Creating Community at Copan: Kinship & Migration at the Ancient Maya Frontier

Friday, September 29, 2017
4:00 pm
Shriver Center, John E. Dolibois Room C

Please check out the 2018-2019 John W. Altman Program in the Humanities: Truth and Lies HERE.

Geoffrion Family Undergraduate Fellows

The Geoffrion Undergraduate Fellowship is the highest honor awarded by the Humanities Center.  Up to six students are selected annually. They receive extraordinary opportunities to work one-on-one with faculty, interact with distinguished visiting writers and intellectuals, and develop advanced skills in research and public engagement. 

The Geoffrion Family Undergraduate Fellows Program is part of the annual Altman Program in the Humanities.  It is open to outstanding Miami University undergraduates who seek an opportunity to explore advanced scholarship in the humanities. Geoffrion Fellows join the Altman faculty research community of eight to ten professors from a range of academic disciplines. This faculty group gathers to study an issue of consequence through a special faculty seminar and a series of public lectures, conferences, and other events. Two members of the faculty research group also teach a special 400-level course on the theme of the Altman Program.

The goal of the program is to offer ambitious undergraduates an opportunity to conduct independent inquiry, an introduction to research collaboration in the humanities, and a sense of what it is like to be a professor of history, philosophy, language, literature, or culture. 

Geoffrion Undergraduate Fellows are sometimes invited to be guests in the Altman Faculty Research Seminar.  They have opportunities to meet with distinguished visitors and on occasion interview or dine with them.  Working closely with faculty fellows and the Altman Graduate Fellow, each Geoffrion Fellow develops an independent research project, a formal presentation of this project, and a collaborative public humanities project.  Individual research projects may count for departmental honors or Honors Program credit.  Collaborative public humanities projects can include a range of creative projects, including development of a website, blog, archive, podcast, or film; creation of press materials for conferences and visiting scholars; organization of a film series, book club, or community service project; or publication in a non-scholarly magazine or newsletter. 

Geoffrion Undergraduate Fellows earn 6 credits: 3 in in the special, team-taught 400-level Altman course during fall, and 3 independent study credits in the spring.

The Geoffrion Undergraduate Fellowship includes a $250 award.

Undergraduate Eligibility:

To be apply for a Geoffrion Family Undergraduate Fellowship (GUF), you must: 

  • Be a declared undergraduate humanities major* ready to engage in advanced study.  While there is no class-standing requirement, most GUFs are juniors and seniors in the year of the fellowship. (According to the National Foundation for the Arts and Humanities, “The humanities include, but are not limited to, the following fields: history, philosophy, languages, literature, linguistics, archeology, jurisprudence, history and criticism of the arts, ethics, comparative religion, and those aspects of the social sciences employing historical or philosophical approaches. This last category includes social and cultural anthropology, sociology, political theory, international relations, and other subjects concerned with questions of value.”)
  • Take the special Altman Undergraduate Course in the fall semester of the program. GUFs are guaranteed a spot in the class, which is team-taught by the two Altman Faculty Fellows.
  • Join the Altman Faculty Seminar, when invited. The faculty seminar meets every 2-3 weeks.  (GUFs are invited to select seminars, depending on the goals of the faculty research group.
  • Be willing to undertake an independent research project and to collaborate on a public humanities project while involved in the group.  This work can take any number of forms and may be used to obtain credit toward any of the following: a major assignment in the Geoffrion Family Undergraduate Course; an independent study; a departmental honors thesis; or Miami University Honors Program requirements. 
  • Attend major Altman Program events, such as conferences, and be willing to help with assist with routine organizational tasks during these events (e.g. setting up chairs).
  • Agree not to schedule classes between 11:30a.m.-2 p.m. on Fridays. This is when the faculty seminar meets.
  • Be enrolled at one of Miami's Ohio campuses for both semesters of the fellowship year.  (Study abroad students are not eligible).

To apply, subit an email to humanitiesgrants@miamioh.edu by the deadline. Please type “GUF APPLICATION” in the subject line of your message. Your message should contain your application document in the form of a PDF attachment named "[your last name] GUF Application.pdf." Your document should contain the following:

  • Your name, major(s) and minor(s), current year at Miami, current class standing, and GPA. 
  • A statement of no more than one single-spaced page, describing your interest in the program, your qualifications, and anything else that makes you a good candidate for inclusion in next year’s group.  You might, for example, discuss your scholarly interests and their relation to the annual theme of the Altman program, any prior research experience, your career goals, or your idea for an individual project tied to the annual theme.  We do not expect all applicants to have a firm plan of individual study formulated at this time; but strong applications suggest that the applicant has the experience and the capacity to do good work under the guidance of faculty. 
  • The names and email addresses of two faculty members who are familiar with your work and who would be willing to talk to us about you, if asked. You do not need to ask for letters of reference.  
  • A current, unofficial transcript. You can download a copy of your transcript for free from the registrar's website.  If you do not know how to merge this document into your PDF application document, you may include it as a separate PDF attachment. Please label it "[your last name] Transcript.pdf."  

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2018-19 Geoffrion Family Fellows Program details.

Program Topic: "Truth and Lies"

Altman Fellows: Professor Theresa Kulbaga (English) and Professor Emily Zakin (Philosophy)

We live in a time of fierce debate over truth and misrepresentation. Allegations of “fake news,” “alternative facts,” and “post-truth politics” have unsettled the sense of a shared reality that seems essential to democracy. Yet democracy also encourages respect for divergent views, and contemporary culture offers extraordinary opportunities for self-representation in memoir, documentary film, and social media. Moreover, authors, academics, and activists are anxious to find ways to speak truth to power and effect social change. How can we encourage a lively diversity of expression while also resisting spin, deception, and fabrication? This question has troubled democracy from its origins, but it seems increasingly urgent. Now is a crucial time for the humanities to reflect upon their own engagement with truth and truth-telling, and to provide the analytical tools and historical perspective to meet the challenges of engaged citizenship.  

The 2018-19 Altman Program invites faculty, students, alumni, and the public to join a yearlong, multidisciplinary exploration of truth-telling and the public sphere. What does it mean to “tell the truth,” and how can we discern it? Who defines it, and how is it defined? What are the constraints on truth-telling and on who is recognized as a truth-teller? and Why or how does truth matter—to the self, to the world, and especially in the public sphere? These questions have long been central to humanities and social science conversations among historians, literary and cultural studies theorists, philosophers, anthropologists, and political scientists, and they have renewed salience in the current cultural moment. “Truth and Lies” offers an opportunity for scholars from multiple disciplines and methodologies to engage these questions at the intersection of scholarly and public debate and to investigate how and why concepts of truth matter in the public sphere.

 

Special Course: English 490/Philosophy 410 WF 10:05–11:25AM CRN 74016

Geoffrion Fellows must register for the 2018-19 Altman Program course, “Truth and Lies: Telling the Truth and Why It Matters” (ENG 490/PHL 410) that invites students to read widely in theories of truth and truth-telling (including its meaning, value, and possibility), to consider the craft and rhetoric of truth in truth-telling genres such as autobiography, memoir, creative journalism, and documentary film, and to develop a critical conception of the role(s) of truth and lies in contemporary society.

The seminar format will be a mixture of lecture, discussion, and activities designed to exercise students’ ability to analyze representations of truth critically and to produce representations that speak truth to power creatively and persuasively. Projects will include weekly papers, a researched presentation, and a final analytical or creative project.

 

Katherine Miller Wolf
Katherine Miller Wolf
Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Indiana University