Research, Teaching, and Community Outreach Initiatives

Graduate Certificate Program in Media, Art, Culture, and Technology (MACT)

Several CAT faculty have helped to propose a new Graduate Certificate Program in Media, Art, Culture, and Technology (MACT). If approved, this certificate will offer graduate students an interdisciplinary grounding in the historical and theoretical study of media, art, culture, and technology. It is designed to complement a graduate student’s primary degree by supporting research that traverses traditional academic methods and objects of inquiry. Combining faculty with diverse expertise in media, art, culture, and technology, the MACT certificate will support work at the dynamic intersections of these evolving fields.

The MACT graduate certificate will be open to students enrolled in any of Stony Brook University’s Ph.D., D.M.A., M.A., M.F.A, and M.M. programs. The Certificate will be awarded upon completion of a 15-credit sequence (one core course and four electives), which may also be counted toward degree requirements in the student’s home department. 

The MACT certificate was conceived and proposed by the following group of one dozen faculty members across five departments and programs. Affiliate faculty will offer courses eligible for the certificate and will help advise certificate students. Relevant courses taught by other faculty will also be eligible for certificate credit and any faculty member wishing to become involved will be welcomed.

Brooke Belisle, Assistant Professor (as of 2015) in cDACT and Cultural Analysis and Theory

Margaret Schedel, Undergraduate Director and Associate Professor in cDACT and Music 

Zabet Patterson, Undergraduate Director and Assistant Professor in cDACT and Art History and Criticism

Andrew Uroskie, Graduate Director and Associate Professor of Art History and Criticism

Raiford Guins, Associate Professor in Cultural Analysis and Theory

Jacob Gaboury, Assistant Professor in Cultural Analysis and Theory

David Mather, Assistant Professor in Art History and Criticism

Sohl Lee, Assistant Professor in Art History and Criticism

Stephen Smith, Assistant Professor in Music

Benjamin Tausig, Assistant Professor in Music

Justin Johnson, Assistant Professor in English

Elyse Graham, Assistant Professor in English

The “new patient”: interdisciplinary and international perspectives

Nancy Tomes (History) and Lisa Diedrich (Women’s and Gender Studies)

This initiative creates a network of faculty and graduate students interested in the theories and practices of patient/consumer empowerment in health care settings. We explore the emergence of these theories and practices since the 1970s, and investigate how they've worked—and not worked—since then. Our purpose is to create a dialogue among faculty about the varied research on this topic being conducted in different disciplines, not only in our own fields (history and women's studies) but also in preventive medicine, economics, public health, medical humanities, sociology, anthropology, and philosophy. We are particularly interested in looking at the way conceptions of difference (gender, class, and racial) have figured in discussions of patient/consumer roles and behaviors.

In the last twenty-five years, the American health care scene has been transformed by the consumer health movement. There is a widespread perception that the health care “playing field” has been leveled since the 1970s, with patients gaining a new sense of their rights, often at the expense of their physicians’ authority. But the extent and implications of the consumer health revolution remain poorly understood. Scholars are now debating how much has really changed since the 1970s; have efforts at cost containment offset progress toward a more patient centered medicine? Does the model of patient “empowerment” impose too great or too little a burden on patients? These discussions have emphasized the importance of class, race, and gender differences, both in the level of so-called health literacy, and in access to health care resources, as critical factors.

Scholars in many disciplines are vitally interested in these issues, but they often have little opportunity to share findings and perspectives with each other. In part, that lack of opportunity reflects structural problems. At Stony Brook, faculty interested in these issues are divided by Nichols Road. They have limited time or incentive to communicate with each other. The problems are also conceptual. Many researchers, especially in economics and political science, remain untouched by the “cultural turn”; they continue to look to more sophisticated means of data gathering and analysis as the best means to foster needed improvements in health care institutions. Social scientists and humanists influenced by the new science studies have a very different conception of what it means to study “the patient.” Scholars coming out of a science studies background (such as ourselves) approach our work with an understanding that we rely on methodologies and assumptions that themselves are deeply politicized and invariably flawed. So we do our work with a sense of this paradox: we want better to represent “the patient” and “the public” yet we do so with a keen sense of how uncertain that claims making process has become, both theoretically and practically. In particular, incorporating the complexity of gender, racial, and class distinctions into these models poses a daunting challenge.

Whatever our field of interest, we all work with a poorly developed conceptual “toolkit” with which to generalize across disciplines about the agency and interests of patients in all their diversity. Social scientists inherit an academic predisposition toward reductionist, often contemptuous conceptions of “the public” and/or “public opinion.” Otherwise sophisticated analyses may be marred by cartoonish conceptions of rational vs. irrational patient actors. Unexamined gender, racial and class stereotypes abound in these discussions. For example, in some discussions, women are portrayed as “better” patient/consumers than their male relatives, while in others they appear as overly concerned with physical appearance and prone to health faddism. Similar contradictions appear in discussions of other categories of patient/consumers, including African Americans, the working poor, and the elderly.

In order to move ahead, then, we need to look more closely at how concepts of the “public interest” or the "patients’ interest” function in academic discourse. What sorts of evidence do we use to define and articulate those interests? How do we move from anecdote and narrative—a style of argument that can always be countered by different anecdotes and narratives—to a more convincing style of “policy narrative and argument”? How do we include a more sophisticated analysis of how gender, racial, and class differences influence models of patient empowerment?

To learn more about the New Patient Initiative, or to become part of the network, please contact Lisa Diedrich


For detailed information click here

Spring 2016


CAT Graduate Colloquium

Wednesday, March 23rd, from 1:00 - 2:20 in Frey Hall 105.

Our speakers include: 

Kathryn Silverstein, "Crime, Time, and the Corporeal in Julia Kristeva's Possessions"

Mark Pingree, "Cosmic Pessimism: Catastrophe, Trauma and Extinction"

Shruti Mukherjee, "Activism during Siege: Rise of Hindu Nationalist Right Wing in India"

CAT Graduate Colloquium

Wednesday, February 10th, 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. 

Humanities Institute, Room#1008

Speakers and Titles: 

Spatiality, Cognitive Ecology, Here 

Professor John Lutterbie, "Gutters and Panels"

David Rodriguez, "Environment at Scale"


Fall 2015

Cultural Analysis and Theory -Graduate Student Conference


2015 Stony Brook University, Dept. of Cultural Analysis and Theory, Graduate Student Conference

Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015

SBU Manhattan

387 Park Avenue South, 3rd Floor

New York, NY 10016


2015 CAT Colloquium

Wednesday, October 28th, from 1:00 - 2:20 p.m.

Humanities Institute room#1008

Speakers and Titles:

Professor E.K. Tan, “From Exile to Queer Homecoming: Chen Xue’s A Wife’s Diary (2012)"

Yalda Hamidi, “'Diasporic Literature as a Feminist Genre: Re-reading Persepolis and Reading Lolita in Tehran"


Co-Sponsored Events:

Black History Month

Keynote speaker Sonia Sanchez poet, educator, and lecturer on Black Culture and Literature, Women’s Liberation and Racial Justice. 

Wednesday, January 27
1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
Student Activities Center Gelber Auditorium

DANTE WORLDS Echoes, Places, Questions -- A Conference on the 750th Anniversary of Dante's Birth 
Wednesday,  December 2, 2015 
Charles B. Wang Lecture Hall 29:30 am to 5:30 pm

English Graduate Student Conference - Spring 2016
Speaking Text(s): Communication in the Humanities

Kadji Amin published "'Blesser' le spectateur blanc américain: Les Nègres aux États-Unis, 1961-64 et 2003" in Études françaises.

Kadji Amin has been awarded a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship on SEX at the University of Pennsylvania Humanities Forum for the 2015-16 academic year.

Kadji Amin has been awarded a Humanities Institute at Stony Brook Faculty Fellowship for Spring semester of 2015 for the completion of his book, Queer Attachments.

Raiford Guins "Punk archaeologists" explain that they went looking for more than just video-game cartridges in a New Mexico landfill.  

Nancy Hiemstra has been selected to receive the 2014-15 Graduate and Faculty Research Program in the Arts, Humanities and Lettered Social Sciences.

Robert Harvey has been appointed to the rank of Distinguished Professor.

Izabela Kalinowska-Blackwood is curating a film series at the IWM in Vienna.


Marcus Brock has been selected to receive the Turner Conference Travel Award to participation in the "Audiovisualtopia" taking place in Madrid, Spain beginning on 10/23/2015. 

Beth Tsai has been selected to receive the 2014-15 Graduate and Faculty Research Program in the Arts, Humanities and Lettered Social Sciences.

Kudos Newsletter 

        May 2016

The Humanities Institute

Cultural Analysis and Theory • Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794-5355 • Phone: 631.632.7460 • Fax: 631.632.5707
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