Call for Proposals: PAL/FHI Seminars in Concepts, Figures, Art Forms | New Deadline 6/1/2016

Posted on March 30, 2016 by

The Center for Philosophy, Art, and Literature (PAL) and the Franklin Humanities Institute (FHI) are delighted to invite proposals for two interdisciplinary seminars under the rubric CONCEPTS, FIGURES, ART FORMS. These seminars have been developed to honor the commitment to historically based knowledge in the humanities. Thus, all proposals should have a historical dimension. The seminars should convene in the academic year 2016-17, beginning in the fall semester. This will be the last opportunity to organize a "Concepts, Figures, Art Forms" seminar. Previous seminars have included: Contemporary Novel (2014-15), Whose Kafka? (2014-15), Melodrama (2015-16), and Cooperation (2015-16).

The "Concepts, Figures, Art Forms" collaboration between PAL and FHI is a central element of Humanities Futures, a 3-year Mellon grant initiative concerned with the state and direction of the humanities in the light of the interdisciplinary developments of recent decades. For more information, please visit

Please send applications to Make sure to put "Concepts, Figures, Art Forms" in the subject line. Each proposal should be 1-2 pages long. The two co-conveners should also supply a brief (max 3 pages) CV. NEW DEADLINE: JUNE 1, 2016.

Proposals should focus on ONE of the following categories:

Concepts: An investigation of a key concept in the humanities, as they appear to us now and/or as they have been seen in history. Examples might be: judgment, knowledge, imagination, responsibility, the humanities, others, death, love, realism, modernism, freedom, the body, sexuality, oppression, subjection.

Figures: Proposals should focus on a figure with significant interdisciplinary reach. Again, the seminar should have a historical and/or historicizing dimension. One could imagine seminars on intellectual figures (Virgil, Aquinas, Diderot, Rousseau, Goethe, Marx, Darwin, Nietzsche, Freud, Wittgenstein, Saussure, Du Bois, Arendt, Beauvoir), political figures (Julius Caesar, Louis XIV, Catherine the Great, Hitler), writers and artists (Sappho, Michelangelo, Shakespeare, Manet, Proust, Woolf, Hitchcock, Welles), or scientists (Newton, Einstein, Oppenheimer).

Art forms: An art form, ranging from the largest to the smallest. Examples might be: music, painting, photography, opera, film, the novel, the lyric, melodrama, portraiture, ekphrasis, the sonnet. The seminar should include a historical dimension.

Format: Each seminar should have two co-directors, usually from different departments. The directors should aim to include a total of 5-8 faculty members and 2 graduate students. Undergraduates may of course be included when relevant (an example would be an undergraduate working on a senior thesis in the field of the seminar). The seminar should meet bi-weekly or monthly for an academic year, to discuss reading, share work, watch and discuss films or other art works. The co-conveners should include in their proposal a list of faculty members committed to the project. All proposals should explain how graduate students and/or undergraduates will be recruited.

Each "Concepts, Figures, Art Forms" Seminar will have an annual budget of $25,000. The co-directors will receive a research supplement, but no teaching release. Graduate students will also receive a modest research fund. Seminar funds can be used for speakers, catering, and other events.