Dec. 8, 1994
Vol. 14, No. 8

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    University awarded Mellon grant for 3 yearlong seminars

    The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded a grant of $350,000 to the University for a sequence of three yearlong, interdisciplinary faculty-student seminars on the general theme "Confrontations with the Other." The sequence will begin in autumn 1995 and continue through spring 1998.

    The University is one of eight academic institutions selected to receive funding as part of the foundation's efforts to seek new ways of linking area studies and comparative studies in the analysis of contemporary cultural and social developments.

    The grant will support seminars to be directed by faculty members from the Humanities Division, the Social Sciences Division and the Divinity School. Each seminar will support three graduate dissertation fellowships and one postdoctoral fellowship as well as senior and junior visiting scholars.

    The 1995-96 seminar, "Toleration, Repression and Authority in Early Modern Europe," will examine the historical roots of the modern ideologies of tolerance and take account of the pressures within which and against which these rather unusual ideologies and practices emerged. The seminar will begin each quarter with a major public lecture, and a conference will be held toward the end of each quarter. The seminar organizers are currently seeking graduate and postdoctoral participants. For more information, call Richard Strier, Professor in English Language & Literature, at 241-6094, or Steven Pincus, Assistant Professor in History, at 643-6304.

    The 1996-97 seminar, "Religion, Law and the Construction of Identities," will focus on transnational, national and local forces in relation to community formation and notions of personal belonging. The 1997-98 seminar, "Sexual Identities, Identity Politics: Cross-cultural Investigations," will engage and problematize the political formations underwriting contemporary gay and lesbian activism by studying the social and cultural developments that serve as preconditions for current controversies.

    The seminar program is being coordinated by the Chicago Humanities Institute under the direction of the Provost. General oversight of the program will be vested in a governing council composed of the Deans of the Humanities Division, the Social Sciences Division and the Divinity School; a faculty representative from each year's seminar program; and staff members from the Chicago Humanities Institute and the Provost's Office.

    "The Chicago Humanities Institute is delighted to play a role in the realization of the Mellon proposal," said Arjun Appadurai, Director of the Chicago Humanities Institute. "This will enhance the institute's already strong commitments to comparative and humanistic perspectives on contemporary global issues."