ISI Seminar 2013-14

ISI commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation with the theme of ‘Emancipation’ for its 2013-2014 seminar.  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 the ISI seminar on Emancipation, participants will explore this theme from the vantage point of different disciplinary and/or creative perspectives. What are the structures, discourses, and practices of human emancipation and autonomy? How has emancipation been figured historically? How do we figure it now? What are the intellectual, historical, social, cultural, psychological, imaginative and even biological conditions that make human emancipation possible—or constrain it? How do conceptions of emancipation play off between the human and natural worlds—for example in our relation to other species? What are the complex links between emancipation and ethics?


Mari Castañeda

Darrell Earnest

Tanisha Ford
Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

John Higginson

Barbara Krauthamer

Shona Macdonald
Art, Architecture, and Art History

David Mednicoff
Public Policy/Middle Eastern Studies

Rachel Mordecai

Jen Sandler

Jim Smethurst
Afro-American Studies