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A Note from the Dean
Dear Colleagues - 

This is our last newsletter of the 2017-18 year. It has been a real pleasure to work with so many of you over the last few months, and I wish you all a wonderful summer! I would also like to thank Jessica Lilien for her superb work on behalf of the Humanities. 

Let me also take a moment to remember three beloved colleagues who died recently, all from the Department of English and Comparative Literature: Edward W. Taylor, Steven Marcus, and Marcellus Blount. I know that many of us will be thinking about them as we head into our summers. They were our teachers, mentors, and friends, and we will miss them.

All best, 
Sarah Cole
In Memory of
Edward W. Tayler, Lionel Trilling Professor Emeritus in the Humanities, passed on Monday, April 23.  In addition to his many professional awards, Tayler was particularly known as a beloved teacher.  He was the recipient of the "Great Teacher" award from the Society of Older Graduates (1985), the Mark Van Doren Award for Teaching and Leadership (1986), and the Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching (1996).

Steven Marcus, George Delacorte Professor Emeritus in the Humanities, passed on Wednesday, April 25.  Marcus served twice as English Department Chair, was a principal investigator in the Columbia Project on Conflicts in Values and Health Care, and served as Dean of Columbia College and Vice President for Arts and Sciences from 1993 to 1995. 

Marcellus Blount, Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature and former Director of the Institute for Research in African-American Studies, began his career at Columbia in 1985.  Beyond his scholarly achievements, we remember Marcellus as a trailblazer - he was the first African-American scholar to teach literature at Columbia - and as a passionate advocate of progressive causes.  A memorial in his honor is planned for the fall semester, and the African-American Studies program will host a series of events related to Marcellus’s areas of research.
Awards & Honors
Christia Mercer (Philosophy)

Mercer has been awarded a fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University for her project, "Feeling the Way to Truth: Women, Reason, and the Development of Modern Philosophy."  She will be the Mildred Londa Weisman Fellow for 2018-19.
Michael Waters (AHAR)

Waters has been awarded a fellowship for 2018-19 at the Villa I Tatti, the Harvard Center for Italian Renaissance Studies.  More information about his project, "Renaissance Architecture and the Architectural Print," is available at
The Provost’s Grants Program for Junior Faculty Who Contribute to the Diversity Goals of the University and the new Provost’s Grants Program for Mid-Career Faculty Who Contribute to the Diversity Goals of the University were created to support Columbia's ongoing commitment to the core values of inclusion and excellence.

Congratulations to our Humanities faculty members who have been awarded one of the Spring 2018 Provost's Grants:

Provost’s Grant for Junior Faculty Who Contribute to the Diversity Goals of the University:
  • Eliza Zingesser (French)
    "Eloquent Animals: Thinking Through Language in the French and Occitan Middle Ages"
Provost’s Grant for Mid-Career Faculty Who Contribute to the Diversity Goals of the University:
  • Patricia Dailey (English)
    "Cross-currents: Recontextualizing Race, Gender and Queer Studies in Early Medieval English Literature"
Funded in 2017-2018 by the Office of the Executive Vice-President of the Arts & Sciences, the Heyman Center Fellowships are awarded to four junior and four senior Columbia faculty each year, as well as to four post-MPhil graduate students. 

Congratulations to the five Humanities faculty members among the 2018-19 Heyman Center Fellows:
New Books
Jo Ann Cavallo (Italian)

Cavallo's new anthology, Boiardo, co-edited with Corrado Confalonieri, is now available through Unicopli.
Wael Hallaq (MESAAS)

Hallaq's new book, Restating Orientalism: A Critique of Modern Knowledge, will be available this June through Columbia University Press.
Humanities in the News
Charles Armstrong (EALAC, Weatherhead)

"Last Friday’s historic meeting between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the first inter-Korean summit in over a decade and only the third since the nation was divided after World War II, was arguably long on symbolism and short on substance. But the symbolism was extraordinary."

Armstrong wrote about the meeting between North and South Korea's leaders in World Politics Review.  He also wrote about the history of the original Korean division in South China Morning Post.
Hernán Diaz (LAIC)

"In the Distance, by Hernán Diaz, is a weird western about a lonely Swede traveling America’s frontier in the 1800s. It’s very good."

Diaz's first novel, In the Distance, published through Coffee House Press, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, and was named a Publishers Weekly Top 10 Book of the Year.  Diaz is profiled and talks about the book's sudden literary prominence in The New York Times.
Anne Higonnet (AHAR)

"The impulse to clothe the body in a spectacular way that continues to conceal the human body is a very powerful part of the Catholic imagination."

Higonnet was interviewed in The Guardian about the Met Costume Institute's new exhibit, "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination."  She also spoke with Elle magazine following the Met Gala, suggesting the artistic references that may have inspired celebrities' looks.

Higonnet will be delivering a series of talks inspired by the collection at the Met, titled "The Better Angels of Our Wardrobes: Art, Clothing, and the Catholic Imagination." 
Frances Negrón-Muntaner (English, CSSD)

"The question is...not why the Caribbean is poor but why do former and current colonial powers continue to impoverish the region."

Negrón-Muntaner is co-director of CSSD's "Unpayable Debt: Capital, Violence, and the New Global Economy" working group, which has just published the first ever digital resource to study debt and the Caribbean, "Caribbean Syllabus: Life and Debt in the Caribbean."

Negrón-Muntaner also recently delivered a master class and talk on her film career at Central European University, Budapest.
Bruce Robbins (English)

"The truth is that we depend on people far away over the horizon, doing and suffering unspeakable things so that we can live our more or less ordinary, more or less comfortable lives.  We are the beneficiaries of their labors.  And we know it."

Robbins wrote about personal responsibility and global economic inequality in b2o.  He also recently reviewed the film "The Young Karl Marx" for the LA Review of Books.
Patricia Williams (CSSD)

"I’m thinking about learning to be more of an historian, because this sort of research is what I truly want to do. This project has given me a passion that I didn’t know I had."

Williams, who held the Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Foundation Fellowship at Radcliffe for 2017-18, talks about her family's history and their photographs, articles, journals, and other papers that she is donating to the Institute's Schlesinger Library, in Radcliffe Magazine.
Named Lectures & Keynote Presentations
Khatchig Mouradian (MESAAS)

Mouradian was the keynote speaker at the 2018 Armenian Genocide Commemoration at the Armenian Genocide Monument in Fresno.  Details about the commemoration and Mouradian's talk are available at The Collegian and The Fresno Bee.
Avinoam Shalem (AHAR)

Shalem will deliver the keynote lecture for the "Islamic Art and Architecture in Italy: Between Tradition and Innovation" conference at the American Academy in Rome.  His lecture, titled  "Through the Backdoor: The Histories of 'Islamic' Art and Architecture in Italy," will be livestreamed here.
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (English)

Spivak delivered a number of keynote and capstone lectures recently, including: "Work for the Law, but Think of Justice," the closing capstone for the International Conference on Myanmar Genocide at the Jewish Museum in Berlin (watch here); "Economic Growth and Social Inclusion," the keynote for New Narratives 2: Thinking Economics Differently; and "Global Marxist Feminism," the keynote for Marx200: Politics - Theory - Socialism (watch here).

Additional recent lectures which are available online include: "What is it to translate?" at Jamia Millia Islamia (part 1 and part 2) and "Necessary and Impossible" at ILF Samanvay: The IHC Indian Languages Festival (watch here).
Kostantina Zanou (Italian)

Zanou will be the keynote speaker at the "Mediterranean Europe(s): Images and Ideas of Europe from the Mediterranean Shores" conference for the Research Network on the History of the Idea of Europe.  Her talk will be titled "From Europe to the Mediterranean(s): The Changing Geographies of 19th-Century History - A Personal Story."
Fellowships, Grants, & CFPs
For additional information on upcoming Humanities opportunities,
subscribe to the monthly Humanities Opportunities Newsletter

The Russell Sage Foundation/Carnegie Corporation Initiative on Immigration and Immigrant Integration seeks to support innovative research on the effects of race, citizenship, legal status and politics, political culture, and public policy on outcomes for immigrants and for the native-born of different racial and ethnic groups and generations.  Full details at the website.

Deadline: May 24, 2018

The Alliance Program is accepting applications for long-term visiting professorships with École Polytechnique, Sciences Po, and Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne University. In 2018-2019, six positions will be offered: one member of the Columbia faculty will spend a semester as a visiting professor at a member institution, and one member from each of those institutions will spend a semester at Columbia.  

Deadline: June 22, 2018
The Berggruen Institute is committed to science as a source of knowledge and innovation and to philosophy as a source of critical perspective and deeper understanding of the place and role of humanity in the world. The Berggruen Prize is a $1 million award that recognizes humanistic thinkers whose ideas have helped us find improved self-understanding in a world being rapidly transformed by profound social, technological, political, cultural, and economic change.

Deadline: May 28, 2018

The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards recognize outstanding scientific and creative contributions in eight categories (Basic Sciences, Biology and Biomedicine, Information and Communication Technologies, Ecology and Conservation Biology, Climate Change, Economics and Finance, Humanities and Social Sciences, and Music and Opera) spanning a wide expanse of knowledge and artistic endeavor. 

Deadline: June 28, 2018
Digital Projects for the Public grants support projects that significantly contribute to the public’s engagement with the humanities.  The program offers three levels of support for digital projects: grants for Discovery projects (early-stage planning work), Prototyping projects (proof-of-concept development work), and Production projects (end-stage production and distribution work). Full details at

Deadline: June 6, 2018

The William T. Grant Scholars Program supports career development for promising early-career researchers. The Scholars Program funds five-year research and mentoring plans that significantly expand junior researchers’ expertise in new disciplines, methods, and content areas.  Proposed research plans must address questions of policy and practice that are relevant to the Foundation’s focus areas.

Deadline: July 5, 2018

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