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

Events

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

April 16, 2021

Webinar | 10:00 am - 11:00 am

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

April 16, 2021

Webinar | 10:00 am - 11:00 am

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.

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

April 16, 2021

Webinar | 11:15 am - 12:00 pm

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

April 16, 2021

Webinar | 11:15 am - 12:00 pm

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

Register here

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

April 20, 2021

Webinar | 4:00 pm

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

April 20, 2021

Webinar | 4:00 pm

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

Music and Mimesis: A Roundtable Discussion

April 20, 2021

Webinar | 9:30 am - 11:30 am

Music and Mimesis: A Roundtable Discussion

April 20, 2021

Webinar | 9:30 am - 11:30 am

Music and Mimesis: A Roundtable Discussion 

Register here

 

Imitation, or mimesis, may be the glue that binds culture, but we have yet to take the full measure of its forms, processes, and effects. This two-hour session is devoted to exploring mimesis within the realm of music—a line of inquiry that is still in its early stages. How does mimesis manifest itself within music? What makes musical mimesis important to study? How does it relate to other instances of mimesis in culture? We will broach these and other questions in a roundtable discussion moderated by Michael Puri (UVa), and featuring Arnie Cox (Oberlin College), Roger Mathew Grant (Wesleyan University), and Daniel Villegas Vélez (KU Leuven).  

 

The Subjectivity of the Translator

April 21, 2021

Webinar | 7:00 pm

The Subjectivity of the Translator

April 21, 2021

Webinar | 7:00 pm

Jeremy Tiang discusses the process of translating the late Yeng Pway Ngon's Unrest, and what it means to be a Singaporean Chinese translator working within his own community and culture. What happens to the metaphor of translation as a 'bridge' when both ends of the bridge are located in the same place? Can the translator truly be neutral, or should we pay more attention to who is doing the translating?

 

Jeremy Tiang is a novelist, playwright and translator from Chinese. His translations include novels by Yeng Pway Ngon, Su Wei-Chen, Yan Ge, Zhang Yueran, Lo Yi-Chin, Chan Ho-Kei and Li Er. His plays include Salesman之死A Dream of Red Pavilions, and translations of scripts by Chen Si’an, Wei Yu-Chia, Quah Sy Ren and others. His novel State of Emergency won the Singapore Literature Prize in 2018. He lives in Flushing, Queens, and is a member of the translation collective Cedilla & Co.

 

Register here

Teaching the 'Long' 18th Century

April 23, 2021

Webinar | 9:00 am - 11:00 am

Teaching the 'Long' 18th Century

April 23, 2021

Webinar | 9:00 am - 11:00 am

After Thomas Baldwin, A Balloon-Prospect from above the Clouds, 

plate from Thomas Baldwin, Airopaidia (London; Chester: Printed for the author, 1786), 154.

 

Friday, April 23, 2021

9-11 am EDT

Register Here

 

"Teaching the ‘Long’ 18th Century"

Organized by Sarah Betzer, University of Virginia,

and Dipti Khera, Art History and Institute of Fine Arts, New York University

 

Roundtable featuring:

Anna Arabindan-Kesson, Princeton University

Nebahat Avcıoğlu, Hunter College, City University of New York

Emma Barker, The Open University, London

Ananda Cohen-Aponte, Cornell University

Prita Meier, Art History and Institute of Fine Arts, New York University

Nancy Um, Binghamton University, State University of New York

Stephen Whiteman, The Courtauld Institute of Art, London

 

 

This roundtable brings together scholars from a broad array of geographical foci and institutional perspectives who have been at the forefront of efforts to rethink approaches to thinking, researching, and, crucially, teaching the art and material culture of an interconnected “long” eighteenth century. Convened in conjunction with a session at the 2021 College Art Association conference, the roundtable will appear in distilled form in a dedicated issue of Journal18, forthcoming in Fall 2021. Two key aims animate the roundtable and its afterlife in Journal18: 1) to reflect upon teaching the “long" eighteenth century, particularly in light of renewed debates on the reparation of objects, revision of histories, and inclusion of colonized and enslaved voices in museums, plantation sites, and public squares; and 2) to compile a list of resources and open-access supporting materials that are pragmatically useful for colleagues engaged in teaching the “long” and “broad” eighteenth century.

 

 

East Asian Cultural Responses to the Covid-19 Pandemic

April 26, 2021

Webinar | 7:00 pm

East Asian Cultural Responses to the Covid-19 Pandemic

April 26, 2021

Webinar | 7:00 pm

While policy and strategy decisions have dominated mainstream media coverage of other nations’ handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is also important to consider how at the level of everyday life, societies and individuals have been experiencing the upheavals caused by the pandemic. This panel thus focuses on East Asian cultural reactions to this worldwide crisis. 

 

Jaeho Kang (Seoul National University) will describe how South Korean responses to the pandemic have been shaped by a confluence of technological and traditional cultural factors, and are interpreted along these rubrics. Chenshu Zhou (University of Pennsylvania) will be examining online video representations of Wuhan under lockdown that make use of drone footage. Anri Yasuda (University of Virginia) will analyze how works of Japanese literature written during the pandemic underscore a pervasive 'crisis ordinary' mentality that precedes Covid-19. After the presentations, there will be time for dialogue and exchanges about the shared themes, as well as the marked differences, amongst the contemporary East Asian socio-cultural contexts under discussion. 

 

Registration link forthcoming

Rethinking World Literature: China as Method - "Recovering First Patients: De-anglophonizing the Pandemic Archive on SARS”

May 14, 2021

Webinar | 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Rethinking World Literature: China as Method - "Recovering First Patients: De-anglophonizing the Pandemic Archive on SARS”

May 14, 2021

Webinar | 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Belinda Kong, Associate Professor, Bowdoin College
"Recovering First Patients: De-anglophonizing the Pandemic Archive on SARS”

 

As the first global pandemic of the 21st century, the 2003 SARS outbreak was as an uncanny precursor to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Who were its first patients, how were they narrated by the anglophone media, and what alternative archives can we look to to reconstruct their stories? Focusing on three SARS index cases—the first patients in China, Hong Kong, and Singapore—this talk examines anglophone formations of sinophobic racism and bioorientalism as they intersect with contemporary global discourses of infectious disease crisis. 
 
Belinda Kong is John F. and Dorothy H. Magee Associate Professor of Asian Studies and English at Bowdoin College. She is author of Tiananmen Fictions Outside the Square: The Chinese Literary Diaspora and the Politics of Global Culture (Temple University Press 2012) and is working on a new book project, What Lived Through SARS: Chronicles of Pandemic Resilience, which examines global pandemic discourses around the 2003 SARS epidemic, with focus on everyday cultures of epidemic life that emerged from the outbreak’s epicenters in China and Hong Kong. 

 

Register in advance for this meeting