The past is present everywhere: in our daily lives and activities, our natural, engineered, and social environments, our political commitments, our biasses and prejudices, our religious and spiritual convictions, our scientific and technological accomplishments and ambitions, and more. This course examines what happens when competing versions of the past come into conflict? How is knowledge about the past produced? How do structures of power and prestige operating in the present shape our current knowledge of the across the disciplines?
Involves public lectures by visiting scholars and Colby faculty representing many disciplines, with focused discussion and weekly reflection papers posted on the course blog. 1 CR, Nongraded.
Schedule: All talks are Mondays, 7:00 in Lovejoy 100 and are open to the public and the larger Colby community
Feb 11: Jennifer Yoder (Colby, Government and Global Studies), “The Presence of the Past in Angela Merkel’s Political Discourse”
Feb 18: Sonja Thomas (Colby, WGSS), “Indians on the Reservation: Missionary Priests from India and Catholic Settler Colonialism”
Feb 25: Nathan Hensley (Georgetown, English), “Action After Nature: Climate Crisis and the Force of Literature”
March 4: Projit Mukharji (U Penn, History and Sociology of Science), “Collecting Bodies, Bodily Collectives: Trace Identities in British India, 1918-47”
March 11: Wai Chee Dimock (Yale, English), “William Blake and Elizabeth Bishop in the Anthropocene.”
March 18: Keith Peterson (Colby, Philosophy), “The Past that has never been Present: The Changing Role of the a priori in Philosophical Anthropology”
April 1: Greta LaFleur (Yale, American Studies), “The Natural History of Sexuality in Early America”
April 8: Suegene Noh (Colby, Biology), “How current genomes are shaped by evolutionary pasts”
April 15: Carin Berkowitz (Beckman Center for History of Chemistry), “Anatomists and the Stolen Statues: Stories of Science, Art, and Religion”
April 22: Heather Streets-Salter (Northeastern, History), “The Chill Before the Cold War: The Roots of Anti-Communism in the Interwar Period.”
April 29: Loren McClenachan (Colby, Environmental Studies), “Turning Back the Clock on Ocean Declines: Using Historical Ecology in Marine Conservation”