PITH (Politics in the Humanities)

PITH is a pilot lecture series, inaugurated in 2015, that hosts speakers studying politics at the humanistic ends of various social sciences and at the more social science ends of the humanities.  PITH complements the work of the Political Concepts Project but aims specifically to open up dialogue on political questions across the humanities and the social sciences.  The series is supported by funds from the Cogut Institute and the Political Science Department, and is convened by Bonnie Honig, Nancy Duke Lewis Professor of MCM and Political Science.

In botanical terminology, pith refers to a spongy, central cylinder of tissue found inside the stems of most flowering plants. The pith of an argument is like the pith of a plant: pith is the central idea or essence of something.

Fall 2017

December 7, 2017, 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm, Pembroke Hall 305
Lida Maxwell, Trinity College
Queer/Love/Bird Extinction: Rachel Carson and the Politics of Environmental Desire
From 1954 until her death, Rachel Carson exchanged letters with her friend, Dorothy Freeman, that depict their love for each other as a wondrous multispecies achievement constituted through encounters with birds. Reading Silent Spring through the lens of these letters, Maxwell asks how our conceptions of love and environmentalism might be productively transformed by foregrounding the connections between inter-human affects and a vibrant multispecies world. 

Lida Maxwell is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Trinity College.  She teaches and writes about political theory, with particular interests in contemporary democratic theory, feminist theory, the history of political thought, and law and politics.  She is the author of Public Trials: Burke, Zola, Arendt and the Politics of Lost Causes (Oxford University Press, 2014) and the co-editor of Second Nature: Rethinking the Natural through Politics (Fordham University Press, 2013). 

Spring 2018

March 6, 2018, 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm • De Ciccio Family Auditorium, Salomon Center for Teaching 
Cornel West, Harvard Divinity School and Harvard University Department of African and African-American Studies | Politics in the Humanities (PITH) Lecture

Cornel West is the author of numerous critically acclaimed scholarly books on the role of religion, philosophy, race, class, and gender in American society including Prophecy Deliverance!: An Afro-American Revolutionary Christianity (1982), The Ethical Dimensions of Marxist Thought (1991), Race Matters (1994), Democracy Matters: Winning the Fight Against Imperialism (2005), and Black Prophetic Fire (2014). He is the recipient of the American Book Award and has been awarded more than 20 honorary degrees. Dr. West is Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy at Harvard University. He has also taught at Union Theological Seminary, Yale, Harvard, and the University of Paris. After graduating magna cum laude from Harvard in three years, he obtained his MA and PhD in Philosophy at Princeton. Read more >

Co-sponsored by the Office of the President, the Office of the Provost, and the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America (CSREA).

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