Humanities Institute marks 5 years with conference on collaboration

By Bernie DeGroat
News and Information Services

The Institute for the Humanities will celebrate its fifth anniversary with a free, public conference Friday–Sunday (April 23–25) at Assembly Hall, Rackham Building.

The Institute’s “Conference on Collaboration” will explore why humanities professors continue to pursue specialized, rather than broad-based, research.

“The rewards that individual scholars seek—money, tenure, fame, release time—most often flow to people achieving high-quality production through strategies of specialization,” says Institute Director James A. Winn. “While the Institute is explicitly designed to stimulate dialogue across disciplines, the fellows who reside here often find themselves in the same quandary: can they justify giving up research time to educate themselves in areas not immediately relevant to their own work?”

Conference topics include: new strategies for scholarly collaboration, team teaching, redefining job descriptions and course offerings, and increased support for programs and institutes fostering interdepartmental collaboration.

The keynote address, “The Intellectual Economy of Interdisciplinary Scholarship,” will be delivered collaboratively at 7:30 p.m. Friday by Winn and Fred Bookstein, Institute Fellow. A response will be presented by Sidra Ezrahi, of the Univer-sity of Jerusalem who is a visiting fellow in Near Eastern Studies and Comparative Literature at Princeton University.

Saturday panel topics and speakers are:

9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.:

—Interdisciplinary Work and the Individual Scholar: Leonard Barkan, art history and English, moderator; “In the Borderlands,” Carol Neely, English and women’s studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; and “Climbing into the Abyss,” Lousie Stein, music/music history.

—Collaboration in Small Groups, Including Team Teaching: Michael C. Schoenfeldt, English, moderator; Sam Floyd, director, Center for Black Music Research, Columbia College, Chicago; “Food for Thought: the Gastronomics of Scholarly Collaboration,” Richard Crawford, music; “Forms of Musical Collaboration,” Timothy Taylor, music.

1:30–4:30 p.m.:

Interdisciplinary Collaboration and the Structure of the Modern University:

Diane M. Kirkpatrick, art history, moderator; “Interdisciplinary, Multidisciplinary, Non-disciplinary: Some Conceptions of Boundary Crossing,” Peter A. Railton, philosophy; Tom Zuidema, Harvard University Center for the Study of World Religions.

—Theory, Methodology and ‘the Profession’: Further Possibilities for Collaboration: June M. Howard, American culture, English, women’s studies, moderator; “Freedom from Discipline,” Geoffrey H. Eley, history; and “A Project on the Rhetoric of Inquiry,” Donald McCloskey, University of Iowa.

—Founded in 1987, the Institute promotes collaboration and exchange among scholars, artists and those interested in the humanities. It grants fellowships to U-M faculty and graduate students, hosts visiting fellows, and sponsors scholarly conferences and cultural events, including dance, theatrical and musical performances, and an annual exhibit of faculty art.

To register for the conference or for more information, call 936-3518.


Leave a comment

Commenting is closed for this article. Please read our comment guidelines for more information.