Albie Sachs Delivers Remarkable Talk To Standing-Room Only Crowd

On September 10, Justice Albie Sachs delivered a remarkable talk to a standing-room only crowd in the new Integrative Learning Center building. Drawing from his life experiences of involvement in South Africa's ANC during the struggle against Apartheid, his exile in Mozambique, and his later appointment by Nelson Mandela to the Constitutional Court, Sachs kept the audience rapt with his storytelling as well as his dry wit.

The talk, titled 'The Value of Values: Lessons from the South African Transformation,' was directed at value and values which are at the heart of ISI's theme for the year. Sachs touched on issues that ranged from same-sex marriage and sexual equality, the death penalty, and revenge and vengeance.

During his visit to UMass and in addition to his talk, Sachs met with the current ISI fellows, conducted an interdisciplinary mixed graduate and undergraduate seminar. More photos from his visit can be found on our gallery

ISI Cosponsors Radha Radhakrishnan Talk

The Interdisciplinary Studies Institute is delighted to co-sponsor a presentation by our former UMass colleague, 'Radha' Radhakrishnan, who will talk on the topic of 'What Is Wrong With Humanism?', at 5 pm, Bartlett 316, on September 18th. Radhakrishnan is Chancellor's Professor of English and Comparative Literature and the University of California, Irvine.
 
His talk will draw on Said, Fanon, and Heidegger in thinking through the problematics of humanism and the avenues of relation open to us. As he writes, "I will be attempting to open up a critical theoretical space where the exilic mode can be cultivated as a double critique both of nationalism and of humanism and its deep inherence in the metaphysics of anthropocentrism." The talk is free and open to the public.

Value

The Interdisciplinary Studies Institute has chosen the theme "Value" for its 2014-15 faculty seminar. "Value" is one of our keywords, easy to say and to claim, though almost impossible to pin down in its complexity and range all the way from the most material to the most ethereal. Yet, has there ever been a society where questions of value have not been front and center, both foundation and purpose, assumption and teleology, a matter for dispute, conviction and doubt? As a term that has been construed in so many different forms in so many different contexts, it is an ideal topic for interdisciplinary investigation. Read on for a list of this year's fellows.

Laura Doyle and Team Awarded Mellon Foundation's Sawyer Grant

Laura Doyle, former ISHA 'Migrations' fellow, is part of a UMass faculty team awarded the prestigious Mellon Foundation's Sawyer Grant for their project, “Beyond Medieval and Modern: Rethinking Global Paradigms of Political Economy and Culture.”

This is the first time that UMass has received this grant, which will fund a postdoctoral graduate fellow and award two dissertation writing fellowships, and convene a series of seminar meetings on their topic. During academic year 2015-16, the seminar team will host leading scholars from the U.S. and abroad who bring a long-historical, global and postcolonial orientation to their research.

Other members of the team include Mwangi wa Gĩthĩnji from Economics, Joselyn Almeida Beveridge from English, Annette Damayanti Lienau from Comparative Literature and Honors College, and Johan Mathews from Economics and History. UMass's press release can be found here, and the Hampshire Gazette's coverage here.

Albie Sachs To Give Lecture at UMass

Called "arguably the world's most famous judge" in The Guardian, the famed South African judge Albie Sachs will give a lecture on September 10 at Umass at 4 p.m. in the new Integrative Learning Center, room south 331. Sachs's lecture will be on "The Value of Values: Lessons from the South African Transformation" and will inaugurate this year's ISI theme, "Value."

Max Page Completes Tenure as Rome Prize Fellow

Current ISI 'Value' fellow Max Page completed his tenure as a Rome Prize Fellow at the American Academy in Rome. Awarded annually by the American Academy in Rome to about 30 scholars in diverse fields, the prize includes a two-year stipend plus room and board on the Academy's 11-acre campus. Page was in Rome from January to July, during which he kept a blog of more than 200 entries, including photos and observations.

Page researched the way the era of Mussolini is remembered, memorialized, and marked on the physical places of Rome, and his interview with the American Academy in Rome about his work can be found here. Upon returning to Massachusetts, Page published an article in the Boston Globe, "The Roman Architecture of Mussolini, Still Standing."

Janice Irvine Wins Contexts Claude Award

ISI Board Member and Sociology professor Janice Irvine was awarded the Contexts Claude Award for "Can't Ask, Can't Tell: How Institutional Review Boards Keep Sex in the Closet" by the American Sociology Association's magazine. She will be honored at the editorial board meeting during the ASA conference on August 16.

Her article was published in the same magazine in spring 2012, and the award is designed to recognize "outstanding contributions to Contexts...as judged by the members of the magazine's editorial board." The award series is named after Claude Fischer, the ASA magazine's founding editor.

Find the UMass press release here and a podcast interview with Irvine about her work, hosted on the Society Pages, here.

Boyce Publishes Op-Ed in the New York Times on 'The Carbon Dividend'

Former ISHA Fellow and ISI Board Member Jim Boyce has published an op-ed in the New York Times on 'The Carbon Dividend'. In it, Boyce examines the efforts of Maryland Representative Chris Van Hollen to introduce a plan to auction pollution permits. Boyce, a Professor of Economics at UMass Amherst, specializes in development economies and environmental economics.

 

ISI Director Stephen Clingman Remembers Nadine Gordimer

Nobel laureate Nadine Gordimer passed away at age 90, leaving behind a legacy of more than 30 books, political commentary, and activism. ISI Director Stephen Clingman, whose first book was The Novels of Nadine Gordimer: History From the Inside (1986) and later edited a collection of Gordimer's essays, The Essential Gesture: Writing, Politics and Places (1988), developed a personal friendship with Gordimer along with a scholarly interest in her works. Clingman's tribute to Gordimer in The Conversation recalls Gordimer's "steadfastness, loyalty, toughness, tenderness, and most of all great friendship." Additionally, Clingman's essay "Première fois, dernière fois, souvenirs de Nadine Gordimer" was published in translation in Libération. In an interview on Los Angeles's KCRWClingman recalls the beginning of a "great working relationship" with Gordimer, and comments on her fiction, politics, and tenacity to tell the truth. Clingman was responsible for inviting Gordimer to give the English Department's Troy Lecture in 1991; she gave her talk the very week that she was named the winner of the Nobel Prize.

ISI Fellow Rebecca Lorimer Leonard Receives Promising Researcher Award

The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) recognized current ISI Fellow Rebecca Lorimer Leonard with the Promising Researcher Award. The Award recognizes early scholarship that shows promise in influencing the direction of English Studies. Of Lorimer Leonard's work, the committee writes, "Dr. Leonard’s paper takes research in multilingual literacies to a new level by critiquing the romanticizing of 'literacies on the move' and suggesting that educators need to 'leverage' linguistic histories to 'better support multilingual writers' as they adjust dispositions toward language norms and build meta-awareness about their moves within and across languages. This is a much needed piece that addresses the needs of teacher educators—as well as researchers and practitioners in English education, literacy studies, rhetoric, sociolinguistics, and linguistic anthropology--all of whom will gain invaluable insight from Dr. Leonard’s critical analysis."

The announcement as well as a full list of past recipients can be found here

Gubrium's "Hear Our Stories" Project Launches

ISI Fellow Aline Gubrium is the lead PI for "Hear Our Stories: Diasporic Youth for Sexual Rights and Justice." The research project, funded by the Ford Foundation, is comprised of digital stories told by young mothers enrolled at the Community Adolescent Resources and Education (CARE) Center of Holyoke. Interviewed by New England Public Radio, Gubrium explains that the project helps to "put a face on human policy," and that "[d]igital story telling is a great way to do it. It is shore, captures peoples' attention. It shows the young women in these stories as people getting by in their lives just like everybody else."

The stores were shown for the first time in Holyoke, and subsequent showings are planned for New York City and Boston. Find NePR's coverage here, and a YouTube video about the project here.

2014 ISI Capstone, "Dimensions of Emancipation"

ISI presented a roundtable discussion featuring fellows of the 2013-14 ISI faculty seminar on Emancipation. The seminar was inspired by the the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, and during the year the fellows addressed the general topic from a wide range of approaches across the disciplines. The roundtable aimed to return some of their insights and interactions to a wider audience, as well as to encourage audience participation at the close of another successful and busy year.

The event was held on Thursday, April 24 at 4PM in Bartlett 316, free and open to the public, and all faculty and students were encouraged to attend. 

Moon Receives Guggenheim Fellowship

Former ISHA Fellow Young Min Moon has been selected to receive a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship. Moon, an associate professor of studio art at UMass was one of 178 scholars, artists, and scientists in the United States and Canada to be chosen from a group of almost 3,000 applicants on the basis of "prior achievement and exceptional promise." Moon’s practice of art and art criticism are informed by his experience of migration across cultures and hybridized nature of identities in the context of the historical and political relationship between modern Asia and North America. More information about the artist and the award can be found here.

ISI Fellow Mednicoff Receives ZiF Fellowship

Current ISI Fellow David Mednicoff has been invited to be a fellow for a research group on Balancing Religious Accommodation and Human Rights and Human Rights in Constitutional Frameworks. He will be working on his book on the rule of law and religious politics in cross-national Arab perspective, as well as a related law review article and book chapter.

The ZiF is Bielefeld University's Institute for Advanced Study, and fosters outstanding and innovative interdisciplinary research projects, which it selects through a highly competitive application process. A statement of the theme of the fellowship work group can be found here. A list of the members of the work group including Mednicoff, can be found here.

Mandiba's Gifts: Nelson Mandela's Life and Legacies - A Tribute

The event Mandiba's Gifts: Nelson Mandela's Life and Legacies - A Tribute will take place on Friday, April 4 as part of Five College Africa Day 2014. The event will take place at 4PM in Bowker Auditorium, Stockbridge Hall and feature keynote speaker Garrey M. Dennie, former speech writer for Nelson Mandela and Professor of History at St. Mary's College of Maryland.

Clingman Delivers 2014 Pritzen Lecture

ISI Director Stephen Clingman will deliver the 2014 Jackie M. Pritzen Lecture entitled "Rights, Routes and Refugees: The Fiction of Caryl Phillips" on Thursday, April 3 at 4:30PM at Events Hall East at the Commonwealth Honors College. This annual lecture honors Jackie M. Pritzen, who served the Five College Consortium for 26 years, working with faculty members to build and sustain academic cooperation across the five institutions. Each year it celebrates a distinguished faculty member whose scholarship, teaching and service continue that work.

Henderson Book is Finalist for Lambda Literary Award

Former ISI Fellow Lisa Henderson's book Love and Money: Queers, Class, and Cultural Production (NYU 2013), one chapter of which was developed in an ISHA seminar, is a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in the category of LGBT Studies. Finalists for the awards were announced in early March by the Lambda Literary Foundation. The Lambda Literary Awards celebrate achievement in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) writing for books published in 2013. The winners will be announced at a ceremony on June 2 at Cooper Union in New York City.

More information about the award can be found here.

2013 Report on Research Highlights ISI

The 2013 University of Massachusetts Amherst Report on Research highlights the Interdisciplinary Studies Institute (ISI) in "Crossing Boundaries: Interdisciplinary Studies' Intellectual Adventure". The annual Report on Research is a report on the campus's achievements in research, scholarship, and creative activity by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement.

The report celebrate's the ISI's promotion to a full-fledged institute, notes the publication of its first book, and features commentary from ISI fellows past and present. The full report on the ISI can be found here.

Review of 'Negotiating Culture' in March 2014 issue of CHOICE

A review in the March 2014 issue of CHOICE "highly recommends" the volume Negotiating Culture: Heritage, Ownership, and Intellectual Property, edited by Laetitia La Follette. CHOICE is a publication of the Association of College and Research Libraries.

Negotiating Culture examines issues of cultural heritage and intellectual property in a variety of contexts, from contests over tangible artifacts to more abstract forms of culture such as language and oral traditions. This edited volume originates from the productive discussions of the ISI faculty seminars. More information about the book from the University of Massachusetts Press can be found here.

Krauthamer Book Wins NAACP Image Award

Current ISI Fellow Barbara Krauthamer's book with photographic historian Deborah Willis Envisioning Emancipation: Black Americans and the End of Slavery won the 45th Annual NAACP Image Award in the category of non-fiction. The awards, presented in 35 categories in literature, motion pictures, recording, documentary, writing and directing, were televised live Feb. 22 from Pasadena, Calif.  The awards celebrate the achievements of people of color in the arts and the promotion of social justice through creative endeavors.

Envisioning Emancipation illustrates what freedom looked like for black Americans in the Civil War era. From photos of the enslaved on plantations and African-American soldiers and camp workers in the Union Army to Juneteenth celebrations, slave reunions, and portraits of black families and workers in the American South, the images in this book challenge perceptions of slavery. They show not only what the subjects emphasized about themselves but also the ways Americans of all colors and genders opposed slavery and marked its end. Krauthamer and Willis amassed 150 photographs—some never before published—from the antebellum days of the 1850s through the New Deal era of the 1930s.

More information about Krauthamer's award can be found here.

 

Publication of David Bollier's Book

The Interdisciplinary Studies Institute (ISI) celebrates the publication of former ISI fellow David Bollier's book Think Like a Commoner: A Short Introduction to the Life of the Commons by New Society Publishers. Bollier's book provides a "succinct overview of the great diversity of commons in the world; the many pernicious enclosures now being fought; the logic, worldview and ethics of the commons; and the burgeoning international movement of commoners, especially in Europe and the global South." More information about the book and its author can be found here. Amherst Books will host an event celebrating the publication of Bollier's book on Monday, March 31st at 5:30pm.

ISI Call for Applications 2014 - 2015: Value (Application Deadline Extended)

The Interdisciplinary Studies Institute has chosen the theme "Value" for its 2014-15 faculty seminar. "Value" is one of our keywords, easy to say and to claim, though almost impossible to pin down in its complexity and range all the way from the most material to the most ethereal. Yet, has there ever been a society where questions of value have not been front and center, both foundation and purpose, assumption and teleology, a matter for dispute, conviction and doubt? As a term that has been construed in so many different forms in so many different contexts, it is an ideal topic for interdisciplinary investigation.

For our 2014 - 2015 seminar, we invite participants to explore our theme from the vantage point of different disciplinary and/or creative perspectives. How has value been construed at different points in history, or by different cultures? How has it been construed in philosophy, literature, economics, psychology, journalism, education or science? As a concept that evokes broad theoretical issues as well as specific historical, political, intellectual and creative concerns, we are confident that it will create a rich and invigorating topic for our selected cohort of faculty fellows. All fellows will receive a $1500 research allowance.

For a fuller description of the theme and information on how to apply, please click here. Please note: The deadline for submitting an application has been extended to Friday, March 7.

Barbara Fields to Deliver ISI Lecture

The Interdisciplinary Studies Institute (ISI) is delighted to host Professor Barbara Fields, who will visit UMass from February 18-20 for the ISI 2014 Residency. Professor Fields will present a public lecture entitled “Was Emancipation a War Crime?” on Wednesday, February 19th in Campus Center 165-169 at 5 p.m. In addition, through the course of her stay she will visit classes in an array of departments and take part in several graduate seminars, as well as engage with this year’s ISI fellows, who are discussing the theme of “Emancipation” through the year. 

Professor Fields is the recipient of several prestigious awards, including a 1992 MacArthur Fellowship, the John H. Dunning Prize of the American Historical Association, the Founders Prize of the Confederate Memorial Literary Society, and the Thomas Jefferson Prize for the Society of the History of the Federal Government. Professor Fields is Professor of History at Columbia University. 

For a complete schedule of events, see our Residency page. 

Barbara Fields, "Was Emancipation a War Crime?"

February 18 - 20, 2014

Barbara Fields visited the UMass campus and the ISI community from February 18 - 20 as the 2014 ISI Resident. Her visit was active, wide-ranging and successful. She presented a public lecture entitled "Was Emancipation a War Crime?" to an engaged audience of faculty, students, and community members. In addition, she visited classes in the departments of History, Anthropology, and Afro-American Studies, as well as taking part in several graduate seminars, and conversing with this year's ISI fellows, who have been discussing the theme of "Emancipation" in this year's seminar. Special thanks to Professor Fields and the many others in the ISI community who made the 2014 Residency such an exciting, engaging experience for all.

Photographer and Activist Zanele Muholi Visits Smith College

The Interdisciplinary Studies Institute (ISI) is pleased to co-sponsor the event 'Black Queer Born Frees in South Africa' at Smith College on February 4, 2014. Photographer and visual activist Zanele Muholi will show photographs and a video produced in Durban as part of a presentation exploring Black Frees (the generation born in post-apartheid South Africa and known as Mandela's great-grandchildren) and how each person expresses him/herself queerly in a time of troubling hate crimes in South Africa. The young adults she depicts are those born in 1990-1994, and openly gay/lesbian/trans with/in South African borders. This event will take place in the Browsing Room of Neilson Library on the Smith College campus on Tuesday, February 4 from 5-7pm.

Muholi's work will be on display at the Williams College Museum of Art from February 1, 2014 - April 27, 2014.

Clingman Gives Mandela Tribute at Faculty Senate

On December 12, 2013, ISI Director Stephen Clingman addressed the Faculty Senate with a tribute to Nelson Mandela. Clingman's tribute recalls his own meeting with Mandela in 1991 and commemorates Mandela's vision of liberation, and his legacy. The full-length tribute can be found here on the Massachusetts Review's website.

Earlier this past summer, Clingman was interviewed by the Hampshire Gazette for the article "South African UMass Professors Reflect on Life of Nelson Mandela." In the article, Clingman describes conversing with Mandela while conducting research for his book Bram Fischer: Afrikaner Revolutionary, about the lawyer and anti-apartheid activist Bram Fischer who defended Mandela. Clingman's recollections about Mandela, as well as those of other South African UMass professors, can be found here.

Lugosch Recognized with "Women in Design" Award

ISI Board member and graduate program director of architecture + design Kathleen Lugosch was presented with the prestigious Women in Design Award on November 20 by the Boston Society of Architects. The award is given "in recognition of a person who has designed her own life in design, whose work exemplifies the best of process and practice, and who uses a position of achievement to give back to the world of design and to the community at large."

The full text of Lugosch's acceptance speech can be found here

Window Hosts Shona Macdonald's Exhibition

window, a site-specific, minimalist exhibition space in Asheville, North Carolina, will host current ISI Fellow Shona Macdonald's installation Weather in Winter from December 1- 31, 2013.

The installation was developed for window (re/production, re/presentation) but originated in 1997 when Macdonald was "in a period of transition and without a studio in her home country of Scotland."

Theaster Gates to Give Public Lecture

The ISI is a proud cosponsor of the upcoming Theaster Gates visit to UMass. Gates will give a public lecture on November 4 titled "Du Bois: The Early Social Practitioner," at 5:00 PM Thompson 104 at UMass Amherst. His talk is part of the programming for the exhibition "Du Bois In Our Time" at the University Museum of Contemporary Art at UMass Amherst.

The artist Theaster Gates has developed an expanded practice that includes space development, object making, performance and critical engagement with many publics. Founder of the non-profit Rebuild Foundation, Gates is currently Director of Arts and Public Life at the University of Chicago.

 

Current ISI Fellow Shona Macdonald Discusses Her Work

Current ISI fellow Shona Macdonald discusses her creative process and the relationship between landscape and memory in this video produced by UMass as part of the Research Next project, which highlights faculty research for its scholarship and creativity. Macdonald describes her work's relationship with interdisciplinarity, clarifying, "We talk about interdisciplinarity. And sometimes when people say that they mean the links between sculpture and painting. But when I say it I actually mean the links between art and geography, art and history, art and architecture, art and English." 

Joya Misra Develops Gender and Society Blog

Joya Misra, member of the 2012-13 seminar on "Engagment," developed the Gender & Society blog during her fellowship year. As editor of the top-ranked journal in Gender Studies, Gender & Society, Misra wanted to ensure that the research published in the journal was also accessible to wider publics. The blog presents short, accessible summaries of articles and books, and responses to current issues by top feminist scholars.

Negotiating Culture Book Launch

Celebrate ISI's first book! A book launch and book signing for ISI's first edited collection, Negotiating Culture, will be held at Amherst Books on October 11 at 4.30 p.m. Edited by Laetitia La Follette, the volume includes contributions from David Bollier, Stephen Clingman, Susan DiGiacomo, Oriol Pi-Sunyer, Margaret Speas, Banu Subramaniam, Joe Watkins, & Martin Wobst and originated from ISI's productive faculty seminars. A review by contributor David Bollier can be found here. Negotiating Culture examines issues of cultural heritage and intellectual property in a variety of contexts, from contests over tangible artifacts to more abstract forms of culture such as language and oral traditions.

ISI Cosponsors "Du Bois In Our Time" Symposium and Exhibition

The Interdisciplinary Studies Institute (ISI) is a proud sponsor of the upcoming "Du Bois in Our Time" Symposium and Exhibition at the University Museum of Contemporary Art at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Displaying artwork from internationally acclaimed artists from around the world, the exhibition aims to stimulate conversation about the legacy of W.E.B. Du Bois for modern times. The exhibition opens on September 10, 2013 and a series of education events will continue into the fall semester, free and open to the public. 

The interdisciplinary symposium on September 28, 2013 brings together diverse panelists to discuss Du Bois in the twenty-first century and to put in artists and scholars in conversation with students and the community. This event is also free and open to the public, but registration is required. 

ISI Announces Fellows for 2013-14 Seminar, "Emancipation"

ISI Seminar 2013-14

ISI is proud to announce a new roster of fellows for the 2013-2014 seminar, 'Emancipation,' which commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. The notion of emancipation has a larger history beyond the abolition of slavery in the United States, and is related to broader conceptions of human agency, autonomy, and equality. The concept has been closely connected with notions of democracy, universal human rights, social and economic justice, gender and sexual equality, and the freedom from constraints that inhibit self-determination. It also has a long philosophical and theological lineage in debates over free will, human agency, necessity and divine preordination. Its links reach from the creative to the scientific spheres.

For more information on the seminar and to see a list of next year's fellows, click read more.

 

Guatanamo Public Memory Project Opens

The ISI is a proud sponsor of the "Why Guantanamo?" public memory project, whose exhibition opens on September 11 at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst campus. UMass is the first stop for this national touring exhibition, which depicts the history and continuing debate around the Guantanamo Bay prison and military base. The exhibition can be viewed in the Herter Art Gallery from 11:00-4:00, September 11- October 9. 

Mari Casteñada to Be Featured at Book Reading of "Mothers In Academia"

Current ISI fellow Mari Castañeda, associate professor of communications and director of diversity advancement for the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences will read from her new co-edited book, "Mothers in Academia." The book launch and reading will be held at Food For Thought Books in Amherst, Massachusetts at noon on Saturday, September 14, 2013.

First ISI Book Published

The Interdisciplinary Studies Institute (ISI) celebrates the publication of the first edited collection originating from the productive discussions of its faculty seminars. Negotiating Culture: Heritage, Ownership, and Intellectual Property examines issues of cultural heritage and intellectual property in a variety of contexts, from contests over tangible artifacts to more abstract forms of culture such as language and oral traditions. More information from the University of Massachusetts Press can be found here.

Lugosch Named Fellow by American Insitute of Architects

ISI Board member Kathleen Lugosch was elevated to fellow of the American Institute of Architects on June 21, 2013 at the AIA's National Convention in Denver, Colorado. 

Lugosch's honor recognizes her outstanding contribution to the creation of the first public accredited architecture program in New England as well as her excellence in the profession. Her nomination notes that the architecture program is distinctly interdisciplinary, drawing faculty from diverse departments such landscape and regional planning, engineering, art history, history, and the interdisciplinary environmental sciences program. Lugosch's contributions to the program include working to provide access to an architectural education regardless of financial ability and to promote women's interest and involvement in architecture careers. 

A full list of the 2013 fellows can be found here.

Jane Anderson Gives Lecture at Library of Congress

 Jane Anderson, ISI fellow 2012-13, gave a lecture entitled "Anxieties of Authorship and Ownership: Intellectual Property, Indigenous Collections and Decolonial Futures" on April 3, 2013 at the Library of Congress. Anderson's lecture was part of the Benjamin Botkin Folklife Lecture Series at the American Folklife Center. Anderson's talk focused on the "author" in the colonial archive as legal and cultural construct, bringing together her interdisciplinary research in international intellectual property law and the protection of Indigenous/traditional knowledge and culture. A list of the 2013 Botkin Lecture Series speakers can be found here

University Honors Badgett with Conti Fellowship

M.V. Lee Badgett, former ISHA fellow and current director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration, has been awarded the Samuel F. Conti Faculty Fellowship, a prestigious honor from the University of Massachusetts Amherst recognizing outstanding scholarly achievement. The fellowship includes a cash prize and a year-long leave of absence, which Badgett intends to spend exploring the economic impact that social and legal equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people has on developing countries around the world, as well as on employers in the United States.

Badgett is also currently completing a book manuscript, How to Use Research to Change the World, which began as her ISHA project for the 2010-2011 seminar, (Ir)rationality and Public Discourse. ISI offers her warm congratulations on both accomplishments.

'Transformations' Fellow Page Wins Rome Prize

ISI is thrilled to congratulate Max Page, former ISHA fellow and Professor of Art, Architecture, and Art History, for his win of the prestigious Rome Prize for Historical Preservation and Conservation. Awarded annually by the American Academy in Rome to about 30 scholars in diverse fields, the prize includes a two-year stipend plus room and board on the Academy's 11-acre campus. Page plans to spend the Spring 2014 semester in Italy, where he will continue work on his latest project,  “Usable Pasts: The Legacy of Mussolini and the Lessons of Scarpa."

ISI Panel on the Challenges of Public Scholarship

On Wednesday, April 24th at 4 pm, the Interdisciplinary Studies Institute will host a panel discussion on 'The Challenges of Public Scholarship' featuring fellows from our current seminar, in Campus Center room 904-08. The event will highlight the work of our fellows, and allow the campus community to join in the conversation on a timely and significant topic. In many ways, we are all being challenged to consider our wider relevance to the communities and society around us, yet definitions of 'engagement' and 'relevance' may vary widely, not least across the disciplines as well as for those working in interdisciplinary environments. At the same time, those who wish to undertake public scholarship confront a variety of challenges, whether obtaining research funding, finding appropriate publication venues, or meeting tenure and promotion criteria. Our panelists will get the discussion going, but this will be an opportunity to have a wide-ranging, collaborative conversation.

Following the Capstone Event, join us at the Faculty Club at 6 pm for drinks and appetizers as we celebrate the first year anniversary of ISI!

ISI Cosponsors Conference on Cultural Heritage

The Interdisciplinary Studies Institute (ISI) will cosponsor an international conference hosted by The University of Massachusetts Amherst Center for Heritage and Society. ‘The Past for Sale? New Perspectives on the Economic Entanglements of Cultural Heritage’ will take place on the UMass Amherst Campus on May 15-17, 2013. The goal of the conference is to bring together a wide range of academics, economists, heritage professionals, development experts, government officials, and community leaders to examine the economic impact of cultural heritage. Rather than seeing tourism, urban redevelopment, and antiquities looting as distinct economic problems—as case-by-case profits and/or losses—the conferences hopes to encourage a multi-disciplinary discussion of the economic entanglements of cultural heritage.

Professor Michael Gomez (NYU) Gives Lecture

On Thursday, April 18th, the World Studies Interdisciplinary Project (WSIP) brings Professor Michael Gomez to campus for a talk entitled 'Malian Malestrom: Mayhem and Meaning in the Muslim World' in Herter 601 at 4:00. The lecture will center on Islam in Africa and current political troubles in Mali. The Interdisciplinary Studies Institute was a major sponsor of the original WSIP symposium and is proud to cosponsor this exciting event, which is part of a two-day visit by Professor Gomez. For full details and schedule of events, see the WSIP website.

Steve Tracy Visits China as Chu Tian Scholar

This past winter, current ISI Fellow Steve Tracy journeyed to China on the first of five visits as the Chu Tian Scholar at Central China Normal University in Wuhan. His duties will include teaching two courses per year, delivering lectures, and supervising graduate students, as well as conducting scientific research and promoting the development of African American literature as a disciplinary field.

Former ISI Fellow Lisa Henderson Launches Book

Lisa Henderson (Cultures and Co-Existence, 2002) announces the release of her new book: Love & Money: Queers, Class, & Cultural Production. Henderson, who teaches in the Department of Communication at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, has published in such journals as Signs, Journal of Communication, GLQ, Feminist Media Studies, and Screen.  Her new book argues that we can't understand contemporary queer cultures without looking through the lens of social class. Resisting old divisions between culture and economy, identity and privilege, left and queer, recognition and redistribution, Love & Money offers new approaches to capturing class experience and class form in and around queerness.

Theory from the South: Jean and John Comaroff

 

The Interdisciplinary Studies Institute (ISI) hosted inspirational anthropologists Jean and John Comaroff for its inaugural residency. For the past thirty years, the Comaroffs’ work has influenced a generation of scholars interested in questions of identity and resistance in both colonial and postcolonial cultures in Africa and elsewhere. Writing both separately and together, their recent work has ventured into the intersections of law and ethnicity as well as relations between the global north and south. For many years distinguished professors at the University of Chicago, Jean and John Comaroff are now Professors of African and African American Studies and Oppenheimer Fellows in African Studies at Harvard University. Their most recent books include Law and Disorder in the Postcolony (2006), Ethnicity, Inc. (2009), and Theory from the South, or How Euro-America is Evolving Toward Africa (2011).

 

Biondi Speaks on ‘The Black Revolution on Campus'

On February 28th, the Interdisciplinary Studies Institute (ISI) was pleased to host a stimulating lecture with Professor Martha Biondi, Associate Professor of African American Studies and History at Northwestern University. Professor Biondi holds the position of Graduate Director in one of the first African American departments to grant a Ph.D. in the discipline, where her research examines the intersection of 20th Century African American History with social movements, politics, labor, gender, cities, and international affairs. Her critically acclaimed To Stand and Fight: the Struggle for Civil Rights in Postwar New York City received two prestigious awards: the Meyers Outstanding Book Award (2004) and the Thomas J. Wilson Prize (2003). Recent publications include articles in several journals and edited collections and, in 2012, The Black Revolution on Campus, from which her talk was drawn.

Magnet Theater Artists Visit UMass

ISI contributed to a week-long residency hosted by the Theater department, which brought four artists from Magnet Theatre, based in Cape Town, South Africa, to the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus. The artists—director and scholar Mark Fleishman, performers Jennie Reznek and Faniswa Yisa, and composer Neo Muyanga—performed their award-winning piece about the effects of forced migration, xenophobia, and the triumph of the human imagination Every Year, Every Day, I Am Wallking in The Curtain Theater. Their residency also included movement and devised theatre-making workshops (Reznek and Yisa), a public lecture on South African theatre and politics (Fleishman), and a musical lecture demonstration (Muyanga).