Reading Groups

Current  |  Past

IHUM sponsors a small number of reading groups for graduate students and faculty.

Groups convene around an interdisciplinary interest and are open to all. Details about meetings and membership are available on each group's page, linked below. Click here for guidelines for running a group. If you are interested in starting a new reading group, please contact the director.


Arts and (re)Creation from Africas to the World

This reading group seeks to answer the question “what are African arts” beyond the geographic boundaries imposed on them. Contact: Murielle Sandra Tiako Djomatchoua ([email protected])

Asian American Studies

The reading group aims to bring together an interdisciplinary group of scholars to read and discuss both canonical and recently published work in Asian American Studies. Given the growing interest in American Studies, the increasing number of Asian American Studies graduate affiliates, and the lack of graduate level seminars in Asian American Studies, the reading group provides a structured space for reading and discussing topics in Asian American Studies, designed by and for graduate students and faculty.
Contact: Jeremy L. Wolin ([email protected])

Classical Chinese

This is a group for the practice and discussion of close reading early Chinese texts, supplemented by their ancient commentaries. All are welcome, regardless of experience. Readings will be provided in Chinese and English. Contact: Max Maller ([email protected])


Dead Disciplines

The disciplinary landscape of the university is a churn of rebranding, branching and planned obsolescence, as capital's fickle attention flits between various new theoretical waves competing for limited resources. Yet the effacement of old and superseded theories need not imply their absolute disappearance. The humanities provide an especially abundant archive for the examination of these disciplinary pasts in relation to our scholarly moment. From philology to race science, this reading group will take under consideration several instances of disciplinary death and posit their potential afterlives. Contact: Jacob Neis ([email protected])

Decolonizing Nature: Race, Indigeneity, and Poetics

Decolonizing Nature endeavors to weave threads between three fields that have too often been studied in isolation from each other: Black studies, Indigenous studies, and environmental studies. We do this through rooting ourselves in 1) poetics and 2) the ongoing histories of slavery, colonialism, and imperialism. Contact: Rachael Uwada Clifford, [email protected]

Law and Political Economy

The LPE academic movement explores the intimate and dynamic relation between legal, economic, and political institutions, and its impact on the unequal distribution of wealth, power, and information in society. Contact: Marie-Lou Laprise ([email protected])


Attending to his record(s) of failure, his fugitive practice of predicating blackness, we will read Fred Moten’s trilogy, consent not to be a single being, together with a selection of his poetry. Contact: Jessica Brofsky ([email protected])

Race and the Musical Academy

With the academic study of music rapidly changing, this reading group will examine recent scholarship that aims to challenge the discipline’s long and disproportionate focus on a largely 18th- and 19th-century Austro-German repertoire. Contact: Céleste Pagniello ([email protected])


Reading Critical Black Studies

This reading group seeks to study the burgeoning field of critical black studies. We will engage with the primary proponents of Afropessimism, black nihilism, black feminist theory, queer theory, theology, and public humanities in order to lay the groundwork and test the implications for the field. The uprise of critical black studies signals a shift in black studies at large, and as such, we will interpret and critique foundational texts from scholars such as Hortense Spillers, Fred Moten, and David Marriott. Contact: Amon Pierson ([email protected])

Reception of Virgil's Aeneid

Since its completion in 19 BC, Virgil’s Aeneid has undergone countless translations and transformations. Our reading group will study the reception of the Aeneid to reflect upon its changing resonance across time and space. Contact: Olivia May ([email protected])

Relationality, Animals, and the Environment

This reading group contests the definition of a colonial, capitalist, and hypermasculine ‘anthropos’ in the Anthropocene. We will critically examine how human societies create socially constructed perceptions of the environment. Contact: Kymberley Chu ([email protected])


Despite covering some 71% of the Earth's surface, oceanic spaces have received sparse attention in the humanities. By moving through historical and contemporary Anglo-American approaches, Black Atlantic, Caribbean, and Indigenous discourses, and reformulations of oceanic spaces that emerge through migrant crises and more-than-human reckonings of the changing ocean under climate change, this reading group will focus on the theme of "elsewise" and seek to think through the multiple modes of engaging with Oceans. Meetings will occur twice each month and work through literature, film, and discussions with academics. Contact: Alex Foster ([email protected])

Theatricality After Theater

What has theatricality named beyond the vicissitudes of the theatrical medium? This reading group plays host to concepts and histories of theatricality as an aesthetic value, a formalizing desire, and as a style of embodiment beyond the precincts of theater as a cultural practice. Contact: Josephine Wang ([email protected])


Toward a Third Cinema

What is the global aesthetic and political movement known as "Third Cinema"? Did it ever really exist? This reading group explores the intersections of art, cinema, class formation, environmental critique, and decolonial history in the 1960s and 1970s via Third Cinema and its contested legacies. Through a combination of manifesto-reading, film-watching, and discussion, we will perambulate the contours of how filmmakers and activists in the decolonial period used film as a mechanism of mass disruption and social critique, with an eye to lessons for our current era of economic ferment and revolutionary upheaval. Contact: Nicole-Ann Lobo ([email protected])