I’d like to introduce myself as Director of HISB. I’d like my tenure as HI Director to be the start of a new phase in the Institute’s history and future, one that begins a new, revolving Directorship while continuing to attend to our shared mission of hosting some of the most exciting intellectual events on campus. At the same time, we will work to further and extend the already impressive collaborations we have established among and between the West and East sides of the University.
My ideas for new programming are as follows. First, we will spend one strand of each of the three years of my Directorship focusing on a specific intellectual theme, bringing a series of speakers from interdisciplinary backgrounds to campus to address that theme through their own research and experience. In the year 2014-15 that theme will be Q/T/F: Queer, Transgender and Feminist Perspectives which will highlight the most recent and innovative work in gender, sexuality and cultural analysis more generally, fields that continue to challenge and invigorate our categories and forms of analysis. The year 2015-14 will focus on ‘Critical Visions on Race and Empire from a Postcolonial and Post-Racial Age’ which will assess where we are both in the wake of the ‘imperial turn’ that occurred in a host of academic disciplines in the past two decades, and within the ‘post-racial’ world that many pundits believe we now inhabit. Again, the most forward-thinking scholars, writers and activists will be invited to share their perspectives with the Stony Brook community, and the year’s end conference will be targeted as a future publication, either online or print. The third year’s theme has not yet been decided: please send me your ideas!
I plan on establishing a tradition of funding two mini-conferences per year that are initiated and organized by interested faculty. Next spring’s conference will be on ‘Gender and Religion: Critical and Historical Perspectives’ and will examine the links between male and female authority and religion in early modern Mediterranean and modern Africa.
In future, I also hope to draw attention to our island, namely, Long Island, as a site where globalization, from the early modern era to the present, has impacted everyday life, sometimes with a vengeance.