A growing number of scholars are making their own relatives their object of study. These personal family histories mark a significant shift in scholarly practice and writing, with far-reaching methodological, political, and ethical implications. Scholars and Their Kin is one of the first symposia to bring together scholars who are presently writing in this vein or have recently done so.
This conversation between U.S.-based and European historians, anthropologists, sociologists, and literary/cultural critics will address far-reaching questions. They include the family as an object of study, modes and forms of scholarly writing, the recovery of lost or forgotten histories (with special attention to race, religion, and gender), the study of emotions and intimacy, questions of scale, familial memory and transmission, as well as history and genealogy. Participants will also discuss the institutional frameworks in which, depending on their background, field, and stage in career, scholars are encouraged (or not) to write such histories.
Speakers will discuss and summarize pre-circulated works in progress.
This event is free and open to the public with required registration.
Update 3/2: The reservation list is at capacity.
9:00am Welcome and Introduction
Stéphane Gerson (French/French Studies/History, NYU)
9:30am FAMILY SECRETS, SHAME, AND COMPLICITIES
Martha Jones (History, Johns Hopkins), “A Jagged Color Line”
Christine Bard (History, University of Angers), “Jack in the Fog: Gen/eth/ics of a Family Secret”
Amy Moran-Thomas (Anthropology, MIT), “Pennsylvania Salient: Carbon and Kinship”
Commentator: Kendra Field (History/Africana Studies, Tufts)
Chair: Edward Ball (independent scholar)
11:45am WRITING WITHIN AND BEYOND DISCIPLINES
Leslie Harris (History, Northwestern), “Racial Identity, Ancestry, and Privilege in a New Orleans Family”
Christine Détrez (Sociology, ENS-Lyon), “’Walk the Line’: Writing With a Trembling Hand, or How to Investigate One’s Mother’:
Marnix Beyen (History, University of Antwerp), “Beyond Taboo, Worship, and Irony: Tracing the War in My Family History (and Vice Versa)"
Commentator: Ivan Jablonka (History, Paris 13)
Chair: Ed Berenson (History/French Studies, NYU)
3:00pm GRAPPLING WITH OUR SOURCES
Martha Hodes (History, NYU), "Vivid Memories and the Quest for Archival Documentation"
Tao Goffe (Africana/Feminist, Gender & Sexuality Studies, Cornell), “Albums of Inclusion: Family, Vernacular Photography, and Afro-Asian Intimacies”
Frédéric Viguier (French Studies, NYU), “Being the Native Ethnographer of My 3rd-Grade Class: Methodological Advantages and Ethical Challenges”
Commentator: Claudio Lomnitz (Anthropology, Columbia)
Chair: Carolyn Dinshaw (English/Social and Cultural Analysis, NYU)
5:00pm Concluding Remarks
Marianne Hirsch (English/Comp Lit/Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Columbia)
Leo Spitzer (History, Dartmouth)
In conversation with Stéphane Gerson
Symposium organized by Stéphane Gerson, Professor of French, French Studies, and History (NYU) and sponsored by NYU’s Institute of French Studies
Co-sponsored by NYU’s Office of the Provost, Department of French Literature, Thought, and Culture, Department of History, Department of Comparative Literature, Department of Anthropology, Department of Social and Cultural Analysis, La Maison Française, and Center for European and Mediterranean Studies