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Research Inquiry Reading  Groups

Research Inquiry Reading Groups

Research Inquiry Groups are reading groups convened by UT faculty and open by invitation to faculty and advanced graduate students. They meet 2-3 times per semester during the course of one year to investigate an emerging area of study important to humanities inquiry and potentially leading to the creation of collaborative research by faculty across disciplines and colleges or to a UTHC research seminar with specific research goals. The UT Humanities Center supports one to two groups per year on a competitive basis. For more information about these reading groups, please contact us at

The "Critical Infrastructures Studies" Reading Inquiry Group will investigate the emerging field of critical infrastructure studies, started by Alan Liu at the University of California at Santa Barbara in relation to media studies (see but growing in the past few years to concerns about how "infrastructure" is a keyword describing late modern cultural landscapes. Today, "critical infrastructure studies" investigates the importance of infrastructure to such things as borders and migration, environment and ecology, security, and data analysis. A 2018 MLA session description noted, "Infrastructure supports, connects, separates, constrains, frees, transforms, communicates, and stores who we are. It reinforces and reshapes the stresses between dwelling and work, center and margin, high and low, and local and global that make a society. Yet it is normally mute. Until something breaks, decays, or, as in heritage infrastructure, needs to be remembered or recapitalized. Then it speaks."

For information on how to join this reading group, contact the UTHC at

The University Studies Reading Group will meet 2-3 times a semester on Wednesdays once a month from 11:30am-12:30pm to discuss articles and books. Discussions take place at the UT Humanities Center and are open to the university and general public.  To sign up for communications about the group, email:

Regular participants include:

  • Misty Anderson, James R. Cox and Lindsay Young Professor of English
  • Chris Boake, Professor Emerita of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • Amy Elias, Director of the Humanities Center and Lindsay Young Professor of English
  • Rosalind Hackett, Professor of Religious Studies
  • Jeff Kovac, Professor of Chemistry and Director of College Scholars
  • Anne Langendorfer, Lecturer in English
  • Beauvais Lyons, Chancellors’ Professor and Ellen McClung Berry Professor of Art
  • Anne Mayhew, Former Provost and Professor Emerita of Economics
  • Mary McAlpin, Professor of French
  • Lisi Schoenbach, Associate Professor of English
  • John Zomchick, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs

Fall 2019

  • Wednesday September 25, 2019, 11:30am-12:30pm
    Making a Case for the Arts and Humanities
    Martha C. Nussbaum, Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities, Revised ed. Edition, Princeton University Press; Revised ed. edition (November 8, 2016).

Spring 2020

  • Wednesday, March 4, 2020, 11:30am-1:00pm

    As part of the “Humanities Matters” Series
    J. Z. Muller, The Tyranny of Metrics (Princeton University Press, 2018)

  • Wednesday, April 8, 2020, 11:30am-1:00pm

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