From the Dean

Dear Colleagues,

There are two events this week you might be interested in attending:

Refugees and Gender Violence: Media and the Arts is the fourth panel in the Reframing Gendered Violence series. That panel is on Thursday, March 30, in Butler Library. A Tribute to John Berger is a two-day event, beginning with an opening keynote from Teju Cole on Thursday in Pulitzer Hall. Friday features a day of panelists and presenters, with the closing keynote by Geoff Dyer, in Pupin Hall. Details on both of those events are below.

I'd also like to draw your attention to the call for proposals for A&S Catalyst Grants. The deadline to apply is April 30; details are below.

Sharon Marcus
Dean of Humanities, Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Columbia Humanities News & Announcements
Marianne Hirsch (English and Comparative Literature)

"I spent my childhood in communist Romania in the 1950s. By age eight, I knew that autocratic regimes take away more than your freedom. They also distort your sense of reality. They destroy the fabric of your community. And they undermine your sense of agency, thus invading your very selfhood. ... The lessons I learned seem useful now, with autocracy on the rise as the Trump government attempts to assume ever greater power."

Read Hirsch's article, "Three Lessons About Autocracy I Learned as a Child in Communist Romania," at Truthout.
Jonathan Crary (Art History and Archaeology)

Jonathan Crary’s recent book, 24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep, was “a critical point of departure” for a special issue of Studies in 20th and 21st Century Literature, titled On 24/7: Neoliberalism and the Undoing of Time.

Read On 24/7: Neoliberalism and the Undoing of Time here.
Antoine Compagnon (French and Romance Philology)

Antoine Compagnon was awarded an honorary degree from the University of Bucharest this March. Photos from the ceremony and more information are available here.
Colm Tóibín (English and Comparative Literature)
Colm Tóibín has been appointed the next chancellor of the University of Liverpool. Tóibín said, “I will do what I can as Chancellor to enhance the experience of the students and connect the University’s inspiring work with the city, with society, and with the world outside.”

Read about Tóibín's appointment at
Kevin Fellezs (Music)

Kevin Fellezs gave the keynote address, "My Island of Golden Dreams: Japanese Americans Performing Hawaiian Music in Japan," to the Music and Society Forum on March 11 at the Daito Bunka University in Tokyo, Japan.

More information about that event is available here.

Seth Kimmel (Latin American and Iberian Cultures)

"Over the course of his campaign and young presidency Donald Trump has made a slew of racist, sexist, and jingoistic comments. The integration of such comments into daily public discourse, not to mention the hate crimes that increasingly accompany them, are alarming. Equally if not more worrisome than President Trump’s unabashed prejudice, however, is his language of tolerance."

Read Kimmel's article, "Exceptionalism by Any Other Name," in The Hill.

Upcoming Events
Refugees and Gender Violence: Media and the Arts
Thursday, March 30, 4:10-6pm
Butler Library 523

This is the fourth panel in the Reframing Gendered Violence series. Speakers will include:
  • Bikem Ekberzade, Photojournalist, "The Refugee Project: Anatomizing Gendered Violence"
  • Susan Meiselas, Photographer, Magnum Photos, "A Room of Their Own"
  • Sarah Stillman, Columbia School of Journalism, The New Yorker, "Global Migration Project"
The event is free and open to the public; no RSVP necessary. More information is available here.
A Tribute to John Berger
Thursday, March 30, 6:15pm
Pulitzer Hall, Brown Institute
Friday, March 31, 9:15am-6:00pm
Pupin Hall, Room 428

On Thursday, Teju Cole will give the opening keynote address. Friday features a day of panelists and presenters, with the closing keynote by Geoff Dyer. For the complete list of participants and the schedule, go to

Sponsored by Public Books and Columbia University’s Office of the President; Office of the Dean of Humanities, Arts & Sciences; School of the Arts; Department of Art History and Archaeology; and the 20/21 Colloquium in the Department of English and Comparative Literature.
The Program in World Philology:
Philology and Linguistic Awareness at the Dawn of Writing

Monday, April 3, 5:00pm
Second Floor Common Room, Heyman Center

Presented by Christopher Woods, Associate Professor of Sumerology at the University of Chicago.

A perennial preoccupation in the study of early writing systems is the degree to which they reflect speech. Nowhere is this concern more keenly present than in study of the earliest writing from Mesopotamia, known as proto-cuneiform, for which the vast gulf that separates speech from writing raises questions about the very language that underlies the script. Overlooked in the debate over the presumed Sumerian basis of proto-cuneiform is the more fundamental question of how the first scribes conceived of written language in the first place. Was writing, in its original conception, language-based? Or was it a system in which graphs first and foremost represented things and only secondarily the words attached to those things?

Sponsored by the Dean of Humanities, Arts & Sciences, and the Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities.
Fellowships, Grants, & CFPs
The Office of the Provost requests proposals for Online and Hybrid Learning Grants:

The Hybrid Learning Course Redesign and Delivery grant program provides support for faculty who are developing innovative and technology-rich pedagogy and learning strategies in the classroom. Instructors of selected courses will have access to resources and support from the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) for content development, instructional design, media production, assessment, and project management.

Deadline: April 3, 2017
For more information, please click here.

The Office of the Provost will also continue to support open online courses taught by Columbia faculty via a Request for Proposals for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Columbia courses offered through MOOC platforms attract and reach a large global learning community, stimulate curiosity and intellectual exploration, make teaching and research activities at the University more visible, and promote public engagement and dialogue through our open online courses.

Deadline: Monday, April 24, 2017
For more information, please click here.
Visit and to get an overview of Columbia’s initiatives and resources in teaching and learning and online education.
The French Embassy in the United States and the FACE Foundation are now accepting proposals for the 2017 Thomas Jefferson Fund. This new program aims to encourage and support cooperation among the most promising young French and American researchers, and foster forward-looking collaborative research projects. The most innovative projects involving transatlantic mobility, collaborative research activities, the organization of joint workshops or conferences, the publication of joint articles, and the participation of younger researchers will receive the highest priority.

Deadline: April 9, 2017
More information is available at
The Arts & Sciences seeks faculty proposals for A&S Catalyst Grants. The goal is to accelerate nascent projects that have the potential to have significant societal impact in a three- to five-year timeframe. Projects should build on significant Columbia intellectual strengths and engage partners such as NGO’s, corporations, and/or colleagues at other academic institutions. This funding aims to maturate projects via organization of scholarly events and discourse during a concentrated period. By the end of the funded period, the project should be in a strong position to attract significant funding from foundations or philanthropists, and possibly be considered for the Columbia World Projects initiative.

Nomination Deadline: April 30, 2017
For more information, please click here.
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