With the proliferation of online lectures, working groups and all manner of events, we at the JHI Blog thought it would be a good idea to consolidate news and opportunities relevant to our colleagues working in intellectual history. We will publish these roundups of public lectures, conferences, calls for papers, working groups and new journal issues every other Saturday.

We encourage our readers to send us information and updates about any news or events that fits within this scope. You can use this form to let us know about something you’d like us to publicize.

Book Talk: “Ecosemiotics,” by Timo Maran (Tartu University)

Maran will present his new book Ecosemiotics: The Study of Signs in Changing Ecologies (Cambridge University Press, 2020) in the Greenhouse book talk series, an environmental humanities research group at the University of Stavanger.

March 15, 4:00pm CET. Register.


Lecture: “A Precarious Happiness: Adorno on Negativity and Normativity,” by Peter Gordon (Harvard)

It is a commonplace view that Adorno subscribes to a doctrine of “epistemic negativism,” or “austere negativism.” On this interpretation, Adorno denies that we can have any knowledge of the good, since our society is wholly false. Gordon’s talk offers, first, some arguments against this commonplace reading of Adorno’s work and, second, proposes an alternative explanation for the normativity that underwrites his criticism. Hosted by UC Berkeley’s Program in Critical Theory.

March 15, 5:00 – 7:00pm PST. Register.


Lecture: “The Archive of the Anthropocene: The Nature of Political Documents and the Role of Documents in Politics of Nature,” by Kristin Asdal

Part of Welcome to the Anthropocene, an interdisciplinary lecture series organized by the Oslo School of Environmental Humanities where leading scholars at UiO ask how the age of the “Anthropocene” has transformed their discipline and research.

March 16, 4:15-5:15pm CET. Register.


Lecture: Sunlight and Silver: Celluloid Materialities and the Making of Ferrania Film,” by Elena Past (Wayne State University)

The talk unravels the material and energetic forces that converge in the history of FILM Ferrania, an iconic Italian celluloid producer beloved by renowned auteurs including Pasolini, Fellini, and Antonioni. FILM Ferrania began its industrial life as SIPE (Società Italiana Prodotti Esplodenti), an explosives manufacturer which made gunpowder for the Russian military. With the Soviet revolution in 1918, Ferrania lost its primary client, but soon discovered that the large stockpile of nitrocellulose used to make explosives could be converted to produce celluloid film. As a film production factory, Ferrania, like Kodak, made intense use of primary materials (like camphor, silver, and cellulose) and industrial chemicals, and the facility discarded and exhaled waste, toxic and otherwise. In 2010, as digital photography captured an increasingly large market share, Ferrania, which had enabled generations of filmmakers to write with light, turned theirs off. The project considers questions including: where does analog film culture reside in the digital age, or in other words, what are the material legacies of sunlight and silver? Hosted by the Centre for Culture and Ecology, Durham University.

March 18, 4:00pm UTC+01. Register.


Workshop: “Gendered Necropower: Abolition Feminism and Black Death’s Public Private Divide,” with Shatema Threadcraft (Dartmouth)

Part of the 14th Feminist Theory Workshop 2021 Virtual Series. Since 2007, The Program in Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies at Duke University has hosted an annual Feminist Theory Workshop (FTW). FTW 2021 will bring us together virtually on Feminist Theory Fridays – three Friday afternoons in March when scholars share their work.

March 19, 2:00 – 3:30am EST. Register.


Lecture: “Language, the Liberal Arts and the Challenges of the 21st Century,” by Noam Chomsky

The Humanities Center at the University of San Diego is proud to welcome Noam Chomsky, PhD, as the Knapp chair of liberal arts 2021. In conversation with Thomas Reifer, professor of sociology, Chomsky will discuss the question of language as part of the inquiry into what sort of creatures we are and the role of the liberal arts in helping us to confront humanity’s urgent 21st century challenges.

March 22, 6:00-7:00pm PT. Register.


Lecture: “Touche-touche,” by Jean-Luc Nancy

This lecture series takes queer theory’s conversation about intimacy as a starting point to discuss some of its cultural possibilities, mediated forms, and philosophical trajectories in the context of Corona.

March 24, 7:00pm CET. Register.


Talk: “The Eighth Continent: Lunar Enclosures in the Twenty-First Century Race for the Moon,” by Tamara Álvarez

In the context of a Moon race where multiple actors are rushing to get hold of limited resources located in a reduced area, several international fora and working groups have been created to regulate the occupation of these lunar regions and the exploitation of their resources. In this lecture, Tamara Álvarez examines the ways in which these regulatory practices are advancing the three-dimensional enclosure of the Moon’s land, underground and radiospectrum, and setting the basis for a lunar private property regime.

March 24, 2:00-3:30pm EST. Register.


Lecture: “Columbus and Islam,” by Alan Mikhail (Yale University)

Christopher Columbus lived the vast majority of his life in a Mediterranean world in which the Ottoman and Mamluk Empires dominated the eastern part of the sea and were in constant economic, political, and confrontational interaction with the Christian states of Europe. This talk considers the importance of Islam in shaping Columbus’s life and voyages. In doing so, it thinks critically about the role of Islam in the Spanish decision to send him across the ocean and in the early history of the Spanish Caribbean. It furthermore uses this Muslim history of Columbus to suggest ways of analyzing early modern periodization and the place of Islam in the making of the modern world. Part of the Franke Program in Science & the Humanities Distinguished Speaker Series.

March 24, 4:00pm EST. Register.


Seminar: “Intertidal PlastiCity”

The seminar will revolve around two projects that follow the plastics and marine life that inhabit the Mumbai’s intertidal habitat. The films and photos of these research projects are now available at inhabitedsea.org. We invite you to dwell in these projects before joining the live conversation between Naveen Namboothri and Lindsay Bremner about rethinking life in Intertidal PlastiCities. The presentations will be followed by a closing conversation between Dilip da Cunha, Anuradha Mathur and the project leads that will reflect on the aspirations and outcomes of Inhabited Sea.

March 24, 9:00am EST. Register.


Conference: “Decolonising Archives, Rethinking Canons: Writing Intellectual Histories of Global Entanglements”

Supported by the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Cambridge

The aim of this conference is hinged on two primary concerns: One is of bringing to the fore works in intellectual history and political thought, framed by both context specificity and vernacular sources. The second important goal is to question the equivocal process of canonization and bring together scholars working on non-canonical intellectual traditions, texts, and figures.

March 26-28. Register either for individual panels or for the full conference.


CfP: “Narratives of Temporality: Continuities, Discontinuities, Ruptures”

Organised by the London Centre for Interdisciplinary Research, to take place 24-25 July 2021 – Cambridge/Online.

The aim of this conference is to develop a multidisciplinary reflection on the complex relationship between narrative and temporality. The central topics concern the multiple and articulated ways in which narrative practices and forms of temporality dynamically interact, by developing a multifaceted space of concepts, theories, practices and knowledge, in a dynamics of cross-disciplinary thinking. Full CfP here.

Proposals up to 250 words should be sent by 30 April 2021 to spatiality.temporality@lcir.co.uk.


CfP: “Plague, politics, and portents,” Ars Longa Journal

Ars Longa is a new, independent online journal and blog dedicated to Early Modern art and visual/material culture. The aim is to create an open-access, creative platform where early career scholars and advanced graduate students can share their research and current projects. For our inaugural issue, we welcome submissions related—but not limited—to the following topics: epidemics, plagues, and sickness; prophesies, omens and portents; marvels, wonders, and prodigies; eschatology; flood, famine, and other natural disasters; memento mori, memorials, and mourning; political upheaval, uprisings, revolts, and war. Read the full call here.

For consideration, please send your abstract (250 words) along with a CV to arslongajournal at gmail.com by April 15, 2021.

Featured Image: Honore Daumier, “Coucou! le revoila,” 1870.