University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

The IAS regularly hosts or cosponsors conferences, symposia, workshops, and colloquia.


chinese-film-7 cropAug. 13-15: Chinese Film History
This three-day international conference included panels on The State and Stakes of Chinese Cinemas Studies, Dialect and Diasporic Cinemas, and Cinema as Historical Conjuncture, as well as talks on Digital Plasmaticness and Semiotic Pluralism in Chinese Independent Animation, Chinese Espionage Films during the Second World War, Taiwan’s Meteroric Rise as a Film Festival Powerhouse, and What (not) to Wear during a Cultural Revolution.

nature-3x-where-is-nature-now-1024x664 cropApr. 17-18: Nature 3.X
This symposium featured professional and academic work by artists, designers, and other creatives from a variety of disciplines, including the sciences and humanities, to catalyze new dialogue concerning the shifting definition of nature in the 21st century. This speculation requires an interdisciplinary examination of critical works that fosters intellectual discovery, challenging design professions and the public to consider the opportunities for design in shaping this critical dialogue.

mass images cropApr. 16-17: Experiencing Mass Images
Three presentations provided interdisciplinary investigations of the impact of mass images on American experience in recent history (1750 – 1930). How did changes in the production, consumption and use of widely reproduced images indicate social change, resistance, or unrest? How did viewers cognitively and physically interact with the material dimension of mass images? Effectively, speakers sought to address the phenomenological dimension of popular culture and its literacies.

rock and day cropApr. 8-10: The Once and Future River
The Mississippi River is one of the best-known American landscapes, accessible through the writings of Mark Twain and imagery from painters and photographers for more than a century. Yet how well do we really “know” the river through these sources, and are they adequate in an era of climate change? Scholars from the humanities and social sciences met with experts from the realm of river policy and management to explore the river as both a cultural and physical entity.

boris-sveshnikov cropMar. 4-6: Contested Past, Contested Present
Hosted by the Collaborative on Reframing Mass Violence, this conference explored the particular developments and transnational entanglements of social memories in post-Stalinist European societies revisiting their legacies of dictatorship, state terror, and grave human rights violations, with a focus on the contemporary processes of re-interpretation and re-framing of a) the atrocities themselves and b) the transitional justice models that were adopted in their aftermaths.


ICRFOct. 31: Internat’l Collaborative Research
International collaborative research plays a key role in contemporary universities—from addressing global grand challenges to forming boundary-crossing research networks and partnerships. International collaboration drives innovative scholarly inquiry in many fields. This one-day forum offered insights from experienced international collaborative researchers and funders to scholars interested in or already engaged in international collaborative work.

liku yuliadi 300x210Oct. 17-18: Transnat’l Genders Onscreen
This conference gathered prominent filmmakers and film scholars from China, Korea, Indonesia, and the US to discuss their work. A key focus was the travel, exchange, and alteration of gendered categories, naming practices, and theoretical approaches. Speakers and films also addressed the complex meanings of terms of Western origin such as gay, transsexual, or feminism as reflected on the screens of Indonesia, Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, and mainland China.

mann-zhang crop brighterMay 9: Celebration of Ann Waltner
This symposium, celebrating the tenure of former IAS Director Ann Waltner, featured a conversation with Susan Mann and Hong Chun Zhang on the reconstruction of a 19th century Chinese painting, a talk by playwright Leigh Fondakowski on creating a play based on the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, small-group discussions on collaboration with members of the IAS Agrifood Collaborative, and further reflections on the importance of collaborative work in addressing difficult problems.

discussions on asia cropApr. 11-12: Discussions on Asia
What is Asia, and how should it be studied, constructed, and narrated? This graduate student conference put interdisciplinary researchers into discussion about Asia around the theme of contact. Narratives and representations of contact—stories and images of contact with foreign people, places, and objects—have been foundational for knowledge production in the humanities and social sciences. In this regard, “Asia” itself was constructed as an object of knowledge.

paul-hillmer cropMar. 28: Oral History Workshop
Oral history allows us to access the many voices of history, not just the more powerful or dominant voices traditionally found in the written record, and can be a meaningful way to engage individuals and communities to preserve and share their history.

Featuring a panel of scholars who come to the practice from diverse paths and use it in different ways, this workshop explored how and why to include oral history in research.


November 14-15Nov. 14-15: Crisis Economics Workshop
Many social critics are calling the first decade of the 21st century a “lost decade,” where incomes and wealth stagnated, indebtedness exponentially grew, and inequality between the 1% and the 99% touched levels not seen since the Great Depression.

This workshop begins a conversation, asking how we can create democratic forms of knowledge production and social arrangements that will advance economic justice and equality.

angkor-lidar-crop600x420Nov. 7-9: Resilience and Sustainability
Archaeologists working on the Maya, the Mid-East, and Southeast Asia, and around the world are uncovering evidence of social change related to shifts in resources, political power, and climate, questioning traditionally held notions of societal collapse.

This symposium for scholars in archaeology, earth sciences, climate studies, and sustainability explored past, present, and future aspects of survival and sustainability.

hmong-loons-crop600x420Oct. 4-5: Hmong Across Borders
The second Hmong Across Borders conference was hosted by The Consortium for Hmong Studies between the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

This conference focused on current, innovative research on the Hmong across different intellectual and national boundaries worldwide, but also comparative research on the Hmong and other ethnic groups.

biggs-critical-asian-bios-cropSep. 20: Critical Conversation: Asia & Bios
A symposium to envision a new kind of Asian studies that can more productively interact with scholarly and public discourses on biology, medicine, and environmental issues.

Organized by the IAS collaborative Critical Asian Studies, launched to explore new theoretical developments in Asian Studies beyond national and regional divisions, paying attention to understudied intra-Asian dynamics.

digital-humanities-spark-festMay 14-15: Digital Humanities Symposium
This symposium brought faculty and grad students from humanities and computer science fields, academic technologists, programmers, research consultants, librarians, and other academic support staff together to consider inspiring examples of digital humanities scholarship, discuss tools and issues at the heart of the research, and network with potential research partners, with ample opportunity for participant discussion.

murat-altun-monkeys-tems-2013-crop400x571May 9: 10th TEMS Grad Student Roundtable
The IAS Theorizing Early Modern Studies Collaborative organizes conversations around works in progress by scholars of the early modern period. We welcome everyone, especially faculty and graduate students in the Humanities.

The group offers an opportunity for interdisciplinary, collaborative reflection on the relationship between history, literature, the fine arts, philosophy and the sciences.

med-conf-2013-southern-shores-cropApr. 12-13: The Southern Shores of the Mediterranean and Beyond
Disciplinary shibboleths of East and West still too often apply in scholarship on the Mediterranean world. This workshop explored the impact of events and ideas arising at the Southern Shores on the Mediterranean and beyond to Europe above and Africa below.

Organized by the IAS collaborative on The Mediterranean World: From the Middle Ages to Today.


performing-enlightenment-facing-cropNov. 30-Dec. 1: Performing Enlightenment in the 21st. Century
The conference sought to re-open a discussion on the Enlightenment in times of today’s economic crisis when the basic driver of the academe is the distribution of resources. The conference historicized our propensity to avoid moral considerations and to restrict ourselves to issues of profit and loss—economic questions in the narrowest sense—in the long shadow of debates which were initiated in the eighteenth century.

black-environmental-thought-cropSep. 21-23: Black Environmental Thought II
The second national Black Environmental thought and practice conference invited scholars, activists, farmers, artists, gardeners, environmentalists and outdoor enthusiasts across the African diaspora to engage in translocal and transnational dialogues about environmental justice, providing a space where participants could bridge theory and practice while creating ethically responsible collaborative partnerships.


seitu-jones-fountain-cropSep. 23: Imagining America Keynote
The 2011 Imagining America Conference keynote address, “Seeding the Future,” was a conversation between visual artist Seitu Jones and Professor Rose Brewer, conveners of the Black Environmental Thought collaborative.

Brewer is Professor of African American & African Studies, and Jones is a former artist in residence for the city of Minneapolis. Both are core members of the community-based urban agriculture organization AfroEco.

anthropology-club-undergraduate-conference-2011Apr. 9-10: Undergrad Anthropology Club
How do people define extravagance throughout the world? How do people participate in excessive behavior? What is the deeper meaning of this excess in everyday life?

Part of the University Symposium on Abundance and Scarcity, this conference featured presentations on “Scandinavia’s Golden Age and the Merovingian Hangover”, “Herstory: The Extravagance, Excess, and Indulgence of Men”, and “Luxurious Lipids”.

mediterranean-sea-maps-crop1050x735Apr. 7-9: Identity in the Mediterranean World
This conference focused on constructions of identities in the Mediterranean world from the Middle Ages to the present, including both self-defined cultural identities and identities imposed by others; in each case, more than just ethnicity or race is involved, but also law, class, politics, religion, language, and culture.

Organized by the IAS collaborative on The Mediterranean World: From the Middle Ages to Today.

biggs-rice-crop2133x1493Mar. 3-5: Feeding the World
This symposium built on frameworks for discussing the complex and often contentious issues that challenge interdisciplinary attempts to talk about food politics.

Of interest were the stumbling blocks and dead-ends that hamper rapprochement between different approaches to food and feeding, and the implications of the global-scale imperative often associated with American agriculture: feeding the world.

shared-cultural-spaces-islam-cropFeb. 24-26: Shared Cultural Spaces
This conference explored ways in which Muslim contributions to literature, arts, science, and architecture have become foundational to Western humanistic and scientific expressions.

The conference featured two keynote lectures; the debut of a play based on an influential 12th c. Arabic philosophical novel; a trip to the MIA; and sessions on Islamic literature, science, architecture, art history, and digital technology.


10-11-11-Dams-cropNov. 11-12: The Consequences of Dams
Dams have been characterized as “long-term experiments on rivers,” and as affronts to the freedom embodied in flowing rivers. But they also provide needed hydroelectric power and serve as important regulators of floods.

This conference brings together a range of experts, practices, and disciplines to examine the phenomena of dams and the consequences, intended and unintended, that accrue from their construction.

visual-persuasion-cropOct. 14: Visual Persuasion: “Copia”
Copia is a reasoned practice, derived from rhetorical tradition and indulged in quite artfully by writers and speakers. Yet simultaneously, copia is an appeal beyond reason, to the unreasonable, even prereasonable dimensions of the mind, to the kaleidoscopic, teeming, untranslatable horde of impressions, memories, and emotions that coexist with our most linear thoughts and actions. Copia, then, is reason’s effort to transcend its own logic.
Hosted by University of Minnesota, Crookston.

Ancient map showing China as centre of world goes on displayOct. 13: New World/Old World Kickoff
The 2010 Mid America Print Council Conference explored places where tradition and experimentation meet.

The conference opened with a viewing of the oldest surviving Chinese map to depict the Americas: Jesuit Missionary Matteo Ricci’s Kunyu wanguo quantu, or Map of the Ten Thousand Countries of the Earth with remarks by IAS Director Ann Waltner and engraver Gaylord Schanilec.

08-04-10-New-Rhetoric-David-Beard-Duluth-cropMay 27: The Modern Rhetoric Project
The centerpiece of the Graduate Symposium in Interdisciplinary Rhetorical Studies was the participation of four distinguished visiting scholars, noted for their interdisciplinary work in rhetoric and chosen by graduate students in Writing Studies, Communication Studies and UMD English. These visiting scholars engaged in productive dialogue with rhetoric faculty from Minnesota and with graduate students interested in rhetoric from the three participating graduate programs.

Larasati 2013.3.27May 3: Contemporary Islam in SE Asia
Looking at Asia as a geopolitical post-colonial space, this conference examined recent cultural reconfiguration in Islamic Indonesia, especially the changing landscape of dance, theater, and music (sound).

Through an understanding of sound across region and contemporary cultural political economics, the conference explored the distinct cultural position Indonesian Islam embodies within Islamic society as a whole.

exhuming-bodies-spain-cropApr. 23-24: Exhuming Bodies in Spain
This conference explored the role that the recent exhumations of mass graves from the Spanish Civil War and subsequent dictatorship have had in the emergence of the movement for the “recovery of historical memory” in Spain.

Multiple and complex relations between bodies and knowledge arise in these exhumations which can explain their political, social, cultural and legal significance in Spain and in other post-authoritarian or post-conflict settings.


11-13-09-Sexual-Difference-Tarzan-cropNov. 13: What is Sexual Difference Now?
This conference was organized in light of a growing debate in feminist theory, revolving around questions crucial to the humanities and social sciences, such as whether the difference between men and women is something fundamental and whether it is even knowable; exactly how it is imagined through science, love, and art; what the relationship between (mostly male) theorists and feminism should be; and how to engage with various kinds of reduction – anatomical, linguistic, historical.

Open_Window_Collioure_rhetoric_cropOct. 22-24: Colloquium on Modern Rhetoric
The “modern” rhetorical period is contemporary to “modern” literature, art and architecture. We have a canon of major figures and texts, but we do not have a definitive scholarly assessment.

To what extent is modern rhetorical theory a rearticulation or transformation of classical theories, or a rupture from its roots in response to social, aesthetic or technological changes? Can we use modern rhetorical theories to generate contemporary rhetorical criticism?


richard-lafortune-queer-motions-cropApr. 5: Queer Motions
Where are queer studies and queer politics going in the twenty-first century?

Organized by the IAS Global Sexualities research collaborative, QM08@MSP focused on flows and movements across geographic borders, asking what is at stake in working through a transnational queer framework that blurs distinctions between nation and diaspora, indigenous and mobile, ocean and continent, Global South and Global North.


14-feb-1871-marion-mahony-griffin-cropOct. 4: Crossing Boundaries Colloquium
Organized by the IAS Reconfiguring Rhetorical Studies Collaborative and the UMD Commission for Women, with the purpose of fostering collaboration between Communication and Writing Studies at the University of Minnesota-Duluth campus, the Crossing Boundaries Colloquium included a lecture by Dr. Elizabeth Birmingham on “Marion Mahoney and the Rhetoric of Architectural History”.

IAS-logo-cropApr. 14: Crossing the Boundaries
This event addressed the state of Hispanic Studies today and the new challenges in the crossing of disciplinary borders such as the (dis)integration of linguistics and literature/cultural studies.

Why have cross-disciplinary approaches not included linguistics as an important part of the agenda, and what assumptions about linguistics are circulating within the domain of literary/cultural studies?

jeffrey-broadbentFeb. 25-27: Global Environmental Change
With the scientific data on global climate change so widely available, why do some nations’ governments take action while others deny that the problem even exists?

This conference brought together social scientists from around the world to investigate the responses (or lack thereof) of governments, businesses, NGOs, international institutions, and national and international policies to the scientific fact of global warming.

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