- Applications for Coffin Grants and Summer Stipends
- Faculty and Staff Appreciation Days at the Bookstore
- Attention Academic Year Employees: Dec. 6 Paycheck to Include One-Time Adjustment
- United Way Campaign Extended to Dec. 9
Call for Humanities Center Faculty Fellows for 2013-14
The Humanities Center of the University of Hartford requests applications from faculty interested in becoming one of the distinguished Faculty Fellows of the Humanities Center for the 2013-14 academic year.
The Humanities Center Seminar for 2013-14 will be led by Beth Richards, Director of First-Year Rhetoric and Writing, who has developed the theme “Utopia/Dystopia,” described below.
Coined by Sir Thomas More in his book of the same name, "utopia" is defined as an ideal society, perfect in its social, legal, and political forms (OED, utopia). And writers throughout history have broached the topic of an ideal society, well before More’s term became the default. The world’s religious texts refer to perfect places—whether in the earthly realm or the hereafter—and the literature of many nations has toyed with, worried over, speculated about (and sometimes sneered at) the concept of a perfect world.
At one level, no one really believes in such a place. The word itself derives from the Greek “not a place” (OED, utopia), and utopic works often satirize the very state they champion. And there are deliberately dystopic works as well, describing (often in nauseating detail) worlds that are anything but ideal. They serve as entertainment but also as warnings, as they explore the essential questions, “What went so very wrong here? How? Why?”
In reality, it is not helpful to divide the world (literary, political, social, or interpersonal) into the black and white categories of utopia/dystopia since, at any one time, most societies are some of each—and more or less so for different populations within the society. In addition, in most societies, it is impossible to get everyone to agree on which aspects of the society are in fact utopic or dystopic. Witness the current political debates: One candidate’s perfect world is another candidate’s perfect nightmare.
This seminar will examine the concepts of utopia and dystopia as underlying (but not always deeply explored) assumptions about “what kind of lives should people lead?” The seminar will allow participants to look closely at a number of historic and contemporary texts (both print and digital) through the very specific lens of human beings’ constant yearning for the ideal life. Through the course we will explore utopia/dystopia from a variety of viewpoints: political, educational, religious, psychological, scientific-technological, and socio-cultural.
The advantages and responsibilities of being a Faculty Fellow include the following:
• Faculty Fellows will be working on a scholarly or pedagogical project in a context that will offer encouragement and a testing site for the development of their ideas.
• Each Faculty Fellow will give a talk as part of the Spring 2014 series of lectures associated with the theme. The lecture will give each Fellow an opportunity to present the results of his or her research on the project.
• Fellows receive a stipend of $1,500 to enable them to read, write, do research, and prepare their spring lecture.
• Faculty Fellows are encouraged to participate in the honors course in the fall term, and are expected to attend talks by other Fellows during the spring lecture series.
All faculty interested in becoming a Faculty Fellow of the Humanities Center for the 2013-2014 academic year, please email a one-page proposal that describes the focus of your interest and the material to be addressed in your spring talk, along with a CV, to T. Stores (email@example.com) no later than May 15, 2013. Any questions may be directed to T. Stores (860.768.4938 or firstname.lastname@example.org).