2007 Working Group Activities
Funded Corridor Activities by Cluster
The Philosophy faculties at the three research universities have enjoyed long-term collaborative relationships that have formed the core for establishment of the Humanities Corridor. These relations have evolved, and have been sustained, largely because of concordant scholarly strengths and goals:
- Anglo-American tradition, all with special strengths in the core field of Metaphysics & Epistemology
- History of Philosophy, with complementary faculty among the universities: Cornell has a cluster in Ancient Philosophy and Classics, Syracuse in Kant and post-Kantian German Philosophy, and Rochester in German Philosophy.
- Other areas in Philosophy in which all three universities have shared priorities and a national scholarly presence include Ethics & Political Philosophy, Philosophy of Education, and Philosophy of Language.
The Philosophy departments at Rochester, Syracuse, and Cornell share a long history of mutual interchange and cooperation. Graduate students can and do take courses at each other’s campuses through an exchange program. Faculty members occasionally teach in each other’s program or sit in on seminars offered on one another’s campus. Information about visiting lecturers and conferences is shared among the three programs on their websites, and faculty and graduate students regularly travel to attend events on the other campuses. All three faculties take an active role in a long established regional philosophy organization, the Creighton Club, which, since its inception in 1920, has held an important position in bringing the departments together.
Coordinator: Robert Van Gulick (SU); Planner: Alyssa Ney (UR)
PHI: November 30-December 2, 2007: Workshop: Mental Causation, Syracuse University
Faculty and graduate students discussed 12 papers. Topics included causal reduction, physical realization and mental causation, causal closure, nonreductive physicalism, antifuntionalism and real mental causation.
The Linguistics Departments at the three research universities are very different, but they have still formed energetic scholarly partnerships. Moreover, all three universities have special foci in Computational Linguistics, with Syracuse and Cornell Linguistics departments possessing strengths in Syntax. Humanities Corridor projects include:
- Visits by Distinguished Research Collaborators from outside the consortium; these collaborators would not teach courses but would promote scholarly dialogue and would offer a series of lectures and classroom visits at all three schools during the semester;
- Program for Humanities Corridor faculty to visit a consortial institution;
- Technology investments critical to simultaneous teaching and research projects across the universities no matter what the weather; and
- Selective use of both Mellon funds and the endowed Alice L. Hooker conference fund (Syracuse) to create occasional workshops and conferences with highly targeted goals of swiftly building cohesion in sub-areas such as ethics or semantics.
Coordinator: Jaklin Kornfilt (SU); Planners: Arsalan Kahnemuyipour (SU); Greg Carlson & Jeff Runner (UR); John Whitman (CU)
LIN: April 21, 2007: Workshop: Combined UR-SU-CU Linguistics Graduate Student conference, Syracuse University
Presentations covered syntax, semantics and phonology
LIN: November 9-10, 2007: Workshop sessions and one-on-one meetings with Eric J Reuland, University of Rochester
Discussion of theme of binding in syntactical theory: Eric J. Reuland, an internationally renowned professor of linguistics at Utrecht University, lectured as part of a yearlong Linguisitics theme of “binding” in syntactic theory. Reuland is widely known for his research involving the relationship between syntax and systems of interpretation, as well as the principles governing their access and use. His research topics include mixed categories (e.g. English gerunds, nominal infinitives in Dutch), existential constructions (indefinites and expletives), and anaphora (binding theory, long-distance anaphora, logophoricity, and cross-linguistic variation), with an occasional foray into experimental work on the division of labor among linguistic systems. His current work uses anaphora as a starting point. “I am exploring what [systems of anaphora] tell us about the interfaces between syntax, semantic, and pragmatics and their division of labor,” he says. “In order to achieve a real understanding of the way in which the human capacity for language is embedded in our cognitive system, experimental work must be done.”
CULTURES AND RELIGIONS [CR]
The study of the interplay of culture and religion is essential to an informed understanding of the contemporary world, especially as it factors into national and international politics and a range of critical issues, from stem cell research to international terrorism. At the same time religions transcend national boundaries, though different cultural contexts shape discrete ways in which any religion is understood, practiced, valued, and even studied. The interplay of cultures and religions is an area of what former University of Rochester President Robert Sproull called “applied humanities”—it is valuable not only for its own sake, but also for its concrete relevance to cross-cultural understanding and effective public policy. The three universities possess distinctive collective resources for such a study. Syracuse and Rochester have strong and established departments of religion, and at Cornell religion is studied across a variety of departments. Syracuse has a well-known doctoral program in religion, and at Rochester religion is the second most popular undergraduate major in the Humanities. Both formal and informal interchange between the departments has taken place for years. Cornell’s strength in the study of religion in South and East Asia adds a distinctive overlap with the two departments that can be developed further – especially given the well-established and longstanding partnership in South Asia with Syracuse. At Rochester, the study of the world’s literate religions is integrated with the study of the languages of their canons. Cornell also connects language study with the teaching of religion, and Syracuse and Cornell have collaborated on language instruction. Our library resources for this project in cultures and religions are exceptional. In addition to the strong collections at Syracuse and Cornell, Rochester’s recent acquisition of the library of the Colgate-Rochester Divinity School gives it perhaps one of the largest theological libraries in North America.
Coordinator: Ann Gold (SU); Planners: Tazim Kassam (SU); Emil Homerin & Thomas Gibson (UR); Ann Blackburn, Iftikar Dadi & Andrew Willford (CU)
CR: April 20, 2007: Conference: Religious Transgressions of Modernity, University of Rochester
Scholars engaged in conversations about the changing role of public religions in the modern world.
CR: September 1, 2007: Imagining Muslims/Imagining Others: South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Europe, Cornell University
Scholars sought to blend perspectives from different world areas around positive images, negative images, and historical context/causes, and to produce a map of further issues and research agendas for the future.
CR: October 24-25, 2007: Lecture and panel discussion: Everyday Life and the Claims of the Other, University of Rochester
Veena Das, Johns Hopkins University
An exploration of Hindu-Muslim relations in India
CR: November 28, 2007: Seminar: Religious and Social Lives of African American Women, Syracuse University
Anthea Butler, University of Rochester
INTERFACE OF HUMANITIES AND SCIENCES/TECHNOLOGY [HST]
This cluster affords significant scholarly opportunities that span many units across the three universities with great potential for connecting a series of high-quality but small faculty groups. These interdisciplinary sites between Humanities and Science also represent a high strategic priority for the institutions: Cornell is investing $600 million in its New Life Sciences Initiative; Rochester’s president announced in his inaugural activities, an institutional priority for expansion in the life and medical sciences and in engineering; and at Syracuse, groundbreaking for a new $107 million Life Sciences Complex took place in 2006. The Humanities have much to say about these initiatives, and this cluster provides one key approach to those university-wide needs. This key area of mutual collaboration emerged offers opportunities in the study of the interdisciplinary Humanities with Cornell’s established program in Science and Technology Studies, Rochester’s deep commitments to medical sciences and engineering, and Syracuse’s investments in ethics.
Coordinator: Sam Gorovitz (SU); Planners: Cathryn Newton & John Russell (SU); Theodore Brown (UR); Kathy Faber-Langendoen (SUNY Upstate Medical Center); Stephen Hilgartner & Trevor Pinch (CU)
HST: April 2007 Planning Meeting: Commissioning of essays and conference development
The cluster on the Interface of the Humanities with Science and Technology commissioned nine authors to develop innovative essays. Preliminary drafts were submitted in September and given to senior scholars engaged to prepare constructive critical reactions. The authors, commentators, and other selected scholars gathered in Syracuse in October for a two-day working conference focused on these drafts and commentaries. The authors will revise their essays in light of these sessions for future publication.
HST: October 26-27, 2007: Workshop in Syracuse with authors of commissioned papers and discussants. Papers presented:
- The Technology and Politics of the Seneca Falls Ethanol/Biomass Plant, Park Doing
- The Use of Earth Remote Sensing Imagery in Activism and Advocacy in New York State, Lane Denicola
- Activism and Access to the Means of Broadcast Media Production, Trevor J. Pinch & Christina Dunbar-Hester
- Biosecurity Threats: How Social Machinery Shapes Risk Assessments and U.S. Preparedness Policy, Kathleen M. Vogel
VISUAL ARTS AND CULTURES [VAC]
The visual arts – and their cultural context and impact – are an area of intense interest within various schools and colleges at Cornell, Rochester, and Syracuse. Formidable developments in technologies of visual and digital reproduction and communication in the late 20th century have prompted the emergence of the new, interdisciplinary field of Visual Studies. At Syracuse, Rochester, and Cornell both institutionalized and informal collaborations in the area of Visual Studies are associated with many of the dynamic new trends in the humanities and are of broad interest to many humanities faculty. The University of Rochester has attained international prominence for its faculty in the Visual and Cultural Studies (VCS) program, which combines faculty from Modern Languages, Film Studies, Art, Art History, and Anthropology. A socio-historical perspective brings coherence to the collaborate work of these diverse faculties. This premier program and the acclaimed electronic journal Invisible Culture, now located at Rochester, command worldwide attention for their imaginative interdisciplinary approach to visual rhetoric. There are cognate programs at both Cornell (visual arts and culture) and Syracuse (art, architecture, and art history, as well as languages, anthropology, and other departments). These overlapping interests, which span several humanistic areas, constitute a significant regional opportunity to combine our strengths at the faculty and doctoral level.
Coordinator: Steve Cohan (SU); Planners: Roger Hallas, Linda Shires, Ann Demo, Kendall Philips, Joanna Spitzner, Brad Vivian (SU); Joan Saab, Allen Topolski & Sharon Willis (UR)
VAC: April 6-7, 2007: Conference: The Future of the Archive/The Archive of the Future, University of Rochester
Panels examined the condition of the national archives in an era of budget crises, pedagogical strategies in rare book collections, blind spots of online archives, ideological content of stock photo and video companies, processes by which correspondence collections can be tagged and searchable using online technologies, and the perpetual archival impulse of the Internet.
VAC: October 4, 2007: Colloquium: Translation, Intertextuality, Interpretation, Syracuse University
Lawrence Venuti, Temple University
VAC: November 8, 2007: Colloquium: Nothing to Say: Mortal Words and Images, Syracuse University
Karen Beckman, Elliot and Roslyn Jaffe Associate Professor of Film Studies, University of Pennsylvania. Professor Beckman explored the intersections of ethics, visual studies and translation, as well as deal with the question of ethical readings of photographs in context of the Iraqi war. Her lecture included a critique of some recent appropriations of the work of French philosopher, linguist, and educator Roland Barthes.
MUSICOLOGY/MUSIC HISTORY [MMH]
The Central New York region has an especially rich and ethnically diverse musical tradition, and accordingly the three universities have outstanding groups of faculty in music, musicology, and music history. The Eastman School of Music, affiliated with University of Rochester, stands among the very top-ranked programs in musicology in the country. At Syracuse, the School of Music in Visual and Performing Arts, emphasizing composition and performance, and the Department of Fine Arts in Arts and Sciences, with eminent music historians, have been identified as institutional priorities by both Deans and by Chancellor Cantor. Syracuse has in the past year developed the endowed Goldring Arts Journalism Program, hosted jointly by the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, the College of Visual and Performing Arts, the School of Architecture, and The College of Arts and Sciences, whose mission is to elevate the quality of reporting on the arts in America. Music is a central component of that initiative. At Rochester, the Sibley music library at Eastman is the largest academic music library in North America and contains numerous special collections, including the papers of composers Howard Hanson, Richard Rodgers, and Alexander Courage, as well as a significant collection of manuscripts by Kurt Weill (including an original manuscript for The Threepenny Opera). Sibley is also the repository for Carl Fischer, one of the most important American publishers for classical music. At Syracuse, the Belfer Audio Laboratory and Archive is one of the four largest archives of recorded sound in the country and is particularly rich in holdings from the early period of sound recording – holdings that have yet to be the subjects of serious scholarly inquiry. These include acoustic (pre-1925) recordings of Wagner, the so-called “race” records of African American artists during the 1930’s and 1940’s, Latin American music of the 1940’s, and many others. The Belfer also houses a large collection of early playback technologies, including Victrolas and cylinder machines – a collection that has great potential for study in its own right. The Cornell University Music Library has unusually rich holdings, including the library of the eminent musicologist Donald J. Grout, which contains an extensive collection of original scores and printed libretti extending from the seventeenth through the twentieth century
Coordinator: Andrew Waggoner (SU); Planners: Steve Meyer, Eileen Stempel, Amanda Winkler (SU); John Covach (UR); Patrick Macey (UR-Eastman); Kevin Ernste & Rebecca Harris-Warrick (CU)
MMH: September 14-16, 2007: Forum and Performances: Music, Justice and Gender, Syracuse University
Conference: Themes of music, justice, and gender were explored during a major conference at Syracuse University. The conference brought together scholars and activists from the Humanities Corridor. Drawing on ideas that resonated throughout the paper sessions, renowned musicologist Suzanne Cusick addressed the tortuous use of music and sound amid the global war on terror. The conference included a Friday morning paper session that considered music as a conduit for social activism within the LGBT community. Topics ranged from coded messages about HIV/AIDS in the haunting synth-pop music of the Pet Shop Boys to issues surrounding Carla Lucero’s moving opera about America’s first “lesbian serial killer,” Aileen Wuornos. The Saturday morning session featured presentations on the intersections of gender, politics, and musical cultures. Scholars discussed the insidious and manipulative use of folksy sounding music in Dow Chemical’s “Human Element” commercial campaign, the transformation of wedding music into the music of martyrdom by Palestinians in the occupied territories, and the use music by Latina activists. The conversation continued on Sunday morning, with papers examining the endangered status of India’s public female performers, the social activism of jazz singer Nina Simone, the iconization of beautiful female singers by Russian gay men, and the use of music to reveal sexual and national identity in Angelina Maccarone’s film Unveiled. In addition to a variety of paper sessions and scholarly discussions, three memorable concerts were presented. The first concert featured, The Harlem Quartet. These talented young musicians filled Setnor Auditorium with an exciting performance of Wynton Marsalis’ At the Octoroon Balls. Saturday afternoon included a student program of music by women composers, organized by SU honors student Shannon Kane. The final evening concert linked faculty members from all three participating institutions—Cornell and Syracuse universities and the Eastman School of the University of Rochester—performing works by women composers, ranging from jaunty rags to haunting serenades. The grand finale was the world premiere of The Figure, a string quartet by Judith Lang Zaimont. This commissioned performance by The Harlem Quartet, with the composer in attendance, was underwritten by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with additional support from Pulse and Syracuse Symposium. The Harlem Quartet premiered The Figure at Eastman and Cornell on Sept. 15 and 16, respectively, thus linking the campuses to the piece.
MMH: New York Baroque Dance Company Residency and Concert at Cornell University, October 29-November 18, 2007
This project involved a collaboration between two departments at Cornell, a professional dance company, and Ithaca’s professional early music group in three weeks of classes and workshops culminating in a concert that involved both professionals and students. Although the residency did not take place until November, there were curricular tie-ins throughout the fall semester in both Cornell departments and also with the School of Music at Ithaca College. The centerpiece of the concert was the recreation of an 18th-century pantomime ballet, Pygmalion, first performed in Paris at the Theatre Italien in 1734. Since this type of repertoire was largely unfamiliar to today’s audiences, the project also incorporated a study day about 18th-century comic dancing and the theatrical contexts in which it developed.
MMH: November 10, 2007: Eastman Symposium on 1642 Venetian Opera by Francesco Cavalli La Virtu de’ strali d’Amore (Patricia Macey), University of Rochester
This was the first production in modern times of this early opera, a cooperative venture between the Eastman School of Music and Bowling Green University.