Graduate Affiliate workshops for 2016-17 promote interdisciplinary study of European culture

April 19, 2017
(c) Bieke Depoorter, Magnum Photos

The 2016-17 ECS Graduate Affiliates hail from the Departments of Art & Archaeology, Comparative Literature, French, History, Politics, Slavic, and the School of Architecture. This year, the ECS GAs formed four “Working Groups” focused on areas of common interest in the interdisciplinary study of European culture since the early modern period.

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The “Letters Working Group” has organized a five-part, semester-long seminar for Spring 2017 that explores the notion of the letter in Europe from 1860-1970. In examining this dynamic period in the human relationship to letters, the “Letters Working Group” seminar considers the introduction of various print and communications technologies; language standardization movements and the rise of mandatory national education; the resulting democratization of print culture; the effects of this altered relationship to language in literature and the visual arts; and the notion of the letter in 20th century psychoanalytic, philosophical, structuralist, and post-structuralist thought. A “Letters Working Group” workshop with art historian Annie Bourneuf following Bourneuf’s talk in the Program in Media + Modernity on April 25 will focus on Bourneuf’s interdisciplinary scholarship on the modernist artist Paul Klee.

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The “Spaces, Techniques, Knowledge Working Group” has organized a series of lectures and workshops to consider how, in light of global current events as well as existing postcolonial and transnational frameworks of scholarship, the category of “European culture” might contribute to a contemporary reconsideration of space and architecture. A lecture by Sonja Duempelmann (Harvard) on “Street Tree Stories: On the Politics of Nature in the City,” co-sponsored by the Princeton-Mellon Initiative in Architecture, Urbanism, and the Humanities, launched the series, which also included a workshop with Anthony Vidler (Cooper Union) on “Agonistics: Spaces of Democracy, Resistance, and Pluralism,” and a workshop with Bernard Harcourt (Columbia), following his lecture “Rethinking the Critique of Violence/Power.”

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The “Travel Writing and Photography Working Group” has explored both the origins of travel writing and photography and contemporary practices within those the genres, with an emphasis on the European periphery and orientalism. Events organized by the group this year include “Blot Out:” Travel Writing as Trespassing,” a reading by contemporary travel writer Colleen Kinder (Yale),  and an upcoming public lecture by Maria Antonella Pelizzari (Hunter College and the Graduate Center, CUNY) on “Framing Community: Magnum Photos, 1947-Present.”

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