Interdisciplinary Speaker Series Events

Black History Month Celebrations with Prof Andrea Davis

Wednesday, February 26,2020 4:00–6:00pm
Vanier College 010 (Senior Common Room)
Abstract: Title: “Challenging the Data: The Role of the Humanities in Black Studies”

This talk draws on an interdisciplinary humanities framework—critical race and feminist theory, literature, and historical critique—to consider the complex humanity of Black people, particularly as experienced in Black family life.

Bio: Dr. Andrea A. Davis is Associate Professor in Black Cultures of the Americas, Coordinator of the Black Canadian Studies Certificate, and Chair of the Department of Humanities at York University. She holds cross-appointments in the graduate programs in English; Interdisciplinary Studies; and Gender, Feminist and Women’s Studies. She is the author of the forthcoming book Horizon, Sea, Sound: A Post-Diaspora Critique of the Nation (Northwestern UP) that theorizes Caribbean and African women’s rearticulation of imperial definitions of the nation.


Political Philosophy and the Black Panther Party with Prof. Jim Vernon

Monday, March 2,2020 6:00–8:00pm
Vanier College, 029 (Humanities Graduate Lounge)

Abstract: Arising from discussions between Merritt College students Bobby Seale and Huey Newton, the Black Panther Party was founded in part in order to serve as a kind of bridge between the radical theorizing and student movements that swept across college campuses in the mid-1960s, and the lumpen proletariat who largely remained untouched by the institutions of the so-called ‘Great Society’. However, as the Party expanded its popular base and its community service programs, Newton began to harshly criticize campus activists, and the academic Left in general for their drive to find “a set of actions and a set of principles that are easy to identify and are absolute”; a quest that he argued was not only abstract and impractical, but fundamentally Eurocentric. In this paper, I reconstruct Newton’s critique of progressive movements grounded primarily in academic debates, as well as his account of the proper nature and role of vanguard political theory. In particular, I argue that Newton’s grasp of revolution as a gradual, immanent, open, and above all dialectical process not only provides a corrective to many dominant accounts of the nature and goal of progressive change; it more importantly demonstrates the possibility ─ and arguably the necessity ─ of developing an emancipatory philosophy that can direct collective struggle, precisely because it remains grounded in the imperfect and internally conflicted lives of those whose freedom is to be won through it.

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Humanities, History, and Hermeneutics with Prof Avron Kulak

Thursday, March 19, 2020  6:00-8:00pm
Vanier College, 010 (Senior Common Room)

Abstract: In my teaching and research I am particularly interested in the relationships among religion, philosophy, and literature.  I am especially interested in the shared commitments and values that underpin discourses that are not only disparate but also appear to be opposed to one another – those between faith and reason, between religion and philosophy, between philosophy and literature, and between faith and atheism.  For our session I look forward to taking up with students the relationship between history and hermeneutics as it informs the issue of methodology in the humanities – the method for establishing the interconnections among apparently disparate discourses.  After a brief introduction I hope to engage students in a discussion of brief passages taken from Plato, the Bible, Descartes, Hegel, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche.