The University Record, September 7 , 1999

Four join Humanities Institute as visiting fellows

From the Institute for the Humanities

The Institute for the Humanities will host a varied group of visiting fellows in the coming academic year. During their residencies, these visitors will join the 13 U-M faculty and graduate student fellows announced last April in their weekly seminar, and will either give a public lecture or present their work at forums with Institute Associates.

“It is a pleasure to bring such distinguished visitors to our campus,” Director Tom Trautmann says. “They enliven our discussions within the Institute, and we hope that many on campus will take advantage of their presence, visit them here and attend their public programs.”

The visiting fellows are:

Anne Carson,faculty of McGill University, where she has served since 1994 as Director of Graduate Studies in Classics. She also is a poet. Winner of the 1997 Pushcart Prize for Poetry, she is, according to author Michael Ondaatje, “the most exciting poet writing in English today.” Her recent verse novel, Autobiography of Red—published to widespread critical acclaim—bridges the gap between modernity and classicism, poetry and prose. During her fall term residency as the Norman Freehling Visiting Professor, Carson will offer a course called “Decreation: How Women like Saphho, Perpetua, Hrosvita, Heloise, Marguerite Porete, Emily Dickinson, and Simone Weil Tell God.” The public is welcome to attend her reading, cosponsored by the Visiting Writers’ Program, at 5 p.m. Sept. 30, in the Rackham Amphitheater. In residence fall term 1999.

Sidney Chalhoub is on the history faculty of the Universidade Estadual de Campinas in Brazil. He is author of Feverish City: Tenements and Epidemics in Nineteenth-Century Rio de Janeiro (1996), Visions of Freedom: A History of the Last Decades of Slavery in the City of Rio de Janeiro (1990), and Work, Home, and Alehouse: The Daily Lives of Workers in Belle Epoque Rio de Janeiro (1986). Chalhoub is recipient of Brazil’s most prestigious literary award, the Jabuti Prize, an honor rarely accorded an historian. He now is directing his attention to the study of the 19th-century novelist Machado de Assis. While most critics have read Machada as a “universalist” who ignored Brazil’s social reality and was ashamed of his own African descent, Chalhoub argues that these critics have missed the ironic social critique in his work. In residence Jan. 10–Feb. 5, 2000.

Jerome B. Schneewind, professor of philosophy at Johns Hopkins, writes about the history of moral philosophy. One of his books is about Henry Sidgwick and the Victorian context of his Methods of Ethics. More recently he published The Invention of Autonomy, an attempt to determine the particular issues and questions that Kant thought he had to consider in working out his system of ethics. At present, Schneewind is working on some aspects of Utopian thought and on the moral philosophy of John Dewey. In residence Feb. 6–19, 2000.

John R. Elsner, Reader in the History of Art in the University of London’s Courtauld Institute, will move in October 1999 to Corpus Christi College, Oxford, as Humfry Payne Senior Research Fellow. Trained in classics and art history at Cambridge and Harvard Universities and at the Courtauld Institute, Elsner works on issues of reception in Classical art, especially on how it was viewed during antiquity and in later periods. He also explores the themes of pilgrimage, travel, and ethnography in antiquity and more broadly. He is author and editor of several books including Art and the Roman Viewer (1995) and Imperial Rome and Christian Triumph (1998). In residence March 12–April 8, 2000.