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Humanities Lab | Investigations 2015-16: Crisis Narratives



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2015-16 Investigations: Crisis Narratives

Each year the Humanities Lab undertakes an investigation of a specific question or topic. For the 2015-2016 academic year we are investigating narratives of crisis.

In this series of linked lectures, readings, workshops, and discussions we will focus on the concept of crisis. We will explore major contemporary events that we might describe by using this term, and interrogate the narratives that emerge from such critical moments.

Part of our task will be to redirect our understanding of the concept itself. In contemporary use “crisis” seems to refer most directly to disaster or catastrophe, to extreme situations or events whose impact is immeasurable. Alternatively, “crisis” is often presented as an opportunity, an opening of spaces that can be filled with our preexisting agendas and priorities. People tend to think of a crisis as a situation that is fast-paced or uncontrollable, and that requires expedient or categorical solutions. Characterized by a news cycle that seems to be addicted to crisis, our media and cultural landscapes create a public sphere that is often reeling from one grand apocalypse to another.

In ancient Greek the word “crisis” (κρίσις) refers to judgement, to turning points and decisions. Thinking about crisis as a moment of reflection or decision, a moment of judgement and evaluation, might allow us to reconsider our approach. Our events this semester offer diverse perspectives and thoughtful responses to contemporary crises. Join us for one event or the whole series.

Fall 2016 Events

Follow the links below for more about our events and projects at our blog: