Schedule - Fall 2017 Lecture Series October 9 - November 13


Start: Mon, Oct. 9 2017 - 05:30pm

End: Mon, Nov. 13 2017 - 07:00pm

All lectures 5:30 pm
Ortega Hall 335 (Reading Room)

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Slow Work: Time and Life in the Digital Age

Both infinite and fleeting, time defines all aspects of human existence, from the way we learn, work and play to how we govern. But since the dawn of the digital age, technology is revolutionizing the way we measure time and by consequence the way we live. This year’s ISI Public Lecture Series is dedicated to examining the intersection of human existence and technology’s capacity to redefine the meaning of both space and time in the context of life and work.

The invited speakers are distinguished Humanities scholars, researchers, and professionals from different universities and organizations who represent disciplines ranging from anthropology, history, and law to philosophy and photography. Our speakers will present a multi-disciplinary perspective on slow work at the intersection of arts, culture, education, justice, and policy/politics in different regions of the world.

Speakers are asked to question conventional wisdom and easy answers and engage the audience with critical topics that are cannot be summarized in sound bites. Lectures will be 45-50 minutes long, followed by Q&A and discussion with the audience. At the conclusion of each lecture and discussion, the audience will come away with several different points of view and more questions regarding time and life in the digital age.

October 9

Trying to Speed Up: Experiences of Time in Revolutionary Egypt
Jessica Winegar
, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Northwestern University

In the years leading up to the mass uprisings in Egypt in 2011 that overthrew the president, different groups of Egyptians experienced time as too slow and tried to speed it up to effect change. This presentation examines these efforts among Egyptians working in arts and culture organizations to show how time became especially politicized in this tumultuous period, and indeed became a key site for political struggle.

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October 16

Mali and Community Building: Lessons for the Digital Age
Esha Chiocchio,
Documentary Photographer and Sustainability Educator, Santa Fe

Community work in West Africa has a greater purpose than simply getting the job done. It strengthens the fabric of society by encouraging interdependence – helping people understand each other on a deeper level. In our fast-paced digital world, we are more connected yet more isolated than ever. This presentation explores how we can better integrate African lessons of community building into American culture

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October 23

Poets of the People: Learning to Make Culture in Kazakhstan
Eva-Marie Dubuisson,
Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Bogaziçi University, Istanbul

This presentation explores and describes forms of educational and social support within the oral tradition of improvisational 'aitys' poetry (verbal dueling), a tradition that exists across the former Turkic-Mongol landscape of Inner Asia. In Kazakhstan today, aitys, together with other oral and musical forms such as epic song, is a performance art form often associated with nationalism, celebrated as the ethnic Kazakh cultural face of the nation in the post-Soviet period. However, the prominent symbolic showcasing of Kazakh culture disguises a lack of real support for language and culture at the level of the everyday or even of politics.  The effort it takes to maintain language and cultural traditions in the face of continuing Russian political hegemony in the region requires a great deal of ongoing support. This presentation looks at teaching relationships and cultural organization, in order to explain the complexities of language ideology, cultural legitimacy, and learning traditions within an historical framework acknowledging the pain of linguistic and affective erasure not only under past Russian or Soviet cultural imperialism, but also of the nationalist present.

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 October 30

China’s Great Global Leap: Mao’s Socialist Revolution
Matthew Galway, Postdoctoral Fellow in History, UC Berkeley

This lecture examines the rise of Maoism in China and the world, examining marginalized polities’ autonomous socioeconomic development to survive and thrive in a changing Cold War order. It historicizes the rise of Maoist China and its global reach into far-flung polities, markets, and communities. It further explores efforts by China to extend its networks to recently independent developing world countries through cultural diplomacy, allowing China to emerge as a wellspring for socialist development as exemplified in Southeast Asia, Latin America, and East Africa. As the presentation shows, Maoism ultimately became an intellectual guidepost to the slow work of post-independence development and socioeconomic independence from First and Second World domination.

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November 6

Waiting for Forgiveness: Slow Work of Forbearance Activism in Iran (and Methodological Reflections)
Arzoo Osanloo,
Associate Professor and Director of the Middle East Center, University of Washington

This talk explores Iran's victim-centered approach to criminal sanctioning that allows the families of victims to decide the fate of perpetrators in murder (and other intentional injuries). Iran's penal codes also emphasize a preference for forbearance and encourage judicial officials to foster reconciliation between parties. However, the laws provide no guidelines for how parties might arrive at a settlement and consider negotiations between parties to be extra-judicial. Numerous actors and activists fill this regulatory vacuum with advocacy work in which time and waiting are strategically important to victim and perpetrator, alike.

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November 13

Hearing Slowly: Meaning in the Time of Soundbites
Karmen MacKendrick,
Professor of Philosophy, Moyne College

Philosophers attend with unusual care and precision to the definitions of words, but we have often forgotten their corporeality—that they are spoken, read, heard, seen and subvocalized by bodies. That bodiliness is even part of their meaning. But bodies are slow, and we have become impatient. What are the political implications of slowing down our listening and paying attention to both textual voices and particular speaking bodies?

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