Modern and Contemporary Studies Initiative (MCSI) Summer Institute

deadline for submissions: 
April 1, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Penn State University
contact email: 


Announcing the first Modern and Contemporary Studies Initiative (MCSI) Summer Institute at Penn State University, Monday, June 12- Saturday, June 17, 2017


Director: Jonathan P. Eburne


About the MCSI Summer Institute:


The MCSI Summer Institute is a five-day (Monday morning-Friday evening) program offering graduate students and faculty the opportunity to share their current research, as well as to engage in sustained discussions of key issues and methods in the study of modern and contemporary literature, art, culture, and critical thought in a global context. 

Each day of the program will feature three plenary lectures from Institute Faculty, two faculty-moderated research seminars in which registered participants present and discuss their work-in-progress as 20-minute oral presentations, and a closing roundtable on the Institute theme. The plenary lectures offer sustained, cross-disciplinary models for new methodologies and approaches to scholarly research in the humanities, conceived broadly. The research seminars offer Institute participants the opportunity to engage in critical discussions of their own methods and approaches, in peer seminars moderated by institute faculty.


We welcome applications from graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and early career scholars working in modern and contemporary humanities fields from a range of disciplinary contexts, approaches, and traditions around the world.


Tuition will be waived for the inaugural 2017 Summer Institute; enrolled participants will be responsible for lodging, travel, and some meals.


MCSI Institute Theme, 2017:  Expertise/Inexpertise


What do humanists know, and how are the forms, limits, and boundaries of this knowledge sustained?  Featuring inter- and intra-disciplinary research by scholars of twentieth and twenty-first century literature, film, art, and philosophy, this inaugural MCSI Summer Institute at Penn State explores the parameters of “expertise” as a measure of humanistic knowledge. To what extent is expertise coextensive with disciplinary models of academic specialization or reducible to instrumental reason? How can inventiveness, experimentalism, and creativity reconcile the social and professional demands of expertise with something akin to “inexpertise” as a productive expansion of the limits of humanistic thought? The thematic portion of this inaugural MCSI Summer Institute will seek new definitions of engaged knowledge distinct from institutional and social pressures alone.


2017 Summer Institute Faculty:


Magalí Armillas-Tiseyra, Comparative Literature and Global Studies, Penn State

Michael Bérubé, English, Penn State

Marijeta Bozovic, Slavic Languages and Literatures, Film and Media Studies, and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Yale

Ebony Coletu, English and African American Studies, Penn State

Sabine Doran, German and Slavic Languages and Literatures, Penn State

Hoda El Shakry, Comparative Literature, Penn State

Michael Gillespie, Film, Media and Communication and Black Studies, City College of New York

Janet Lyon, English and Disability Studies, Penn State

Courtney D. Morris, African American Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Penn State

Jeffrey Nealon, English and Philosophy, Penn State

Christopher Reed, English and Visual Culture, Penn State

Gabriel Rockhill, Philosophy, Villanova

Debarati Sanyal, French, University of California, Berkeley

Lisa Uddin, Art History and Visual Culture, Whitman College


About the MCSI:


The Modern and Contemporary Studies Initiative at Penn State (MCSI) is a collaborative project among faculty and students for the study of 20th and 21st century arts and cultures. The MCSI fosters cross-disciplinary approaches to modern and contemporary literature, art, thought, and culture worldwide, featuring postcolonial studies, diasporic literatures and cultures, gender and sexuality studies, and the Global South as priorities in its approach to scholarly research and education in the humanities. By sponsoring field-leading seminars and a summer institute, the MCSI aims to build and sustain scholarly communities within and beyond the university.


To Apply:

Applications for the 2016 MSCI Summer Institute at Penn State will be accepted until all slots have been filled, but applications received by April 1, 2017 will be granted priority. Applicants should send a brief description of their own projects (no more than 1 page) along with a current CV and a writing sample (10-15 pages). Acceptances will be sent via email, so please make sure to include your email address in your CV.

Applications should be sent via email to:

The MCSI Summer Institute at Penn State

c/o Devon Johnson, Staff Assistant, Penn State School of Languages and Literatures


Office Phone: (814) 863-4288


For further information about the MCSI Summer Institute, please contact Jonathan P. Eburne, MCSI Director, at