Humanities Institute

The University of Texas Humanities Institute Appoints Faculty Fellows To Discuss “Narrative Across the Disciplines”

Mon, September 17, 2018
The University of Texas Humanities Institute Appoints Faculty Fellows To Discuss  “Narrative Across the Disciplines”
Faculty Fellows seminar featuring Priscilla Wald.

The Humanities Institute is pleased to announce the 2018-2020 class of Faculty Fellows. The Humanities Institute selects faculty from across UT-Austin to participate in a weekly three-hour seminar during the 2019 calendar year. This year’s scholars will be presenting and discussing work concerning the theme of “Narrative Across the Disciplines.” The current Faculty Fellows are affiliated with the College of Liberal Arts, the College of Fine Arts, the Moody College of Communication, the School of Law, the School of Education, and the Dell Medical School. 

A centerpiece of the Humanities Institute, the Faculty Fellows Seminar provides scholars the opportunity to collaborate across disciplines over the course of a semester. Fellows share the perspective of their disciplines on the theme and receive feedback on works in progress. 

Faculty Fellows additionally have the opportunity to invite prominent visitors to campus to lead sessions of the seminar and deliver public lectures as part of the Institute’s Distinguished Visiting Lecture Series. The culmination of the Faculty Fellows Seminar will be a Symposium in Spring 2020 on “Narrative Across the Disciplines.” All of the 2019 Faculty Fellows will be invited to present papers, and there will be a keynote lecture from a Distinguished Visiting Lecturer selected by the members of the seminar.

With this year’s theme, the Humanities Institute aims to discuss the central role that narrative—stories and storytelling, broadly conceived—plays in a variety of fields and endeavors. The social function of stories is evident in disciplines such as medicine, law, cognitive science, sociology, communication, and economics, as well as in the traditional humanities.

Fellows will consider a range of questions related to narrative and storytelling.  For instance, what forms of inquiry and insight does a focus on narrative make available, and what might such a focus exclude? Conversely, what facets of the world, including perhaps the non-human, might be obscured by approaches that privilege narrative? How have new technologies affected the structure, performance, and reception of narrative? What can be learned by discussing narratives of various forms, media, and historical periods together?

Fellows for this year will be presenting from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. Charles Anderson (Theatre and Dance), A. Azfar Moin (Religious Studies), and Sonia Seeman (Music) will present on the role of narrative in theater and performance, while others such as Madeline Maxwell (Communication Studies), Carrie Barron and David Ring (Dell Medical School), and  Andrea Marsh (Law) will discuss practical applications of narrative in conflict resolution and in medical and legal settings.

Lauren Gutterman and Julia Mickenberg (American Studies) will consider aspects of gender and sexuality, specifically, trauma and female authorship, respectively. Meanwhile, Suzanne Seriff (Anthropology), Sara Simons (Theater and Dance), and Suzanne Scott (Radio-Television-Film) will discuss topics around race, culture, and social justice.

Scholars in the Faculty Fellows seminar are also reaching back in time: Jonathan Kaplan (Middle Eastern Studies), Ayelet Lushkov (Classics), and Deborah Beck (Classics), will present research on ancient narratives and narrative structure. Pramit Chaudhuri (also in Classics) and Youjeoung Oh (Asian Studies) intend to explore issues in the area of “digital humanities,” including computational approaches to literature and the proliferation of stories across social media and urban spaces, respectively. Juan J. Colomina-Almiñana (Mexican American and Latino/a Studies) will offer a linguistic and philosophical analysis of the semantics and mechanics of narratives and language.

In the area of politics and political narratives, Paul Stekler (Radio-Television-Film), Bartholomew Sparrow (Government), and Scott Stroud, (Communication Studies) aim to bring narrative analysis to  the world’s ever-shifting political landscape. Finally, Rebecca Torres (Geography and the Environment) and Megan Raby (History) will consider ecology and environmentalism through a focus on oral history and environmental narratives.

The full list of the 2018-2020 class of Faculty Fellows and their projects' titles can be found here. 

The Fellows’ research will be made public beginning in January 2019 on the Humanities Institute's blog Thinking in Community. This blog currently has information about the 2016-2018 seminar on Health, Well-Being, and Healing.


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