Fall 2014


I am pleased to inaugurate a new phase in the Institute’s history and future, one that continues to attend to our shared mission of fostering intellectual exchanges and interdisciplinary research in the Humanities, Arts, Social Sciences, Sustainability and Medical Humanities. The next three years will be exciting ones, was each year focusing on intellectual themes, supplemented by series, symposia and workshops headed up by our colleagues across the campus. This year’s theme is will be  Q/F/T*, or  Queer, Transgender and Feminist Perspectives, and the speakers and workshops so designated on the Calendar will highlight the most recent and innovative work in a field that has long challenged and invigorated our categories and forms of analysis. Please check out these events over the year, which promise to change our thinking and practice in all of our respective fields.

 The year 2015-14 will focus on ‘Race and Empire after the Fall,’ in order to 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, but a strong contender is ‘Histories of the Future,’ courtesy of Eduardo Mendieta in Philosophy. The Board is considering all ideas, however, so if you have one you think is a winner, please send it along to me or any Board member.

 I also want to draw attention to the pioneering set of events coalesced under the heading HfE, or Humanities for the Environment, headed up by our former Director, E. Ann Kaplan. The strong component of Environmental scholars on campus—in History, English, CAT, Sustainability, Medical Humanities, Philosophy, Sociology and elsewhere, as well as School of Marine and Environmental Sciences —means that this will continue to be a vital component of HISB programming in the future. If you or your students are working in this area, please let us know: we want to involve you in our events and ask you to participate or talk to us.

 In addition, John Lutterbie, Chair of Arts, will be beginning a new lecture/performance series called ‘In Process’, beginning in Spring or Fall 2015. 

 Finally, in 2014-15 I will be in residence at the Huntington Library and Art Gallery in San Marino, CA. Fortunately, Professors Lisa Diedrich and Victoria Hesford have abgreed to serve as our Acting Co-Directors for that period, and they are in fact the masterminds of our Q/F/T* series of events. So I leave you in fabulous hands, and wish each and every one of you a great academic year. To Health, Happiness and Knowledge! Take care.


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