Spring 2017 

Benjamin Morgan  Talk - In Human Scale: Climate Change and the Immeasurable 

Tuesday, April 25, 4:45 p.m.
Smith Warehouse, Bay 4

At a geological time scale, human activity is transforming the biosphere at an incredibly rapid rate. But in our everyday lives, we  experience these changes as slow or even imperceptible. This scalar disjuncture is a familiar problem for scholars in the sciences and in the policy community, who often seek to persuade the public that changes projected over the next century are catastrophically sudden. This talk proposes that humanities scholars may productively intervene in these debates by framing the conflict between human and inhuman time scales as an issue of historiography, representation, and value. How do quantitative metrics like degrees celsius or feet of sea-level rise become intertwined with non-numerical judgments of value? Can the narrative techniques of the novel, tragedy, or melodrama induce experiences of multiscaled historical consciousness that are salient to contemporary impasses? To explore these questions, this talk looks back to the nineteenth-century industrial origins of the climate change era, when novelists such as Thomas Hardy began to examine the human significance of new sciences of deep time and of the growth of fossil-fueled capitalism. Their work illustrates how methods and objects specific to the humanities can help us make sense of the inhuman scales of time that we continue to inhabit today.

Nathan Hensley Talk  - “Action Without Nature: Rossetti and Hopkins” 

March 23, 2017, 4:30-5:00 p.m.
314 Allen Building

After it Almost Unmade: Action in the Wake of Nature, is Nathan Hensley's second project, now in its early stages, puts literary reading methods in dialogue with Victorian and contemporary thinking about ecological networks; its aim is to show how the nineteenth century used literary forms to imagine disasters so massive, distributed, and complex that they seemed to threaten the very possibility of individual action.

Hensley was the cooeditor with Philip Steer of Ecological Form: System and Aesthetics in the Age of Empire Forthcoming from Fordham UP in 2017, the collection aims to show how Victorian thinking about empire and ecology can help us understand the often violent processes by which human beings were—and continue to be—incorporated into massive systems seemingly beyond their direct control.  And he’s co-convener of the Georgetown U Mellon-Sawyer seminar on the Anthropocene.

Fall 2016 

Sabine Sielke’s Talk:  “Interfacing Literary and Cultural Studies with the Cognitive Sciences, or: Re-cognizing Henry James”

Friday, September 16, 2016 - 4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Ahmadieh Family Lecture Hall, Bay 4, Smith Warehouse, FHI
(with reception to follow)

The paper evolves from a book project that explores how literary and cultural analysis and cognition research can be mutually productive. Focusing on three central terms of cultural analysis (memory, mediation, seriality) and three authors (Emily Dickinson, Henry James, Gertrude Stein), my study identifies touch points between cultural studies and the cognitive sciences and assesses their potential impact on our sense of cultural practice. Portraiture, close-up, and face recognition, I show in my talk, constitute one such contact point. As we interface the art of portraiture in James’s fiction with the faculty of face recognition and examine remediations of James in recent cultural practices, ranging from cinematic adaptations of his fiction to fictional texts that feature James, it becomes evident how the re-cognition of another (human) figure informs our sense of ourselves as

Sponsored by:  German Department, Neurohumanities Research Group, FHI,  Literature Program, English Department, Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Science and Cultural Theory 

"Evolutionary Optimization Algorithms" Two-Day Workshop

Friday, September 23, 2016 - 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
(314 Allen Building)

Saturday September 24, 2016 1:00 - 4:00 p.m
(314 Allen Building)

Duke’s Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Science and Cultural Theory is sponsoring a two-day workshop on “Evolutionary Optimization Algorithms,” to be held from 9 am - 3 pm on Friday, September 23, and from 1 – 4 pm on Saturday, September 24. The workshop is aimed primarily at scholars in the humanities who are interested in learning about algorithms and digital media, and will be led Daniel Simon, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Cleveland State University, and author of Evolutionary Optimization Algorithms: Biologically-Inspired and Population-Based Approaches to Computer Intelligence (John Wiley & Sons, 2014: available as an electronic text through the Perkins website). Since this workshop is intended primarily for people in the humanities, it will not assume a strong math or computer programming background, though it will include some practical, hands-on programming. People from the natural and social sciences are also very welcome to attend! (but should keep in mind that this workshop will be a very basic introduction to evolutionary optimization algorithms, rather than an intermediate or advanced discussion)

Evolutionary Algorithms: Concepts and Hands-On Training Using MATLAB

1.     Introduction
a.     Terminology
b.     Some Interesting Applications of Evolutionary Algorithms
c.     MATLAB

2.     Optimization
a.     Unconstrained Optimization
b.     Multimodal Optimization
c.     Hill Climbing
d.     The Nature of Intelligence

3.     Genetic Algorithms
a.     The History of Genetics
b.     The Science of Genetics
c.     The History of Genetic Algorithms
d.     A Simple Binary GA
e.     A Simple Continuous GA

4.     Other Interesting Evolutionary Algorithms
a.     Ant Colony Optimization
b.     Particle Swarm Optimization

5.     Special Types of Optimization Problems
a.     Combinatorial Optimization
b.     Constrained Optimization
c.     Multi-Objective Optimization
d.     Expensive Problems
e.     Noisy Problems
f.      Time-Varying Problems

6.     Some Practical Considerations
a.     The No-Free-Lunch Theorem
b.     Performance Comparisons
c.     Closing Comments

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