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Non/Human Materials Before Modernity

Eisenberg Forum / Frankel Institute Symposium
Monday, October 2, 2017
9:00 AM-5:00 PM
1014 Tisch Hall Map
Non/Human Materials Before Modernity considers the materiality and makings of the non/human body. Through a series of short papers, responses from colleagues, and larger discussion, the symposium will provide a forum for thinking cross-disciplinarily and across traditional lines of periodization. The symposium will address how different premodern cultures sought to understand the makings of species, kinds, and other divisions between beings and/or things. By historicizing the materialization of non/human bodies, documenting the many and various strategies by which they have emerged and been constituted, and tracing the broader cultural impacts of their emergence and constitution, these panels will challenge the U-M community to re-imagine the materials and effects of non/humanity.

Monday, October 2, 2017

9-9:30 am: Welcome and Introductions

9:30-10:50 am: Flesh & Stone
Miranda Brown (University of Michigan): The Jade Body
Rick Bonnie (Frankel Center, University of Helsinki): Pure Stale Water: Experiencing Ancient Jewish Ritual Bathing
Erin Brightwell (University of Michigan): response

11:10 am-12:30 pm: Messmates
Mira Balberg (Northwestern University): The Human and Its Double: Snakes, Humans, and Dogs in the Palestinian Talmud
James McHugh (University of Southern California): Spirits of Liquor and Consciousness as Alcohol in Early Indian Thought
Ian Moyer (University of Michigan): response

2-3:20 pm: Humanimal
Peggy McCracken (University of Michigan): The Material of Metamorphosis,
Sonya Özbey (University of Michigan): “Those that Have Blood and Qi”: The Psychophysical Continuum of Humanity and Animality in the Xunzi
Melanie Yergeau (University of Michigan): response

3:40-5 pm: Malleable Matter
Aileen Das (University of Michigan): An Alchemical Cosmos: Material Fluidity and Transmutation in the Iḫwān al-Ṣafāʾ
Rachel Neis (University of Michigan): Flesh, Food, or Family? Rabbinic Uterine Materials
Elizabeth Roberts (University of Michigan): response

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

9-10:20 am: Cutting & Assembling
Sarah Linwick (University of Michigan): Between Kinds: Knowing Non/Human Bodies in Early Modern England
Paolo Squatriti (University of Michigan): response
Clara Bosak-Schroeder (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign): Women’s Bodies Remaking Boundaries
Todd Berzon (Frankel Center / Bowdoin College): response
(workshop format; link to Sarah Linwick and Clara Bosak-Schroeder's precirculated papers at

10:40 am-12 pm: Gods & Humans
Paroma Chatterjee (University of Michigan): The Emperor’s “New” Images
Youn-mi Kim (Ewha Womans University): Beyond Anthropocentric Approaches: The Agency of the Nonhuman in Enacting Buddhist Ritual
Michael Swartz (Frankel Center / Ohio State University): response

12:30-1:50 pm: Weaving
Francesca Rochberg (University of California, Berkeley): Ways that Matter Can Matter: Reflections on the Concept of Kinds and Categories before Modernity
Catherine Chin (Frankel Institute, University of California, Davis): Brick Says: I Like an Arch

This Eisenberg Forum / Frankel Institute Symposium is presented by the Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies and the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies, with additional support from Asian Languages and Cultures, Classical Studies, Comparative Literature, Institute for Research on Women and Gender, International Institute, Medieval and Early Modern Studies, and Romance Languages and Literatures.

Image: "Rapture," Kiki Smith, bronze, 2001 (Pace Gallery).
Building: Tisch Hall
Event Type: Conference / Symposium
Tags: Asia, Classical Studies, European, History, Jewish Studies, Middle East Studies, Women's Studies
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies, Institute for Research on Women and Gender, Judaic Studies, Comparative Literature, Classical Studies, International Institute, Medieval and Early Modern Studies (MEMS), Asian Languages and Cultures, Department of History
Upcoming Dates:
Monday, October 2, 2017 9:00 AM-5:00 PM