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Fruits of Labor

We celebrate the distinguished works of the previous year's Fellows and the fruits of their labor during their year in the Humanities Center.  Do have a look at a sampling of their accomplishments below.


Coffman, E.J., Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, 2013-14 Fellow

Luck: Its Nature and Significance for Human Knowledge and AgencyI spent the bulk of my time in the Humanities Center (AY 13-14) working on my recently published book Luck: Its Nature and Significance for Human Knowledge and Agency (Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan [2015], 216 pages).  This book ties together and builds on several of my recent shorter publications (mainly journal articles) in epistemology and philosophy of action, two core areas of academic philosophy.  My overall aim in the book is to construct a philosophically satisfying defense of our status as knowledgeable, free, morally appraisable agents against some perennial "luck-based" skeptical arguments—i.e., arguments that center on the notion of luck, and conclude that we don't have nearly as much knowledge, freedom, or eligibility for moral praise and criticism as we're pre-philosophically inclined to think. Because the notions of knowledge, freedom, and moral appraisability are central to the way we naturally view ourselves, the book constitutes a thorough explication and rational defense of certain core elements of our common self-conception.

EJ Coffman is an associate professor of philosophy at the University of Tennessee. His main fields of research are epistemology and philosophy of action, and he has published widely in these areas, including the monograph Luck: Its Nature and Significance for Human Knowledge and Agency (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015) as well as several recent papers in such journals as Metaphilosophy, Philosophical Issues, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Philosophers' Imprint, Philosophical Studies, Synthese, Philosophical Explorations, and Journal of Philosophical Research.  

Elias, Amy, Professor, Department of English, 2013-14 Fellow

Luck: Its Nature and Significance for Human Knowledge and AgencyFor most of my career I have been interested in time and space. My first book was about postwar historical fiction, and today, as editor of an international scholarly journal concerning the post-1960s international arts, I am still excited about exploring how after WWII we negotiate living in time and space as they are uniquely defined in our present moment—and how art represents them in order to show us to ourselves. While on research leave at the UT Humanities Center, I completed two collections of essays on these topics and made significant headway on my own book project. As co-editor of the collections, I was responsible for soliciting essays, getting a press contract, editing all content, creating an introduction and bibliography, writing my own chapter contributions, and designing the published books. The first collection is titled The Planetary Turn: Relationality and Geoaesthetics in the Twenty-First Century, co-edited with Christian Moraru and now published by Northwestern University Press. The featured essays discuss how the media, literary, and performing arts today define a planetary model of art and culture that is distinct from older concepts of globalization, cosmopolitanism, and environmentalism and demands new kinds of thinking from us—new economic models, new political approaches, and new ethical perspectives. The second essay collection, co-edited with Joel Burges, will be published by NYU Press within the next few months. Titled Time: A Vocabulary for the Present, the book features more than twenty essays by international scholars who analyze how time itself is perceived anew in everyday contexts after WWII. From labor and production time, to new models of environmental and post-historical time, to cinematic time: the postwar period saw new models of time impact the way we live our daily lives. The collection focuses on art forms—film and video, literature, comics, painting and photography, music—that reveal these new modes of time to us and investigate the impact and significance of these new kinds of lived, everyday time on our values and sense of being in the world.

The Humanities Center research leave gave me time to complete these editing projects and to read deeply in scholarship that will inform my own book in progress, titled Dialogue at the End of the World. This bookconcerns how the contemporary literary, visual, and performing arts address and enact the ethics of interpersonal and intercultural dialogue—something our contentious and volatile world desperately needs as it grows smaller, and our collective tempers grow shorter, with each passing year.

Amy Elias is a full professor in the UT Department of English; co-editor-in-chief of ASAP/Journal, published by the Johns Hopkins Press as the scholarly journal of "ASAP: The Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present;" and the principal founder of ASAP.  She is the author of an award-winning monograph, two essay collections, a journal special issue, and a score of articles and book chapters concerning postwar fiction, media arts, and visual arts.   Says Elias, "I think that art is really, really important, and I like dogs, gardening, science fiction, wit, aesthetics, and good thick dark chocolaty beers upon occasion."

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