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WEST Faculty Announcements – 2/12

February 12, 2010

1. “Learned Surgeons and the Cultures of Print in Renaissance Venice” 

2. WEST Brownbag 

3. George Stolnitz Memorial Lecture in Jewish Studies

4. Political Theory Brown Bag Lunch

5. Gertrude F. Weathers Lecture: Smallpox and the Novel

6. Talk on Victim Discourse, Victim Studies, and the Biopolitics of Counter-Terrorism

7. Videoconference Series on Barcelona and Catalan Architecture





1. “Learned Surgeons and the Cultures of Print in Renaissance Venice”

Friday, February 12, 2010

Ballantine 003

4:00-6:00 p.m.


Center for the History of Medicine

Cynthia Klestinec

English Department

Miami University of Ohio

In the early modern period, vernacular medical texts treated midwifery, herbal remedy, bloodletting, household ‘physick’ and a number of other topics that respond to the general and pervasive concern for healthy living in the sixteenth century (Pelling, 1998). In these exceedingly practical texts, the vernacular made medical knowledge more accessible and thereby increased readership. It also dissolved the integrity of the Latinate traditions dealing with gynecology, herbals, and medical diagnostics. In other arenas, however, the vernacular was not meant to give patients the power to diagnose or treat themselves or more generally, to reach a broader audience. It sought to maintain the integrity of the Latinate tradition even as it moved it into the vernacular. This presentation investigates this alternative role of the vernacular. Drawing on studies of the history of the book, this presentation focuses on surgery texts, in particular, a set of editions of Giovanni de Vigo’s Practica universale in cirugia, published in Venice between 1549 and 1560. These editions were learned; they claimed a classical heritage, an academic system of reference, and an elite audience. As the editors and translators of these editions struggled with variant Latin sources, classical conventions, and linguistic precision, they articulated a set of ideas about how a vernacular language could be cultivated: how it could transform the Latin tradition of surgery into a vernacular one without diluting its definitions and principles (at which point, it could more effectively counter the claims of empiricists); and how it was a more constitutive part of the language debates of the sixteenth century (the questione della lingua), which have heretofore been seen to turn on the literary expressions of Italian, found in Dante, Boccaccio and Petrarch.

2. WEST Brownbag

When: Friday February 19, 1-2 pm

Where: Redbud Room, IMU

Who: Martí Grau, Visiting Scholar and former member of the European Parliament

What: “US-EU relations: Are we ready for a new deal?” US-EU Relations, Mutual Perceptions, and the Role of Societies

Contact for more information.

3. George Stolnitz Memorial Lecture in Jewish Studies

Due to severe weather in NY, the George Stolnitz Memorial Lecture by Dr. Itzik Gottesman, scheduled for Thursday, February 11 has been postponed to the following week.  Dr. Gottesman’s lecture on “The Life of the Yiddish Folksinger,” will take place the following Thursday, February 18.  The location has been changed to State Room East in the Indian Memorial Union. 

“The Life of the Yiddish Folksinger”

Itzik Gottesman

Associate Editor, Yiddish Forverts

Thursday, February 18

7:30 p.m.

State Room East, IMU

Itzik Gottesman is Associate Editor of the Yiddish Forverts newspaper, now in its 112th year of publication. He has a Ph.D in folklore from the University of Pennsylvania, and has taught Yiddish language and Jewish Folklore at Penn and the University of Texas, Austin. He is the author of Defining the Yiddish Nation: The Jewish Folklorists of Poland (2003).

The George J. Stolnitz Memorial Program was established to honor the memory of Indiana University Economics Professor George J. Stolnitz (1920-2001).

George Stolnitz’s distinguished career at Indiana University began in 1956 when he joined the Department of Economics faculty.  Professor Stolnitz was internationally recognized for his research on demographic trends and was a frequent consultant to the United Nations and U.S. government agencies.  Throughout his career, George lectured around the globe, including in Moscow, Jerusalem, and Brazil.  At Indiana University, he served as director of the International Development Research Center before founding the Population Institute for Research and Training.

4. Political Theory Brown Bag Lunch

Friday, February 19, 2010

Woodburn Hall, 218


Professor Peter Niesen

Professor of Political Science                              

Darmstadt University, Germany

After Militant Democracy: The Public Justification of Bans on Parties

Professor Niesen’s area of academic specialization is modern political philosophy. He has written widely on Kant, debates about free speech, and has co-edited a number of volumes on critical political and legal theory. His most recent project deals with the normative and political problems posed by controversial attempts to limit basic political freedom for the sake of preserving democracy itself.

Niesen’s lecture deals with a longstanding controversy regarding the potential limits of political freedom in democracies. Basic political liberties like free speech and freedom of political association ought not in theory be limited. However, in the “militant democracy” school of thought ranging from Karl Loewenstein to the European Court of Human Rights, free association (and especially the founding of certain political parties) is subject to the restriction that organizations are not permitted to destroy the democratic process. Parties may be banned if they purportedly threaten democracy. This line of thought has been influential especially in the constitutional jurisprudence of the Federal Republic of Germany, but it has influenced political developments elsewhere as well.  However, in the last decade major problems have arisen for this approach: the “militant democracy” paradigm is undergoing severe strains.

5. Gertrude F. Weathers Lecture: Smallpox and the Novel

The Department of French & Italian presents a Gertrude F. Weathers lecture by Catriona Seth, Université de Nancy

Smallpox and the Novel: Considerations on Rousseau’s Nouvelle Héloïse

Friday, February 19, 2010

3:30 pm, Maple Room

Indiana Memorial Union

In one of the central scenes of Julie ou La Nouvelle Héloïse, the most important French novel of the 18th century, the hero, Saint-Preux, catches the smallpox from his lover, Julie. Rousseau ordered an engraving of the scene and insisted it be called L’Inoculation de l’amour or The Inoculation of Love. This talk will attempt to address some of the reasons Rousseau had for using smallpox in the episode, from medical considerations to aesthetic ones. This paper contends that immunity as acquired through inoculation serves as a model for the way in which the author wishes his novel to function.

A native of Great Britain, Catriona Seth has held the position of Professeur des Universités en littérature française at Nancy since September 2006. Her main fields of research are 18th-century poetry and other literature, as well as the history of ideas (in particular medicine and literature). Her publications include Les Rois aussi en mouraient. Les Lumières en lutte contre la petite vérole (Paris, Desjonqueres, 2008), Marie Antoinette. Anthologie et dictionnaire (Paris, Robert Laffont, 2006), and André Chénier. Le miracle du siècle (Paris, PU de Paris-Sorbonne, 2005). Most recently, she has co-edited, with Ritchie Robertson, an edition of Evariste-Désiré de Parny’s Le Paradis perdu (London, Modern Humanities Research Assn., 2009). Catriona Seth is Visiting Professor in the Department of French & Italian for Spring 2010.

This lecture will be presented in English, to be followed by discussion and refreshments.

6. Talk on Victim Discourse, Victim Studies, and the Biopolitics of Counter-Terrorism

“Victim Discourse, Victim Studies, and the Biopolitics of Counter-Terrorism: The Case of Iñaki de Juana Chaos”
Justin Crumbaugh, Associate Professor, Mount Holyoke College

February 26, 2010 4:00PM
Maple Room, IMU
The talk reflects on the formulations of political victimhood mobilized in conservative rhetoric about counter-terrorism and the rule of law, taking Spain as an example. The first section questions the tacit premises of existing approaches to the issue of political victims–in conservative politics and the media but also in academe–by rejecting the common assumption that victimhood is a self-evident and objective condition. Instead, I examine how representation–including defense, advocacy, and analysis of victims–produces victimhood as we know it. My main contention, however, is that, even as a symbolic construct, victimhood has very real effects. In Spain, the idea and image of ETA victims have increasingly shaped not only the tone and strategies of politicians and pundits, but also the larger understanding of “Spanish democracy” itself, driving legal reform and justifying exceptions to constitutional legality. In an attempt to reflect on these more tangible consequences, my talk proceeds to rethink, from the perspective of victim discourse, some recent theorizations of the biopolitical dimensions of the so-called war on terror. Here I look specifically at the media frenzy surrounding the hunger strike and subsequent release from prison of former ETA member Iñaki de Juana Chaos.


7. Videoconference Series on Barcelona and Catalan Architecture

A series of conversations with Catalan architects and geographers, organized by Ajuntament de Palafolls, Catalunya, and the Catalan Program, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, at Indiana University.

Time: 2PM – 3:30PM
Place: Radio TV 175

Thursday, February 25, 2010
Oriol Bohigas. “El model Barcelona contra la incontinència urbana.”

Thursday, March 11, 2010
Benedetta Tagliabue. “L’arquitectura de Miralles/Tagliabue: estètica i societat.”

Thursday, March 25, 2010
Joan Roca i Albert. “Urbanització, Catalunya i capitalisme global.”

Thursday, April 8, 2010
Francesc Muñoz. “El model Barcelona versus la ciutat difusa.”

For more information, please contact

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