2009 Working Groups & Projects

Humanities Corridor

The 2009 Mellon CNY Humanities Corridor projects included 28 separate initiatives emerging from several new Working Groups, in addition to the six original Clusters: Cultures and Religions, The Interface between Humanities and Science/Technology, Linguistics, Philosophy, Musicology/Music History and Visual Arts and Cultures. The 2009 projects and events ranged from workshops on the role of Islamic jurisprudence in regulating warfare, disability issues within clinical care, the interface between syntax, phonology, and morphology in linguistics; to symposia that explore how architects shape their community, bi-lingual language mixing with English, and reflections on artwork of Winslow Homer in the 1870’s. Lectures, joint seminars, and performances were also conducted on such topics as the philosophy of mind and science, theories of memory and space/place, the changing nature of music drama in increasingly pluralistic culture, the history of the organ, and new American music.



PHILOSOPHY [PHI]:
Long-term collaborative relationships among the three research universities have evolved for decades in Philosophy and form an important core for establishment of the Humanities Corridor.  These collaborative relations have evolved, and have been sustained, largely because of concordant scholarly strengths and goals:

• Anglo-American tradition, all with special strengths in the core field of Metaphysics & Epistemology

• History of Philosophy, with complementary faculty among the universities:  Cornell has a cluster in Ancient Philosophy and Classics, Syracuse in Kant and post-Kantian German Philosophy, and Rochester in German Philosophy, as well.

• Other areas in Philosophy in which all three universities have shared priorities and a national scholarly presence include Ethics & Political Philosophy, Philosophy of Education, and Philosophy of Language.

The Philosophy departments at Rochester, Syracuse, and Cornell share a long history of mutual interchange and cooperation.  Graduate students can and do take courses at each other’s campuses through an exchange program.  Faculty members occasionally teach in each other’s program or sit in on seminars offered on one another's campus.  Information about visiting lecturers and conferences is shared among the three programs on their websites, and faculty and graduate students regularly travel to attend events on the other campuses.  All three faculties take an active role in a long established regional philosophy organization, the Creighton Club, which, since its inception in 1920, has held an important position in bringing the departments together.


PH1: Research Workshop: On Metaphysics (Organizer: Karen Bennett, Philosophy, CU) view website
alternate link

PH2: Fall 2009 Philosophy Joint Graduate/Faculty Seminar (PHI2) Reductionism (Organizers: Alyssa Ney, Philosophy, UR and Kevin Edwards, Philosophy, SU)

PHI3: October 2009: Upstate NY Early Modern Workshop and Speaker Series (Organizers: Melissa Frankel, Philosophy, SU and Andrew Chignell, Philosophy, CU)

PHI4 Support for CU and UR Graduate Student Philosophers to Participate in Syracuse Philosophy Annual Workshop and Network (SPAWN) Conference (Organizers: Kara Richardson, Philosophy, SU and Melissa Frankel, Philosophy, SU)

PHI5: Summer 2009 (3-7 Aug, SU) Research Workshop: Philosophy of Education (Organizer: Emily Robertson, Cultural Foundations of Education, SU)

PHI 5: Philosophy Research Workshop Philosophy of Education (Organizer: Emily Robertson, Cultural Foundations of Education, SU)



LINGUISTICS [LIN]:
The Linguistics Departments at the three research universities are very different, but they have still formed energetic scholarly partnerships.  Moreover, all three universities have special foci in Computational Linguistics, with Syracuse and Cornell Linguistics departments possessing strengths in Syntax.  Projects include:

  • Visits by Distinguished Research Collaborators from outside the consortium; these collaborators would not teach courses but would promote scholarly dialogue and would offer a series of lectures and classroom visits at all three schools during the semester;
  • Program for Humanities Corridor faculty to visit a consortial institution;
  • Technology investments critical to simultaneous teaching and research projects across the universities no matter what the weather; and
  • Selective use of both Mellon funds and the endowed Alice L. Hooker conference fund (Syracuse) to create occasional workshops and conferences with highly targeted goals of swiftly building cohesion in sub-areas such as ethics or semantics.

LIN1-4: Fall and Spring 2009 Linguistics Cluster Activities (Organizer: Jaklin Kornfilt, Linguistic, SU): Hosting distinguished visitors; collaborative courses; invited talks by linguistics faculty; State of the Art Workshop

LIN5: Fall 2009 Workshop: Global Englishes: Language Mixing, New Cultural Forms, and the

Bilingual Mind (Organizers: Silvio Torres-Saillant, English, SU and Tej Bhatia, Linguistics, SU)



CULTURES AND RELIGIONS [CR]:
The study of the interplay of culture and religion is essential to an informed understanding of the contemporary world, especially as these factor into national and international politics, and a range of critical issues, from stem cell research to international terrorism.  At the same time religions transcend national boundaries, though different cultural contexts shape discrete ways in which any religion is understood, practiced, valued, and even studied.  The interplay of cultures and religions is an area of what former University of Rochester President Robert Sproull called “applied humanities”—it is valuable not only for its own sake, but also for its concrete relevance to cross-cultural understanding and effective public policy.  The three universities possess distinctive collective resources for such a study. Syracuse and Rochester have strong and established departments of religion, and at Cornell religion is studied across a variety of departments.  Syracuse has a well-known doctoral program in religion, and at Rochester religion is the second most popular undergraduate major in the Humanities.  Both formal and informal interchange between the departments has taken place for years. Cornell’s strength in the study of religion in South and East Asia adds a distinctive overlap with the two departments that can be developed further – especially given the well established and longstanding partnership in South Asia with Syracuse.  At Rochester, the study of the world’s literate religions is integrated with the study of the languages of their canons.  Cornell also connects language study with the teaching of religion, and Syracuse and Cornell have collaborated on language instruction.  Our library resources for this project in cultures and religions are exceptional. In addition to the strong collections at Syracuse and Cornell, Rochester's recent acquisition of the library of the Colgate-Rochester Divinity School gives it perhaps one of the largest theological libraries in North America.  


CR1: 1-3 Oct 2009 SU: Conference: Place/No Place: Spatial Aspects of Urban Asian Religiosity (Organizer: Ann Gold, Religion, Syracuse University)  visit website

CR 2: 17 Apr 2009 SU: Workshop: Islam and International Humanitarian Law (Organizer: William Banks, College of Law/Public Administration, Syracuse University)



INTERFACE OF HUMANITIES AND SCIENCES/TECHNOLOGY [HST]:
This cluster affords significant scholarly opportunities that span many units across the three universities with great potential for connecting a series of high-quality but small faculty groups.  These interdisciplinary sites between Humanities and Science also represent a high strategic priority for the institutions: Cornell is investing $600 million in its New Life Sciences Initiative; Rochester’s president announced in his inaugural activities, an institutional priority for expansion in the life and medical sciences and in engineering; and at Syracuse, groundbreaking for a new $107 million Life Sciences Complex took place in 2006.  The Humanities have much to say about these initiatives, and this cluster provides one key approach to those university-wide needs.  This key area of mutual collaboration emerged offers opportunities in the study of the interdisciplinary Humanities with Cornell’s established program in Science and Technology Studies, Rochester’s deep commitments to medical sciences and engineering, and Syracuse’s investments in ethics. 


HST1 Disability, Bioethics, and Society Planning Workshop (Organizers: Amy Campbell, Bioethics and Humanities, SUNY Upstate; Rob Olick, Bioethics and Humanities, SUNY Upstate); Sustainability Ethics Conference (Organizers: Evan Selinger, Philosophy, RIT, Ryne Raffaelle, Physics and Microsystems Engineering, RIT; Wade Robison, Philosophy, RIT)

HST 1: Disability & Medical Humanities Project (SUNY Upstate Medical University Center for Bioethics and Humanities. visit website

1. Sustainabilty Ethics Conference, (Organizer:  Evan Selinger, Rochester Institute of Technology) visit website

2. Expertise Democratized – intensive one-week course 

HST2: October 2009 (HST2) Research Project in the Digitized Humanities: Virtual Mellon CNY Humanities Corridor will be the “Network/Mobilities” Conference at Cornell (Organizers: Tim Murray, Romance Studies, CU, Thomas DiPiero, Art and Art History, UR, Gregg Lambert, Humanities, SU).



VISUAL ARTS AND CULTURES [VAC]:
The visual arts – and their cultural context and impact – are an area of intense interest within various schools and colleges at Cornell, Rochester, and Syracuse. Formidable developments in technologies of visual and digital reproduction and communication in the late 20th century have prompted the emergence of the new, interdisciplinary field of Visual Studies. At Syracuse, Rochester, and Cornell both institutionalized and informal collaborations in the area of Visual Studies are associated with many of the dynamic new trends in the humanities and are of broad interest to many humanities faculty.  The University of Rochester has attained international prominence for its faculty in the Visual and Cultural Studies (VCS) program, which combines faculty from Modern Languages, Film Studies, Art, Art History, and Anthropology.  A socio-historical perspective brings coherence to the collaborate work of these diverse faculties.  This premier program and the acclaimed electronic journal Invisible Culture, now located at Rochester, command worldwide attention for their imaginative interdisciplinary approach to visual rhetoric.  There are cognate programs at both Cornell (visual arts and culture) and Syracuse (art, architecture, and art history, as well as languages, anthropology, and other departments).  These overlapping interests, which span several humanistic areas, constitute a significant regional opportunity to combine our strengths at the faculty and doctoral level. 


VAC 1: Speaker Series Word and Image(Organizer: Steve Cohan, English, SU)

VAC 2: Film and speaker tour featuring Philip Scheffner and Merle Kröger: Indo-German Cultural Transfer and the Halfmoon Files(Organizer: Roger Hallas, English, SU)

VAC 3: Conference: Visual and Cultural Studies: The Next Twenty Years (Organizers: Kendall Phillips,Communication and Rhetorical Studies, SU, Joan Saab, Art and Art History, UR, AnneDemo, Communication and Rhetorical Studies, SU): The Visual and Cultural Studies: The Next 20 Years Conference, to be held at the University of Rochester, is a two-day conference celebrating the 20th anniversary of the cutting-edge Visual and Cultural Studies Program at the University of Rochester focused on the achievements of the past with an eye towards the future. A yearlong series of talks will follow from the kick-off conference that will include:

VAC 4: Key Words Shared Speakers Series to be held at Syracuse University and the University of Rochester

VAC5: Joint Graduate Seminar to be held at SU and University of Rochester, and includes a coordinated/joint graduate seminar among Mellon CNY Humanities Corridor participating students

VAC 6: Winslow Homer’s Empire State Visual Arts and Culture Gallery Exhibition and 25-26 September Symposium Winslow Homer in the 1870’s: A Time of Crisis in American Art and Catalogue Project (Organizer: David Prince, SUArt Galleries, SU)
*visit website*

VAC 7: Graduate Student Forum Imagining America (IA)- SU Humanities Center Graduate Student Forum on Publicly Engaged Scholarship(Organizers: Jan Cohen-Cruz, SU-Imagining America and Gregg Lambert, Humanities Center, SU)  *visit website*

VAC 8: Conference Positioning Practice in Architecture, Featuring Sergio Fajardo, Teddy Cruz, Alejandro Echeverri (Organizers: Jon Yoder, Architecture, SU and Greg Lambert, SU Humanities Center)
Fajardo at CU (cornell daily sun)
Fajardo at CU (chronicle online)
A& S/Mellon News release
Description/Flyer of two day event

Positioning Practice in Architecture: Sergio Fajardo & Alejandro Echeverri
Positioning Practice in Architecture: Aaron Levy & William Menking



MUSICOLOGY/MUSIC HISTORY [MMH]:
The Central New York region has an especially rich and ethnically diverse musical tradition, and accordingly the three universities have outstanding groups of faculty in music, musicology, and music history.  The Eastman School of Music, affiliated with University of Rochester, stands among the very top-ranked programs in musicology in the country.  At Syracuse, the School of Music in Visual and Performing Arts, emphasizing composition and performance, and the Department of Fine Arts in Arts and Sciences, with eminent music historians, have been identified as institutional priorities by both Deans and by Chancellor Cantor.  Syracuse has in the past year developed the endowed Goldring Arts Journalism Program, hosted jointly by the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, the College of Visual and Performing Arts, the School of Architecture, and The College of Arts and Sciences, whose mission is to elevate the quality of reporting on the arts in America.  Music is a central component of that initiative.  At Rochester, the Sibley music library at Eastman is the largest academic music library in North America and contains numerous special collections, including the papers of composers Howard Hanson, Richard Rodgers, and Alexander Courage, as well as a significant collection of manuscripts by Kurt Weill (including an original manuscript for The Threepenny Opera).  Sibley is also the repository for Carl Fischer, one of the most important American publishers for classical music.  (Other special collections are noted on the
  web page).  At Syracuse, the Belfer Audio Laboratory and Archive is one of the four largest archives of recorded sound in the country, and is particularly rich in holdings from the early period of sound recording – holdings that have yet to be the subjects of serious scholarly inquiry.  These include acoustic (pre-1925) recordings of Wagner, the so-called “race” records of African American artists during the 1930’s and 1940’s, Latin American music of the 1940’s, and many others. The Belfer also houses a large collection of early playback technologies, including Victrolas and cylinder machines – a collection that has great potential for study in its own right.  The Cornell University Music Library has unusually rich holdings, including the library of the eminent musicologist Donald J. Grout, which contains an extensive collection of original scores and printed libretti extending from the seventeenth through the twentieth centuries.  In summary, these audio, manuscript, and print archives form an exceptional scholarly resource in support of this cluster. 


MMH 1: Musicology/Music History Music and Spectacle Series “Music as Text/Text as Music Colloquium” (Organizer: AndrewWaggoner, Music, SU)

MMH2: New Chamber Music Intensive: Musicology/Music History Event (Organizers: Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon, Eastman School of Music,  University of Rochester and Roberto Sierra, Music, Cornell University) visit website

MMH 3: Symposium on Music, Sound, and Film: The Moving Image, Musicology/Music History (Organizers:  Theo Cateforis, Music History, Syracuse and Stephen Meyer, Fine Arts, Syracuse University)

MMH 4: Brave New Works: Musicology/Music History Performance (Organizer: Andrew Waggoner, Music, Syracuse University) visit website

MMH 5: Roundtable and Research Project: CNY Recorded Sound Collections(Organizer:  Sean Quimby, E.S. Bird Library, SU)

MMH6: Performance Cornell’s Organ Scholarship and Performance Project: Four Recitals (Organizers:Kola Owolabi, Music, SU and Andrew Waggoner, Music, SU)