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Events - ENERGIES Dialogue

A year-long conversation about energies—personal, collective, planetary—from different humanistic perspectives 

We live in a time of energy dilemmas. Personal energies feel depleted in the wake of the pandemic, collective energies seem necessary in this political moment, and climate change demands new approaches to energy resources. The Kaplan ENERGIES Dialogue brings to the fore key humanistic concerns with ethics, imagination, power, and contingency to understand these energy dilemmas, including their roots and past resonances. The Dialogue also seeks to highlight and explore more energetically sustainable modes of worldmaking. 


Fall 2022

October 25, 2022
4:00 - 5:30 pm
Harris Hall, Room 108
Tina Chen with Nitasha Tamar Sharma
Academic Energies: A Conversation Beyond Coping

As we begin a new school year three years into a global pandemic and worldwide turmoil, how might we move in, through, and beyond academic cynicism and exhaustion? How can we rethink academic energies to reach a more sustainable and capacious notion of scholarly work alongside a life well lived? How have faculty revisited the question of “work-life balance”? This conversation between Tina Chen and Nitasha Tamar Sharma will address these questions with a particular focus on academic labor, the gender and racial dynamics of service and family care, and the challenging structures of colleges and universities today. We hope this conversation joins discussions that others in and out of the academy are having about the possibilities of a changing university and new approaches to the oft-competing priorities that shape our lives.

Professor Tina Chen.jpgTina Chen is Associate Professor of English and Asian American Studies at Penn State University where she is also Director of the Global Asias Initiative. She is the Founding Editor of Verge: Studies in Global Asias. She is the mother of a college freshman, someone who lives with breast cancer, and a scholar-teacher committed to developing platforms that encourage multidisciplinary engagement and the cross-pollination of knowledge across disciplinary and field boundaries. She is currently working on Alien Forms: Global Asias and the Speculative Genres of Academic Labor, a monograph that questions the ways in which academic labor has been parsed into the categories of “research, teaching, and service” and argues for a more expansive notion of scholarly work.

Professor Nitasha SharmaNitasha Tamar Sharma is the mother of two young children and a professor of African American Studies and Asian American Studies at Northwestern. She is the author or co-editor of four books and is an Associate Editor of American Quarterly. At Northwestern, Nitasha is the director of the Asian American Studies Program and co-director of the Council for Race and Ethnic Studies.



Winter 2023

February 23, 2023
6:00 - 7:30 pm
Location: to be announced
Dallas Goldtooth and Nick Estes
A discussion of environment, activist, and Indigenous energies

Dallas Goldtooth is an organizer for the Indigenous Environmental Network, writer for FX’s Reservation Dogs, and a co-founder of "The 1491s" comedy group

Nick Estes is Kul Wicasa, a citizen of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe. He is assistant professor of American Studies at the University of New Mexico (joining University of Minnesota Department of American Indian Studies in fall 2022); cofounder of The Red Nation, an organization dedicated to Indigenous liberation; and author of Our History Is the Future: Standing Rock versus the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Spring 2023

May 10, 2023
Time and location to be announced
Torkwase Dyson with D. Soyini Madison
A conversation about ethics and energies in art-making 

Torkwase Dyson describes herself as a painter working across multiple mediums to explore the continuity between ecology, infrastructure, and architecture. Dyson’s abstract works are visual and material systems used to construct fusions of surface tension, movement, scale, real and finite space. With an emphasis on the ways black and brown bodies perceive and negotiate space as information, Dyson looks to spatial liberation strategies from historical and contemporary perspectives, seeking to uncover new understandings of the potential for more livable geographies.

D. Soyini Madison is Professor Emeritus of Performance Studies at Northwestern. Madison lived and worked in Ghana as a Senior Fulbright Scholar conducting field research on the interconnections between traditional religion, political economy, and indigenous performance tactics.

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