Reading Groups

 

In the spirit of the Institute, IPLAI reading groups, seminars and working-groups are not-for-credit innovative, interdisciplinary programs of exploration that cross boundaries and ask big questions. Participants are not required to have existing expertise in the subject. A keen curiosity and respect for one’s fellow participants  is enough. Anyone is welcome to propose or join a reading, seminar or working group, including McGill staff, faculty, students, alumni and interested parties. We only ask that you have tried your best to complete the texts for discussion and cooperate with the spirit and intention of the working groups.

WE’RE LOOKING FOR Winter 2018 READING GROUPS

reading or working group is for any group of interested, passionate, curious people who want to work on a common project or discuss a common reading list. Basically, any small group of people who wants to gather for learning something new. Pitch us your idea, and we’ll provide you with the perfect club meeting spot in IPLAI’s space. Coffee, cookies, and quiet provided.

Some things to keep in mind when planning a reading or working groupGroups work best when:

  • there is already a core group of 3 people already committed to meetings for the term
  • there is a reasonable reading load or prep load of readings/films/texts
  • groups are open to drop-ins and participation from non-experts
  • groups give IPLAI dates to earmark in IPLAI calendar to draw new and interested parties
  • the schedule should be posted relatively early (or a facebook group should be created) to update the core members about the reading group meetings
  • meetings are held no more than 6 times per term

Please download the guide for more information: Instructions for pitching an IPLAI reading group. The deadline for applications to create a Winter 2018 reading group is January 15, 2018.


Fall 2017 (see Calendar for specific dates)

 

Energy Humanities

Much of the discussion that swirls around global warming, its causes and its consequences, cycles around eventually to the question of why people don’t “feel” facts. How is it that so much solid scientific research fails to convince so many that energy – how we make it, how we use it – has radically shaped every aspect of our contemporary world? Or as Boyer and Szeman have written “Economic growth, as well as expansion of the access to goods and services we have come to associate with the experience of modernity, is a direct consequence of the massive expansion of energy use by human communities, especially (though not only) in the global North; the capacities and freedoms that are connected to the modern, to the opening up of leisure time to expectations of almost unfettered mobility, are similarly a consequence of a world awash in the kilocalories generated primarily by fossil fuels.” (Boyer & Szeman, 2017).

In this reading course, we will read from the fantastic wealth of contemporary work on energy in the humanities (and occasional even the social sciences). Some works treat the question of how energy allows for certain literatures, imaginaries, or cultural systems to arise; others look to explicitly literary, imaginative and culture work on energy systems and sources; and yet others consider the problems of anthropogenic climate change playfully—sidestepping science as the only way to communicate things scientific. Readings will include: new essays, works of fiction (including selections from the burgeoning world of climate fiction), TV and film productions, classic works, and full monographs. Reading will be limited to 30 pages per meeting. Hard scientists and engineers are welcome.

Please e-mail gretchen.bakke@mcgill.ca for copies of the first week’s readings.

Tuesday Sept 12 @ 5:45-7:15PM

Tuesday Sept 26 @ 5:45-7:15PM

Tuesday Oct 10 @ 5:45-7:15PM

Tuesday Oct 24 @ 5:45-7:15PM

Tuesday Nov 7 @ 5:45-7:15PM

Tuesday Nov 28 @  5:45-7:15PM

Food & Social Networks

This interdisciplinary reading group will focus on a wide range of food writings that address the place of food on social networks. See descriptions of individual sessions for more information about how this theme will be approached in each meeting. Participants are asked to contribute food for a potluck mean that is inspired by that session’s readings. Please contact individual session leaders for meeting locations, readings & food contributions.

Monday Oct 2 @ 6PM-8PM, IPLAI  Session leader:  amfmoyer@hotmail.com

Monday Oct 23 @ 6PM-8PM, IPLAI  Session leader:  claurent77@gmail.com

Monday Nov 13 @ 6PM-8PM, IPLAI Session leader:  natalie.doonan@gmail.com

Monday Dec 4 @ 6PM-8PM,  IPLAI Session leader: sarah.bergerrichardson@mail.mcgill.ca

 

Download Outline

Foucault’s Birth of the Clinic Revisited

The primary aim of this mini-seminar will be to conduct a close reading of Michel Foucault’s “Birth of the Clinic.” Through group discussion, we will analyze both the historical and conceptual
frameworks that he is developing in this text. A secondary aim of this seminar will be to consider a more contemporary set of discussions in which the work has gained traction.

Tuesday Oct 17 @ 4:30-6:30PM, IPLAI

Tuesday Oct 31 @ 4:30-6:30PM, IPLAI

Tuesday Nov 14 @ 4:30-6:30PM, IPLAI

Tuesday Nov 28 @ 4:30-6:30PM, IPLAI

 

Contact: aarichmond@hotmail.com

Download Outline

Imagining the Patient Through the Ages: Medieval & Modern

How has medical intervention been configured over the centuries? What does this medical intervention look like over the course of various life stages? With a comparative reading of
medieval and modern/contemporary texts, this reading group sets out to answer these questions. We will consider what ‘patient’ means in each period, and how that understanding has changed
in the intervening centuries. This group will take an interdisciplinary approach, incorporating ideas and methodologies from Comparative Literature studies and the History of Medicine.

Monday Sept 11 @ 1:30-3:30PM, IPLAI

Monday  Sept 25 @ 1:30-3:30PM, IPLAI

Monday  Oct 9 @ 1:30-3:30PM, IPLAI

Monday  Oct 23 @ 1:30-3:30PM, IPLAI

Monday  Nov 6 @ 1:30-3:30PM, IPLAI

Monday  Nov 13 @  1:30-3:30PM, IPLAI

 

Contacts:

Lisa Banks: lisa.banks@mail.mcgill.ca
Patrick Outhwaite: patrick.outhwaite@mail.mcgill.ca

Download Outline

 

Summer 2017

Spatial Justice and the University as City Builder

This working group explores the multiple ways in which large academic institutions and communities engage. Universities often provide economic boosts to cities and towns by providing employment, innovation, infrastructure investment, and social capital. The group will consider spatial, social, environmental and economic elements of these relationships through storytelling, readings, case studies, mapping exercises, and review of campus designs and planning policies.

Wednesday, January 25 @ 14:00-15:30

Wednesday, March 01 @ 14:00-15:30

Wednesday, March 22 @14:00-15:30 (this meeting will take place in room 609 of New Chancellor Day Hall)

Wednesday, April 26 @ 14:00-15:30 (this meeting will take place in the Founders Salon at the Canadian Centre for Architecture at 1920 rue Baile, Montreal)

Wednesday, May 24 @14:00-15:30 (this meeting will take place at Temps Libre at 5605, avenue de Gaspé, suite 106.

Download outline. For more information please contact Jaimie Cudmore, PhD Candidate in the School of Architecture:
jaimie.cudmore@mail.mcgill.ca or Christopher Alton, PhD Student in School of Geography and Planning, University of Toronto: christopher.alton@mail.utoronto.ca

Winter 2017  (see Calendar for specific dates)

 Mapping the Nation(s): Parallel Cinema in South Asia

South Asian film is a vast field, but it is usually sidelined in discussions of contemporary film, despite the fact that it has made important contributions to political and art house cinema. For this reason, and in view of recent politicized national (and nationalist) debates about cultural production in South Asia (and across the globe), revisiting contemporary Indian and Pakistani cinema is more relevant than ever. For this purpose, we will engage with several popular movies of contemporary South Asian cinema and will discuss the various ways in which these films construct, problematize and challenge national narratives.

We aim to offer a space for discussion and the exchange of ideas between undergraduate, graduate students, and faculty while engaging political and historical questions from a cultural point of view. By focusing on film (without add. reading materials), we hope to make the reading group more accessible to students from outside the humanities and across departments at McGill.

Wednesday, February 8 @ 17:30 , ARTS 260

Wednesday, February 22 @ 17:30 , ARTS 260

Wednesday, March 8 @ 17:30 , ARTS 260

Wednesday, March 22 @ 17:30 , ARTS 260

Wednesday, April 5 @ 17:30 , ARTS 260

Wednesday, April 12 @ 17:30 , ARTS 260

 

Life After Theory – An Interrogation of Posthumanism and Surface Reading

A recent panel on posthumanism and post-theory at the MLA convention in Philadelphia attempted to challenge contemporary theorizations in the field of literary and cultural studies by providing a counter-history. Since there is still unbounded enthusiasm for a post-theoretical project, and especially for the concept of ‘surface reading,’ it is necessary to read and understand its foundational texts and their genealogy in intellectual history. For while posthumanism claims to radically challenge anthropocentric and paranoid readings of literature it in fact questions critical approaches to literary and cultural texts. Yet nothing could be more important in the era of ‘post-truth’ than a revitalized ‘hermeneutics of suspicion’ and a theory of praxis that trains students and scholars across the disciplines in depth-models of reading.

For this purpose, this reading group will focus on close readings of (short) post-theoretical texts and excerpts dealing with the so-called hermeneutics of suspicion, complemented by critical responses and background texts. All texts will be made available as PDFs or links.

Friday, February 3 @ 15:00 – 16:00

Wednesday, February 15 @ 17:30 – 18:30

Wednesday, March 15 @ 17:30 – 18:30

Wednesday, March 29 @ 17:30 – 18:30

Wednesday, April 19 @ 17:30 – 18:30

Queer and Monstrous

The concept of a monster is something that is held at the intersection of many discourses. It’s weaved its way through cultural history through many folklores, mythologies and legends.  According to Rosi Braidotti:

“The peculiarity of the […] monster is that s/he is both Same and Other. The monster is neither a total stranger or completely familiar; s/he exists in an in-between zone. I would express this as a paradox: the monstrous other is both liminal and structurally central to our perception of normal human subjectivity.”

Although there are multiple imaginations of a “monster;” it is always a coded sign of difference and a containment of fear-inducing qualities. In a way by transgressing certain boundaries, monsters queer the notion of identity. This reading group looks four novels to discuss how the concept of monstrosity intersect with queerness and queer theory.

Tuesday, January 24 @ 17:30 – 18:30

Tuesday, February 14 @ 17:30 – 18:30

Tuesday, March 15 @ 17:30 – 18:30

Tuesday, April 11 @ 17:30 – 18:30

Download outline. For more information please contact Subhanya Sivajothy: subhanya@gmail.com, or Aidan Gilchrist-Blackwood:  aidan.gilchrist-blackwood@mail.mcgill.ca

Are Texts Alive?

This reading group aims to stoke a radical imagination for our times of heightened environmental anxieties by de-centering ‘the human’ from texts. On one level, we are interested in engaging texts—especially short stories, poems, and new digital platforms—that reshuffle (or dissolve) agency and subjecthood out of the orbit of anthropocentrism and into messy, queer, speculative and decolonial subjectscapes of the nonhuman. We ask: how can different forms of textuality open up multiple, contradictory worlds of perception in which ends become islands sprouting possibilities of adaptation and multi-species co-habitation? On another level, we are curious to collectively explore how texts are alive through us – that is, how do we metabolise what we read into how we perceive, feel and live the world? How might exploring these two frames together lead us to think differently about whether or not texts are, in fact, alive? We will explore these questions, both textual and embodied, through a flexible reading list, featuring a short story, selection of poems or online game/film per fortnight, as well as by inviting participants to share poems they feel might be relevant.

Thursday, January 26 @ 16:00 – 18:00

Thursday, February 9 @ 16:00 – 18:00

Thursday, February 23 @ 16:00 – 18:00

Friday, March 10 @ 16:00 – 18:00

Thursday, March 23 @ 16:00 – 18:00

Thursday, April 6 @ 16:00 – 18:00

Download outline.For more information please contact Prof. Stephanie Posthumus in the Department of Languages, Literatures, Cultures: stephanie.posthumus@mcgill.ca, Fern Thompsett: fern.thompsett@mail.mcgill.ca, or Katarzyna Van Schaik: kasia.vanschaik@mail.mcgill.ca

Dark Ecology

Timothy Morton argues that one of the things that has been most damaged by modern society is thinking, and one of the most damaged ideas is that of Nature. Rather than seeing Nature as an object “over there,” Morton seeks to show the interconnectedness of things. In his recent book, Dark Ecology: For a Logic of Future Coexistence (2016), calls for us to give up the idea that “nature” is somehow “natural,” asking us to instead embrace the dark underbelly, and celebrate the “queerness” of nature. Through a close reading of the text, this group proposes to discuss these ideas of Nature, Man, and our damaged way of thinking.

Thursday, February 2 @ 15:00-16:00

Thursday, March 9 @ 15:00-16:00

Thursday, March 30 @ 15:00-16:00

Download outline. For more information please contact Rebecca Robinson in the Department of History and Classics: rebecca.robinson@mail.mcgill.ca

North-by-North Turkish Studies Reading Group (continued from Fall 2016)

The North-by-North Turkish Studies Reading Group will provide a space for critical, interdisciplinary discussion about contemporary Turkey. Over the course of the 2016-2017 academic year we will meet bimonthly. Each session will be devoted to discussion of a recent book on Turkey. Texts will range from works of academic scholarship, manuscripts in progress, recent translations of 20th-century Turkish literature into English, as well as long-form journalistic accounts of the country. Group leaders will help participants access copies of the texts and participants will be encouraged to try to read the whole text prior to the scheduled meetings. While the Institute of Islamic Studies at McGill is world renowned and there are numerous faculty and graduate students working on the Middle East in some capacity at the university, there are relatively few spaces where Montreal-based scholars, journalists, writers, and documentary film-makers working on contemporary Turkey can gather together in the city. Our group will provide a place on campus where people with both professional and personal interests in Turkey can gather and will also serve as bridge to connect McGill academics to people working on and interested in Turkey in Montreal more broadly. Given Turkey’s geopolitical importance and recent events in the country that have propelled it into daily headlines, the group this year is particularly topical. The group will also be able to build upon its work last year, when its meetings were sponsored in part by the Department of History and Classical Studies at McGill.

Friday, January 20, 2017 @ 14:00 – 16:00

Friday, March 17, 2017 @ 14:00 – 16:00 **IMPORTANT – the reading group will meet at Macdonald-Harrington Building, Room 206 (not the usual IPLAI location)

Friday, May 12, 2017 @ 14:00 – 16:00

Download outline. For more information contact Kate Elizabeth Creasey: kecreasey@ucla.edu;  Timur Hammond: Timur.Hammond@uvm.edu; and,  Ipek Tureli: ipek.tureli@mcgill.ca

Fall 2016  (see Calendar for specific dates)

  • Four Course Meal (Thursdays, 17h30-18h30, MISC)
  • North-by-North Turkish Studies Reading Group (Fridays, 14h00-16h00)
  • Rediscovering the Women Philosophers of Western Modernity (Wednesdays 14h45-16h15)
  • Registering Globalization: Reading South Asian Literature (Mondays 17h30-19h00)
  • Visual and Literary Encounters in the Middle East: Between Production and Distortion of Knowledge (Tuesdays 16h00)

Four Course Meal

To those eaters, readers, writers of food, we propose the following four course meal. First, for those who like a little novelty in their cookbooks, we will be examining 19th-century domestic fiction. Next, a history of salt, milk and forks or, as we’re calling it, “the history of the world through a single food or food-related item”, followed by a look at food and virtue and what each has to do with the other. We’ll finish up the series with a workshop centered on the theme of the 2017 Oxford Symposium of Food and Cookery: Food and Landscape. We encourage both scholars and non-scholars alike to partake of the readings and of the snacks. We seek also to engage the English-language community and thereby extend the network already established by a lively discussion group for francophone scholars and food professionals led by Julia Csergo of UQAM.

Last Thursday of every month: 17h30-19h30, at MISC 3463 Peel Street. Download outline. For more information contact Alexia Moyer alexia.moyer@mail.mcgill.ca

North-by-North Turkish Studies Reading Group

The North-by-North Turkish Studies Reading Group will provide a space for critical, interdisciplinary discussion about contemporary Turkey. Over the course of the 2016-2017 academic year we will meet bimonthly. Each session will be devoted to discussion of a recent book on Turkey. Texts will range from works of academic scholarship, manuscripts in progress, recent translations of 20th-century Turkish literature into English, as well as long-form journalistic accounts of the country. Group leaders will help participants access copies of the texts and participants will be encouraged to try to read the whole text prior to the scheduled meetings. While the Institute of Islamic Studies at McGill is world renowned and there are numerous faculty and graduate students working on the Middle East in some capacity at the university, there are relatively few spaces where Montreal-based scholars, journalists, writers, and documentary film-makers working on contemporary Turkey can gather together in the city. Our group will provide a place on campus where people with both professional and personal interests in Turkey can gather and will also serve as bridge to connect McGill academics to people working on and interested in Turkey in Montreal more broadly. Given Turkey’s geopolitical importance and recent events in the country that have propelled it into daily headlines, the group this year is particularly topical. The group will also be able to build upon its work last year, when its meetings were sponsored in part by the Department of History and Classical Studies at McGill.

Fridays, 14h00-16h00. Download outline. For more information contact Kate Elizabeth Creasey: kecreasey@ucla.edu;  Timur Hammond: Timur.Hammond@uvm.edu; and,  Ipek Tureli: ipek.tureli@mcgill.ca

Rediscovering The Women Philosophers of Western Modernity

Despite the growing wealth of knowledge concerning the prominent contribution women philosophers have made to their respective fields throughout history, the works of these women are rarely included on philosophy syllabuses. Consequently, women philosophers of the early to late modern era remain underestimated and underappreciated. The goal of this reading group is to rediscover the women who participated directly in the major philosophical debates of their time and had a hand in bringing many of the classic texts of philosophy to the world. Through a combination of primary and secondary sources, we will examine these women’s views on religion, history and philosophy, as well as their assessments of womanhood and the role of women within scholarship.

Wednesdays 14h45-16h15. Download outline. For more information contact Jennifer Guyver Jennifer.guyver@mail.mcgill.ca and Jingjing Li Jingjing.li2@mail.mcgill.ca

Registering Globalization: Reading South Asian Literature

screen-shot-2016-09-15-at-4-21-51-pmEngaging with several short novels, stories and essays from South Asia, this reading group will investigate the historical impact of decolonization and nationalism on India and Pakistan. By placing the societal upheaval and violence in the aftermath of partition in the context of globalization, we examine the links between local and international structures of domination. Thus, we complicate the spatio-temporal conceptualization of globalization in order to arrive at a more nuanced understanding of the process of combined and uneven development. The goal in this respect is to explore the persistent implications of modernization and globalization for South Asia in order to create links with other, similar struggles for self- determination, land and human rights across the globe. We aim for a multi-disciplinary approach – addressing issues such as land rights, space, resistance movements, policy making and modernization – which brings anthropology, history, law, economics, political science, international development and cultural studies into conversation, and raises questions regarding the cultural and economic impact of globalization on nation-building and development. We further aim to offer a space for discussion and the exchange of ideas between undergraduate, graduate students and faculty while engaging political and historical questions from a cultural point of view.

Mondays 17h30-19h00. Download outline. For more information contact Felix Fuchs felix.fuchs@mail.mcgill.ca and Zain Rashid Mian zain.mian@mail.mcgill.ca

Visual and Literary Encounters in the Middle East: Between Production and Distortion of Knowledge

This reading group will examine the representation of the Middle East from the early modern period up to the contemporary era. The focus is on the critical junctures during which global encounters gained new impetus through diverse media. Each meeting will center on a cultural practice that became a vehicle for the circulation and transformation of ideas, cultures, peoples, and artifacts beyond borders or at contact zones. The focus will be less on the historical techniques of representation than on how cross-cultural interactions at the intersection of visual/bodily, as well as literary/imaginary experiences, produce, erase, distort, or transform knowledge of places— understood not as an empty phenomenon, but as lived spaces for human action. The outline of the reading group is general enough to allow participation by non-experts, who are interested in thinking about the current trends in the representation and dissemination of the image of the Middle East through new social media, with a historical awareness. There might be suggested primary materials related to images, narratives, films, and exhibitions accompanying main readings.

Tuesdays 16h00. Download outline. For more information contact Dr. Gül Kale gul.kale@mail.mcgill.ca 

Winter 2016

  • Collective Leadership for Collaborative Consumption (Wednesdays 16h00, Salon 1861)
  • Early Modern World: Works-in-Progress Seminar (Tuesdays 16hoo, IPLAI)
  • Signs and Ecology (Times TBA, IPLAI + Senselab)
  • Reading Anti-Oedipus in Context (Thursdays 16h00, IPLAI)
  • Thinking (Under) Duress: Object Oriented Ontology, Sovereignty, and Media Theory (Mondays 16h00, IPLAI)
  • Voicing the Humanities (Mondays 15h30, IPLAI)

Collective Leadership for Collaborative Consumption:

This reading group will examine the emergence and trend towards collaborative consumption. Companies or online platforms that participate in collaborative consumption are often considered to be a part of the sharing economy, an economy driven by the peer-to-peer sharing of goods and services, usually facilitated by technology. Examples of such companies range from ZipCar or CommuneAuto (considered “product-as-a-service”) to Airbnb and Uber (considered “collaborative consumption”). In this reading group, we ask, what are the parameters and implications of these trends for society, organizations and individuals?

The goal of this reading group is to explore the sharing economy from multiple disciplinary perspectives – the legal, technological, labour/education, management/organizational, and more – in order to broaden our understanding of the larger implications of the sharing economy, both positive and negative.

Wednesdays 16h00, Salon 1861. Download Outline. For more information, contact Jui Ramaprasad, jui.ramaprasad@mcgill.ca or Suzanne Gagnon, suzanne.gagnon@mcgill.ca.

Dropbox link to download course readings.

Early Modern World: Works-in-Progress Seminar

The Early Modern World is a cross-disciplinary research seminar of work-in-progress by faculty and postdoctoral fellows across McGill and at other universities. Unlike the regular reading group format, there will not be any papers distributed in advance; instead, seminar-style presentations of up to 45-minutes will be followed by general discussion, providing the presenters with constructive feedback and the audience with the chance to ask questions. The seminar is open to everyone; graduate students are especially encouraged to participate as to benefit from exposure to the research methods of advanced scholars.

Mondays 15h30, IPLAI. Download Schedule. For more information, contact Yelda Nasifoglu, yelda.nasifoglu@mail.mcgill.ca

Signs and Ecology:

This joint reading group IPLAI-Senselab aims at exploring signs and signification from an ecological perspective. In particular, we will be reading “How Forests Think” by Eduardo Kohn, associate professor of Anthropology at McGill. The close read at this ground breaking book is meant to explore an anthropological and semiotic approach to the circulation of signs in a complex ecosystem that goes beyond the human. How do forests think? How do we think with and thorough the world we inhabit?

Time and location TBD, alternately at IPLAI (3610 McTavish, Room 21-6) and the SenseLab (1616 Rue Ste-Catherine O, Concordia EV Building Room 10.785).

Download Schedule. For more information, contact Erik Bordeleau or Eleonora Diamanti (erik.bordeleau@gmail.com; eleonora.diamanti@mail.mcgill.ca).

Reading Anti-Oedipus in Context:

This seminar will operate at the inter-section of philosophy, psychotherapy, and critical studies. Our goal is to read Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s Anti-Oedipus alongside some key works by Freud in order to understand and assess the validity of the postmodern critique of psychoanalysis. Some of the questions that we will consider in the group are: how integral is the theory of the Oedipus Complex to psychoanalysis? What might a non-Oedipal psychoanalysis look like? Why does the fixation on the Oedipus Complex prevent psychoanalysis – and society – from understanding schizophrenia and its creative potential for change?

Thursdays 16h00, IPLAI. Download Schedule. For more information, contact Erica Harris, erica.harris@mcgill.ca


Thinking (Under) Duress:

This reading group is concerned with the ethics and aesthetics of political agency in the contemporary moment. By engaging with three major books (among other articles) within the emergent stream of thought called ‘Speculative Realism’, this group aims to create opportunities to explore the effect that impersonal, global processes such as neoliberal capitalism, climate change, and deindustrialization have on modernist conceptions of individual sovereignty and voluntarist politics. This group will be coextensive with a public screening series, held at McGill’s Moving Image Research Lab; the series’ programming and principle of curation reflects the posthuman and non-sovereign emphasis of the reading group.

Mondays 16h00, IPLAI. Download Schedule / For more information, contact Devin Wangert, devin.wangert@mail.mcgill.ca

Voicing the Humanities:

This working group is a follow-up to the IPLAI fall 2015 reading group Thinking the Humanities. It seeks to further stimulate thought and discussion about certain themes explored in the reading group. How should we define the humanities today? In what terms should we determine their value? How can we communicate their importance? How do we address the sense of ‘crisis’ in discourses and representations of the humanities in higher education and research? How can we help ensure a vibrant future for the humanities on both an individual and a societal level? The working group hopes to stage the efforts of its members to voice these questions and their potential answers, and their desires to organize initiatives in and off campus. The goal is to foster a space for dialogue, creativity and collaboration aimed at spreading the word about the Humanities in educational and cultural institutions, the general public, and other spheres of society.

Mondays 15h30, IPLAI. Download Schedule. For more information, contact Nathalie Popa, nathalie.popa@mail.mcgill.ca

Fall 2015

  • Early Modern World: Works-in-Progress Seminar (Mondays 16h00, IPLAI)
  • Empire: Subjects, Networks, Resistance (Thurs 15h00, IPLAI)
  • Signs and Ecology (Wed 15h00, IPLAI + Senselab)
  • The Shaping of Food Tastes (Thursdays: 16h00-18h00, MISC)
  • Thinking the Humanities (Tuesdays 15h00, IPLAI)
  • Trigger Warning: Addressing Trauma in the Post-Secondary Classroom (Tues, 16h00-17h30, IPLAI)
  • Wonder, Horror (Thurs 14h00, IPLAI)

Early Modern World: Works-in-Progress Seminar

The Early Modern World is a cross-disciplinary research seminar of work-in-progress by faculty and postdoctoral fellows across McGill and at other universities. Unlike the regular reading group format, there will not be any papers distributed in advance; instead, seminar-style presentations of up to 45-minutes will be followed by general discussion, providing the presenters with constructive feedback and the audience with the chance to ask questions. The seminar is open to everyone; graduate students are especially encouraged to participate as to benefit from exposure to the research methods of advanced scholars.

Tuesdays 16h00, IPLAI. Download schedule. For more information, contact Yelda Nasifoglu yelda.nasifoglu@mail.mcgill.ca

Signs and Ecology

This joint reading group IPLAI-Senselab aims at exploring signs and signification from an ecological perspective. In particular, we will be reading “How Forests Think” by Eduardo Kohn, associate professor of Anthropology at McGill. The close read at this ground breaking book is meant to explore an anthropological and semiotic approach to the circulation of signs in a complex ecosystem that goes beyond the human. How do forests think? How do we think with and thorough the world we inhabit?

In order to take the matter from the leafs, the branches, the mycelium, and the roots, we will start thinking with the Mount-Royal and gather for our first meeting on the mountain (September 2, 3PM, point of encounter at the statue on Park ave; in case of rain at the Senselab).

Time and location: Wednesdays, once per month, 15h00, alternately at IPLAI (3610 McTavish, Room 21-6) and the Senselab (1250 Guy street, Faubourg building-Concordia University, Room 630). For more info, please contact Erik Bordeleau or Eleonora Diamanti (erik.bordeleau@gmail.com; eleonora.diamanti@mail.mcgill.ca). Download outline.

Empire: Subjects, Networks, Resistance 

This reading group examines empires, ancient and modern, as a way into understanding our own presence as subjects in the neoliberal contemporary. We seek to untangle complex networks fabricated by empires where “all roads lead to Rome” but “all routers lead to the NSA,” and where movements such as Idle No More and Anonymous challenge these structures. We will investigate “Empire” across temporal, cultural, and disciplinary divisions to create a broader conversation amongst academics, technologists, artists, and other interested individuals, as we emphasize self-reflexivity alongside critical thinking illuminated by the humanities. Thursdays 15h00-17h00 IPLAI download outline. For more information contact Angela Tozer  angela.tozer@mail.mcgill.ca or Rebecca Robinson rebecca.robinson@mail.mcgill.ca

Signs and Ecology

This joint reading group IPLAI-Senselab aims at exploring signs and signification from an ecological perspective. In particular, we will be reading “How Forests Think” by Eduardo Kohn, associate professor of Anthropology at McGill. The close read at this ground breaking book is meant to explore an anthropological and semiotic approach to the circulation of signs in a complex ecosystem that goes beyond the human. How do forests think? How do we think with and thorough the world we inhabit?

In order to take the matter from the leafs, the branches, the mycelium, and the roots, we will start thinking with the Mount-Royal and gather for our first meeting on the mountain (September 2, 3PM, point of encounter at the statue on Park ave; in case of rain at the Senselab).

Time and location: Wednesdays, once per month, 15h00, alternately at IPLAI (3610 McTavish, Room 21-6) and the Senselab (1250 Guy street, Faubourg building-Concordia University, Room 630). For more info, please contact Erik Bordeleau or Eleonora Diamanti (erik.bordeleau@gmail.com; eleonora.diamanti@mail.mcgill.ca). Download outline.

The Shaping of Food Tastes

This reading group, in partnership with MISC, which strongly encourages participation from scholars and non-scholars alike, will investigate food tastes and their development over time. Central preoccupations will include how food tastes are shaped, as well as the internal and external pressures that determine their evolution. Through a multidisciplinary perspective and close reading of relevant texts, we will examine a series of wide-ranging case studies, mostly (but not exclusively) drawn from the Canadian context. Topics will include the problematic notion of “good food”, the role and importance of literary meals and discourses on food, the influence of food celebrities, food history and its place in our appreciation of contemporary meals, and emerging food practices. This group seeks to engage the English-language community and thereby extend the network already established by a lively discussion group for francophone scholars and food professionals led by Julia Csergo of UQAM. Time and Location: Thursdays 16h00-18:00. Download outline. For more information contact Laura Shine (Laura.r.shine@gmail.com), Nathalie Cooke (nathalie.cooke@mcgill.ca) or Alexia Moyer (alexia.moyer@mail.mcgill.ca)

Thinking the Humanities

This reading group explores a selected list of readings and other materials that address the past, present and future of the humanities and social sciences. Employing a diverse range of perspectives, and encouraging dialogue and creative thinking, the aim is to better understand the actual state of humanistic fields of knowledge within modern-day university and beyond. How do we define the humanities and social sciences today? Do these discipline share a common heritage? Why is there a prevailing sense of ‘crisis’ in discourses and representations of the humanities and social sciences in higher education and research? What are their function and relevance in academia and the public sphere? What future directions might they take? Readings and discussions on these questions will complement concerns and initiatives that are already brewing at McGill, but will also bring into the conversation other students and scholars from varied backgrounds interested in learning about interdisciplinary and international debates, studies, and projects supporting the humanities and social sciences. Tuesdays, 15h00, IPLAI Download schedule. For more information, contact Nathalie Popa (nathalie.popa@mail.mcgill.ca )

Trigger Warning: Addressing Trauma in the Post-Secondary Classroom

This reading group examines trauma in the classroom as an issue of colonialism, sexism, and disability (in)justice. Investigating trigger warnings at universities as a mode of addressing trauma, we seek to deconstruct the complexities of this practice as it relates to concepts of safety, accommodation, freedom of speech and decolonization–among others. What possible strategies can we–as academics, students, administrators and the public–use to confront, navigate, and address trauma in the post-secondary classroom? Tuesdays, 4:00-5:30pm, IPLAI (starting October 6) Download outline. For more information, contact Sajdeep Soomal (sajdeep.soomal@mail.mcgill.ca) Samuel Kessler (samuel.kessler@mail.mcgill.ca)

Wonder, Horror

How does one make sense of an entirely unanticipated experience? This reading group seeks to explore ways in which we can maintain the sense of the wonder or horror that may accompany moments that exceed or challenge our preexisting conceptual equipment. In contrast with inquiry drawing upon theory that seeks to interpret lived experience through fixed categories, the historians, thinkers, and anthropologists discussed here provide insights into the ways in which we may allow our thinking to be carried along by wondrous or horrific encounters. Thursdays 14h00, IPLAI. Download outline. For more information contact Alonso Gamarra (jag.sit@gmail.com), or Jonathan Wald (jonathan.g.wald@gmail.com)

 

Past Reading Groups 

Winter 2015

  • Improvisation, Collective Action, and the Arts of Activism
  • Jacobi, Schelling, and Baader: The Controversy on the Divine Things
  • Reading the Bible as Political and Legal Text III

Fall 2014

  • Alain Badiou: Being and Event
  • Jacques Lacan: Ecrits, Part II
  • Reading the Bible as a Political and Legal Text II
  • The Early Modern World: Works in Progress

Summer 2014

  • Reading the Bible as a Political and Legal Text – The Torah
  • Information and Chaos Theories
  • Between Museum Education and Mandate

Winter 2013

  • The Experience of Justice
  • Jacques Lacan’s Ecrits: Years between the Mirror Stage and Jouissance
  • Redefining Technics: Architecture and Graham Harman’s Philosophy of Technology
  • Franz von Baader: Writings and Sources of a Christian Mystic
  • The Prince: Machiavelli and Modern Society
  • Islam, Science, and Education: Past Perspectives, Present Dilemmas, and Future Prospects