations between the three main organizing concepts of social and cultural study: culture, the economy, and the social.

Todd Presner, University of California Los Angeles
"Digital Humanities 2.0: A Report on Knowledge"
While computational tools have been used in certain fields within the Humanities for several decades, the pervasive "digital turn" in the last five years has begun to transform the very state of knowledge -- that is to say, the ways we access and think about information within humanistic disciplines, how we produce and share knowledge, and even what we mean by knowledge. As our cultural heritage as a species migrates into digital formats (most of which are created and dictated by standards developed in the corporate world), the significance of the Humanities is not diminished but rather ever more vital to understand, contextualize, critique, and evaluate the technologies that are steadily re-constituting what, where, and how we know. As an emergent field, Digital Humanities represents a cross-disciplinary array of practices, methodologies, and interventions that variously critique, apply, and develop these technologies. Dr. Presner focused on the growing intersections between programmable web applications (Web 2.0), the emergence of the field of Digital Humanities, and the question of the human vis-à-vis digitally-mediated knowledge.

Pamela Sheingorn, Baruch College and The Graduate Center, City University of New York
"Perceiving the Object: Cognitive Studies and Art History"
The cognitive turn is in process in a wide range of disciplines and promises to provide art historians with significant new ways of describing viewer response. From how the mind-body perceives to how it remembers, the findings of neuroscience can help us comprehend the ways observers function in the presence of works of art. Specifically, through primary metaphors and mirror neurons, conceptual blending and the enactive view (to give some examples), cognitive studies offers a foundation in the mind-body itself for analyzing the impact on spectators of complex works. Such an approach enables study of the visual narratives and artifacts that combine text and image and that was the focus of Dr. Sheingorn's talk.

Daniel Smail, Harvard University
(Dr. Smail delivered two talks)
"On the Prospects for a Neurohistory"
One of the most crucial findings of the modern science of the brain is that important human institutions and cultural traits can have neurobiological effects, some passing and others more permanent. Insights like these are generating fascinating studies in fields like economics, political science, and law, and Dr. Smail demonstrated that neurobiological insights also have important consequences for the study of history.

"Deep History: A Broad Spectrum Approach to the Study of the Past"
For centuries, Western history was framed in the comfortable certainty that human history could be no older than Creation itself, an event that was thought to have taken place some 6,000 years ago. The time revolution of the 1860s changed all that as a scientific reality, and only in recent years have historians become aware of the need to accept the long chronology of the natural sciences and to frame a seamless human history that extends into the distant past. But even as historians are moving into the deep history of humankind, archaeoscientists are increasingly bringing their tools to bear on the recent past. What emerges from this disciplinary conjuncture is broad spectrum history, a history that freely crosses both methodological as well as chronological divisions.

Hindu Transnationalisms: Origins, Ideologies, Networks
November 19-22, 2009
This seminar was part of a two-year network project “The Public Representation of a Religion Called Hindusim,” funded largely by the Arts and Humanities Research Council in the UK. At Rice, participants focused on Hindu nationalist organizations in diaspora, which are at once pluralist and sectarian, and which must tackle two sets of local issues: those that are relevant to migrant communities and those that are relevant in India. This dynamic provided an opportunity for the development of new forms of public Hindu identity.

Humanism & Revolution: Eighteenth-Century Europe and its Transatlantic Legacy
December 11-13, 2009
Focusing on the legacy of the European Enlightenment on both sides of the Atlantic, this conference sustained international partnerships with scholars at Freie Universität Berlin, Germany, and the University of Cambridge, England. Supported by the School of Humanities at Rice as well as German federal funding and private foundation support from the German Mercator-Foundation, participants addressed a rich set of questions prompted by the concept of revolution, which has taken a central place in political and philosophical thought since the eighteenth century and which seems to rely on hopes for historical human progress. Organized by Uwe Steiner, professor of German studies and department chair, and Christian Emden, associate professor of German studies.

Museums and the Medical Humanities: Our Continuing Conversation
February 19, 2010
This day-long symposium advances the discussions generated by the 2008-09 Bienniel Menil Rice Lectures "Museums and the Medical Humanities: The Arts of Transformation." The program explored a nexus of themes concerning embodiment, creativity, trauma, diagnosis, medicine, healing, reflection, and transformation. Drawing on their distinctive backgrounds and areas of expertise, the speakers addressed the ways in which shared issues inform their museum collections or have emerged as salient concerns in their clinical interactions and professional practices. In particular, speakers considered the ways in which themes of embodiment emerge differently (and similarly) in the contexts of a fine arts museum, a natural science museum, and a medical or hospital setting. In so doing, this program fostered an innovative, transdisciplinary conversation that spans a cross-over audience including the academic community, the museum world, and the Texas Medical Center. The symposium was free and open to the public: students and alumni were warmly encouraged to attend.
In addition to funding by the HRC, this symposium was also funded through the Faculty Initiatives Fund, Office of Research, awarded to symposium chair Marcia Brennan, associate professor of art history.

Society for Seventeenth-Century Music
March 4-7, 2010
Some of the most prominent musicologists in Europe and America are members of this international society, which has met annually since 1993. The Shepherd School of Music hosted the conference in 2010 in expectation of strengthening bonds between musical performance and the study of music as an academic discipline, as well as between the School of Music and the School of Humanities. Up to one hundred registrants attended a program of paper presentations, roundtable discussions, and lecture-recitals, a workshop on seventeenth-century dances from several European traditions, and concerts by Ensemble Caprice and Ars Lyrica. Organizer: Gregory Barnett, associate professor of musicology:

Epistemic Ecologies Lecture Series
March and April, 2010
This series explored the common ground of a broad concept concerning the production of knowledge and expertise in order to address the many conditions and constraints on scientific research, including organizational imperatives, material infrastructure, inter-institutional entanglements, and the definition of epistemic authority. Speakers broadened the inquiry to include natural sciences as well as ethics, politics, economics, law, and aesthetics. The series was organized by James D. Faubion, professor of anthropology.

Crossing Borders: Visualizing Jewish/Christian and Jewish/Muslim Relations in Medieval and Early Modern Times
March 14-15, 2010
This conference built on the assumption that the borders between the minority Jews and the dominant cultures in which they lived were permeable, allowing not only violent persecution but fruitful cultural exchange. Scholars from a variety of disciplines examined illustrated chronicles, the Arena Chapel in Padua, coins, architecture, calendars, prints, and lesser-known manuscripts. Additional support came from the support of the Departments of Art History, History, and Religious Studies, the Boniuk Center for Religious Tolerance, and the Jewish Studies Program. The conference was organized by Diane Wolfthal, the David and Caroline Minter Professor of Art History and department chair. It was open to the broader community with times for discussions set aside throughout the day.

Histories of the Hidden God
April 15-18, 2010
This mini-conference included several scholars studying Jewish and Early Christian mysticism before the advent of the Kabbalah, within Second Temple Judaism and Early Christianity. This era was left largely unexplored because the mystical tradition has long been assumed to have begun in with Dionysus the Areopagite around the Fifth Century CE. These scholars, therefore, were asking new questions in an emerging field, examining Jewish and Christian scriptures, pseudepigrapha, apocrypha, Dead Sea Scrolls, Gnostic, Hermetic, Patristic, Neo-Platonic, and Hekhalot literature.


Promises and Agreements
October 17-19, 2008
This conference examined the subject of promises and agreements from the perspectives of social, moral, legal and political philosophy. Co-sponsored by the Department of Philosophy, Dean of Humanities, and James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy. Organized by Hanoch Sheinman (philosophy).

New Ways of Analyzing Variation
November 6-9, 2008
The 37th Annual Meeting of the New Ways of Analyzing Variation conference showcased research on language variation according to social groupings including studies on the ethnography of speaking, language and social class, gender, ethnicity and sexuality, language in the schools, and more.

Exploring the Mind through Music
March 27-29, 2009
This conference brought together distinguished scientists and musicians to discuss music's role in human cognition and behavior. Speakers included: Dr. Jonathan Berger (Stanford), Dr. Anthony Brandt (Rice), Dr. David Eagleman (Baylor College of Medicine), Dr. David Huron (Ohio State), Dr. Fred Lerdahl (Columbia), Dr. Isabelle Peretz (University of Montreal), Sarah Rothenberg (Da Camera of Houston), Dr. Ron Tintner (Methodist Hospital, Houston), Dr. Mark Tramo (Harvard), Dr. Gottfried Schlaug (Harvard) and more. Co-sponsored by Dean Robert Yekovich and The Shepherd School of Music, the Center for Performing Arts Medicine at Methodist Hospital, and Rice University's Office of the President through a grant from the University's Faculty Initiatives Fund awarded to organizer Anthony Brandt, Associate Professor of Composition and Theory at Shepherd School of Music. For more information contact Dr. Brandt at

Instruments in Manufacturing
June 17-18, 2009
With a major grant from the National Science Foundation, and with additional support from the HRC, this two-day workshop presented and critiqued papers to be collected into a published volume. Since 1985, much work has been done on the critical role of instruments in the Scientific Revolution. This collection sought to continue and correct that effort by focusing on the role of instruments in the Industrial Revolution, a topic thus far neglected, in order to enrich current scholarship on the relationship between science and technology.


Sociology of Music Performance in the Twenty-First Century
October 13-14, 2007
Young Musicians and Their Careers: Highlights from the Longitudinal Study of Music Involvement, 2001-2007
Shoshana Dobrow, Assistant Professor of Management Systems, Fordham University
Dr. Dobrow's research addresses the question of why people make seemingly irrational decisions to pursue extraordinarily competitive, challenging music career paths. This presentation offered highlights from an ongoing longitudinal survey study of talented young musicians. Dobrow investigated the nature of subjective orientation - the sense of calling.

Venturing Beyond the Beyond: A Symposium on the Visual Imagination and Mystical Hermeneutics of Elliot R. Wolfson
October 26, 2007
Bringing together a panel of distinguished scholars, this symposium took Elliot R. Wolfson’s groundbreaking writings on Jewish mysticism and his related paintings and poetry as points of departure for lectures focused on the reenvisioning of embodiment, time, beauty, ritual practice, angelic presence, and issues of transgression, law and honesty. The symposium intentionally coincided with Dr. Elliot Wolfson's (NYU) appointment as a senior fellow in the Humanities Research Center. Dr. Wolfson himself offered concluding reflections on the papers.
Contact: Jeffrey J. Kripal or Marcia Brennan

January 25-27, 2008
This major conference was designed to coincide with Hans Poser's (TU-Berlin) appointment as Lynette S. Autrey Visiting Professor in the Humanities Research Center. The Leibniz Society of North America (LSNA) endorsed this as the inaugural conference in its initiative to launch an annual conference series, with the aim of further energizing and improving Leibniz scholarship on this continent.

Writing the History of Human Rights in 20th-Century Europe
March 21-22, 2008
Lora Wildenthal and Daniel Cohen in Rice’s Department of History organized this conference to showcase new historical work on human rights and to address the difficulties of writing histories of human rights. Sessions addressed the fin de siècle and the first world war, the interwar period and the second world war, and the post-1945 period. Topics addressed included, among many others, “The Soviets at Nuremberg: International Law, Propaganda, and the Making of the Postwar Order,” “Jewish displaced persons and refugee policy,” “Advocating Dignity: Historical Perspectives on Human Rights Struggles and Global Politics,” and “East and West German responses to struggles for independence and national liberation in Africa, Asia, and the Americas.”

The Genesis of Syntactic Complexity
March 27-29, 2008
This interdisciplinary conference aimed to bring together work on language evolution, historical change, language acquisition, and evolutionary biology, as well as cognitive and neurological studies. Sponsored primarily by the Department of Linguistics.

Orality and Literacy VII: Oral-scribal dimensions of scripture, piety, and practice in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
April 12-14, 2008
Benefiting from the distinct field of oral traditional literature, which concerns itself with the study of compositional, performative, and aesthetic aspects of living oral traditions and texts dependent on them, the conference proposed to examine the three faiths in their historically appropriate media context, seeking to overcome assumptions about the verbal arts that are entrenched in typographic modes of thinking. The conference provided the philological, textual study of the monotheistic religions with fresh insights and significant challenges as it seeks to reexamine the largely Western paradigm of the three monotheistic faiths as quintessential religions of the book. Co-sponsors included the Boniuk Center for Religious Tolerance, the Office of the Dean of Humanities, and the History and Religious Studies Departments.


The Birds Now
April 13-14, 2006
Lee C. Edelman - Chair of the English Department, Fletcher Professor of English Literature, Tufts University
Tom Cohen - Chair of the English Department, SUNY Albany
Susan Lurie - Associate Professor of English, Rice University
Joshua D. Gonsalves - Assistant Professor of English, Rice University

Autrey Symposium - Aristotelian Natural Philosophy
March 24-25, 2006
Focused on the research interests of Pierre Pellegrin, Autrey Visiting Professor, Rice University Humanities Research Center
Robert Bolton, Professor of Philosophy, Rutgers University
Sean Kelsey, Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of California, Los Angeles
Andrea Falcon, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Concordia University
Mary Louise Gill, Professor of Philosophy and Classics, Brown University
Robin Smith, Professor of Philosophy, Texas A&M University

Autrey Symposium - The Hacienda and the Plantation: Historical, Political, and Cultural
March 23-24, 2006
George Baca, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Africana Studies, Goucher College
Colin Dayan, Robert Penn Warren Professor in the Humanities, Vanderbilt University (Webcast)
Michael Hanchard, Professor of Political Science, Johns Hopkins University (Webcast)
José E Limón, Boatright Regents Professor in American and English Literature, University of Texas at Austin
Suzette Spencer, Assistant Professor of English, University of Connecticut
Jennifer Wilks, Assistant Professor of English, University of Texas at Austin

Apocalypticism and Crisis in Ancient Judaism
October 12-13, 2006
George Nickelsburg, Professor Emeritus of Religion, University of Iowa - "Enoch and the Beginnings of Apocalypticism"
Matthias Henze, Watt J. & Lilly G. Jackson Associate Professor in Biblical Studies, Rice University - "Baruch and the Decline of Apocalypticism"


México y Estados Unidos: nuevas posiciones y contraposiciones
April 1, 2006
José Antonio Aguilar Rivera (CIDE, Mexico City): "La persuasión multicultural en México y Estados Unidos"
Rebecca Biron (University of Miami): "Modernities on Parade: William Faulkner and Elena Garro"
Robert McKee Irwin (UC Davis): "Border Studies/Estudios de la Frontera: el legado de Anzaldúa"
Mauricio Tenorio Trillo (University of Chicago): "De la 'brown Atlantis' y los intelectuales mexicanos"
Javier D. Durán (University of Arizona): TBA
María Socorro Tabuenca (Colegio de la Frontera Norte, Ciudad Juárez, Mexico): TBA

Intersections of Opera and Film
April 1, 2006
Jeongwon Joe (Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music): "Film Divas and the Gendered Dichotomy Between Vocal and Instrumental Music"
Michal Grover-Friedlander (Tel Aviv University): "Callas Forever: The Afterlife of an Operatic Voice"
Marcia J. Citron (Shepherd School, Rice Univ.): "Cavalleria rusticana as the Climax of Coppola's Godfather Trilogy"
Helen M. Greenwald (New England Conservatory of Music): "The Opera That Would be Film: Leonard Bernstein's A Quiet Place"
"Callas Forever" (introd. by Profs. Grover-Friedlander and Joe)
"The Godfather" (introd. by Prof. Marcia Citron)

Beggars and Choosers: Motherhood is Not a Class Privilege in America
March 9-28, 2006
Women's History Month Exhibit
Lecture: Rickie Solinger, co-curator and historian - "Nine Ways of Looking at a Poor Woman"

Things/Matter: The Object and Its Representation in Literature and Art
March 24-25, 2006
Keynote Speaker: Susan Staves, Professor Emerita of English Literature, Brandeis University
For additional information, click here.

Changing Perceptions of the Public Sphere
December 15-17, 2005
Contact: Christian J. Emden

The Anthropology of Intellectuals
October 28-29, 2005
James D. Faubion (Rice University)
Lesley Fordred Green (University of Cape Town, Smithsonian)
Dominic Boyer (Cornell University)
Douglas Holmes (SUNY Binghamton)
Paul Rabinow (U. C. Berkeley)
George E. Marcus (Rice University, U. C. Irvine)
Aristotelian Natural Philosophy in Later Greek Antiquity


Disciplinary Flashpoints: Conversations Between History and Literature
April 1-2, 2005

Figurations of Knowledge: The CSC in the Context of Higher Learning
Werner Kelber, The Director of the Center for the Study of Cultures and the Isla Carol and Percy E. Turner Professor of Biblical Studies at Rice University
March 14, 2005

Beyond Tradition and Modernity: Gender, Genre, and the Negotiation of Knowledge in Late Qing China
March 4-6, 2005

Reinventing Hispanism in the Age of Globalization Symposium
February 26, 2005

Southern National Bank Conference, "The Transformation of the South in the Twentieth Century"
February 25-27, 2005

Technology, Cognition, and Culture Lecture Series
Doug Greenberg, President and CEO of the Shoa Foundation

February 10, 2005

The Late Medieval City: Architecture and Urbanism
January 29, 2005

Working Across the Disciplines: Writing a History of the Early West African States and Empires, 800-1500 C.E.
(Part of the Early West African States and Empires Workshop)
David Conrad (Professor of History at SUNY Oswego)
Paulo Farias (Professor of History at University of Birmingham - England)
Roderick McIntosh (Professor of Anthropology at Rice University)
Susan Keech McIntosh (Professor of Anthropology at Rice University)
November 9, 2004

Language in Use: Culture, Society, and Change Workshop
October 23-24, 2004


Annual International Symposium and Meeting of the Modern Austrian Literature and Culture Association
April 22-25, 2004

Tenth Biennial Linguistics Symposium
March 31-April 4, 2004

Beyond the Clash of Civilizations: Missionaries, Conversion, and Tolerance in the Ottoman Empire Conference
April 2-3, 2004

Afghan Women after 9/11 Symposium
March 18-19, 2004
Sonali Kolhatkar, "Building Empire on the Backs of Women"
Meena Nanji, screening of clips from her film "A Grain of Sand"
Anne Brodsky, "An Incomplete Liberation: RAWA, Afghan Women, and the Need for Continued Resistance"

Locating Pop Cultures: Negotiating Place, Interrogating Class, Constructing Identity Graduate Student Symposium
March 12-13, 2004

The Return of the Repressed: Working through Freud in Religious Studies
December 5-7, 2003

Technology, Cognition, and Culture Lecture Series
Stephen Murphy, Professor of Medieval Art and Gothic Architecture at Columbia University

November 4, 2004

38th Annual Western Literature Conference
October 29-November 1, 2003

Orality and Literacy III: Memory International Conference
October 10-12, 2003


Women and Gender in Islamic Societies Lecture Series
DR. AZIZAH AL-HIBRI, Professor of Law at University of Richmond
"The Qur'anic Worldview: A Womanist Perspective"
April 21, 2003
DR. AMINA WADUD, Professor of Religious Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University
"Text, Gender and Reform in Islam"
March 31, 2003
ZAINAB SALBI, Founder and President of Women for Women International
"Understanding a Refugee Woman's Reality"
March 26, 2003

The Young Leibniz International Conference
April 18-20, 2003

Heidegger and Transcendental Philosophy Conference
April 3-5, 2003

Tradition and the Challenge of Modernity: Politics, Poetics and Gender in Late Qing China, 1840-1911
March 7-9, 2003

Rice Women's Conference
Connecting, Communications and Networking

February 7-9, 2003

"The Jewish Museum Berlin: Historical Roots and Contemporary Relevance"
Director of the Jewish Museum, Berlin
November 12, 2002

"Literature in the Twenty-first Century: A Technological Revolution"
Part of the Technology, Cognition & Culture Lecture Series
N. Katherine Hayles (Professor of English at University of California, Los Angeles)
October 24, 2002

6th Conference on Conceptual Structure, Discourse, and Language: Language, Culture, and Mind
October 11-14, 2002
Keynote speakers: JOHN LUCY (Univ of Chicago, Max Plank Institute for Psycholinguistics)
SUSANNA CUMMING (University of California, Santa Barbara)
RONALD LANGACKER (University of California, San Diego)

International Herder Society Conference
September 26-28, 2002


Queer and There: Travel and Commodified Desires
An interdisciplinary symposium on lesbian and gay tourism. Featured Dennis Altman and Jasbir Puar.
April 13, 2002

Memoria: Memory and Commemoration in Medieval Christianity and Judaism
The Neil J. O'Brien Conference for Medieval Studies
April 7-9, 2002

The Two Cultures - Plus One
Part of the Lecture Series "Technology, Cognition and Culture"

Neal Lane
Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Rice University
April 2, 2002

Ninth Biennial Rice University Symposium on Linguistics
Speech Perception in Context: Beyond Acoustic Pattern Matching

March 13-16, 2002

Central Texas Philosophy of Science Consortium Meeting
March 1, 2002

Shifting Terrains: Translations and Identity-Formations in an Era of Transnationality
2002 Rice Graduate Symposium, Dept. of English
February 22-23, 2002

Africa and the African Diaspora: Past, Present, Future
44th Annual Meeting of the African Studies Association
November 15-18, 2001

Written Text and the Rise of Literate Culture in the Ancient World
Second part of the April 2000 conference, "Written Text and Transformations of Thought and Expression in Classical Greece"
November 1-3, 2001

Moonlight on the Ganges: Interpreting the Exotic in Early American Popular Song
Thomas E. Jenkins (Trinity University)
Assistant Professor of Classical Studies; Former Woodrow Wilson Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities at Rice University
Karim Al-Zand (Rice University)
Visiting Assistant Professor, Shepherd School of Music
October 24, 2001

Minding Bodies
First part of the Lecture Series "Technology, Cognition and Culture"
Mark C. Taylor (Williams College)
Cluett Professor of Humanities, Director of the Center for Technology in the Arts and Humanities
October 22, 2001

New Modernisms III
3rd Annual Conference of the Modernist Studies Association
Further information: MSA Website
October 12-15, 2001

A Symposium and Exhibition Studying African-American Culture, Contemporary Architecture and Community Keynote Address by bell hooks
October 11-13, 2001


Cameroon Transitions and Transformations: Multidisciplinary Perspectives of a Society at the Crossroads
April 6-8, 2001

Memory of Violence and the Violence of Memory in the Middle East and North Africa
Conference exploring the intersection of memory, violence, and politics, initiated by the thesis that historical narratives situate themselves at the intersection of competing collective memories.
March 23-25, 2001

Narrative 2001: An International Conference
Conference bringing together some 300 international scholars in English, foreign languages, law, history, and philosophy.
March 8-10, 2001

Economic Planning in Republican and Early PRC-China: Path-Dependency and Institutions
Transition Economics Speaker Series 2001
One-day conference investigating the Republican Chinese and early PRC context of the institutional origins of socialist economic planning.
February 24, 2001

Asian American Literature and Films
Symposium bringing together writers and filmmakers for a discourse on transformative Identity politics in the Asian American arena.
February 23-25, 2001

C. Vann Woodward's Origins of the New South
Symposium addressing different aspects of Woodward's seminal work, published in 1951.
February 23-25, 2001

Wisdom and Wisdom Literature in the Ancient Mediterranean
Symposium with guest speakers Richard Martin (Stanford University, Classics) and William Hansen (University of Indiana at Bloomington, Classical Studies and Folklore Studies).
February 17, 2001

The Dead Sea Scrolls
Conference hosted by Matthias Henze (Religious Studies, Rice U.) that will deal with the Qumran Scrolls found in Israel in the 1940s and shrouded in controversy ever since.
February 10, 2001

The Future of Feminist Critique: Ethics, Agency, Politics
An interdisciplinary conference exploring how feminist analysis can speak to fundamental questions about the nature of subjectivity, the ethical claims of difference, the meaning of social justice, and the efficacy of political action. November 3-5, 2000
Written Text and Transformations of Thought and Expression in Classical Greece (conference)


Christians, Jews, and Muslims in Medieval Spain: colloquium on works in progress
April 13-16, 2000; Baker Hall, International Conference Facility
Miner Lounge, Rice Memorial Center, April 12, 2000
Second Floor Conference Room, Rice Memorial Center

Causation and Interpersonal Manipulation in Languages of Central and South America (Eighth Biennial Rice University Symposium on Linguistics)
April 6-9, 2000

Collaborative Urbanisms (series of workshops pairing local and national urban scholars with key players in the revitalization and economic growth of downtown Houston)
Saturdays, February 26, March 4 & 25, April 8

Path-Dependency and Transition Economics Series (year-long series of workshops on matters of political economy and cultures of production and consumption)

Queering Past and Present (symposium)
February 26, 2000; Kyle Morrow Room, Fondren Library

Landscapes Through Asian Pacific/American Media (film festival / conference)
February 18-20, 2000; Rice Media Center

The Enigma of Gift and Sacrifice (conference)
March 26-27, 1999

Text and Commentary (symposium)
March 17, 1999

Asian American Stories on Film (film festival / conference)
January 29-31, 1999

Symposium: The Road to Plandom: Non-Socialist and Pre-Socialist Economic Planning in Republican China and Europe, 1935-1950
January 30, 1999

Constructing Hildegard: Reception and Identity, 1098-1998
November 20-21, 1998

19th-Century Anglo-American Conceptions of Space March 19-22, 1998

Marcel Duchamp and Rethinking the Creative Act
March 21-23, 1997

History and the Limits of Interpretation Symposium
March 15-17, 1996

The Body of Christ in the Art of Europe and New Spain, 1150-1800
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Dec. 21, 1997 - April 12, 1998.
News Release: Body of Christ