University of Virginia, College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Achille Mbembe

Achille Mbembe Lecture

"Negative Messianism in the Age of Animism" | September 18, 2017


Puzzle Poetry

Puzzle Poesis

UVa's Puzzle Poetry working group was launched in the fall of 2017 by Neal Curtis and
Brad Pasanek as an experimental and collaborative endeavor. The group seeks to treat
poems as puzzles, isolate the substance of prosody, and apprehend shape as a medium. 
They are makers, coders, and subformalists. 

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Amitav Ghosh

IHGC Writer-in-residence
Watch his lectures

Burning the Library of Life: Species Extinction and the Humanities

A Symposium | September 26-27, 2019
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Jane Taylor

IHGC Fall 2019 Distinguished Visitor 
October 4, 2019 | 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm | Bryan Hall Faculty Lounge
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Institute of the Humanities & Global Cultures (IHGC)


The Institute of the Humanities & Global Cultures (IHGC) offers a vision at
once local and global, and a mission both academic and socially engaged. 


Asian Cosmopolitanisms

Asian Cosmopolitanisms

A new IHGC lab on Asian Cosmopolitanisms aiming to reconceptualize the study of Asia
across the disciplines of the humanities and interpretive social sciences.

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Log In!  Humanities Week | April 1 - 5, 2019   See Full Schedule


Humanities Informatics

Consortium of Humanities Centers & Institutes 2018 Annual Meeting | June 13-17, 2018
A conference on Humanities Informatics that showcased the power of the humanities
to address the urgent questions about the ‘human’ in our information age.


Global Map

Global South Initiative

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded the University of Virginia $3.47 million to launch a major
humanities initiative dedicated to the study of the Global South. The College and Graduate School of Arts &
 has matched the grant, making the initial five-year investment to launch the initiative about $7 million.


News & Announcements

Mon Sep 23
9:00 am | Pavilion VII
Bridging Science, Art, and Community in the New Arctic: A Multi-Day Symposium

Bridging Science, Art, and Community in the New Arctic: A Multi-Day Symposium

Mon Sep 23

The Bridging Science, Art, and Community in the New Arctic will bring together researchers, students, community representatives, and policymakers from Alaska to facilitate knowledge exchange and catalyze a common interest in the future of the Arctic, in a setting that emphasizes creative collaborations and co-production of knowledge among scientists, designers, artists, and residents.


This three-day event starts with a Symposium on 9/23 with invited speakers presenting their recent Arctic research, thematically organized into three sessions: “Land, Coasts, and Ocean,” “Infrastructure,” and “Community.”


On 9/24, four themes (Land, Coasts/Ocean, Infrastructure, and Community) will be revisited in the format of interactive panel discussions, with each session topic facilitating exchange between Arctic scholars and stakeholders.  There will also be a lunchtime poster session.


On 9/25, there will be an eco-acoustics workshop.  A final synthesis discussion will seek to develop a set of guidelines for community-oriented research, and identify new forms of multidisciplinary collaborations in the Arctic.


The presentations and discussions will be complemented in the evenings of 9/23 and 9/24 with an eco-acoustics performance, and an art exhibition and reception, respectively.


Register here.

Mon Sep 23
4:00PM - 6:00PM | The Gibson Room, Cocke Hall
Manners and Civility in Practice with Amy Olberding (University of Oklahoma)

Manners and Civility in Practice with Amy Olberding (University of Oklahoma)

Mon Sep 23

An event in the Asian Cosmopolitanisms Lecture Series

What does it mean to be civil or well-mannered?  The early Confucians suggest that it involves both patterns of conduct and patterns of mind.  The account the Confucians offer is different from the usual accounts of civility we most often hear, suggesting a far more robust connection between civility and personal well being and thriving social relations.  This talk will canvass those parts of Confucian ethics most promising in our own age, looking at what it might mean to cultivate more robust forms of civility, both what we would need to do and how this would influence how we think.

Thu Sep 26
4:30 pm | Harrison Small Auditorium
Burning the Library of Life: Species Extinction and the Humanities

Burning the Library of Life: Species Extinction and the Humanities

Thu Sep 26


Many scientists conclude the current precipitous decline in global biodiversity and the thousand-fold increase in the rate of species extinction needs to be understood as marking the planet’s sixth era of mass extinction, but the first such event in which humans have played the primary role. This urgent, global and contemporary crisis is often described not only as the destruction of animals and plants but also as the destruction of knowledge, as “burning the library of life.”


This two-day symposium on Species Extinction and the Humanities will feature interdisciplinary humanities scholarship and public-facing research addressing this emerging issue from the perspectives of environmental humanities, literary and cultural studies, the history of science, native studies, conservation, sound ecology, archival studies, and the visual arts and media. Its theme is the challenge manmade extinction poses to knowledge: what we do and don’t know about the biodiversity crisis, the forms, genres and media that produce knowledge and their potential limits to document the biological violence wrought by imperialisms, globalization and development, as well as questions of the preservation of knowledge about the forms of life we are losing – the technological and material formats that preserve and record biodiversity, and their fragility.


Keynote by Ursula K. Heise, English Department and Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, UCLA (Sept 26 at 4:30pm)


The symposium is sponsored by the Institute of Humanities and Global Cultures, the Page-Barbour AwardsEnvironmental Humanities at UVA and the Department of English.


Fri Sep 27
9:30 am - 5:00 pm | Wilson Hall 142
The Spanish Pacific

The Spanish Pacific

Fri Sep 27

9:00am – Continental Breakfast

9:30am – First Conversation – What is the Early Modern Spanish Pacific (EMSP)?

  • Ricardo Padrón – Historical Introduction
  • Participants – What are the geographical and temporal contours of the EMSP?  Why not “the colonial Philippines”?  How does East Asia fit in?  How does colonial America fit in?  Is this primarily an economic space?  A political one?  A cultural one?

10:45am – Coffee Break

11:00am – Second Conversation – How do we study the EMSP?

  • Vincent Rafael – Opportunities, Challenges, To-Do List
  • What are the relevant archives, journals, methods?  What opportunities are there for cross-disciplinary work?  Obstacles to the same?

12:15pm – Lunch with speakers and all attendees

1:30pm – Third Conversation – Regional Foci

  • What are the unique challenges and opportunities presented by studying particular geographical foci (or studying the EMSP from the perspective of these foci?)
  • The Philippines Jody Blanco
  • Spanish America Dana Leibsohn
  • East & Southeast Asia

2:45pm – Break

3:00pm – The EMSP and the Pacific Today

  • Introduction – Paula Park

  • What is the relationship between the EMSP and the Pacific Rim today?  Between the study of the EMSP and Pacific or Pacific Rim Studies?  How is this particular past relevant to our understanding of the so-called “Pacific Century”? Paula Park leads off.


Sun Sep 29
7:00 PM | Various
Art and Confrontation in the Americas: An International Symposium

Art and Confrontation in the Americas: An International Symposium

Sun Sep 29

An International Symposium and Conversation with Colombian artist Juan Manuel Echavarria and members of his Fundación Puntos de Encuentro 

This event seeks to provide Charlottesville and the University of Virginia with a space to reflect on how art can be at once a mode of confrontation and a vehicle of reconciliation. What aesthetic practices have artists, activists and intellectuals used to critique violence and prefigure better futures? When and where does confrontation art fuel societal change or, conversely, question its own utility? Defining “art” broadly to include film, literature, music, visual culture and performance, the UVA Symposium on Art and Confrontation in the Americas / Las Américas provides a forum for discussing the intersections between art, civic life and activism throughout the hemisphere.

Keynote speakers Juan Manuel Echavarría, Fernando Grisalez and Gabriel Ossa will open the symposium on Sunday, September 29 at 7:00pm with a discussion of their artistic work and activism in Colombia. Echavarría, an artist committed to confronting the difficult realities of a country that has experienced decades of civil war, uses visual art to recover memory and make visible experiences that have been rendered invisible by the normalization of violence. Politically, Echavarría’s art intervenes in the contradictory space between official peace narratives and the violent realities that still affect many parts of Colombia, seeking ultimately to reconstruct a social body dismembered by war. Through his non-profit foundation Fundación Puntos de Encuentro, Echavarría also produces collective projects in which he steps aside as an individual creative agent to let others tell their stories and shape how the Colombian conflict is perceived in broader society.

The keynote remarks will be followed by two days of symposium presentations. Key points of discussion include the nature of confrontation; public art and memory; art in contentious spaces; and the various ways in which artistic interventions may “ripple into extra-artistic institutions and practices” (Sommer 2014, 7). By engaging with these issues, the symposium and visiting artist activities intend to place artists, activists and scholars from the US and Latin America in dialogue with the Charlottesville community.

See full details here


Main Events


Symposium Opening and Reception:
“Silencios” by Juan Manuel Echevarria, Visiting Artist
Date: Sunday, Sept. 29, 7:00 pm.
Where: The Graduate Hotel Ballroom.
1309 W Main St, Charlottesville, VA 22903

The International Symposium
View full schedule
Date: Monday, Sept. 30, starts at 9:30 am
Date: Tuesday, Oct. 1, starts at 9:30 am
Where: Auditorium of the Harrison Institute/Small Special Collections Library
160 McCormick Rd, Charlottesville, VA 22904

Art Exhibition: Silencios: a photographic essay by Juan Manuel Echavarria
Monday, Sept 30 – October 30, 2019
Exhibition Opening and Reception: A conversation with Juan Manuel Echavarria, Fernando Grisalez and Gabriel Ossa.
Date: Monday, Sept. 30, 6:30 pm
Where: Nau Hall, South Lawn Commons
1540 Jefferson Park Ave, Charlottesville, VA 22904

Community Activities: Film screening of Bocas de Ceniza (Mouths of Ash)
Bocas de Ceniza (Mouths of Ash) 18:15 minutes. (Spanish with English subtitles)
Colombian artist Fernando Grisalez lead a conversation about this Colombian film.
Date: Wednesday, Oct.2 at 6:00 pm
Where: Vinegar Hill Center
200 W Main St, Charlottesville, VA 22902



This event is co-organized by:
Herbert (Tico) Braun (History)
Federico Cuatlacuatl (Studio Art)
Mona Kasra (Drama)
Lydia Moyer (Studio Art)
Mathilda Shepard (Spanish)
Lucie Stylianopoulous (Art and Indigenous Studies Librarian)
Miguel Valladares-Llata (Latin American Research Librarian)





We thank the following centers and departments for supporting us:
UVA Arts Council: Enriching the Arts on Grounds.
University of Virginia Library.
Institute of the Humanities & Global Cultures (IHGC) Buckner W. Clay Endowment.
Center for Global Inquiry & Innovation (CGII)
UVA McIntire Department of Art.
UVA Department of Religious Studies


Mellon Global South Initiative

Mellon Global South Initiative

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded the University of Virginia $3.47 million to launch a major humanities initiative dedicated to the study of the Global South. The College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences will match the grant, making the initial five-year investment to launch the initiative about $7 million.

Clay Endowments & Grants

Clay Endowments & Grants

The Institute of the Humanities and Global Cultures (IHGC) invites proposals for funding from the Buckner W. Clay Endowment to support innovative work in the global humanities at the University of Virginia. The Endowment provides an ambitious basis of support for faculty and student research and teaching to be conducted under the auspices of the IHGC. Faculty and students from across all schools and disciplines at the university are welcome and encouraged to apply. 

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Summer School in Global Studies and Critical Theory

The Academy of Global Humanities and Critical Theory is a new research entity jointly promoted by the University of Virginia, Duke University and the University of Bologna. It is conceived as an intellectual space for scholars coming from different research fields and geographical regions to work together on the redefinition of the humanities in a global age.

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Project Summary: “Caribbean Chronotropes” is a book-length investigation of the depiction of time technologies and time travel in speculative Caribbean novels written between 2008 and 2018. Its central concern is the ways in which Caribbean writers have grappled with concepts from theoretical physics to conceptualize a regional temporality that is out of sync with linear time, and to...

Project Summary: My project on Byzantine urbanism and Athens in particular, seeks to reconstruct the topography and spatial layout of Byzantine Athens (4th-15th c AD), and better understand contemporary living conditions and socio-economic activities in the city. Emphasis is placed on city-making processes and particularly the role of non-elite, ordinary people in them. Similar to...

Project Summary: My current book project reframes narratives of photography’s origin and originality by zooming into the first one hundred years of photography in Senegal (1860-1960). Senegal has received significant attention as one of the epicenters of modernism in the Black Atlantic, and yet, the advent of photography in the country in the 1840s has hardly been considered in...

Project Summary:  This project investigates patterns of migration, transmission of knowledge, and interreligious history after the Mongol conquests of the Middle East and East Asia in the late Middle Ages (1206-1405 A.D.). This Mellon Humanities Fellowship funds research into the history of Islamic learning under the aegis of the Mongol Empire and, specifically, the founding of “...

Project Summary:  How did British society respond — or fail to respond — to the use of torture, summary executions, and other atrocities in its overseas empire after 1945?  Although the absence of sustained outrage at the time has often been attributed to the absence of information, awareness of brutal violence was in fact widespread.  Many different communities or “circles of knowing...

Project Summary:  Cracking Up archives and analyzes how Black feminist comedians assert freedom and citizenship in the United States through joke-telling. I argue that Black feminist comedic performance and the laughter it ignites are vital components of feminist, queer, and anti-racist protest. Through archival research and performance analysis, I study Black women stand-up...

35mm Film Grain

Project Summary:  I plan to spend my fellowship year developing my second major research project, whose working title is South by South / West Asia: Transregional Cartographies of Cinematic Action Genres. This project arises out of my broader interests in histories of “world cinema” along South-South axes, namely Middle East - South Asia circulation histories of...