Faculty

Acclaimed Art Historian Serves as the Exhibition Scholar for the US Pavilion at the 2019 Venice Art Biennale

Darby English

Darby English’s scholarship defies easy categorization, combining teaching, researching, and writing about art, artists, culture, and history, as well as curating. He studies artists and their media without assigning them the tidy labels that would unjustifiably pigeonhole them.

Humanities Scholar Wins the Sonya Rudikoff Prize

Benjamin Morgan

Benjamin Morgan’s distinctive examination of the historical relationship between science and the humanities from Victorian times to the present in his first book, The Outward Mind: Materialist Aesthetics in Victorian Science and Literature (2017), recently received the 2017 Sonya Rudikoff Prize from the Northeast Victorian Studies Association. The Rudikoff Prize honors the best first book published annually about Victorian studies.

Acclaimed South Asian Visiting Scholar to Deliver Annual Vivekananda Lecture

Peter van der Veer

South Asian scholar Peter van der Veer uses his interdisciplinary knowledge to draw unusual comparisons and connections between the nationalism, spiritualism, and religions of India and China. He finds the comparisons of India and China to provide greater insight into the transition from the dominance of Western civilizations to Asian civilizations after World War I.

Applying his expertise on South Asian cultures, anthropology, religion, and ethnicity, Van der Veer will present the Annual Vivekananda Visiting Professor Lecture “The Modern Spirit of Asia: Comparing Indian and Chinese Spiritual Nationalism” on May 7 in Social Science Research Room 122, with a reception at 6 p.m. and the presentation at 6:30 p.m.

UChicago Press Awards Top Honor to Deborah Nelson for 'Tough Enough'

Deborah Nelson

The following was published by UChicago News on April 29, 2019.

By Jack Wang

The University of Chicago Press has awarded the Gordon J. Laing Prize to Prof. Deborah Nelson for Tough Enough, her exploration of how six women faced pain with unsentimentality—and her argument for it as an alternative response to empathy or irony.

The Laing Prize is the Press’ top honor, presented to the UChicago faculty author, editor or translator of a book published in the previous three years that brings the Press the greatest distinction. The Helen B. and Frank L. Sulzberger Professor of English and the College, Nelson received the prestigious award, given since 1963, at an April 25 campus ceremony.

In Tough Enough, she traces the work of Diane Arbus, Hannah Arendt, Joan Didion, Mary McCarthy, Susan Sontag and Simone Weil—writers, critics and artists whose paths didn’t always intersect, but who all looked at “painful reality with directness and clarity and without consolation or compensation.”

For Nelson, that unsentimental approach not only shaped 20th-century culture, but remains relevant today in the face of specters like climate change, gun violence and racial prejudice.

“The problem is not that we do not know what is happening, but that we cannot bear to be changed by knowledge,” she writes in her introduction to Tough Enough. “The women I discuss in the following pages all insist that we should be changed, however much we give up in the process.”

Nelson—who chairs the Department of English and specializes in the study of late 20th-century U.S. culture and politics—spoke recently about her book and the audience she hopes to reach.

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