The Director’s Corner - September 6, 2017
Hard to believe, but I have now served as Humanities Institute Director for three years. During that time, thanks to the indefatigable work of Adrienne Unger, Program Coordinator, and her staff, HISB is running at new levels of efficiency and excitement. Our theme this year, Dissent! Currents and Counter-Currents, is poised to provide a wake-up call to any who still think they don’t have to take a stand. Scholars from across the globe will gather at this year’s events to address current crises, regional particularities and the conditions of possibility of future liberations. See the Calendar above to plan for the events you will want to attend.
At the same time, we will be searching for our next Director over the course of the year. He, or she, will represent the ongoing commitment to Humanities as a set of disciplines that are at the front lines of critical thinking and engagement with social, cultural, and political issues of our world. Watch your emails for the opening of the nomination process, and if you are a tenured faculty person in the Humanities, Arts, or Interpretive Social Sciences, throw your name in the hat. We want committed people who stand up for the ethical issues of our time, in scholarship and in life; and who can commit to the collective basis of the Institute’s governance as guided by the Director and her or his Advisory Board and overseen by the Dean of the CAS. We would like the process to be transparent and open. To this end, if you have any good ideas for us, about future programming, Fellowships, and new possibilities in both, please let us know. This is your Institute—make it relevant to what we are doing here, for our students and ourselves.
Our AHLSS Faculty Fellows for 2017-18 are: Michael Rubenstein (English), Nick Wilson (Sociology) and Shobana Shankar (History), all of whom will be in residence in the Spring finishing book projects. Throughout the academic year the Institute is also hosting Matthew Christianson, ACLS Fellow and Professor of Literatures and Cultural Studies at University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley. Matt is at work on Detective Fiction and the Genres of Self and State in Africa, and will be giving a talk on the very same in the Spring. We’re very excited to have him. Stop by for coffee and a chat.
Our Public Humanities Fellows, funded by the joint efforts of HISB and Humanities New York (the state branch of the National Endowment for the Humanities), will be Allyse Knox-Russell/WGSS, who will be working on "Teaching Environmental Justice at Long Island's Flint 4-H Camp;" and Javier Gaston-Greenberg/HLL, "Hero Genesis: The Secret Language of Comics for Immigrant Youth." Both Fellows are slated to give us talks, and in the meantime they’d be delighted to have you stop by and talk about their projects.
Looking forward to the year ahead, with all of its challenges, and promise. I will check in with you again at mid-year. I shall leave you with a slogan from within the working class radical movements of early 19th century Britain: NOW IS THE TIME TO STAND AND FIGHT. TOMORROW MAY BE TOO LATE.
Please join us in the effort.
SUNY Distinguished Professor of History