Mellon RCHA2016-2017 John E. Sawyer Seminar on
"Ethical Subjects: Moralities, Laws, Histories"

sponsored by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Seth Koven (History) and Judith Surkis (History), co-directors

Unless otherwise indicated, all meetings held 11:15am-1:15pm,
Rutgers Academic Building, 15 Seminary Place, Room 6051
(lunch will be served)

For pre-circulated readings, please contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


September 6: First meeting (fellows only): introductions and collective discussion of Stefan Ludwig Hoffmann, "Human Rights and History," Past and Present (2016)

September 13: Larry Scanlon (English, Rutgers): "Sin and the Sexual Subject"

September 19: Sarolta A. Takács (History, Rutgers): Public lecture: "Reading Sophocles' Antigone across Time and Place," 4:30-6pm, Pane Room, Alexander Library, Reception to follow

September 20: Sarolta A. Takács (History, Rutgers): Masterclass on Antigone

September 27:  Johan Mathew (History, Rutgers): "On Principals and Agency: Reconsidering Trust in Economic History"

October 4:  J. M. DeLeon (Mellon RCHA Postdoctoral Fellow, Rutgers): "Archival Self-Indulgence: Eating Honey, Wasting Time"

October 11 David Eng (English, University of Pennsylvania): "Colonial Object Relations"

October 18  Peter Holquist (History, University of Pennsylvania): "'Crimes against Humanity': Genealogy of a Concept and the Role of Imperial Russia, 1868-1945"

October 24: Thomas Laqueur (History, UC Berkeley): Public Lecture: "Dogs, Humanity and Humanitarianism," 4:30-6pm, Brower Commons, Rooms A,B&C, Reception to follow

October 25: Thomas Laqueur (History, UC Berkeley): "The Ethics of the Dead"

November 1   Samuel Fury Childs Daly (RCHA Postdoctoral Fellow, Rutgers): "Sworn on the Gun: Law, Crime, and Warfare in Nigeria, 1967-1976"

November 8: Dorothy Hodgson (Anthropology, Rutgers): Book Symposium and Celebration: Gender, Justice and the Problem of Culture: From Customary Law to Human Rights in Tanzania, with comments from Barbara Cooper (History, Rutgers) and Sally Engle Merry (Anthropology/Law, NYU)

November 15  Maya Mikdashi (Women's and Gender Studies, Rutgers): "Archival Refusal: War, Law, and Memory in Lebanon"

November 29: Satyasikha (Shikha) Chakraborty (Mellon Predoctoral Fellow, History, Rutgers): TBA

December 1-2: Conference: “The Subjects and Objects of Humanitarianism,” Keynote by Peter Redfield (Anthropology, University of North Carolina; Member, Institute for Advanced Study), Pane Room, Alexander Library

December 6: Linda Bosniak (Law, Rutgers): "Justifying Immigrant Justice: Wrongs, Rights and the
Liberal-Statist Imaginary"

December 13:  Chantal Thomas (Law, Cornell): "Sovereignty, Migration, Ethics, Politics"