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


Spring 2017


Amanda Anderson - "Bleak Liberalism and the Question of Therapeutic Criticism" (March 28, 2017)

This talk explores the demands of criticism at the present moment, assessing a number of recent calls for new methods, including those that seek to promote a new mood for criticism. The arguments of Anderson's recent book, Bleak Liberalism, is discussed in relation to these larger debates, and a case is made for the importance of the tradition of normative critical theory to the challenges we face both inside and outside the academy.  

Sandro Mezzadra - "Excavating Contemporary Capitalism: Toward a Critique of Extraction Writ Large" (April 10, 2017)

Is globalization over in the age of Trump? The talk takes this question as a point of departure and focuses on actually existing global processes in order to suggest that what is currently at stake is rather a set of conflicts and tensions surrounding the direction of globalization and the organization of its spaces. It attempts to shed light on the specific “rationality,” or “logic” underlying operations of capital in strategically important “sectors” of economic activity – such as extraction, logistics, and finance. The talk aims to show that such operative logic eschews containment and articulation by the nation state and has rather “global” characteristics. It argues for the need to work toward an expanded notion of extraction and to look at the ways in which extraction writ large shapes contemporary capitalism. The talk ends by asking a set of important questions regarding a politics capable of effectively confronting this increasingly extractive capitalism and opening up new vistas of liberation and life beyond the rule of capital.

Amitav Ghosh - A Conversation on The Great Derangement (April 27, 2017)

In this evening event, IHGC Distinguished Writer-in-Residence Amitav Ghosh spoke about his newest book, The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable (2016). Amitav Ghosh was born in Calcutta and grew up in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. He studied in Delhi, Oxford and Alexandria and is the author of The Circle of Reason, The Shadow Lines, In An Antique Land, Dancing in Cambodia, The Calcutta Chromosome, The Glass Palace, The Hungry Tide, and the first two volumes of The Ibis Trilogy; Sea of Poppies, and River of Smoke.

Fall 2017


Achille Mbembe - "Negative Messianism in the Age of Animism" (September 18, 2017)

Achille Mbembe is Research Professor in History and Politics at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. He is coeditor of Johannesburg: The Elusive Metropolis, also published by Duke University Press, and the author of On the Postcolony as well as several books in French.


Summer 2018 - CHCI 2018 Conference


Welcome & Introduction



Achille Mbembe - "Algorithmic Reason and Planetary Humanities"



Panel: Art, Desire, and Techno Entanglements (Renate Ferro, Matthew Burtner, Anjali Prabhu, Judith Buchanan)


Experimental Humanities: Humanities Labs (James Evans, Nicole Coleman, Jack Chen, Camilla Fojas, Eric Hayot)


Wendy Hui Kyong Chun - "Critical Data Studies or How to Desegregate Networks"

Lydia Liu, "The Psychic Life of Digital Media"

Panel: Epistemic Accelerations and Algorithmic Cultures (Jennifer Rhee, Chad Wellmon, Gary Tomlinson)

Panel: Information Wars, Impossible Democracies (Siva Vaidhyanathan, Jonathan Albright, Thomas Keenan, Amanda Anderson)

Panel on #Charlottesville August 11 & 12 (Deborah McDowell, Louis Nelson, Michael Bérubé)

Michael Witmore - What Should Humanists Think About in the Age of the Algorithm?


Fall 2018


Lisa Parks, “Vertical Mediation and the War on Terror from 9/11 to Trump”

Lisa Parks is a Professor at the Department of Comparative Media Studies/Writing at MIT and MacArthur "genius" grant winner. Her research focuses on three areas: satellite technologies and media cultures; critical studies of media infrastructures; and media, militarization and surveillance. Parks is the author of Cultures in Orbit: Satellites and the Televisual (Duke UP, 2005), Rethinking Media Coverage: Vertical Mediation and the War on Terror (Routledge, 2018), and Mixed Signals: Media Infrastructures and Cultural Geographies (in progress). Parks has held visiting appointments at the Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin, McGill University, University of Southern California, and the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania.


Alexander Galloway (NYU), "The Concept of the Digital"


What is the digital? The question is typically answered via reference to things -- things like Twitter, Playstation, or computers in general. Indeed, the definition of “digital” is often given through various descriptions of the latest commercial ventures and the industrial techniques that provide their footing. Yet the digital is not a description of a media artifact so much as it is a specific mode of thinking and being. In this lecture we will define the digital explicitly, not merely by reference to actually existing media technologies, but also, and perhaps more importantly, as a specific event within philosophy.


Spring 2019


Amitav Ghosh - Reading and Conversation on Gun Island

From the award-winning author of the bestselling epic Ibis trilogy comes a globetrotting, folkloric adventure novel about family and heritage Bundook. Gun. A common word, but one that turns Deen Datta's world upside down. A dealer of rare books, Deen is used to a quiet life spent indoors, but as his once-solid beliefs begin to shift, he is forced to set out on an extraordinary journey; one that takes him from India to Los Angeles and Venice via a tangled route through the memories and experiences of those he meets along the way. There is Piya, a fellow Bengali-American who sets his journey in motion; Tipu, an entrepreneurial young man who opens Deen's eyes to the realities of growing up in today's world; Rafi, with his desperate attempt to help someone in need; and Cinta, an old friend who provides the missing link in the story they are all a part of. It is a journey that will upend everything he thought he knew about himself, about the Bengali legends of his childhood, and about the world around him. Amitav Ghosh's Gun Island is a beautifully realized novel that effortlessly spans space and time. It is the story of a world on the brink, of increasing displacement and unstoppable transition. But it is also a story of hope, of a man whose faith in the world and the future is restored by two remarkable women.