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The Humanities Project

Current Projects

Fall 2017


Mindfulness of the Body: Free Workshop and Panel Discussion

Mindfulness of the body is the basis for mindfulness. But it’s easy to lose the connection with our bodies in today’s busy world. How does this affect our ability to be here and now in the present moment? In this workshop, we’re going to explore different ways to wake up our bodies. We’re going to take a closer look at our senses, both the traditional ones and the more unknown ones. We’re also going to learn different practices to help us refine our perception of ourselves and our bodies almost endlessly, like a never ending journey of discovery.

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Machine-Reading and Crowdsourcing Medieval Music Manuscripts

Prompted by recent access to a source of pre-modern Italian convent music made available to me by the Art Institute of Chicago, I propose a half-day symposium and creative production in October 2017 that brings together pursuits in the digital humanities and in medieval music manuscript study, while also offering a rare performance that celebrates late-medieval music-making by women. The mini-conference uses a thirteenth-century manuscript on exhibit at the Art Institute as a window into the state of research in medieval manuscript studies in the digital age. The symposium will provide updates from researchers in machine-reading technology with early music notation and will engage in initiatives for employing collaborative techniques to index manuscripts. The proposed performance will feature music from an all-female roster of Chicago-based singers, who specialize in medieval and early modern music. As part of the performance, the women will read music from the Italian convent manuscript, bringing the sounds of this particular source to an audible reality.


The Future(s) of Microhistory: A Symposium

Since the rise of cultural studies and the “anthropological turn” in the 1970s, microhistorical studies have provided an avenue to examine the human experience through what Edoardo Grendi termed the “exceptional normal.” The emphasis of microhistory on symbolic culture and detailed narrative offered a new style of analysis to the historical profession while challenging long-held assumptions about the role of social scientific approaches that emphasized large-scale studies.

Now that many scholars accept microhistory as an established mode of historical thought, the time is ripe to evaluate new developments and consider the future of microhistory. A generation of historians have read, internalized, and used the approach. But, at a time when more and more scholars are interested in global issues, questions have arisen about the relationship between microhistory and “connected” or “big” history.

This conference on “The Future(s) of Microhistory” brings together a relatively small group of established historians from a range of specialties. We will discuss the current and prospective relevance of microhistory and microhistorically-inflected work at a time when scholars are turning toward transnational questions while digital history and studies based in big-data continue to grow in influence.

For more information, see the symposium schedule and our participants page.


Spring 2018


Ariane and Bluebeard: From Fairy Tale to Comic Book Opera


UBIQUITY: Photography’s Multitudes

A symposium at the Humanities Center of the University of Rochester, Ubiquity: Photography’s Multitudes aims to address both timely and perennial accounts of the pervasiveness of images in the photographic era. Taking place at the epicenter of Kodak—and thus within a modern urban environment and university campus built on photographic ubiquity—the symposium will convene an intentionally wide range of perspectives, problems, and methodologies. We seek participants from diverse fields—including but not limited to art history, media and visual studies, digital culture, science and technology studies, and the history of photography—to address issues in the orbit of photographic ubiquity while also collectively venturing into that term’s larger, heretofore unmapped history. The organizers aim to host presentations on a variety of topics that span the analog and the digital. Sample topics include: early photography and industrial capitalism; colonialism and the worldwide distribution of images; ecology, toxicity, and technical production; critical theories of media saturation and its counterpart of technological obsolescence; the spread of vernacular practice in local, global, and virtual spheres; photography’s centrality to theories of political subjectivity; among many others.

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