The Conversations Series meetings gather faculty and students to discuss academic items of current interest that help paint a bigger picture of our current moment in the humanities.

Fall 2018


Friday, October 26, 2018; 11:00 AM; 4010 JFSB


Paul Keen, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa, will be discussing his new project “The Humanities in a Utilitarian Age,” which sheds some interesting light on the multi-century “crisis in the humanities.” Please join us, Friday, October 26th at 11AM.



Winter 2018


Friday, March 16, 2018; 11:00 AM; 4101 JFSB


John Durham Peters of Yale University will join the Humanities Center for a “Conversations” meeting on Friday, Mar. 15th  at 11:00 AM in 4101 JFSB. More information forthcoming.



Fall 2017


Friday, October 20, 2017; 12:00 PM; 4101 JFSB

Anahid Nersessian professor of English at UCLA, and Jonathan Kramnick, Maynard Mack Professor of English at Yale University will join the Humanities Center via Skype for a “Conversations” meeting on Friday, Oct. 20th at 12:00 PM in 4101 JFSB. We will be discussing their recent research collaboration on literary criticism and what form actually explains.

Title: “Form and Explanation”




Winter 2017


Friday, February 10, 2017; 11:00 AM; 4101 JFSB


Bernard Geoghegan, visiting Associate Professor of Film & Media Studies at Yale University as well as a Senior Lecturer in Media & Communications at Coventry University, will join the Humanities Center via Skype for a Conversations meeting on Friday, February 10th at 12:00 PM in 4101 JFSB.

Recently, Geoghegan edited a special dossier of essays for Critical Inquiry titled “The Spirit of Media.” We will be talking with Geoghegan via Skype about his own contribution to that dossier, “Mind the Gap: Spiritualism and the Infrastructural Uncanny.” Overturning traditional readings of spiritualism as an index of seismic changes in nineteenth-century life (like the introduction of the railroad, which revolutionized economic and communicative possibilities), Geoghegan sees the supernatural as an uncanny indicator of “gaps and disruptions” in nineteenth-century networks of people, objects, and explanation. And this presents us with a new way to conceptualize the function of media in everyday life, then and now.



Fall 2016


Thursday, September 15, 2016; 3:00 – 4:30 PM; 4010 JFSB


 “Why Is Our Annual Lecturer Skeptical of Our Annual Theme, ‘After Suspicion …’?”

In preparation for our Annual Lecture, the Humanities Center Director, Matt Wickman will guide the discussion.



Friday, December 2, 2016; 11:00 – 12:30 PM; 4010 JFSB


  “Is Feminism a Trauma, a Bad Memory, or a Virtual Future?”

Griselda Pollock, University of Leeds, will be joining the Humanities Center via Skype to discuss her recent work. A Q&A will follow the discussion.


Winter 2016


Thursday, January 28, 2016; 3:00 – 4:30 PM; 4010 JFSB


Gregg Roberts (World Language and Dual Language Immersion Specialist; Utah State Office of Education)




Friday, February 19, 2016; 12:00pm-1:30pm, JFSB 4101


Clint Whipple (Biology)






FALL 2015

Friday, October 23, 2015, 12:00pm-1:30pm, JFSB 4010

Doris Sommer from Harvard University will be joining us via Skype on Friday, Octber 23 at 12:00 pm. She will be discussing Public Humanities and aspects of her book, The Work of Art in the World. Lunch will be provided.



Friday, February 27, 2015, 12:00pm-1:30pm, JFSB 4010

How, When, and Where to Publish Scholarly Books

Three scholars from our college will lead a discussion on how, when, and where to publish scholarly books: Corry Cropper (Chair of French/Italian), Van Gessel (Professor of Japanese and former dean of the college), and Kimberly Johnson (Professor of English and author of books in various genres: scholarly, poetry, and translation). The meeting will begin at noon and we’ll serve food shortly after 1:00.


  Friday, January 16, 2015, 12:00pm-1:30pm, JFSB 4010

The Empathetic Turn in Literature Studies

We’ll discuss a few short essays–including Elaine Scarry’s recent essay “Poetry, Injury, and the Ethics of Reading” –that discuss the surge of interest in empathy and the question (picked up in the popular press) of whether reading literature makes one a better person.

FALL 2014


November 07, 2014, 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm. JFSB 4010

Robert Newman is Dean of the College of Humanities at the University of Utah and, on July 1, will become the new Director of the National Humanities Center. A scholar of twentieth- and twenty-first-century literature, Newman will be discussing the future of higher education in the humanities and initiatives he plans to undertake at the NHC.

 September 12, 2014 , 12:30 pm-1:30 pm, JFSB 4010.

Srinivas Aravamudan is Professor of English, and formerly Dean of Humanities, at Duke University. He is also the author of the essay “The Catachronism of Climate Change,” published in diacritics 41:3 (2013), and he will join us via Skype to discuss this powerful intervention into the fields of ecocriticism and postcolonial studies.



 WINTER 2014

We will discuss the challenge posed by digital scholarship and publishing to old criteria for tenure and promotion. We will be joined via Skype by Todd Presner, Professor of Germanic Language, Comparative Literature, and Jewish Studies at UCLA and also chair of UCLA’s Digital Humanities Program.

Friday, April 4th, 12pm, JFSB 4010.

Our discussion will be the “Remaking the University” blog designed and curated by Michael Meranze (UCLA) and Christopher Newfield (UCSB). How do the forces of change in public universities around the country affect BYU?

Friday, February 28th at 12:00 in JFSB 4010.


FALL 2013

Four members of the Department of Linguistics and English Language — Don Chapman, Janis Nuckolls, Wendy Smemoe, and Mark Davies — will discuss the residual prescriptivism of our language practices in the university and in society more generally.

Thursday, October. 24, 2013,  2:00-3:00 pm, JFSB 4010.


“Anticipatory Plagiarism” by Pierre Bayard.

Friday, Oct. 11th, 3pm in JFSB 4010.


“The Posthuman Comedy” by Mark McGurl”

Friday, September 20th, 2:00 pm, JFSB 4010.



Publicly Engaged Scholarship and Teaching

Friday, May 10, 13, 2:00-3:00 pm, JFSB 4010
Massive open online courses (MOOCs) and the Future of Higher Ed.

Monday, February 18th,2013, 1:00 pm, JFSB 4010
What Are the “Anthropocene Humanities”? We will discuss Dipesh Chakrabarty’s recent article “Postcolonial Studies and the Challenge of Climate Change.”

Thursday, January 17, 2013,3:00-4:00 pm, JFSB 4010



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