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Note from Sarah Cole
Dean of Humanities
As you head out for the summer, I want to thank all of you for a terrific year of research, teaching, and collegiality in the Humanities. It has been my great pleasure to serve as your dean, and I look forward to working together again next year.

Please read below about the Humanities War and Peace Initiative grants. My warm thanks to the members of the HWPI steering committee for putting time and creative energy into the first stage of this project.

I hope you will join me in thanking all of our Department Chairs for their tireless work on behalf of their departments and faculty. I especially wish to recognize our outgoing chairs, Teo Barolini (Italian), Pierre Force and Bachir Diagne (French), Wolfgang Mann (Philosophy), and Alberto Medina (LAIC). You have been great custodians and advocates! And a warm thanks, as well, to our many dedicated Center and Institute Directors, who do so much to foster interdisciplinary work at Columbia.

I would also like to take a moment to recognize Jessica Lilien in our office for her fantastic work. We are all indebted to Jessica.

Wishing you all a wonderful summer,

Sarah Cole
Awards & Honors
The Humanities War and Peace Initiative (HWPI) fosters the study of war and peace from the perspective of scholars in the Humanities, in conversation with colleagues from around Columbia and the world.  Generously supported by President Bollinger, this initiative aims to encourage creative thinking about the critical topic of war, with an ultimate goal of perpetuating a more peaceful world.  

Twenty-three faculty members, working in eleven projects, have received funding from the HWPI for the summer and fall of 2019, and eleven graduate students will have summer research funded through the Initiative.  More information on the awardees and their projects is available at

Congratulations to the faculty awardees of the 2019 Humanities War & Peace Initiative Grants:
Projects beginning in Summer 2019
Projects beginning in Fall 2019
Aleksandar Bošković (Slavic)

Bošković has been named a Fellow at the Collegium de Lyon for the 2019-20 academic year for his project, "Bioscopic Book: Slavic Avant-Garde Cinépoetry."  The Collegium de Lyon, an Institute for Advanced Studies within the Université de Lyon, hosts researchers in an environment allowing them to focus fully on innovative scientific research projects.
Anne Higonnet (AHAR)

Higonnet has been awarded a Radcliffe Institute Fellowship for 2019-20 for her project, "Style Revolution."  The Radcliffe Institute Fellowship Program annually selects and supports 50 leading artists and scholars who have both exceptional promise and demonstrated accomplishments.  This year's Fellowship theme is "The Human Body."
Philip Kitcher (Philosophy)

Kitcher received an Honorary Doctorate from the University for Humanistic Studies in Utrecht for his contributions to Humanism.  Following the awarding of his honorary degree, he and two other scholars also given the distinction spoke at a symposium on "The Art of Listening and Deaccelerating our Way of Life."

Kitcher is also the winner of the 2019 Rescher Medal in Systematic Philosophy, given biennially by the University of Pittsburgh to reward and showcase the work of exceptional scholars in systematic philosophy.
Frances Negrón-Muntaner (English)

Negrón-Muntaner has won the Public Intellectual Award, given by the Latin American Studies Association's Latino studies section.  The Award will be presented this May in Boston at LASA2019.  

Negrón-Muntaner also delivered they keynote address, titled "The ‘Valor y Cambio’ Project: Practicing Art, Narrative and Just Economies in Puerto Rico," at the Digital Spatialities workshop at Pratt.  More about her Valor y Cambio project is available here.
New Books
Hamid Dabashi (MESAAS)

Contemporary Art, World Cinema, and Visual Culture is a collection of Dabashi's essays, written over the last 25 years, gathered and edited by Hamid Keshmirshekan.  Dabashi's writings on a variety of topics in visual, literary, and performing arts cohere into a larger statement about art criticism in general.  

Contemporary Art, World Cinema, and Visual Culture: Essays by Hamid Dabashi is available through Anthem Press.
Farah Jasmine Griffin (English)

"Read together, these works by Petry reveal, with fluorescent clarity, the through line between the life and the work - an intimate knowledge, and horror, of surveillance."

Griffin is the editor of The Street, The Narrows, a collection of two of Ann Petry's novels, alongside a collection of her critical writing.  Read a review in The New York Times.
Andreas Huyssen (German)

The portentous terms and phrases associated with the first decades of the Frankfurt School – exile, the dominance of capitalism, fascism – seem as salient today as they were in the early twentieth century. The Routledge Companion to the Frankfurt School addresses early concerns of critical theory and brings them into direct engagement with our world today. 

Huyssen's “Topographies of Culture: Siegfried Kracauer” was published in The Routledge Companion to the Frankfurt School, edited by Peter Gordon, Espen Hammer, and Axel Honneth.  

Huyssen also gave a workshop on his book Miniature Metropolismand a lecture on the poetic power of critical theory in Heiner Müller’s postdramatic theater, both at Stanford University. 
Sharon Marcus (English)

Icons are not merely famous for being famous; the media alone cannot make or break stars; fans are not simply passive dupes. Instead, journalists, the public, and celebrities themselves all compete, passionately and expertly, to shape the stories we tell about celebrities and fans. The result: a high-stakes drama as endless as it is unpredictable. Drawing on scrapbooks, personal diaries, and vintage fan mail, Marcus traces celebrity culture back to its nineteenth-century roots, when people the world over found themselves captivated by celebrity chefs, bad-boy poets, and actors such as the “divine” Sarah Bernhardt.

Sharon Marcus's The Drama of Celebrity will be available through Princeton U Press June 2019.  Read the Kirkus Review here.
Christia Mercer (Philosophy)

Oxford New Histories of Philosophy speaks to a growing concern to broaden and reexamine philosophy’s past. As professional philosophers grapple with the scarcity of women and people of color in their discipline, and as teachers of philosophy struggle to design courses that speak to their students’ diverse interests, there is a palpable need for change. Oxford New Histories of Philosophy is intended to have a major impact on how philosophy is taught and practiced in the English-speaking world.

Mercer is the series editor of Oxford New Histories of Philosophy.  A number of new texts are forthcoming this summer and fall, available at
S. Akbar Zaidi (MESAAS)

New Perspectives on Pakistan's Political Economy makes a major intervention in the debates around the nature of the political economy of Pakistan, focusing on its contemporary social dynamics. This is the first comprehensive academic analysis of Pakistan’s political economy after thirty-five years, and addresses issues of state, class and society, examining gender, the middle classes, the media, the bazaar economy, urban spaces and the new elite. 

Zaidi, with co-author Matthew McCartney, has published New Perspectives on Pakistan's Political Economy: State, Class and Social Change, through Cambridge University Press.
Humanities in the News
Zainab Bahrani (AHAR)

"There’s this idea that ancient Mesopotamian sites represent global cultural heritage, which, of course, they do. But somewhere along the line, we’ve forgotten that this is the cultural heritage of the people who actually live there, and they feel very closely tied to it. We’ve formed this separation so much that statements are made about the protection of the heritage without giving too much thought to the people."

Bahrani was interviewed for Columbia News, where she discussed Mapping Mesopotamian Monuments, her project to map the monuments, both ancient and modern, from Iraqi Kurdistan and Southeastern Anatolia, to Southern Iraq. 
Barry Bergdoll (AHAR)

"The Bauhaus produced one of the most powerful expressions of a view that design was everything. It served, in a way, as the embassy of modernist design. But its success has often led to a reductionism in our understanding of the rich nexus of artistic movements that crisscrossed at the school itself, as well as the diverse developments it helped inspire."

Bergdoll published an op-ed, "What Was the Bauhaus?" in The New York Times, upon the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus school.
Souleymane Bachir Diagne (French)

"The African continent generally speaking is a very plurilingual continent, not just because you have many languages, but because people traditionally speak many languages."

Diagne commented for the BBC on the increasing use of the French language on the African continent.
Matthew Engelke (Religion)

"[F]or all the ways in which scholars speak freely now of something called 'public religion,' what we mean by this term does not always make sense outside the framings of liberal modernity in which it first came to prominence."

Engelke introduces a collection of eight forthcoming essays on The Immanent Frame on the study of public religion, all written by scholars involved in the Rethinking Public Religion in Africa and South Asia project.
Marcus Folch (Classics)

"There was a sense in the ancient world that wisdom and morality are connected, and it’s dangerous if they’re disconnected."

Folch discussed morality and the public performance of morality at Quartz.
Katherine Franke (IRWGS)

"For many members of the LGBTQ community, a candidate's mere identity as gay or lesbian is not enough."

Franke spoke in US News about the current prominence of gay politicians in America.  She was also quoted in The New Yorker on the Supreme Court's announcement that they will hear three cases on discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Farah Jasmine Griffin (English)

"One of the early reviews said, 'She's got a great talent.  One day, she won't limit it to only writing about black people.'  Like, really?  It's limiting for her to write about black people?"

Griffin is interviewed about Toni Morrison's life and work in the new documentary, "The Pieces I Am."  Watch the trailer here.
Jack Halberstam (English, IRWGS)

"It’s lost its resistant edge. At the point that it becomes a show at the Met sponsored by Gucci, let’s be clear that we are not in open rebellion. At that point, whoever defines themselves as camp has entered the mainstream with a flourish."

Halberstam joined a panel of experts in camp ahead of the opening of the Met Costume Institute's new show, "Camp: Notes on Fashion."  Read the entire conversation in The New York Times.
Bernard Harcourt (ICLS)

"The anti-racism struggle and work of reparation needs to be in everything we do, and there aren’t going to be any quick fixes or easy solutions. It has to be something we all prioritize."

Harcourt spoke with Spectator about the conversations in and out of the classroom that some faculty have been having after footage of Barnard security restraining a Columbia student went viral.  Farah Jasmine Griffin was also interviewed for the article.
Saidiya Hartman (English)

Hartman's recently published Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments is given an exceptionally glowing review in The Nation.  Sam Huber writes of Hartman's work: "For the past two decades, she has been among our foremost archival thinkers. As a theorist, researcher, and writer, her impact has been enormous, her model formidable and enabling."

Read "Saidiya Hartman Unravels the Archive" in The Nation.
Takako Hikotani (Weatherhead)

"I was slightly frustrated they didn't continue the discussion…. People would rather not talk about it, and everybody happily dropped the issue."

Hikotani commented in the Los Angeles Times on the possibility of Japan's having a woman emperor again, as well as on a number of other issues in the Times and for the Council on Foreign Relations, as Japanese Emperor Akihito stepped down and his son, Naruhito, took the throne.
John McWhorter (Slavic)

"English today is arguably more fertile than it’s been since Shakespeare’s time, and those itchy about the novelty of kidspeak might consider that not so long ago pedants were insisting the proper person should say 'bal-coh-nee' for balcony, stamp out 'nonwords' such as standpoint, and use obnoxious to mean 'ripe for injury.' Their arguments failed miserably when presented to everyday speakers, who tend to have good intuition about how language should work."

McWhorter wrote about the rise of "kidspeak" in The Atlantic.  He also commented for an article in Vox on "The Great Awokening."
Ed Morales (CSSD)

"[T]he X, which is so strange and is not Spanish, sort of marks this new hybrid idea."

Morales talked about the differences in how the term "latinx" is perceived among various groups of Spanish-speaking people, in The Philadelphia Tribune.
Pablo Piccato (LAIC)

"[As a historian,] you have to be able to tell a story, but you also have to explain the past. Both require one to be attentive to the present."

Piccato talked about his work and the discipline of history in an interview for History News Network.
Bruce Robbins (English)

"As an anthropologist, he is trained to look for and respect differences, both between cultures and individuals. As a medical doctor, he knows what all human bodies have in common and the mortality that we ultimately face. And as a philosopher, he seems ready to ask whether our infinitely diverse particulars might be gathered up - if not into something universal, then at least in a pattern."

Robbins reviewed Didier Fassin's new book, Life: A Critical User's Manual, for The Nation.
James Shapiro (English)

"Some people might want to hear the music of Macbeth and see the stage imagery of a cool production, and I might simply want to follow this weird plot."

Shapiro and John McWhorter (Slavic), conversed about translations and modernizations of Shakespeare at "Shakespeare in Translation?"
Elaine Sisman (Music)

"What happened to me is what happened to other people. You hear it and you go crazy with joy.  It was love at first hearing."

Sisman discussed what has made Pachelbel's "Canon in D Major" the quintessential wedding song, in The New York Times.
Colm Tóibín (English)

"It all started with my balls."

Tóibín writes about his diagnosis of and treatment for cancer in The London Review of Books.
Named Lectures & Symposia
Kevin Fellezs (Music, AAADS)

Fellezs organized a symposium, "What’s Up, A-Pop? Re-thinking the Relationships Between/Among Asian and Asian American Popular Music Cultures," at the Columbia Global Center in Beijing.  Scholars presented their latest research and initiated a wider discussion of the formation of contemporary Asian popular music cultures from both historic as well as ethnographic perspectives, widening the scope given to the relationship between Asia and Asian America in a dynamic twenty-first century TransPacific. 
Wael Hallaq (MESAAS)

Hallaq delivered the keynote address at the 5th International Ibn Khaldun Symposium, "Power, Economic Development and Morality: Paradoxes and Challenges," in Istanbul.  His talk, "Wealth, Positive Liberty, and Ethics in Ibn Khaldun," probed the epistemological connections between wealth and material affluence on the one hand, and individual and collective ethical formation on the other, all in the context of the Khaldunian rise and fall of polities.
Jean Howard (English)

Howard was the Distinguished Lecturer at the Early Modern Studies Institute at the Huntington Library on April 5th. She gave a lecture, "'I was a Stranger': Early Modern Hospitality and Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor," as well as gave a master class on "Communities of Practice and the Creation of Early Modern English Tragedy." 
Anupama Rao (ICLS)

Rao delivered a talk titled, "Social Abstraction, Historical Comparison: Thinking Caste, Race, and Gender in the Time Capital" at Yale University as part of their Franke Lecture Series.  These lectures present important topics in the Humanities to a broader general audience.  Her lecture is now available to watch here.
Katja Vogt (Philosophy)

Vogt will give the 11th John Ackrill Memorial Lecture this summer at Brasenose College, University of Oxford.  Her lecture is titled "Three Euthyphro Problems."  The Ackrill Memorial Lecture, begun in 2009, honors the contributions made to the study of ancient philosophy by John Lloyd Ackrill.
Fellowships, Grants, & CFPs
Faculty Research Funding in São Paulo - FAPESP / Columbia University 2019 Cooperation Program

The Columbia Global Center | Rio de Janeiro is pleased to announce a new initiative made possible through a partnership with the State of São Paulo through the State's research funding arm, known as FAPESP.  Through its SPRINT program, FAPESP will provide annual funding of up to US$ 10,000 for each accepted proposal for up to two years.  FAPESP funding is available on a one-to-one cost-sharing basis.  Interested Columbia faculty will need to demonstrate availability of matching funds of up to $10,000 per year.
The SPRINT program seeks to stimulate collaboration between Columbia faculty and Brazilian researchers based in the State of São Paulo.  The grant program provides initial seed funding for pilot or planning activities leading to larger projects that can secure major external funding.  FAPESP will give priority to proposals with the greatest potential for medium-term collaboration beyond the initial grant period.  This RFP invites research proposals in all academic fields.  SPRINT RFP guidelines, as well as specific guidelines for Columbia faculty and researchers, can be downloaded here.

Deadline: July 29, 2019
The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards twelfth edition is now open, recognizing and rewarding world-class research and artistic creation, and prizing contributions of singular impact for their originality and significance. The award is intended to denote not only research work that substantially enlarges the scope of current knowledge – pushing forward the frontiers of the known world – but also the meeting and overlap of different disciplinary areas and the emergence of new fields. All nominations should be submitted using the form on the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards website. More information available here.  

More details and application instructions are available here.

Deadline: June 30, 2019

The Höffmann Academic Award is part of a long-term programme aimed at promoting intercultural skills, which are the key to peaceful and constructive co-operation between people of various ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds. The aim of the Höffmann Academic Award is to support the endeavours of an outstanding academic by awarding a prize to groundbreaking work carried out on topics of intercultural competence. Self-submission is not allowed. The academic award is presented at a public award ceremony at the University of Vechta.

Deadline: July 15, 2019

The Collaborative to Advance Equity through Research (CAETR) seeks to highlight the groundbreaking work being done on our campus around women and girls of color, to build capacity in order to bolster and expand existing research projects, and to support the creation of new initiatives. Finally, it also aims to support collaborative work with institutional and community partners.

In that vein, the collaborative will be supporting seed grants of $3,000-$5,000 for the duration of one year beginning on July 15, 2019 to Columbia students and faculty to support creative and innovative work that seeks to advance equity for women and girls of color. Projects may be domestic, international, or comparative.  Information and application available here.

Deadline: June 1, 2019
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