seminars

ISI 'Trespassing' Fellows 2016-17

In the call for the 2016-17 ISI seminar, 'Trespassing,' ISI fellows were asked to reflect on the act of trespassing and examine it as an intellectual, scientific, artistic, political, social, cultural or legal act. Trespassing is ordinarily thought of as a misdemeanor, if not a crime, and as a violation of a declared boundary. Moreover, changes to what the boundary protected are ordinarily treated as damage. Trespassing is never encouraged, generally prohibited, and often punished. It is a phenomenon that can take many forms, often no more than setting foot across a property line, but also migrating or fleeing across a territorial boundary, or working in a discipline other than one’s own.What obstructions do trespassers encounter, whether from colleagues, citizens or others who claim ownership? What does trespassing disrupt in one’s own well-honed practice or sense of the familiar? What is damaged and what is generated? And finally, how is trespassing transformed into collaboration and remapping, finding neighbors, colleagues and compatriots in new versions of home?

'Trespassing:' ISI Announces Call for 2016-2017 Fellows

 
Faculty Seminar 2016-17: Call for Applications

Trespassing

Trespassing is ordinarily thought of as a misdemeanor, if not a crime, and as a violation of a declared boundary. Moreover, changes to what the boundary protected are ordinarily treated as damage. Trespassing is never encouraged, generally prohibited, and often punished. It is a phenomenon that can take many forms, often no more than setting foot across a property line, but also migrating or fleeing across a territorial boundary, or working in a discipline other than one’s own.

A disciplinary example is the lengthy critique of the standard practice of historians in the second epilogue to Tolstoy’s War and Peace. Was Tolstoy trespassing and thereby intruding on a domain that properly belonged only to historians? Did his historiography mar War and Peace as literature? Alternatively, isn’t War and Peace admired for so effectively combining literature and history, and inventing a new form of the novel in the process? War and Peace may be emblematic of the 19th century’s scientific, academic, and aesthetic trespassing of the boundaries between disciplines and modes of investigation, but the 21st century has notable equivalents. Philosophers study neuroscience and neuroscientists study philosophy, economists use psychology and psychologists use economics, biologists model language change and linguists model evolution, computer scientists produce works of art and artists write code. This is a handful of examples among many in today’s scientific, academic and aesthetic practices.

A more fraught case of apparent trespass concerns today’s massive movement of migrants and refugees. Stakes are high as activists, policy-makers, opponents, and migrants themselves ask by whom and how boundaries should be controlled or policed. What is involved in crossing boundaries, both for those who cross, and those in the host territory? What are the losses, what are the gains? Are host locales enriched by new energies and new compassions, developing new versions of identity and purpose? What are the ethics of hosting that might diminish or even negate the hierarchy of ‘host’ and ‘intruder’? Are nations and their citizens morally obligated to accept the influx of migrants and refugees, just as practitioners of particular disciplines may be obliged to accept the contributions of ‘outsiders’?

We invite colleagues to reflect on the act of trespassing and examine it as an intellectual, scientific, artistic, political, social, cultural or legal act. We also invite you to trespass in your questions and design. What obstructions do trespassers encounter, whether from colleagues, citizens or others who claim ownership? What does trespassing disrupt in one’s own well-honed practice or sense of the familiar? What is damaged and what is generated? And finally, how is trespassing transformed into collaboration and remapping, finding neighbors, colleagues and compatriots in new versions of home?

The Interdisciplinary Studies Institute is a faculty forum for discussion and engagement across the disciplines. Each year the focal point of our activity is a seminar organized around a specific topic. No matter your field, period, cultural focus, discipline or perspective, we call on colleagues from the humanities and arts to the social sciences and sciences to bring your own inspiration to our theme and tell us how you would like to approach it. We invite you to submit a proposal setting out your particular interests. All fellows will receive a $1500 research allowance.

The proposal should describe in 1-2 pages the nature of your project and how you would present it to the seminar. The proposal should be accompanied by a copy of your c.v. The 8-10 fellows who are selected will meet at regular intervals during the academic year to discuss presentations from each seminar member in turn (each fellow presents once). Among the obligations of the group will be a capstone event at the end of the year. Meetings are on Fridays at lunch, so you must be free at that time. Proposals should be sent by email to isi@umass.edu by Monday, February 29th, 2016.

For more information on the seminar or ISI, please contact the Director, Stephen Clingman, at clingman@english.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, with additional funding from the Dean of the College of Natural Sciences.

Interdisciplinary Studies Institute: Director and Board Members
 
Stephen Clingman, ISI Director, Department of English
Lee Badgett, Center for Public Policy and Administration
Janice Irvine, Department of Sociology
Lisa Henderson, Department of Communication
John Kingston, Department of Linguistics
Randall Knoper, Department of English
Kathleen Lugosch, Department of Architecture
Banu Subramaniam, Department of Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies

ISI Selects Eleven Fellows for 2015-16 Faculty Seminar on “Secrecy, Publicity, Privacy, Security”

Eleven faculty members have been chosen by the Interdisciplinary Studies Institute (ISI) as fellows for its 2015-16 seminar on “Secrecy, Publicity, Privacy, Security.” The fellows will approach the theme from a variety of perspectives, ranging from the humanities to geosciences, computer science to finance. Each fellow will receive a $1,500 research allowance and participate in a yearlong faculty seminar.

Faculty Seminar 2015-16: Call for Applications

The ISI has chosen the theme "Secrecy, Publicity, Privacy, Security" for its 2015-16 faculty seminar. In taking on these terms, the ISI is drawn to a quadrant of concerns that may be read in various combinations and various ways. In this, we are of course engaged with the present, from issues of surveillance and the dark rooms of power, to practices of unmasking its operations. But we are also interested in these questions across various times, places, disciplines, creative practices, and approaches. Secrecy, publicity, privacy and security are key concepts that apply in a wide range of environments, making their discussion especially well suited for an interdisciplinary investigation.

We encourage applications by faculty across campus, no matter their discipline. As many former ISI fellows will attest, the ISI experience is at once integrative, creative, scholarly, collegial, and lively. All our selected fellows will receive a $1500 research allowance. For a full description of the theme and guidelines on how to apply, please continue below. Applications are due at isi@umass.edu by Monday, March 2, 2015.

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.

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.

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.

 

Engagement: The Challenge of Public Scholarship

ISI Seminar 2012-2013

In its inaugural year the newly established Interdisciplinary Studies Institute (ISI) takes up the legacy of W.E. B. Du Bois for its first seminar entitled ‘Engagement: The Challenge of Public Scholarship’. Following in Du Bois’s footsteps, we’d like to consider what public engagement means to us today, in whatever fields we explore, whether in the humanities, arts, social sciences, or natural sciences. What does it mean to be an engaged scholar or artist? What lines do we cross over—or open up—when we transfer our spheres of learning and dissemination from the academic to the public? What examples do great public intellectuals and artists give us, what problems have they had to confront? 

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