SPRING 2017 | SCHEDULE
TUESDAY, JANUARY 24 | NOON
BENJAMIN B. COHEN | Virgil C. Aldrich Faculty Fellow, Department of History, University of Utah
"Water in India’s Deccan: a hydrosocial perspective"
Water appears as liquid, ice, or steam, and can take shapes from raindrops to rivers,
and from water bottles to reservoirs. In this work-in-progress presentation, I will
speak from a current book project on water in India’s Deccan – a large region in south-central
India. The presentation will focus on material drawn from two periods of Deccan history,
the late medieval Kakatiya Empire, and the early modern Deccan Sultanates. I will
explore Deccan history through a hydrosocial lens that sees the relationship between
human and aquatic activity in the same analytic focus. This perspective, when deployed
over a long-term view of India’s history, offers insights into the ways in which water
and human activity have developed in the past, and continue to do so in the present.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 31 | NOON
JESSICA HOUF| Graduate Student Research Fellow, Department of Communication
Shit is nothing new. Humans-as-animals have produced a lot of shit, but how we react to this expelled mass is currently being revisited. Fecal microbiota transplants (FMT) have recently been approved for treatment of recurrent Clostridiumdifficile infections (RCDI). Despite being 90% effective, this treatment is prescribed by medical authorities only as a last resort for those experiencing the deteriorating effects of long-lasting diarrhea and colitis caused by RCDI. Due to this hesitation on the part of medical practitioners, many patients have taken shit into their own hands and created an alternative community engaged in home-based FMT.
This presentation explores patient narratives (from the website The Power of Poop) alongside medical literatures about FMT to understand differing feelings about “disgusting” feces. My key question is: why are fecal transplants felt to be too disgusting for people who are trained to deal with bodies, medical practitioners, while patients – who do not have such training – find them to be acceptable home remedies? Drawing on the work of Dominique Laporte, Sara Ahmed, Daniel Kelly, and other disgust scholars, I unpack conflicting understandings of the "nature" of disgust – as an embodied “truth” or as a socially constructed means of abjection. Ultimately, the conflict concerning the "nature" of disgust reveals a larger problem for the accepted “germ theory of disease”, which tends to argue that bacteria + filth = disease. Instead, we find (through a focus on RCDI) that Clostridiumdifficile changes the equation to bacteria + filth = cure. Shit becomes something new.
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 21 | NOON
ANNE PETERSON | Department of Philosophy
"Matter, Composition, and Biological Unity in Aristotle" argues that Aristotle sees the matter composing a biological organism as neither more fundamental than the organism, nor lacking any casual role in the organism’s life. Instead, the casual and explanatory relationship between organisms and their matter is bidirectional and complex.
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 28 | NOON
MATT BASSO | Department of History
"Reworking Settler Societies: Labor and the Evolution of Settler Colonialism in New Zealand and the United States, 1890-1950" places industrial labor, laborers, and their organizations at the center of the history of the U.S. West and New Zealand. Basso’s project will explore what the grown of industrial economies, and the cultures they fostered, meant to the evolution of gender relations and politics in settler societies.
TUESDAY, MARCH 07 | NOON
COLLEEN O’NEILL | Department of History, Utah State University
"Labor and Sovereignty: The Transformation of Work in Indian Country, 1890 to the Present," offers a new synthesis that moves beyond the individual tribe narrative, to offer a broader interpretive framework for understanding Native Americans, colonialism, and the history of US capitalism in the twentieth century. O’Neill’s project will explore how American Indians transformed the meaning of wage work from an assimilationist tool to a sovereignty right.
TUESDAY, MARCH 21 | NOON
GAVIN FELLER | Department of Communication Studies, University of Iowa
"Enamored but Ambivalent: Mormonism and 20th Century New Media" is an interdisciplinary and interpretive analysis of Mormonism’s historical relationship with new media technology. Feller plans to explore the existing tensions by examining Mormonism’s approach to emerging radio, television, and Internet technologies across the 20th century.
TUESDAY, MARCH 28 | NOON
PIERRE-JULIEN HARTER | Department of Philosophy, Saint Xavier University
An expansion upon his dissertation, "Buddhas in the Making: Path, Perfectability, and Gnosis in the Abhisamayālaṃkāra Literature" focuses on the idea of self-transformation in Indian and Tibetan Buddhist literature. Harter will investigate philosophically the concept of the process of betterment that leads an individual to a perfect or perfected state.
TUESDAY, APRIL 04 | NOON
JONAH KATZ | Asian Studies Major, Honors College
"Analysis of Dream of the Red Chamber"- Katz plans to use geospatial and character network analysis to study the interactions of social hierarchies and cliques within the 18th century Chinese classic, Dream of the Red Chamber, one of the most beloved books in Chinese literature. Katz will examine the relationship between gender and class by looking at patterns of character interactions and the spaces in which these characters socialize.
TUESDAY, APRIL 11 | NOON
ANNE ROYSTON| Department of English
"Reading Theory as Artist’s Book: Materiality, Writing, Technology" considers the intersection of philosophy and materiality in literary texts. Considering texts such as George Bataille’s Encyclopedia Da Costa, Mark C. Taylor’s Hiding, and Johanna Drucker’s theoretical artist’s book Stochastic Poetics, Royston will explore how these texts stage arguments through their material form.