Reading Groups

2020–2021

After Critique

This reading group interrogates the alleged downfall of the “hermeneutics of suspicion” and “symptomatic reading” as dominant modes of critical thought. What are these modes, are they actually declining, and if so, what comes after them?
Tags:  2020–2021

Agency in the Anthropocene

This collaborative discussion group reexamines questions of action, choice, and other elements of agency with a historical focus and an interdisciplinary set of readings.
Tags:  2020–2021

Art and Culture in the Long Nineteenth Century

This reading group will convene virtually once a week to discuss both primary and scholarly texts related to art and culture in the long nineteenth century.
Tags:  2020–2021

Asian American Studies

This reading group aims to bring together an interdisciplinary group of scholars to read and discuss works in Asian American Studies. Topics include race relations, diasporic communities, and food culture.
Tags:  2020–2021

Black Feminism(s): Theory, Praxis, and Poetics

We explore the changing terrain of Black feminist thought through poetry, theory, history, and current activism. Our theoretical lens is invested in Black Marxism, Black queer studies, Black geographies of space and time, and black radical thought.
Tags:  2020–2021

Chasing Ghosts: Hauntedness as Theory and Practice

Hauntedness has become a familiar expression of what it means to reckon with trauma, belatedness, and historicity. This group will explore its capacity as a frame for understanding both self and world.
Tags:  2020–2021

Derrida and Post- Phenomenology

One way of reading the transformative early work of Jacques Derrida is to understand that work as a complex response to, and reformulation of, the German phenomenological tradition – notably the writings of Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger – in light of its political and philosophical shortcomings.
Tags:  2020–2021

Diaspora

This group discusses current theoretical debates within the field of “Diaspora Studies,” focusing on how and why “diaspora” has emerged as a viable framework to study personal identities, community ethics, patterns of migration, etc. We will read ethnographies and histories of “diasporic” populations and host some guest speakers.
Tags:  2020–2021

Imperial Sound Media

This reading group, “Imperial Sound Media,” examines technologies that facilitated the sonic development of colonial empires in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with an emphasis on phonograph and radio.
Tags:  2020–2021

Mysticisms

The mysticisms reading group brings together texts from a range of traditions, periods, and origins in order to consider how encounters with the ineffable are put into words.
Tags:  2020–2021

Race, Citizenship and the State

This reading group explores the interconnections between racial formation and state power, examining themes such as carcerality, labor and migration.
Tags:  2020–2021

Receptions of Latin Literature 2020-2021

A group that meets monthly to discuss topics in the reception of Latin literature, in all its manifold genres, in European and American culture.
Tags:  2020–2021

Technics

This reading group is concerned with the technical. It addresses the work of tools, the manipulation of matter, the function of machines. It tackles what it means to “know” technically, and the relationship between human subjects and technical objects.
Tags:  2020–2021

Theorizing Women in the Ancient World

Reading secondary scholarship on feminist and gender theory alongside primary texts from the eastern Mediterranean and North Africa, ca. 500 BCE–500 CE
Tags:  2020–2021

2019–2020

Disability Studies

Drawing on and building upon the growing interdisciplinary field from which we take our name, the Disability Studies Working Group provides an opportunity for students and faculty across the university to approach bodily difference, non-normativity, ableism, and other related concepts from a variety of lenses. 
Tags:  2019–2020

Global History of Science

We study the history of inquiry in regions outside Europe and the US in order to understand the universality, or lack thereof, of "science" as a concept.
Tags:  2019–2020

Inventory

Inventory, established in 2009, is a literary translation project run by Princeton graduate students across disciplines. The group seeks to examine the art and practice of literary translation through collaborative workshops and through the publication of an annual journal. The workshop focuses on craft and provides a forum to present translations...
Tags:  2019–2020

Post-Punk and Cultural Studies

Post-Punk and Cultural Studies listens in on the dialogue between the post-punk artistic production and cultural studies scholarship that flowered in late-1970s England. In each session we will consider exemplary texts from the respective, radical fields. 
Tags:  2019–2020

Psychoanalysis Beyond the West

This group interrogates the ability of psychoanalysis to understand non-white, non-bourgeois subjecthood. As both social theory and therapeutic practice, how has psychoanalysis been developed outside of affluent Western contexts, and to what ends? How might we account for the political and epistemological stakes of these developments?
Tags:  2019–2020

Receptions of Latin Literature

This group examines the reception on Latin literature in European and American culture, taking a broad view of reception studies which encompasses the intellectual history, literature, and visual arts of later periods. This spring we will focus on the figure of Seneca the Younger.
Tags:  2019–2020

Theory

Theory Reading Group is a forum for discussions of recent theoretical texts. We will focus on the issues of de/coloniality and think about contemporary politics of knowledge, power, and being.
Tags:  2019–2020

2018-2019

Black Studies & The Black Radical Tradition

This reading group explores the politics, stakes, and development of Black intellectual traditions alongside movements for racial, gender, class, and sexual justice.
Tags:  2018–2019

Critical Moving Image

An experimental and collaborative reading group designed to facilitate investigations into the operative, transdisciplinary potential of the moving image.
Tags:  2018–2019

Ethnography: Knowledge, Form, Innovation

We will engage in a cross-disciplinary exploration of ethnography, both as a genre of writing, and as a method of social inquiry.
Tags:  2018–2019

Film and Media Theory

This group comprised of professors and students conducts close readings of early critical works in film and media studies. The main texts for this year are Gilles Deleuze’s Cinema I and II.
Tags:  2018–2019

Inventory

Inventory is a literary translation project that examines the art and practice of literary translation through workshops and an annual journal. The journal catalogs original translations, provides critical texts on translation, and thoughts on the state of the field.
Tags:  2018–2019

Queer Cultures

Focusing on the intersection of sexuality and representation, this reading group considers the stakes of aesthetics and artistic practice in queer theory and politics. We will discuss theoretical texts alongside art, literature, cinema and performance.
Tags:  2018–2019

Race and Psychoanalysis

This group focuses on the theory, history, and practice of the “talking cure,” inviting both scholars and practicing psychoanalysts to lead discussions around a precirculated text. The theme for this year will be “Race and Psychoanalysis.
Tags:  2018–2019

Social Philosophy

We will study recent work on social ontology and epistemology. Important questions include: Do social entities, such as races and genders, exist? Are they socially constructed? Are there facts which are only knowable to certain social groups?
Tags:  2018–2019

Speaking of Science

Organized by Princeton Citizen Scientists, this reading group serves as a site for monthly discussion about science communication. We will explore diverse methods of outreach and education, providing a site of engagement for scientists and humanists alike.
Tags:  2018–2019

Theory

A forum for discussions of recent theoretical texts. This semester's theme is Global Decoloniality, and we will consider contemporary politics of power, knowledge, and being.
Tags:  2018–2019

Writing and The Politics of Language

This reading group aims to put together a variety of texts that discuss the relationships between (a) writing, text and the idea of «language», (b) literacy, the print vernacular and its empowering/disempowering implications for linguistic and literary communities, (c) print cultures in the creation of utopian/dystopian drives, as well as...
Tags:  2018–2019

2017–2018

Black Studies and the Black Radical Tradition

This reading group reviews contemporary theories of “anti-Black racism” and the relationship between Black studies and movements for racial, gender, class, and sexual justice.
Tags:  2017–2018

Critical Writing and the Public Sphere

This group will read works of literary, cultural, and political criticism with attention to the relationship between critical style, and conditions of writing, reading, and publication. By delving into the criticism of the past, we aim to interrogate our own work as writers and intellectuals in the present.
Tags:  2017–2018

Encounters with the State

In this group we’ll discuss concrete manifestations of the contested and elusive concept of ‘the state’ as well as how it (1) operates (or should operate) within and between disciplines, and (2) intersects with public uses of the concept today.
Tags:  2017–2018

Environmental Humanities

The Environmental Humanities Reading Group meets monthly to discuss new texts at the intersections of ecology & culture. Readings encompass environmental justice issues, cultural responses to the Anthropocene, the coincident histories of capitalism and environmental degradation, and other areas of emerging interest.
Tags:  2017–2018

Inventory

A literary translation project run by Princeton graduate students across disciplines. Our annual journal catalogs original translations and offers critical texts on translation practice.
Tags:  2017–2018

Late Medieval / Early Modern Thought

The topic for the 2017-2018 iteration of this group will be, “Dominion and Domination in the Early Colonialism.” The central normative concern is the logics of anti/colonialism and anti/subjugation of Native peoples in the "New World."
Tags:  2017–2018

Neoliberalism

This interdisciplinary reading group will focus on how political and economic ideas categorized as neoliberalism have become manifest in domains as varied as the arts, architecture, foreign policy, and the family.
Tags:  2017–2018

Psychoanalysis

This group focuses on the theory, history, and practice of the “talking cure,” inviting both scholars and practicing psychoanalysts to lead discussions around a precirculated text. The theme for this year will be “Race and Psychoanalysis.
Tags:  2017–2018

Speaking of Science

Join us for a monthly discussion about science communication. We will explore diverse methods of outreach and education, providing a site of engagement for scientists and humanists alike.
Tags:  2017–2018

The Race, Ethnicity, and Nationality

The Race, Ethnicity, and Nationality (REN) Reading Group critically engages with a variety of texts on the topics of race, ethnicity, and nationality, with particular attention paid to our contemporary moment, historical time, and global context.
Tags:  2017–2018

Theory

The Theory Reading Group is a forum where theoretical texts are chosen based on their immediate relevance to the debates of our contemporary world. This semester’s theme is Lacan’s Four Fundamental Concepts.
Tags:  2017–2018

Thomas Mann and His World

An interdisciplinary reading group on the novels of Thomas Mann. Our investigations are open to diverse fields from music to philosophy to politics and may touch on Mann’s wartime years in Princeton.
Tags:  2017–2018

Universalism(s)

The Universalism(s) Reading Group aims to foster interdisciplinary, critical, and timely discussion of the contested category of the “universal,” including its legacies of violence and emancipation, particularity and globality. Through short readings from diverse authors, we especially hope to reconsider the Marxist tradition in light of...
Tags:  2017–2018

2016–2017

Atheologies

The Atheologies Reading Group, titled after a term from Georges Bataille, engages with texts grappling with the unstable boundary between transcendence and immanence, the challenge of relating to an absent God, and the place of divinity in everyday life.The group will begin in Spring 2017 with Paul North’s The Yield: Kafka’s Atheological...

Decoloniality: Prison Abolition

The Decoloniality Graduate Reading Group is a discussion group focused on reading hermeneutically along contemporary ethnographical, anthropological, and theological traditions. This year, the focus of the group will be Mass Incarceration and Prison Abolition.

Reception of Ancient Philosophy

Greek philosophy’s journey to early modern Europe is one of the most important stories in the history of thought. But it’s also one of the hardest to tell.

2015–2016

Biographical Writing in Early China

The Reading Group of Biographical Writing in Early China (ca. 1000 BCE-220 AD) is an interdisciplinary project that focuses on fundamental questions related to life writing in antiquity.
Tags:  2015–2016

2014–2015

Maimonides

The Maimonides Reading Group explores The Guide for the Perplexed in a non-linear fashion with special attention to its hidden, doubled, and multiplied meanings.
Tags:  2014–2015

Philosophical Topics in Early China: Military Thought

During the academic year 2014-15, the IHUM reading group Philosophical Topics in Early China will focus on one of the most important topics in Early Chinese texts, namely ‘Military Thought,’ or 'Philosophy of War.'
Tags:  2014–2015