HASS Colloquium slated for April 30 at Penn State Berks

READING, Pa. -- Penn State Berks' next Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (HASS) Colloquium will include two presentations: “Embracing Commonplace: Creating Ground for a Life of Rhetorically Engaged Civic Action” by Jill Burk, instructor of communication arts and sciences, and “Hiding in Closets: Troubling Identity in Medical Humanities Research” by Holly Ryan, assistant professor of English.

It will be held 1-2:20 p.m. Wednesday, April 30, in room 104 of the Franco Building. This event is free and open to the campus community.

In the presentation "Embracing Commonplace: Creating Ground for a Life of Rhetorically Engaged Civic Action,” Burk explores how communication educators encourage students to enact the communicative practices necessary for a life of rhetorically engaged civic action. In responding to this question, the academic field of communication studies is recognized as a site for implementing the lessons of rhetoric, democracy, and civic engagement.

According to Burk, the philosophical thought and the pragmatic action of 20th-century rhetorician and social activist Jane Addams (1860-1935) provides a hermeneutic entrance point for identifying and understanding the ways in which faculty members in higher education might conduct service-learning in a more responsive and engaged manner. By grounding individual student communicative practices in a communication classroom setting, habits can grow and flourish in communities.

In “Hiding in Closets: Troubling Identity in Medical Humanities Research” Ryan explores the role of the humanities researcher in medical contexts. According to Ryan, a key tenant of feminist research is that it disrupts traditional ways of knowing to create richer, newer meanings by having the researcher simultaneously take on a multitude of different standpoints and negotiate these identities: a "both/and stance." She examines the implications of inhabiting that insider/outsider relationship in medical humanities research.

In particular, Ryan offers a feministic-analysis of three significant moments that occurred during a hospital-based research study she conducted in the summer of 2012. In this analysis, she examines how her body disrupted both her study and the work of those around her. She hopes this presentation will offer a comment on how privilege, power and privacy complicate medical humanities research.

The HASS Colloquium Series features informal presentations that serve as opportunities for HASS faculty members to share their completed or in-progress research. Faculty members discuss their research in an approximately 20-minute presentation that welcomes dialogue, discussion, and questions. For more information on the HASS Colloquium Series, contact Cheryl Nicholas, associate professor of communication arts and sciences, at CLN12@psu.edu.

Media Contacts: 

Dr. Cheryl Nicholas

Work Phone: 

Dr. Cheryl Nicholas, Associate Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences at Penn State Berks

Last Updated January 09, 2015