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.

Stephen Clingman Authors Memoir, 'Birthmark'

When Clingman was two, he underwent an operation to remove a birthmark under his right eye. The operation failed, and the birthmark returned, but in somewhat altered form. In his book, Clingman takes the fact of that mark – its appearance, disappearance and return – as a guiding motif of memory. This is how we remember the worlds we are born into, how they become a set of images in the mind, surfacing and resurfacing across time and space. South Africa under apartheid was itself governed by the markings of birth – the accidents of color, race, and skin.

Ervin Staub Publishes "The Roots of Goodness and Resistance to Evil"

Former ISI fellow and Professor Emeritus of Psychology Ervin Staub recently published his new book, The Roots of Goodness and Resistance to Evil. In this book, Ervin Staub draws on his extensive experiences in scholarship and intervention to illuminate the socializing experiences, education, and trainings that lead children and adults to become helpers/active bystanders and rescuers, acting to prevent violence and create peaceful and harmonious societies. 

Britt Rusert Awarded Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies Essay Prize

Assistant Professor of Afro-American Studies Britt Rusert was awarded the 2014 Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies (INCS) essay prize for her essay "Delany's Comet: Fugitive Science and the Speculative Imaginary of Emancipation." The prize recognizes excellence in interdisciplinary scholarship on any nineteenth-century topic. Last year "Delany's Comet" also received finalist mention for the Constance Rourke Prize, awarded by the American Studies Association (ASA) for the best article published in American Quarterly.

Banu Subramaniam Publishes Ghost Stories for Darwin

ISI board member Banu Subramaniam published Ghost Stories for Darwin: The Science of Variation and the Politics of Diversity with the University of Illinois Press in October. The book brings together her work on flower color variation in morning glories and the feminist studies of sciences. The interdisciplinary book bridges the social history of plants, women's studies, evolutionary and invasive biology, and the history of ecology. Donna J. Haraway comments that Subramaniam's book "destabilizes the old exchange rates and proposes instead a wealth of narratives and experimental conceptual and laboratory practices for doing evolutionary biology, ecology, and women's studies together." The book can be found here

ISI Cosponsors Conflict Transformation and Literature Series

ISI is a proud cosponsor of The Art of Conflict Transformation Event Series, whose two-day event "Conflict Transformation and Literature: Exploring Transformations of Conflict Across Boundaries of Language, Nation states, Time and Memory" will take place from November 12-13. The event is organized by former ISHA/ISI fellow Leah Wing, and features Dr. Marjorie Agosin in three different engagements.

The first, on Wednesday November 12 at 12:30 pm in Herter 601, is an interdisciplinary graduate student conversation titled "The Aesthetics of Social Justice Activism through Literature." The second is a reading and conversation titled "Weaving the Memories of OThers" in the Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies at November 12 at 4:30 pm. Dr. Agosin's UMass visit will conclude with "Human Rights and the Arts," a student conversation on November 13 in the Honors College, Elm 230, at 10:00 a.m.

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.