Author Archives: Tonya Howe

Outstanding Graduate and Undergraduate Presentations

With great pleasure, the Virginia Humanities Conference announces our first awards for Outstanding Graduate and Undergraduate Presentations. These presentations were given during the 2017 VHC meeting hosted by Shenandoah University.

The winner of the Outstanding Undergraduate Presentation is Zachary Stephens, for his presentation “Machines as Equal Automata.” Zachary Stephens is a rising Sophomore at Virginia Commonwealth University who is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. His interest in Computer Science, which led him to this work, stems from involvement with the Atlee High School robotics team, where I served as Head of Programming for four years.

The winner of the Outstanding Graduate Presentation is Emily Watlington, for her presentation “Fear and Boredom on a Feedback Loop: Brazen Apathy in Ryan Trecartin’s Junior War.” Emily Watlington is a graduate student in MIT’s program in the History, Theory, and Criticism of Art and Architecture. She is also the Curatorial Research Assistant at the MIT List Visual Arts Center and holds a BFA from Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Her research focuses on contemporary art, particularly video, through the lenses of affect theory and feminist theory. Her art criticism has appeared in numerous periodicals and exhibition catalogs, and she is a regular contributor to Mousse. In 2017, she received the Vera List Writing Prize for Visual Arts.



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Inaugural Proceedings Call: The Unbearable Humanities

The Virginia Humanities Conference (VHC) is a non-profit organization of universities, colleges, and community colleges in Virginia whose purpose is to promote interest and research in the humanities.  Each year in the Spring, a delegate institution hosts the conference, which is open to presenters from across the country. This year we are pleased to announce the first annual peer-reviewed published conference proceedings.

Presenters at VHC 2017 are eligible to submit essays for consideration in the 2018 proceedings publication. Essays should be of conference length, and they should conform to the most recent MLA formatting standard. All submissions will be peer reviewed. Delegates are eligible to submit presented work to the proceedings, to be peer-reviewed by anonymous non-Delegate reviewers. The first issue of the proceedings will be available at the 2018 Conference.

To submit your paper for consideration, email it as a Word attachment to Deadline for submission of papers is August 1, 2017.

Is your institution not a member institution? Join the VHC and help promote the humanities as a valuable way to engage the world we live in. VHCProceedingsCall

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Lauren Berlant & Lee Edelman, 2017 Keynote Speakers

Shenandoah University is very pleased to announce that Lee Edelman and Lauren Berlant will be giving the keynote talk at the 2017 Virginia Humanities Conference, focusing on their recent book from Duke University Press, Sex, or the Unbearable (2013). From the Duke UP website,

Sex, or the Unbearable is a dialogue between Lauren Berlant and Lee Edelman, two of our leading theorists of sexuality, politics, and culture. In juxtaposing sex and the unbearable they don’t propose that sex is unbearable, only that it unleashes unbearable contradictions that we nonetheless struggle to bear. In Berlant and Edelman’s exchange, those terms invoke disturbances produced in encounters with others, ourselves, and the world, disturbances that tap into threats induced by fears of loss or rupture as well as by our hopes for repair.Through virtuoso interpretations of works of cinema, photography, critical theory, and literature, including Lydia Davis’s story “Break It Down” (reprinted in full here), Berlant and Edelman explore what it means to live with negativity, with those divisions that may be irreparable. Together, they consider how such negativity affects politics, theory, and intimately felt encounters. But where their critical approaches differ, neither hesitates to voice disagreement. Their very discussion—punctuated with moments of frustration, misconstruction, anxiety, aggression, recognition, exhilaration, and inspiration—enacts both the difficulty and the potential of encounter, the subject of this unusual exchange between two eminent critics and close friends.

About The Keynote Speakers:

Lauren Berlant is George M. Pullman Distinguished Service Professor of English at the University of Chicago. She is the author of Cruel Optimism, The Female Complaint, and The Queen of America Goes to Washington City, all also published by Duke University Press.

Lee Edelman is Fletcher Professor of English Literature at Tufts University. He is the author of L’impossible Homosexuel; No Future, also published by Duke University Press; and Homographesis.

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