Infusing Sustainability: Tales from the Humanities and Social Sciences
What happens when sustainability issues are cross-pollinated with classes and research in the humanities and social sciences? How has the current sustainability movement changed education on college campuses? What do the humanities and social sciences have to offer sustainability? This summer I am engaging in research for a book, Teaching Sustainability: Perspectives from the Humanities and Social Sciences which will: 1) document innovative pedagogy in sustainability and the humanities and social sciences, 2) provide resources for infusing sustainability into humanities and social science curricula, and 3) create a space for theoretical reflection on how integrating sustainability reconfigures and energizes traditional approaches. My own research will explore the challenge posed by climate change and the host of current environmental problems we face to historical understanding; eco-narratives of deep history and differing view of the transition to agriculture; and sustainability as a challenge to traditional paradigms of knowledge. I am seeking student collaborators who want to work creatively and critically on the intersections between sustainability issues and teaching and research in the humanities and social sciences.
Journeys of the Soul: Gender, Mysticism, and Medieval Critiques of Reason
Late Medieval women mystics wrote treatises of astonishing complexity that not only traced journeys of the soul to spiritual ecstasy, but also openly critiqued male-dominated institutions and paradigms of knowledge. How did gender shape these journeys of the soul? What themes are shared with male-authored mystical treatises? How did late medieval mystics experience the limits of human reason? My research this summer is part of a book project, Wonder, Ecstasy, and Annihilation: Cognitive Stances in the Late Middle Ages which uses late medieval figures (such as the Franciscans, Bonaventure, Aquinas, Mechtild of Magdeburg, Marguerite Porete, and Dante) to explore three interrelated questions: how the mystical stances of wonder, ecstasy, and annihilation in these texts arise from and speak back to real communities; how the language of these texts bridges the textual and extra-textual worlds; and how the authors show others a path to knowing that itself disrupts knowledge. I am seeking student collaborators who want to work creatively and critically on issues of gender, power, and religion in the late Medieval or Early Modern periods.