Seminars

ISI seminars run for a year, and are organized around specific themes. Fellows alternate in leading the discussion, pursuing a particular project in which they are interested. Though the theme is common to all, fellows inevitably approach it from their own points of view and disciplinary perspectives. The result is an interdisciplinary exchange which provides intellectual stimulation and furthers the individual and collaborative work of all concerned. The basis for discussion may be a formal or informal presentation; a set of readings (or images, or music); a piece of writing or work of art composed by the presenter(s); or some combination. The ethos is democratic and interactive, allowing for free-flowing discussion and stimulation. Below you will find a description of our current seminar, as well as a list of the Fellows and their projects.

2018 Graduate Seminar Application Call: 'Dissent'

Graduate Seminar 2018: Call for Applications

Dissent

Dissent has gained great prominence. How do we conceive of dissent in the past and the present, whether this relates to racism, women’s rights, gay and transgender rights, migrant and immigrant rights, human rights, labor rights, education, health and other areas of stress and vulnerability? In an era in which Islamophobia, racism, and xenophobia are renascent, questions of solidarity and dissent are likely to take on increasing importance. Where scientific consensus—for example on climate change—is under threat, there may for once be a paradoxical overlap between consensus and dissent. Where ‘truth’ itself has become a malleable political commodity, a matter of performance and simulacrum rather than fact, how will we tie dissent to notions of evidence and truth? How will evidence and truth be legitimated?

The Interdisciplinary Studies Institute encourages you to think widely around the topic. We invite you to join a cohort of like-minded—or dissenting—colleagues as we construct a sustained conversation on dissent as our theme for this year.  For the first time, we add a forum for graduate students to participate in discussion and engagement across the disciplines. No matter your field, period, cultural focus, discipline or perspective, we invite you to submit a proposal setting out your contribution to the seminar's theme. Graduate Fellows selected to participate in the seminar will receive $200 in research funds (and lunch, see below).

The proposal should describe in no more than 300 words the nature of your project and how you would present it to the seminar. The proposal should be accompanied by a brief 50-word description of how your project contributes to your progress toward degree, a brief endorsement from your principal faculty advisor, and a copy of your curriculum vitae. The 8-10 Graduate Fellows will meet at regular intervals during the Spring 2018 semester. Each Fellow presents once; during their presentation they facilitate discussion of their project, and they receive feedback reflecting the interdisciplinary perspectives of the seminar participants. The obligations of the group include participating in a capstone event at the end of the year, also attended by the participants' faculty advisors. Meetings will be held on 12-2 pm on Wednesdays or Thursdays (the day will decided based on participants' availability), so you must be free at one of those time. Proposal and description of your project's contribution to your degree should be sent by email to isi@umass.edu by December 7, 2017. Your advisor's endorsement should be sent separately to the same address by the same deadline.

For more information on the seminar or ISI, please contact the Director, John Kingston, at jkingston@linguist.umass.edu or see our website at www.umass.edu/isi. Major funding for ISI comes from the Provost, and the Deans of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts and the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

ISI: Director, Board Members, and Graduate Research Assistants

John Kingston, ISI Director, Department of Linguistics
Lisa Henderson, Department of Communication
Randall Knoper, Department of English
Kathleen Lugosch, Department of Architecture
Lauren Silber, Department of English
Wouter van Erve, Department of Political Science