Calendar of Events

Fall 2014 IHGC Events

U.Va. Humanities Events this Week


Chris Celenza:
Machiavelli Today: Why He Matters Now

September 24
6 pm
Location TBA

In this talk, drawing on his new book, Machiavelli: A Portrait (forthcoming spring 2015 with Harvard University Press), Christopher S. Celenza presents a reading of Machiavelli that intersects with contemporary concerns. The Machiavelli we think we know turns out to be incomplete. Alongside the hard-nosed political thinker, there was also an idealist whose personal commitment to the political life serves as a lesson for today's disillusioned, cynical culture. Touching on Machiavelli's biography, his predilection for interpreting the past, and even today's media culture, Celenza presents a Machiavelli unfamiliar to modern readers.

 

Elleke Boehmer:
Madiba Magic: Charisma, Rhetoric, Authority, Love

October 1
1 pm
Harrison Institute Auditorium

This talk will offer an account of the ways in which Nelson Mandela’s charisma as a nationalist leader and first democratic President of South Africa was a self-conscious production, and of the ways in which the myth of Madiba was also a construction of others, including of the international anti-apartheid movement. Drawing from new research, as well as a reading of his prison correspondence and speeches, Boehmer will go on to explore other of the curious contradictions that distinguish Mandela’s life and legacy. Mandela was a self-styled Edwardian gentleman and an Anglophile, yet also an African nationalist; he was a democrat, yet he liked ‘to lead from the front’. Finally, the lecture will ask whether it is possible to speak of a Mandela-esque approach or philosophy; a thinking based, arguably, on the recognition of the other through friendship and love.

 

Kate Pickett:
The Costs of Human Inequality

November 3
1 pm
Location TBA

Inequality has always been regarded as divisive and socially corrosive. The data show that even small differences in the amount of inequality matter. Material inequality serves as a determinant of the scale and importance of social stratification. It increases status insecurity and competition and the prevalence of all the problems associated with relative deprivation. Particularly important are effects mediated by social status, friendship and early childhood experience. However, although the amount of inequality has its greatest effect on rates of problems among the poor, its influence extends to almost all income groups: too much inequality reduces levels of well-being among the vast majority of the population.

 

Mona Baker:
The Prefigurative Politics of Volunteer Subtitling in the Egyptian Revolution

November 19
1 pm
Location TBA

The idea of prefiguration originally derived from anarchist discourse; it involves experimenting with currently available means in such a way that they come to mirror or actualize the political ideals that inform a movement, thus collapsing the traditional distinction between means and ends. Practically all the literature on prefiguration has so far focused on structural, organizational and interactional issues. Specifically, existing literature has examined how activist communities attempt to create in their own interactions and in the way they organize their work the kind of society they envision: non-hierarchical, non-representational, respectful of diversity, etc. This presentation will explore the extent to which volunteer subtitling undertaken by disparate individuals for collectives connected with the Egyptian Revolution supports or undermines the prefigurative agendas of these collectives. In doing so, it will attempt to extend the current definition of prefiguration to encompass textual, visual and aesthetic practices that prefigure activist principles and actualize them in the present, focusing on the level of experimentation involved in subtitling video clips produced by two Egyptian collectives: Mosireen and Words of Women from the Egyptian Revolution.

 

Mike Hulme

November 19
4:30 pm
Location TBA

 

Bill Deresiewicz:
Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life

November 20
6 pm
Location TBA

Drawing from his book, Deresiewicz argues in this talk that as schools shift focus from the humanities to 'practical' subjects like economics and computer science, students are losing the ability to think in innovative ways. Deresiewicz explains how college should be a time for self-discovery, when students can establish their own values and measures of success, so they can forge their own path. He addresses parents, students, educators, and anyone who's interested in the direction of American society, featuring quotes from real students and graduates he has corresponded with over the years, candidly exposing where the system is broken and clearly presenting solutions.