PAL 2014-2015 Annual Report
PAL seeks to make a strong interdisciplinary contribution to the humanities at Duke. In 2014-15 we worked particularly hard to support the writing lives of our graduate students. With the help of Heather Gates (History) we co-ordinated and sponsored writing groups for over 50 graduate students. We ran a monthly series of workshops on writing. In spring, our writing events culminated in PAL’s third “Writing Is Thinking” Workshop, headlined by Verlyn Klinkenborg.
PAL organized a reading group on Hannah Arendt. A panel of graduate students responded to Mark Greif’s presentation of his book The Age of the Crisis of Man. We sponsored talks by our young international visitors, Salla Peltonen and Corina Stan, with responses by Duke graduate students. PAL’s Graduate Certificate continues to attract students from across the humanities.
PAL also launched a new series on intellectual women. In the fall we had a symposium on on Mme du Châtelet and Mary Wollstonecraft; in spring one on Hannah Arendt.
As usual, we sponsored lectures in philosophy and the arts: The distinguished art historian Keith Moxey shared his thoughts on time and art, Bruce Matthews (one of Duke’s Humanities Writ Large fellows) presented Schelling’s vision of the University, and the renowned literary critic Derek Attridge discussed literature in history. We ended the year with a symposium on the philosopher J. L. Austin with Sandra Laugier (Sorbonne), Estelle Ferrarèse (Strasbourg), and Sarah Beckwith (Duke).
On the invitation of then Dean Laurie Patton, PAL set up a working group on Humanities education for undergraduates, and sponsored a symposium on teaching in the humanities today, with Paula Findlen (Stanford), Sean Kelly (Harvard), and James Simpson (Harvard).
In 2014-15 we welcomed the first two PAL/FHI Seminars on “Concepts, Figures, Art Forms,” sponsored by the Mellon Foundation:
• Whose Kafka? led by Saskia Ziolkowski and Kata Gellen.
• The Novel, led by Nancy Armstrong and Erdag Goknar.
In 2015-16 we will continue the “Intellectual Women” series, sponsor more writing-focused events, and, not least, host PAL’s fourth Young Scholars Workshop on literature, ethics, and philosophy, with Niklas Forsberg (Uppsala) and Nora Hämäläinen (Helsinki).
I hope to see many of you at our events this year!
Director of PAL