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

Symposium on Citizenship, Belonging, and the Partition of India

Friday April 9, 2021 from 9:00 to 1:30 PM EST via Zoom
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Amitav Ghosh

Fall 2020 Seminar Series: “Indian Ocean Worlds and the Anthropocene”
 

Deborah Baker

Fall 2020 Seminar Series: “Narrative in the Age of Political Extremism”
 

Annual Report 2019-20

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About the Institute of the Humanities & Global Cultures

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

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The New (ab)NORMAL: Humanities Week 2021 | April 19-23, 2021

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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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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CHCI

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.

WATCH CHCI 2018

Achille Mbembe

Achille Mbembe Lecture

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

WATCH THE LECTURE

Ghosh

Amitav Ghosh

IHGC Writer-in-residence
Watch his lectures

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 & Sciences has matched the grant, making the initial five-year investment to launch the initiative about $7 million.

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News & Announcements

Fri Apr 16
10:00 am - 11:00 am | Webinar
Mellon Fellows Seminar - Tessa Farmer, “Cairo’s Sabils: Gifting Water”

Mellon Fellows Seminar - Tessa Farmer, “Cairo’s Sabils: Gifting Water”

Fri Apr 16


Tessa Farmer

Assistant Professor

Department of Middle Eastern & South Asian Languages & Cultures; and, the Global Studies Program, University of Virginia

** Seminar:  April 16, 2021: “Cairo’s Sabils: Gifting Water”

Register here

 

Project Summary

My research focuses on sabils, or charitable water fountains, as a key location for exploring vernacular water architecture and investigating the underlying conceptual frameworks that give them life. Sabils are important parts of the built environment of Cairo, drawing on religious precedence and enacting everyday ethical notions of reciprocity. They are particularly important in the changing environmental conditions of Cairo and point to the ways in which vernacular and small-scale water infrastructure can add to the picture of urban water resilience in the context of Climate Change. As vernacular memorials, sabils operate as the conduit and material co-producers of hasanat (merits accrued with God) for the souls of departed loved ones. As nodes in neighborly relations, sabils engage neighbors in practices of asynchronous exchanges of the embodied kindness of a cold drink of water and the ephemeral gift of participating in the accrual of divine favor. Sabils are an important manifestation of local process of creative resilience, everyday practices of tinkering and collective action that probe the limits of the possible, work to remake the built environment and stich together fluid social networks, and stake claims to the city. Additionally, the project will investigate the diversity of material forms, practices of care and repair for clay and metal water infrastructure, embodied notions of smell, taste and temperature, a shifting history of social responses to a material context of hardship, and practices of neighborliness that draw on religious traditions to shape the livability and transversability of Cairo’s urban landscapes.

 

Biography

Tessa Farmer is Assistant Professor in the Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Cultures Department and the Global Studies Program at the University of Virginia, where she serves as the Track Director for the Global Studies-Middle East South Asia (GSMS) major. Tessa received her MA (2007) and PhD (2014) in Anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin. She conducted fieldwork in Cairo, Egypt between 2009 and 2019. Based on this work, her current book project, “Well-Connected: Everyday Water Practices in Cairo,” investigates the ways in which lower income residents of Cairo, Egypt work to obtain sources of potable water and deal with the ramifications of sewage in their urban ecology. A second project on charitable water fountains, sabils, is underway. Her research has been awarded funding by Fulbright Hayes, Social Science Research Council, PEO, the University of Texas at Austin, and the University of Virginia. Tessa’s work appeared in the Middle East Law and Governance Journal, the Journal of Sustainability Education, MERIP, and she co-guest edited a special issue on the Environment in the Middle East in the International Journal of Middle East Studies with Jessica Barnes.

Fri Apr 16
11:15 am - 12:00 pm | Webinar
"Sabils: Charitable Water Fountains and Community Resource Management in Egypt." A Discussion with Hagar ElDidi (IFPRI) and Tessa Farmer (UVA)

"Sabils: Charitable Water Fountains and Community Resource Management in Egypt." A Discussion with Hagar ElDidi (IFPRI) and Tessa Farmer (UVA)

Fri Apr 16


"Sabils: Charitable Water Fountains and Community Resource Management in Egypt." A Discussion with Hagar ElDidi (IFPRI) and Tessa Farmer (UVA)

Register here

Mon Apr 19
3:30 pm - 4:30 pm | Webinar
Humanities Week 2021: Normalcy in Politics Lecture and Q&A with Larry Sabato

Humanities Week 2021: Normalcy in Politics Lecture and Q&A with Larry Sabato

Mon Apr 19


Tune in to catch a riveting, timely talk about (ab)normalcy in politics with Center for Politics Director Larry Sabato! The short talk will be followed by a brief Q&A where students will be able to submit questions for Prof. Sabato to answer, moderated by Humanities Week volunteers in the Batten School. Also be sure to check out a new book on the subject, A Return to Normalcy?, edited by Larry Sabato.

 

Zoom information

Tue Apr 20
8:00 pm | UVA Ampitheater
Humanities Week 2021: The Story of Plastic Film Screening

Humanities Week 2021: The Story of Plastic Film Screening

Tue Apr 20


Register here

Tue Apr 20
4:00 pm | Webinar
Good Neighbors? Charlottesville & UVA: Webinar feat. Davarian Baldwin, Ang Conn, & Laura Goldblatt

Good Neighbors? Charlottesville & UVA: Webinar feat. Davarian Baldwin, Ang Conn, & Laura Goldblatt

Tue Apr 20


Next: Good Neighbors? Charlottesville & UVA
Webinar feat. Davarian Baldwin, Ang Conn, & Laura Goldblatt
April 20th, 4:00-5:15 pm
Register here

 

In cities across America—including here in Charlottesville—universities have become a dominant social and economic presence: gentrifying neighborhoods, maintaining large police forces, and becoming primary employers. “University life,” it could be said, increasingly happens at the expense of the cities which surround them. What is a university’s obligation to the city in which it resides? What actions can we take to imagine a new, equitable vision of university life? Join us for a webinar conversation with Davarian Baldwin (Trinity College) and Ang Conn (organizer), moderated by Laura Goldblatt (UVA), about how we might address UVA’s relationship to Charlottesville. Davarian Baldwin will discuss his findings from his recent book, In the Shadow of the Ivory Tower, and Ang Conn will address the local situation in Charlottesville. 

 

Note: Live transcription will be available. Please email any additional access needs to jaw2yc@virginia.edu

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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Bologna

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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Mapping Indigenous/UVA Relations: Stories of Space, Place, and Histories is a participatory action methodological project that focuses on sparsely documented Indigenous relations with the University of Virginia. This project combines archival materials related to Indigenous histories and presences in and around UVA with Virginia tribal citizens’ personal digital stories that...

My research focuses on sabils, or charitable water fountains, as a key location for exploring vernacular water architecture and investigating the underlying conceptual frameworks that give them life. Sabils are important parts of the built environment of Cairo, drawing on religious precedence and enacting everyday ethical notions of reciprocity. They are particularly important in the changing...

The focus of my research while a Mellon Humanities Fellow takes off from the ubiquity of the phrase: "the long eighteenth century." Proliferating in calls for participation and panel descriptions throughout art history and visual culture studies, if the mark of an elongated eighteenth century is inescapable, this terminology merits further scrutiny. During my period as a Mellon Fellow, I will...

What meaning did a fictional Ottoman tale and the manuscript containing it have to those who copied, read, heard, and owned it? An Epic Tale of Sorrow and Joy is an interdisciplinary microhistory that explores the many meanings, uses, and journeys of an otherwise unremarkable manuscript—the only extant copy of an eponymous Ottoman Turkish story of forced migration, fortune, and loss...

“If human beings suddenly ceased imitating, all forms of culture would vanish.” This striking statement by René Girard not only ascribes to mimesis the ability to generate culture, but also implicitly challenges scholars to determine how mimesis operates within the cultural field they study. Many have risen to this challenge, but the question still remains: How does mimesis operate within...

How did the partition of the Indian subcontinent resolve the problem of belonging for minority religious communities – in India, Pakistan, and later, Bangladesh? If Pakistan was designed to create a ‘homeland’ for the Muslims of the subcontinent, was India meant to serve as a homeland for the Hindus? How, then, did the Hindus of Pakistan and the Muslims of India learn to live and build...

Since the mid-1980s, art photographers from metropolitan France have been training their lenses on places throughout the country they call home. Their work constitutes a dynamic, thoughtful, and altogether transformative way of envisioning what on the surface might seem like perfectly mundane locations, but which the photographs endorse as landscapes endowed with the capacity to expand and...

I am beginning a new project at IHGC, one that builds from the methods that I developed in my first book, Mining Language: Racial Thinking, Indigenous Knowledge, and Colonial Metallurgy in the Early Modern Iberian World (Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture for the University of North Carolina Press, May 2020). My new project turns from mining to agriculture,...

Higher Powers: Alcohol and After in Uganda’s Capital City is a collaborative monograph (co-authored by George Mpanga and Sarah Namirembe) that draws on four years of fieldwork carried out with Ugandans working to reconstruct their lives after attempting to leave problematic forms of alcohol use behind.  Given the relatively recent introduction of Western ideas of alcoholism and...

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...