Wayne State University

Aim Higher

Faculty Fellows Conference

Each year the Humanities Center sponsors a Faculty Fellowship Competition on a specific theme. This year's theme was "Exploring the Everyday". Fellowships provide Wayne State University faculty with funding to help pay for expenses related to their research projects, including travel, research assistance, summer salary and fringe benefits. Fellowships average $6,000 and recipients are expected to participate in the annual Faculty Fellows' Conference held the following spring. Below is the explication of the theme, followed by brief descriptions of the projects that were selected for funding for the 2015-2016 academic year.

Explication of the 2017 conference: "Mobilities: Velocity, Rhythms and Flows"

From the lure of adventure to the tedium of a daily commute, and from the call of the unknown to the familiarity of home, various forms and aspects of mobility have always been at the core of human existence and preoccupations.Newly emerging technolo- gies are constantly changing our view of time and space, and impacting our relationship to the surrounding environment. The advent of the railroad, the automobile, and the airplane provides a perfect example of how the perception of distance, and consequently of time, is influenced by increased velocity. The incremental development of telecommunication devices has rendered distances and physical barriers superfluous, thus contributing to trends of globalization, cosmopolitanism, and global governance on the one hand, and escalated scrutiny and surveillance on the other hand.Living implies movement; this vital association encompasses heterogeneous flows of people, things, and ideas. The corporeal travel of people relates not only to everyday practices or to touristic, leisurely pursuits, but also to historical phenomena such as politi- cal upheaval and regime change. From biblical accounts of the Israelites' wanderings to the Great Migration of African Americans during the 20th century, shifts in population have redefined political, cultural, and religious landscapes. Embodied practices such as walking, driving, and flying help us create new spaces (roads, airports, public transportation, etc.) that modify existing infrastructures, geographies, and topologies. Meanwhile, disability studies has shed new light on the social and medical nature of different kinds of mobilities, from the wheelchair to the crutch. Travel also occurs in more than one dimension. While the concept of social mobility is central to disciplines such as anthropology, economics, and sociology, Jules Verne's fertile imagination took 19th-century readers on a trip to the moon almost a century before technological advances made it possible. Today's imagination contributes various accounts of imaginative travel and virtual travel to mobility studies, from the space journeys depicted in movies like Interstellar to the time-traveling exploits of Doctor who we invite submissions of scholarly and/or artistic works which explore past and present conceptions of mobility, broadly defined. How are the different facets of mobility – artistic, literary, geographical, political, sociological, anthropological, historical, linguistic, philosophical – represented? How do these representations consider the entanglement of ethnicity, gender, and class that is common to the flows of subjects, objects, and concepts? How do the velocity, rhythm, and flow of mobility emerge from the practices of specific cultures or agents?

Keynoters/Abstracts of the conference

Title: "Migrant Movement and Contemporary Global Cultures of Mobility"
Marian Aguiar, Professor, English, Carnegie Mellon University

In the image, a crowded dinghy founders, packed with refugees at the mercy of the sea. These images of drifting represent today's large-scale global migrant movement, but they harken back to earlier narratives of "boat people," and may be located in the much longer history of sea narratives. This talk ...