Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Beyond Grief: Mourning the Humanities in Curricula, Research and Pedagogy

Robert Gross, Stephanie Hammer, Gail Hart, Theda Shapiro, Erika Suderberg.

The humanities have traditionally been constituted through acts of mourning and monument-building. The building of monuments is both a result of mourning and a resistance to it, an attempt to create something fixed and solid that will resist transience. The monuments in turn become objects of study and veneration. The humanities are threatened with the possibility of being locked in grief, a victim of melancholia or of a petrified refusal to mourn. This panel--which features academic presenters from diverse backgrounds, including Performing Arts, European Literature and Languages, Cinema and Visual Arts, Creative Writing and History--will examine the dynamics of grief in the humanities, and ask if there are ways to move 'beyond grief' through practices in research and pedagogy that are not defined by loss. What might happen if the model of the humanities shifted from the fixity and resistance of the monument to the ephemerality of live performance? Would this move the focus from the pursuit of stasis to an acceptance of transience? Does performance contain a resistance to reification, and an invitation to creative redeployment and reincorporation? Or does it contain its own perils? This panel will examine ways in which Humanities curriculum, research and pedagogy can move beyond its own self-imposed boundaries toward a more vibrant and living vision/practice.


Robert Gross  (United States)
Director of Theatre
Theatre Program
Hobart and William Smith Colleges

Has directed over fifty theatrical productions, ranging from Sophocles's 'Women of Trachis' to Richard Foreman's 'SYMPHONY OF RATS'. He is the author of 'Words Heard and Overheard' and 'S. N. Behrman: A Research and Production Sourcebook', and the editor of Casebooks on playwrights Christopher Hampton and Tennessee Williams. He has published essays on a variety of modern dramatists, including Henrik Ibsen, Gerhart Hauptmann, Terence Rattigan, and John Guare.

Stephanie Hammer  (United States)

Gail Hart  (United States)

Theda Shapiro  (United States)

Erika Suderberg  (United States)

  • Mourning
  • Grief
  • Monuments
  • Performance
  • Pedagogy

(90 min. Colloquium, English)