College of Arts & Science

Altman Scholars

The Humanities Center invites applications from faculty interested in joining the 2019-2020 Altman Fellows Program, “Time & Temporality.”  The Center will appoint six or more Altman Faculty Scholars to take part in this program, which is described in detail below.

The program will be led by two Altman Fellows, Professor Elaine Miller (Philosophy) and Professor Jonathan Strauss (French and Italian).

Altman Scholars will join Elaine and Jonathan in a year-long, interdisciplinary faculty seminar.  Altman Faculty Scholars are expected to attend all Altman events, to collaborate with each other, to present some of their own research or creative work on campus during the year of the program, to link their courses to the program, and to help plan program events beginning in spring 2019.  Applicants should be aware that most Altman Program events occur weekdays at 5 p.m. and that the faculty seminar usually meets Fridays around lunchtime. Selected faculty will be encouraged to request teaching assignments that do not conflict with these times.  Each Altman Scholar will receive a $2,500 professional expenses account for use during the 2019-2020 academic year. The program is open to tenure-line and TCPL faculty.

To apply, please read the program description below and provide the Humanities Center Steering Committee with a c.v. and a 1-2 page statement indicating how your research and teaching might contribute to, and benefit from, the program. Please also include the name of one or more outstanding students who could benefit from participation as undergraduate or graduate fellows.  These students will be nominated and invited to apply. Please submit your application in a single PDF document titled “[Yourlastname] 2019 Altman Application.pdf” to by 5 p.m. Monday, January 28, 2019.

Please direct questions to Tim Melley, Director of the Humanities Center, at

2019-2020 John W. Altman Program in the Humanities, TIME & TEMPORALITY 
Human experience is fundamentally shaped by the relation to time. We constantly think in, and of, time.  We worry about it, negotiate it, and try to manipulate it.  Humans are embedded in many temporalities: the slowness of plants and seeds, the eons of nuclear waste, the urgency of climate change, the impatience of social injustice, and the slow-burning pain of hope. But what exactly is time?  We sometimes treat it as a commodity, something to trade, exploit, and accumulate.  We also tend to see it as the measure of change across a straight line. But this definition fails to capture the experience of time, the dynamics of natural cycles, and the ways in which human consciousness sweeps from past to future and back again.  To the extent that we construct our experience of time, it is malleable, aesthetic, and artistic. Yet it is also unequally distributed in life spans, prison sentences, and the availability of leisure.  

The 2019-20 Altman Program invites faculty, students, alumni, and the public to explore the multiplicity of time and our engagement, both active and passive, in it. How do clock and calendar time relate to natural cycles and lived experience? How has the human sense of temporality changed historically in response to social, economic, political, technical, and cultural forces?  How do the arts and literature express, modify, and conceptualize the complexity of time?  What are the pleasures and pains of time? To the extent that time is a human experience, how might the humanities be positioned to release or create its meanings?  In an era of emphasis on spatial representation and big data, can renewed attention to temporality help us reframe our experience, our world, and the challenges we face?