The International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities. will feature plenary session addresses by some of the world's leading thinkers and innovators in the field, as well as numerous parallel presentations by researchers and practitioners.

Garden Conversation Sessions

Main speakers will make formal 30 minute presentations in the plenary sessions. They will also participate in 60 minute Garden Conversation sessions at the same time as the parallel sessions. The setting is a circle of chairs outdoors. These sessions are entirely unstructured-a chance to meet the plenary speaker and talk with them informally about the issues arising from their presentation.

Panel Discussion on the current state of the humanities - members of the Center for Comparative Literature and Society at Columbia University

The Center for Comparative Literature and Society (CCLS) was founded at Columbia in 1998 to promote a global perspective in the study of literature, culture, and its social context. It houses the interdepartmental undergraduate and graduate programs in comparative literature and society. It draws its faculty from the humanities, the social sciences, and the Schools of Architecture and Law.

Please return to this page for regular updates.

  • Ted Honderich

  • Ted Honderich, called Britain's foremost radical philosopher, is internationally distinguished for more than his political philosophy. He has been Grote Professor of the Philosophy of Mind and Logic at University College London, and a visiting professor at Yale and the City University of New York. His theory of the nature of perceptual consciousness — Consciousness as Existence — is a nearly-physicalist alternative to recent orthodoxy in the philosophy of mind.

    His publications include:
    A short book on determinism, How Free Are You?, a summary of A Theory of Determinism: The Mind, Neuroscience and Life-Hopes, is the most translated book on the subject.
    The Oxford Companion to Philosophy, a very widely used single-volume reference work on the subject, has lately come out in a new edition.
    Three volumes of his papers have also appeared.

    His most recent book After the Terror caused controversy in Germany and elsewhere for its moral defence of Palestinian terrorism against ethnic cleansing. It was banned by one German publisher and then brought out again by another.

    Ted Honderich is also the author of a philosophical autobiography, Philosopher: A Kind of Life.

  • Souad Halila

  • Souad Halila has a PhD in History from the University of Southern California. She majored in American history & international relations, and minored in US literature. Her PhD thesis focused on the intellectual development and diplomatic career of African American Ralph J. Bunche. She taught English and Literature for eleven years at King Saud University in Saudi Arabia. From 1999 to the present, she has been teaching US and GB history and culture at the University of Tunis and Sousse, Tunisia. She lectured extensively in the USA, Saudi Arabia, Spain, France, and Tunisia on contemporary issues related to the US, France, the Middle East, and North Africa. In September 2006, she spent 4 weeks at Wilson College, Pennsylvania as a senior Fulbright Visiting Specialist.

    She has a broad interest in environmental issues and green philosophy but her research focuses primarily on US intellectual, political, social, cultural, and religious history, particularly social and political movements, race relations, African American history, Arab American history, and multiculturalism. She initiated several courses related to these topics at her university. Recently and since 9/11, she has focused her research on Islamic issues and the Occident.

  • Krishan Kumar

  • Krishan Kumar is William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Sociology at the University of Virginia. He was previously Professor of Social and Political Thought at the University of Kent at Canterbury, England. He received his undergraduate education at the University of Cambridge and his postgraduate education at the London School of Economics.

    Mr. Kumar has at various times been a Talks Producer at the BBC, a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University, and has held Visiting Professorships at Bristol University, the University of Colorado at Boulder, the Central European University, Prague, the University of Bergen, Norway, and the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris. He has alos been a member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton.

    Among his publications are Prophecy and Progress: The Sociology of Industrial and Post-Industrial Society; Utopia and Anti-Utopia in Modern Times; The Rise of Modern Society; From Post-Industrial to Post-Modern Society; 1989: Revolutionary Ideas and Ideals; The Making of English National Identity.

    Mr. Kumar's current interests focus on empires and imperial peoples. Related interest include nationalism and nation identity, Europe, global history, and problems of historical sociology.

  • Nahid Mozaffari

  • Nahid Mozaffari received her PhD in History and Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University. She concentrated on the modern history of the Middle East with special attention to social and political movements and intellectuals. Her dissertation is a study of the struggle for cultural and political modernism in the context of the Iranian Constitutional Revolution (1906-1911).

    Nahid has taught a variety of courses on the history, culture, politics and literature of the Middle East and North Africa at various universities in the United States and Europe. Her teaching experience includes seminars on women and gender issues in the region, and histories of Muslim immigration in Europe. Her publications in progress include a biography of Dehkhoda, a prominent 20th century public intellectual in Iran, and the second volume of the PEN (the international writers’ association) anthology of contemporary Iranian literature.

    Nahid is a consultant at PEN and other non-governmental organizations, focusing on the defense of writers’ and publishers’ rights and on making Middle Eastern literature more accessible to the general reading public in the United States and Europe.

    For the last 15 years, Nahid has directed a large project for PEN - to study the current state of writers and literature in Iran and to select, translate and edit anthologies, novels, collections of short stories and poetry for publication in English. An anthology Strange Times, My Dear: The PEN Anthology of Contemporary Iranian Literature was published by Arcade Publishing in early 2005, and several novels and short story collections are being published in 2007 and 2008.

  • Nancy Kricorian

  • Nancy Kricorian grew up in Watertown, Massachusetts where she attended the Armenian Evangelical Church and Watertown public schools. She graduated from Dartmouth College (BA) and Columbia University (MFA). She has taught at Yale and Barnard Colleges, amongst others. Her poetry has been published in Parnassus, Mississippi Review, Graham House Review, Ararat, and other journals. She is the author of the novels Zabelle and Dreams of Bread and Fire. She has worked for ten years as a Literary Scout for foreign publishers, including Bloomsbury (UK), Piper and Berlin (Germany), Gyldendal (Denmark) and Arena (the Netherlands). She lives in New York City with her husband James Schamus and their two daughters. She is currently dividing her time between writing her third novel and working as the New York City coordinator for CodePink Women for Peace.

  • Cameron McCarthy

  • Professor Cameron McCarthy teaches courses in Globalization, Communications and Culture, Mass Communications Theory and Cultural Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is Research Professor, Communications Scholar and University Scholar in the Institute of Communication Research. Professor McCarthy also holds joint appointments in the departments of Curriculum and Instruction and Educational Policy Studies. He has been a visiting scholar and lecturer at Jesus College, the University of Cambridge, York University, the University of Newcastle, Monash University and the University of Queensland. Professor McCarthy has published widely on topics related to postcolonialism, problems with neoMarxist writings on race and education, institutional support for teaching, and school ritual and adolescent identities in journals such as Harvard Educational Review, Oxford Review of Education, and The British Journal of the Sociology of Education. Professor McCarthy has authored or co-authored the following books: Race and Curriculum (Falmer Press, 1990), Race Identity and Representation in Education (Routledge, 1993), Racismo y Curriculum (Morata, Madrid, 1994), The Uses of Culture: Education and the Limits of Ethnic Affiliation (Routledge, 1998), Sound Identities: Youth Music and the Cultural Politics of Education (Peter Lang, 1999) and Multicultural Curriculum: New Directions for Social Theory, Practice and Policy (Routledge, 2000). Reading and Teaching the Postcolonial: From Baldwin to Basquiat and Beyond (Teachers College Press, Columbia University, 2001). With Professor Angharad Valdivia, Professor McCarthy is co-editor of the "Intersections in Communication and Culture" book series for Peter Lang/Institute of Communications Research.

  • Chris Groves

  • Chris Groves holds a PhD in Philosophy from Warwick University in the UK, and is currently a Research Associate on the ESRC Professorial Fellowship ‘In Pursuit of the Future’ at Cardiff University, working with the prominent social theorist of time, Professor Barbara Adam. A monograph co-authored with Adam ('Future Matters: Action, Knowledge, Ethics') will be published by Brill in September 2007. He has published articles on ethics and technological risk, foundationalism in epistemology, and Deleuze's theories of the subject.

    His doctoral thesis dealt with the relationship between the problem of finding foundation for knowledge and the temporal dimension of human experience, with special reference to Hegel, Schelling and Deleuze. His research interests focus on social futures, and the ethical and political problems associated with managing the uncertainty surrounding them. Key foci are the consequences of the spread of policy discourses like risk management for non-human nature, future generations, and the globally marginalised, and how such social assumptions about how we should relate to the future produce conflict in the present by foreclosing ethical and political possibilities.

  • Waddick Doyle

  • Waddick Doyle is the founder and chair of the Department of Global Communications at The American University of Paris , and founder and director of the graduate program in Global Communications at AUP. Doyle He teaches courses in Media Globalization, Contemporary World Television, Media Law, Policy and Ethics. He has held positions at universities in Italy, France and Australia.

    Doyle’s background is in both the comparative philosophy of meaning (socio-semiotics) and the political economy of mass communications. His work covers the deeper cultural effects linked to transformations of media systems, and the development of a globalised brand media culture. He has published on what he calls the sacralisation of brands and reality television, and on media and belief. Doyle is presently contributing to a volume on the French riots on the image of Islam and Muslims in the French media and the representations of the French riots of the intersection between Islamic and secular belief systems in the French public sphere.

    His earlier work concerned the rise to power of the Italian media and advertising tycoon, Silvio Berlusconi, former Prime Minister of Italy and the changing contours between belief citizenship and consumption. He holds doctoral degrees from Griffth University, Brisbane , and The University of Bologna. He also did post-doctoral work at Ecole des hautes etudes en sciences sociales in Paris and at Université de Paris 3.

    Doyle is a member of the board of the Centre pour les études des communications internationales (CECI) in Paris and the Global Media Research Center at the University of Southern Illinois.