From: Administrative E-Memo (memofrom@Colorado.EDU)
Date: Tue Dec 18 2007 - 17:15:59 MST
Date: Tue, 18 Dec 2007 17:15:59 -0700 (MST) From: Administrative E-Memo <memofrom@Colorado.EDU> Subject: "Apocalypse and Transformation" Call for Proposals
TO: Boulder Campus Teaching & Research Faculty, Staff,
Deans, Directors, Dept Chairs, System Administration
FROM: Center for Humanities and the Arts
SENDER: Paula Anderson
DATE: December 17, 2007
SUBJECT: "Apocalypse and Transformation" Call for Proposals
The Center for Humanities and the Arts (CHA) is pleased to announce its theme
for the 2008-2009 academic year, "Apocalypse and Transformation."
When Al Gore recently accepted the Nobel peace Prize, he represented himself as
a prophet for our age: "Sometimes, without warning, the future knocks on our
door with a precious and painful vision of what might be." Sharing his own
vision of coming climate change, Gore called for actions that will prevent
calamity by transforming our relationships to one another and to the planet.
In a world faced with the potentially disastrous consequences of global
warming, the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and the threat of new and
continuing global conflicts in the domains of religion, politics, and
economics, talk of "apocalypse" has become widespread, even among those who
know little of its religious roots.
The legend of the Phoenix, the story of the mythical bird that dies and rises
from its own ashes every five hundred years, suggests that many different
traditions share the notion that destruction precedes rebirth. In the west,
the notion of "apocalypse," derived from the Judeo-Christian tradition, has
been crucial. "Apocalypse" is a Greek translation of the ancient Hebrew term
for unveiling. In his book of Revelation, St. John reveals his vision of the
end times, which will bring forth a new age (eon) in which God will transform
all creatures. In modern secular discourse, apocalypse has come to mean a
vision of the future preceded by destruction. For example, apocalyptic motifs
are discernible in G.F.W. Hegel's profoundly influential theory of history as a
dialectical process in which a new stage of development can occur only by both
negating and preserving certain aspects of the previous one. Indeed, the
history of the humanities as a whole indicates the intellectual
and emotional centrality of a narrative of destruction (revolution) and
The history of art, music, politics, science, philosophy, and literature are
characterized by strife, in which those with a vision of the future call for
and bring about the destruction of venerable institutions, practices, and
truth. Taking "Apocalypse and Transformation" as its theme for 2008-2009, CHA
will engage in an exploration of the interplay between ending and beginning,
destruction and rebirth, prevailing chaos and emergent order.
In conjunction with the theme, CHA will conduct a year-long faculty and
graduate student seminar, host a series of lectures and public performances,
and hold a Spring Colloquium. We invite all members of the CU community to
join in an interdisciplinary conversation on the broad range of ideas that
"apocalypse and transformation" can take in our lives.
CHA solicits proposals for the following:
**CHA Fellowships: Four faculty members and four graduate students will be
selected as CHA Fellows for 2008-2009. The fellows will meet together in a
year-long seminar and present the results of their work in a Spring Colloquium.
Fellows will receive support for their participation in the seminar and
colloquium, and for attending presentations made by speakers invited to address
the CHA theme. These funds will afford a two-course release for the year
($8600 to departments) plus $1000 in research funding for faculty members, and
will provide $6000 in support for graduate student fellows. Funding for the
seminar is provided by the Office of the Provost and the Graduate School.
Applications to participate in the CHA Seminar should include a statement of
the candidate's research or creative interests and an account of how the
candidate feels these interests would contribute to interdisciplinary
discussions of our theme. Applications should also include a current CV
(limited to three pages in length) and a sample of the candidate's work.
Applicants should be prepared to arrange their schedules to meet regularly with
the seminar; the seminar's meeting time is Wednesdays 3:00-5:00. Faculty
should also include a cover sheet indicating name, position, department, and
project title; this sheet should include the following statement signed by the
faculty member's chair/dean: "I understand that, if the applicant receives a
CHA Seminar Fellowship, he/she will be released from two courses during the
2008-2009 academic year."
Questions and topics the seminar might address include:
- How have 20th and 21st century environmentalists, biologists, and
technological innovators used and affected apocalyptic narratives? How will
such narratives be altered by the ever-increasing tempo of actual
scientific-technological developments and practices? What will be the effect of
these changes on traditional social and cultural norms? How might humanists
address desires for and fears about a coming "post-human" age?
- How have political and religious ideologies traded upon apocalyptic themes?
Perpetrators of war and genocide may attempt to justify themselves in terms of
apocalyptic discourse. What sorts of social-cultural transformations are
necessary for people to begin anew after such violence? To what extent are
discourses about personal renewal influenced by apocalyptic themes, as in the
notion that one must "hit bottom" before recovering?
- How have previous literary representations of utopia/dystopia influenced
contemporary versions, ranging from films such as Blade Runner and Children of
Men to novels such as Jose Saramago's Blindness and Cormac McCarthy's The Road?
How do today's utopian/dystopian narratives influence readings of earlier
ones, such as Thomas More's Utopia or Margaret Cavendish's Blazing World? In
the face of widespread anxiety about the future, what role might artistic and
literary representations of positive futures play in transforming dominant
practices and institutions?
- Faced with deconstruction and transformation of traditional canons,
practices, and genres, and confronted by a host of powerful and entrancing new
media and modes of representation, the arts and humanities in academia may be
read as undergoing an apocalypse of their own. Indeed, dystopian visions
abound in regard to the future of arts and humanities. How to formulate a
positive future for the arts and humanities in academia when subjectivity
itself is being transformed by technological innovation and intervention?
**Guest Speakers, Artists, Performers: CHA is interested in hearing from the CU
community about distinguished visitors who would contribute to an exploration
of our theme. We envision a series involving 5 to 6 speakers, artists, and/or
performers. In addition, we solicit nominations (including self-nominations)
of faculty at CU; one of our colleagues will be selected by CHA's Steering
Committee to join our distinguished guests as part of the CHA Lecture Series.
The selected faculty member will be offered a $500 research stipend to
participate in the Lecture Series. Please send speaker suggestions to Michael
E. Zimmerman, email@example.com.
The deadline for submissions is Friday, February 1, 2008 at 12:00 noon.
Applications and inquiries should be addressed to:
Michael E. Zimmerman, Director
Center for Humanities and the Arts
280 UCB / Macky 201
Tel: (303)492-1931 / Fax: (303)735-2624
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