2015-2016 Talks

Edible Memory: How Tomatoes Became Heirlooms and Apples Became Antiques

Professor Jennifer A. Jordan
Sociology and Urban Studies
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Thursday, September 24th • 4:00pm • 1501 UH

How do the stories we tell each other about the past shape the food we eat? Even as countless varieties of edible plants have vanished permanently from the face of the earth, people are working hard to preserve the biodiversity and “genetic heritage” not only of rare panda bears or singular orchids, but also the plants of the backyard vegetable garden. A major consequence of this work is the emergence of heirloom food—varieties of fruit, vegetables, grains and livestock left behind by modern agriculture, but now experiencing a striking resurgence. Through a close examination of apples and tomatoes, this talk reveals the phenomenon of edible memory—the infusing of food, heirloom and otherwise, with connections to the past, in ways both deeply personal and inherently social. Paying attention to edible memory reveals deep connections between food and memory, social and physical landscapes, pleasures and possibilities.

Sponsored by:

  • The Temporalities Working Group
  • Institute for the Humanities
  • School of Literatures, Cultural Studies and Linguistics

Temporality of the Anthropocene: Time Scales and the Environmental Humanities

Professor Heather Sullivan
German Studies
Trinity University

Thursday, October 22nd • 4:00pm • 1501 UH

In this talk, Professor Heather Sullivan proposes a trope for the humanities as a means of grappling with the paradoxes and problems of the Anthropocene: the “dark pastoral,” whose darkness is especially poignant with the immersion into the fossil-fueled acceleration of modern industrial capitalism. Typical to the literary pastoral’s duplicity that ignores power structures by documenting local fields, thereby upholding colonial and imperial practices, the dark pastoral evokes a polarity of, on the one side, the dreams of retreat into green landscapes–themselves agriculturally artificial, of course–and, on the other, the fears of dark oil spills, toxic landscapes, and environmental injustice. The dark pastoral is both urban nature and toxic forests, human agency and hopelessness, species extinction and a “vibrant” “new nature” whose changes are ever accelerating.

Sponsored by:

  • The Temporalities and Political Ecologies Working Groups
  • Institute for the Humanities
  • School of Literatures, Cultural Studies, and Linguistics

History, Hauntology, Representation

Professor Steven Marsh
Department of Hispanic and Italian Studies, UIC

Wed. November 11th • 4:00pm • 1501 UH

In this talk, Professor Marsh seeks to explore that area where cinematic representation of history and the institutional discipline of Film History meet. His reading two recent films, both of which have emerged from the periphery of the Spanish state (Cataluña), turns on questions of interruption, event, and out-of-joint time.

Sponsored by:

  • The Temporalities Working Group
  • Institute for the Humanities
  • School of Literatures, Cultural Studies and Linguistics

Racial Resurrections: Remembering Transatlantic Slavery in Contemporary France

Professor Crystal Fleming

Monday, February 1st • 3pm • Daley Library Conference Room 1-470

Crystal Fleming is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at SUNY-Stony Brook whose work has been supported by the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the SSRC, and the SUNY Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

In her talk, Crystal Fleming looks beyond France’s self-identification as a “colorblind” society to explore the racial conceptualizations that are made possible by the way slavery is being resurrected and remembered in France today.

Sponsored by:

  • Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy
  • African-American Studies
  • Institute for the Humanities
  • Department of French and Francophone Studies
  • School of Literatures, Cultural Studies, and Linguistics

The interplay of individual differences and contexts of learning in second language acquisition

Professor Kara Morgan-Short
Department of Hispanic and Italian Studies, UIC

Tuesday, April 19th • 4:00pm • 1501 UH

Second language (L2) acquisition is a complex and dynamic process that is influenced by multiple factors, including the individual cognitive abilities that learners bring to the L2 learning task and the context under which the L2 is learned. Understanding the independent effect of each of these factors, however, is not sufficient. We must come to understand the interplay between them. This talk examines the interplay of individual differences and contexts of learning by presenting findings from a series of studies that employ both behavioral and neurolinguistic methods to shed light on how learners’ cognitive abilities may play out differently in different contexts of learning for L2 development and processing. Results from the artificial and natural language studies that are presented largely converge to suggest that the role of cognitive abilities in the L2 learning task may be moderated by the condition under which the learner is exposed to the L2. These findings are considered within the larger task of examining the multiplicity of factors and their dynamic effect on L2 acquisition.

Sponsored by:

  • The Temporalities Working Group
  • Institute for the Humanities
  • School of Literatures, Cultural Studies and Linguistics