Session 3

3:30–4:30 P.M.

Wonder, Magic, and Skepticism

On the one hand, in Plato’s Theaetetus, Socrates says (famously), “The sense of wonder is the mark of the philosopher. Philosophy indeed has no other origin.” On the other hand, when magicians write about their aesthetic aims (which they do), they almost always describe themselves as trying to instill wonder in their spectators. In my presentation, I’ll be discussing the character of wonder and the peculiar aesthetics of magical performance.

Gaming the Humanities: Transmedia Play and Connected Learning

Games and gamification are a major issue of the still-emerging digital humanities. Computer, video, mobile, and alternate reality games — through their mechanics, navigable worlds, and multimedia interactions — call for new literacies that exceed traditional reading and writing skills. Digital games demand new ways of perceiving and working. They seem to matter to the unfolding of the twenty-first century everyday, even if we do not yet always recognize precisely how they matter.

Tour of Suicide Narcissus: At the Renaissance Society

Featuring eight artists, Suicide Narcissus is a group exhibition meant to serve as a contemporary vanitas. Maybe the Mayans weren't referring to an event but a mindset. Although the world did not end in 2012, climate change has forced us to think about our fate as a species, to confront the thought of our extinction wondering if we are an exception. Clearly, the grand evolutionary scheme of things tells us no. Human history relative to natural history amounts to a mere speck in time. The earth was here long before us, and it will be here long after us.

Tour of Wings, Speed, and Cosmic Dominion in Renaissance Italy: At the Smart Museum

Wings are prevalent in a wide range of Renaissance representations, from figures (angels, winged cherubs, and mythological gods) to animals (eagles, griffins, and winged horses).

A "Desire for History": Building Queer Archives at the University of Chicago

How does queer studies engage with the archive? Since 2007, faculty and students affiliated with the University of Chicago’s Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality have worked to build archival collections documenting the experiences of women and LGBTQ individuals and communities at the University of Chicago. This lecture will give a brief history of the project’s origins in feminist and women’s history, and ask what it means to once-marginalized communities to have a place in the University archives.

On Nostalgia and the Chromocord: A Panel on the Arts|Science Initiative

The Arts|Science Initiative encourages independent cross-disciplinary research between students in the arts and the sciences. Graduate students from areas such as art history, English, music, cinema and media studies, theater and performance, creative writing, or visual arts are encouraged to pair up with graduate students from astronomy and astrophysics, biological sciences, chemistry, computer science, geophysical sciences, math, physics, or statistics areas for joint research projects.

Good and Bad in Human Action

Aristotle held that all action aims at the good and Aquinas held that a primary orientation to the good cannot be obliterated from human hearts or minds. For anyone who pays any attention to current events or to accounts of hideous things that people have done in the past, this thought looks very odd. Why would anyone think that people in general seek to pursue good and avoid bad? Where can we even look to find an orientation to good in human beings generally? In this talk, I will draw from a number of sources in the course of beginning to answer these questions.

Seeing Madness: Mental Illness, Media, and Visual Culture

"Seeing Madness" surveys the representation of mental illness in audio-visual media, from theater to opera to photography and cinema. The talk will address several questions. Why do people want to "see madness" in the first place? What is so fascinating about it? To what extent does mental illness defy visual representation? What is the relation between individual and collective forms of madness (e.g. mass hysteria and paranoia), and how are these reflected in different forms of representation?

The Chicago Language Center: Goodbye, Language Labs!

Join us for a presentation about the field of language pedagogy and tour the Chicago Language Center. Open since 2007, the design of the CLC reflects the changing world of second language learning and teaching in the advent of multi-media, web-based materials, and access to speakers and learners all over the world.

Play into Game: Fitting Education to the Masses (around 1800)

In the late eighteenth century in Britain, a number of social and economic conditions converged to make it seem desirable for education to be more widely available than it had been before. The population had increasingly concentrated in urban centers to find employment as small farms had difficulty surviving. When the people whom one educational writer referred to as the "industrious poor" worked in urban manufacturing, they were often obliged to leave their children unattended (and thus to make them "latch-key children").


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