Programs & Announcements

Please see calendar for Fall 2017 Events


Announcements

Glasscock Theme for 2017-18
“Going Public: Public Engagement as Research”

How can presenting our work to and receiving input from an educated public advance research in the humanities?

The culture wars, necessitating that humanities professors defend the use of specialized discourses in the humanities (“theoretical jargon,” to those on the attack), may have diverted us from engaging more deeply in what Jürgen Habermas has called modernity’s “unfinished project”: bringing specialist knowledge back into common language. Postmodernity didn’t only develop sophisticated theoretical discourses; it also generated a critique of disciplinarity–Stanley Cavell’s Wittgenstein, for instance, in which ordinary language rescues philosophy by letting the fly out of the fly-bottle. In Wittgenstein, ordinary language proves to be not–or not only–an unwitting instrument of prevailing ideologies, but (also) a heuristic device for determining when and how professional discourse is “spinning its wheels” rather than performing effective work. We have developed rich disciplinary vocabularies allowing us to refer to concepts with a kind of shorthand: when do these methods generate greater knowledge, and when do they catch us up in grammatical illusions, which is to say arguing about the limits of the vocabulary itself without realizing it. So far from imagining a year of “dumbing down” what humanists do in order to make this work consumable by the public, I envision a year of reflection: what can “going public” reveal about the work we do in humanistic disciplines in the university?

I offer this example:

We know that the humanities have much to offer to a public currently engaged in debates about structural causality–whether immigration is to blame for job loss, or affirmative action for feelings of hopelessness. And “going public” is partly inspired by this question: can a public articulation of humanities principles and methods inform public policy, its creation, explanation, and justification?

Articulating these principles would not only serve the public, however, since it requires both a) determining what set of assumptions underpins the most compelling professional work in our fields and b) grounding these assumptions. In the process, we might uncover standards of truth and validity that garner disciplinary purchase and at the same time social force when explicitly formulated as opposed to tacitly accepted.

From my own discipline, English Literature, I can mention Stanley Fish’s Op-Ed articles in the New York Times. He explicitly condemns his former “deconstructive” self for undermining the reasons that he values reading. What if, instead of offering a mea culpa, Fish were to point out when those reasons were operating in his deconstructive criticism — what would we learn about poststructuralist work that we didn’t know before? And what could we learn about whether, why, and how some critiques of habitual modes of interpreting the world are more valid than others?

Select Bibliography

Fish, Stanley. “Mind Your Ps and Bs: The Digital Humanities and Interpretation.” Opinonator, The New York Times (23 January 2012): https://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/23/mind-your-ps-and-bs-the-digital-humanities-and-interpretation/

 

Guillory, John. “The Sokal Affair and the History of Criticism.” Critical Inquiry 28.2 (Winter 2002): 470-508.

 

Latour, Bruno. “Why Has Critique Run Out of Steam? From Matters of Fact to Matters of Concern.” Critical Inquiry 30.2 (Winter 2004): 225-48.

Moi, Toril. Revolution of the Ordinary: Literary Studies after Wittgenstein, Austin, and Cavell. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2017.

NEH, “The Common Good”: https://www.neh.gov/commongood/about


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Book Prize

The Glasscock Book Prize, first awarded in 1999, originated by the Texas A&M Center for Humanities Research, was permanently endowed in December 2000 by Melbern G. Glasscock ’59 and his wife Susanne M. Glasscock, for whom the prize is now named.
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Buttrill Endowed Fund for Ethics

With the goal of fostering discussion in a field of inquiry he valued, Carrol O. Buttrill ’38 established a fund through which the Melbern G. Glasscock Center for Humanities Research promotes on-going investigations into ethical questions of significance to the Texas A&M community. The Carrol O. Buttrill ’38 Endowed Fund for Ethics supports annual lectures, roundtables, special events, and course activities.

The Buttrill Ethics Curriculum Enhancement Grant, introduced in 2007-2008, has now become an annual award to faculty for ethics-related curriculum development.
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Colloquia

The Glasscock Center hosts colloquia of works-in-progress throughout the year. The colloquia offer faculty and graduate students an opportunity to discuss a work-in-progress with colleagues from different disciplines. The colloquium series is comprised of Glasscock Center Fellows (Internal Faculty Residential Fellows, Glasscock Faculty Research Fellows, and Glasscock Graduate Research Fellows) for the current academic year. By long-standing practice, colloquium presenters provide a draft of their current research, which is made available to members of the Glasscock Center listserv. Each colloquium begins with the presenter’s short (10-15 minute) exposition of the project, after which the floor is open for comments and queries. The format is by design informal, conversational, and interdisciplinary.
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Co-Sponsored Events

The Glasscock Center supports the humanities at Texas A&M University by co-sponsoring public lectures, performances with a humanities research component, and scholarly presentations by visitors from outside the university. The Glasscock Center also supports notable lectures by speakers of pre-eminent interdisciplinary reputation that will both promote the humanities and contribute broadly to the intellectual community. Through the Symposium and Small Conference Grant, the Center supports such events that showcase and promote scholarship and research in the humanities.
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Morning Coffee Hour

The Glasscock Center hosts an informal coffee hour every other Wednesday morning during the semester. Discussion will be guided by featured guests who will discuss their research or other topical ideas. All are welcome to join us for coffee, tea, pastries, and conversation.
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Three-Year Seminars

Organized and led by faculty directors from departments in the College of Liberal Arts and programs affiliated with the Glasscock Center, these three-year seminars provide a forum for a wide variety of faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students from the humanities and social science disciplines to present and discuss research in progress, invite speakers, and host symposia. These seminars meet regularly during the three-year cycle and are expected to define and complete a major project by the end of their three-year term. Outcomes might include but are not limited to: edited volumes, a series of articles, a database, or other project that makes a major impact in humanities.
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Working Groups

Glasscock Center Humanities Working Groups are a forum for in-depth discussion and research-related activities. Participants share the goal of stimulating intellectual exchange through discussion, writing, viewing, reading, and other activities that further their inquiries into common scholarly concerns. The Center makes space available for the meetings of these groups.
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Submit your Announcement to us

Submit your announcement using the form below (or by email to glasscock@tamu.edu) to have it featured on our web calendar!