February 2017

Research Seminar on Homelands Call for Applications

“You don’t have a home until you leave it and then, when you have left it, you can never go back.”
—James Baldwin

Call for Applications

The idea of a homeland evokes thoughts of pleasure and pain, belonging and exile, flight and shelter. Is home a place, a state of mind, an imagined community, a commodity, or, as Charlotte Perkins Gilman writes, a fundamentally “human institution?” James Baldwin
suggests we can only know home by its absence, while for Robert Frost it’s the place “they have to take you in.” For some, the idea of home promises shelter, identity, authenticity, and stability, while for others it evokes loss, exile, oppression, constriction, and the impossibility of return. The idea itself has shaped and been shaped by gender, race, class, geography, religion, and ethnicoity while being deployed to both offer protection and propagate terror.

The idea of home has defined family relationships and, as a physical space, it serves as a metaphor for a sense of community that can extend to a neighborhood, a city, a state, and now even the planet itself. Some of the earliest works of art and literature, from Homer’s Odyssey to the Diné creation story and the Summarian Kesh Temple Hymn revolve around stories about leaving and returning home. Immigration and exile feature in art, music and literature from across the world, as does the ethical imperative to show hospitality to the stranger who has ventured away from home. Homelands, however, also evoke the idea of difference and exclusion and thus open the way for the kind of violence we see in Odysseus’s revenge on the suitors in his home as well as in the campaigns of ethnic and religious “cleansing” that have helped define the modern world. Home, in short, is an essential element of the human condition and throughout the 2017-18 academic year, the Oklahoma Center for the Humanities will explore its myriad human dimensions through an array of programs including concerts, performances, film screenings, exhibitions, discussions, lectures, debates, and workshops.

In order to support this work, the OCH invites applications from TU students to join the Interdisciplinary Humanities Seminar focused on the topic of Home and Homelands. The seminar will convene once a week through the fall 2017 semester and will build on the
expertise of each participant to launch an intensive investigation of home, assisted by visiting speakers, artists, and performers. In the spring, participants will share their work with the larger community through talks, performances, colloquia, and other events. The Center encourages interdisciplinary work and welcomes a broad interpretation of the theme that will carry our investigations across intellectual, critical, experimental, and aesthetic domains. All TU students are eligible and welcome to apply.

Application for the 2017-2018 Humanities Research Seminar

Description: The Interdisciplinary Humanities Research Seminar sponsored by the Oklahoma Center for the Humanities at the University of Tulsa is intended to promote engaged, intellectual discussion on topics of current public and intellectual interest. Every year, a group of approximately eight research fellows will be chosen to collaborate on a series of weekly seminar discussions. It is hoped that these discussions will then lead into further projects, undertaken collectively or individually. These might include research papers, digital projects, creative works, or efforts designed to spur civic action and service. The
admissions committee will judge applications based on an assessment of the proposal’s interdisciplinary appeal and its potential for sparking dialogue among other members.

Eligibility: Undergraduate, graduate, and law students at TU across all majors and colleges are eligible for the seminar. In the case of undergraduate students, current juniors and secondsemester sophomores will be given priority over freshman applicants. Current seniors are not eligible because the seminar requires a full-year commitment. Students selected to participate will be eligible to receive three upper-level credit hours (awarded either as an elective or in coordination with the student’s major program of study).

Theme: The theme for the 2017-2018 seminar will be Homelands. You are encouraged to interpret this topic broadly and in ways that are appropriate to your own fields of expertise.

Application: Student applications for participation in the seminar should include the following:

  • A resume or CV, including contact information and an unofficial transcript
  • A brief letter of recommendation from a member of the TU faculty
  • Full responses to the three application questions listed below

Applications should be sent by electronic attachment to: humanities@utulsa.edu


Application Questions (no more than 1,500 words total):

  1. Why does the topic of homelands interest you and how does it connect your intellectual, personal, or artistic interests?
  2. How would participation in this seminar contribute to your educational goals? Do you see a project—perhaps a senior project, a TURC project, a conference paper, a dissertation chapter, or some sort of artistic work—coming out of your participation
    in the seminar?
  3. Provide a short list of works (books, images, performances, films, articles, etc.) that you believe raise important issues or questions about the idea of homelands.

If you have questions about the application process, the seminar, or the Center, please contact Sean Latham (sean-latham@utulsa.edu//918.631.2857//@seanplatham)