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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Spring 2008

E 390J • Humanities Institute Seminar: The Human and Its Others

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
35497 TH
2:00 PM-5:00 PM
HRC 3.206

Course Description

The Humanities Institute Seminar offers advanced graduate students the opportunity to collaborate with Humanities Institute Faculty Fellows and distinguished visiting scholars in interdisciplinary exploration of the Institute's annually selected theme. The fall 2007 and spring 2008 seminars will be organized around the theme "The Human and its Others." Faculty fellows and graduate students, along with visiting scholars invited to guest-lead a session of the seminar, will: explore how the idea and category of the human has been understood and constructed--across time, across cultures, and in such intellectual disciplines and cultural practices as philosophy, psychology, religion, science, politics, medicine, technology, and art; map historical and philosophical continuities and crises of the human (and of such conceptual cognates or corollaries as humanity and the humane); probe the various binaries in which the human has been defined against such "others" as the animal, the divine, the monstrous, the inhuman, and the machine; and examine the question of the human in the context of some of the contemporary issues (global warming, stem cell research, assisted suicide, torture, cloning, to name a few) that make it critical.

The seminar meets weekly on Thursdays from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm in the Tom Lea Room of the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center. Readings and other seminar materials are selected by the faculty fellows and visiting scholars, each of whom organizes and leads one week of the seminar around a current research project or issue that bears on the seminar's broad theme and models a particular disciplinary approach to it. Graduate student members of the seminar participate in the weekly seminar discussions and in all scheduled events during the two-day residencies of the visiting scholars, meet twice during the semester with the HI Director to assess and integrate the seminar's intellectual strands and explore their applications to their own research, and collectively lead one late-semester session of the seminar on research or interests of theirs that relate to the seminar's inquiry. The Humanities Institute seminar offers a unique professional and intellectual development opportunity for selected graduate students to be in dialog with, and present their work and ideas to, distinguished UT and visiting faculty from disciplines across the academic spectrum. Graduate students may enroll, with the permission of Humanities Institute Director Evan Carton (, either for the fall or the spring term.


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