Two-day conference explores history and understandings of humanities

A two-day interdisciplinary conference interrogating historical understandings in humanities will be presented Feb. 19 and 20 by the Humanities Graduate Student Association (HuGSA) and the Graduate Program in Humanities at York University.

“Now and Then: Historical Understandings in the Humanities” will take place at Black Creek Pioneer Village and will explore the critical questions arising around historical, contextualized understandings and subjective, humanities meanings.

The event features two days that include breakfast followed by a day of panel discussions, lunch and a presentation by a keynote speaker. The final day includes a dinner.humanities conference

Friday, Feb. 19

Panel: Seeing the World Anew in Media Studies

  • David Hollands, Trent University “Hollywood’s Spectacle in the Age of New Media”
  • Andrew Brown, York University “Sexual Circumspection: Experiencing Pornography”
  • Justin Thompson, University of Maryland Title TBD

Panel: Truth or Legend? “Reading” Fantastic Literature

  • Ido Govrin, Western University “Legends and Fairytales: The Truth in Art”
  • Cat Ashton, York University “Writing from the Outside In: The Ethereal Imperial Material of British Fantasy”
  • Deborah Herman, York University “Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass as Subjective Humanist Texts”

Panel: This is How We Learn: Methodology & Education

  • Stacey Bliss, York University “Beyond Levinasian Facing of Alterity: Abstract Art, the ‘Here and Now’, and Shunyata (Emptiness) as Radical Teachers”
  • Farra Yasin, York University “Socio-Cultural and Historical Perspectives of Adult Literacy Education in Canada”
  • Aaron A. Weiss, York University “Our School” with special documentary film presentation, school founder, and TDSB guest

Keynote speaker: Professor David Cecchetto from York University will present a lecture on “Aurality and Critical Posthumanism: Listening Away from the Contemporary in Technoculture”

Saturday, Feb. 20

Panel: Complex Histories and Geographies

  • Alevtina Naumova, York/Ryerson University “Stories that Live in Houses: History Contextualized within a Historic House Museum Site”
  • Brittany Watson, Carleton University “Writing Visual and Object Histories: Responding to Photographs from the Byron Harmon Fonds”
  • Kavita Reddy, Simon Fraser University “Being-in-the-Anthropocene: A Place-Based Understanding of Anthropogenic Climate Change”

Panel: Tensions in Art and Film

  • Claudia Tavernese, University of Durham “The Artistic Fight for Peace: Picasso and the Korean War”
  • Forrest Johnson, York University “Felix Faust: the Transformative Process of DC’s Faustian Villain”
  • Michael Sherbert, York University “Habeas Corpus: Posthuman Liberty and Robot Artificial Intelligence”

Panel: Past, Present, Future: Looking at Modernity

  • Lindsay Weinberg, University of California, Santa Cruz – Skype-In “The Rationalization of Leisure: A New Approach to Historicizing Commercial Surveillance”
  • Rebecca Robinson, McGill University “All Roads Lead to Rome, but All Routers Lead to the NSA: Information, Networks, and Imperialism in the Ancient and Modern Worlds”
  • Jonathan Vigor, York University “Revolutionary Subjectivities: the Birth of Non-Capitalist Modernity in the Middle East”

Panel: Space, Place, and Transnational Identities

  • Sydney Neuman, York University “Stonewalled: Mobilizing Queer Mythologies”
  • Barry Torch, York University “Writing a Reign as Roman: Pope Pius II and his Commentaries (1464)”
  • Josh Trichilo, York University “Irasshaimase, Toronto: Translation and Place in Toronto’s Ramen Shops”

Panel: Understanding Philosophy, Today

  • Connie Phung, York University “Sociology of Knowledge and its Discontents”
  • Jennifer Guyver, McGill University “Dialectical Ways: Understanding Charles Taylor’s Hegelian Epistemology”
  • Christopher Satoor, York University “The Pauline Figure and Universal Subjectivity as Truth and the Return of Militant Fidelity”

Panel: Otherness in “East”/“West” Dynamics

  • Jing Xu, York University “Seeing the Past in the Present”
  • Janelle Kitlinksi, University of Texas, San Antonio “The Monstrous, the Barbaric, and the Turk: The Language of “Otherness” in Imperial Discourse”
  • Sean Steele, York University “Now and Zen: Exploring the Uses and Abuses of Chan Buddhism in China and America”

Panel: Literature: Here and There, Now and Then

  • Miruna Craciunescu, McGill University “Textualizing Medievalism in Contemporary Literature: a Study of Small World (1984) by David Lodge”
  • Sean McPhail, University of Toronto “Et in Arcadia Eram: the Escape to the English Pastoral in Great War Poetry”
  • Vanessa Evans, York University ““Humanizing Infinitude”: Affiliation and Deep Time in Clear Light of Day”
  • Yiwen Liu, Chinese University of Hong Kong “Lost in History: Reading Contemporary Chinese Literature After the 1990s”

Panel: Colonial Canada: Disavowal & Diaspora

  • Travis Hay, York University ““The Daughter of a White Man”: The Making of the Modern Settler Subject and the Gendered Violence of Canada’s Inception”
  • Alexander Manzoni, York University “The Psychology of Disavowal: Canada’s Rationalization of Colonial Domination”
  • Angie Wong, York University “Spectral Humanity: The Present Absence of Chinese Women in Canadian History”

Keynote speaker and dinner: Professor Arne Kislenko from Ryerson University, Title TDB

For more, or to register, visit