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Announcement JHI Annual Themes, 2017-2020

ANNOUNCEMENT: ANNUAL THEMES FOR 2017-18, 2018-19, AND 2019-20

The Jackman Humanities Institute is pleased to announce its annual themes for the years 2017-2020.  Each year’s residential fellowships and events in the JHI Program for the Arts are aligned with the year’s annual theme.  The themes are chosen by the Advisory Board after consultation with the University of Toronto community at large.

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2017-2018     Indelible Violence: Shame, Reconciliation and the Work of Apology
Performances of reconciliation and apology attempt to erase violence that is arguably indelible. What ideological and therapeutic work does reconciliation do, under whose authority, for whose benefit, and with what limits? What would it mean to acknowledge the role of shame? How might the work of truth and reconciliation commissions be compared to other ways of shifting relations from violence and violation to co-existence? How does the work of apology stabilize social identities, conditions, and relations and how do indelible traces of violence work for and against those conditions, identities and relations?

2018-2019     Reading Faces – Reading Minds 
What does it mean to read—a face, a text, an object, another mind? Human beings use a variety of intuitive and deliberate techniques in an effort to gauge what others feel, want, mean, and know, a sort of ‘mindreading.’ But are the faces we see and voices we hear always representational? While face-to-face encounters have exceptional social significance, the ways in which people encounter each other on stage, in print, and on screens are not transparent. What access to other minds do the humanities afford, and how do the humanities connect to developments in cognitive science and neuroscience? How do notions about reading minds transform what we think we do in reading texts? What is it to recognize the face and to know the mind of another?   

2019-2020     Strange Weather
How might the humanities contribute to the critical discourse on energy and climate? The energy crisis is no longer simply about limited supplies but now concerns the very nature and place of energy in human life and society. Strange weather as symptom of changing climate destabilizes our trust in and certainty of our home (i.e. our planet) and provokes fantasies of control and of chaos. How can we help frame questions of environmental degradation, scientific knowledge and its popularization, especially in their relation to social equity, and societal futures?


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