CHCI 2022 | Poetry Reading by Nathaniel Mackey with Our True Day Begun Soon Come Qu’ahttet

Thursday, May 19, 2022 - 5:30pm to 7:00pm

Nasher Museum of Art

The Duke community is cordially invited to select sessions of Face to Face: Forms of the Humanities, the 2022 Annual Meeting of the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes (CHCI), hosted by the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute. See more on the conference theme below.

The CHCI is a global forum that strengthens the work of humanities centers and institutes through advocacy, grant-making, and inclusive collaboration. The CHCI advances cross-institutional partnerships, recognizes regional humanities cultures, and mobilizes the collective capacity of the humanities to engage the most pressing issues in society today. The FHI was institutional host of the CHCI from 2007 to 2016.

See all public sessions and conference policies here. SPACES ARE LIMITED. PLEASE REGISTER BY MONDAY MAY 16, 2022 (extended!)


IMPORTANT: For admission, please bring your ticket (electronic or print-out) to each session. Note that tickets are for public sessions ONLY. Registration for the full conference is limited to CHCI member organizations.


    About this Session

    The 2022 CHCI Annual Meeting will open with a reading by Nathaniel Mackey (Reynolds Price Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing, Department of English, Duke University) with music by the Our True Day Begun Soon Come Qu’ahttet. The quartet includes Dorian Lee Parreott II on baritone saxophone, cornet and euphonium; Jason Lentz on oud; Sandy Blocker on balafon and percussion; and Vattel Cherry on bass. Mackey’s collaboration with Our True Day Begun Soon Come Qu’ahttet was first realized at Duke, in a three-day national conference on his work.

    The reading and performance will be preceded by a welcome message from Duke Provost Sally Kornbluth and an introduction by FHI Director Ranjana Khanna.

    A poet, novelist, and critic, Nathaniel Mackey works in the areas of modern and postmodern literature in the U.S. and the Caribbean, creative writing, poetry and poetics, and the intersection of literature and music. His latest book, the three-volume Double Trio (New Directions, 2021), weaves together two long serial poems, “Song of the Andoumboulou” and “Mu,” that he has been writing for over three decades. His numerous other works of poetry, fiction, and criticism include, most recently, Blue Fasa (New Directions, 2015), Late Arcade (New Directions, 2017), and Paracritical Hinge: Essays, Talks, Notes, Interviews (Iowa, 2018), respectively. Strick: Song of the Andoumboulou 16-25, a compact disc recording of poems read with musical accompaniment (Royal Hartigan, percussion; Hafez Modirzadeh, reeds and flutes), was released in 1995 by Spoken Engine Company. He is editor of the literary magazine Hambone. His book of poetry Splay Anthem(2006) won the National Book Award. Recent honors in his distinguished career include the William B. Hart Residency in Poetry at the American Academy in Rome (2016), the Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Poetry Prize from the Library of Congress (2017), and election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2018).

    About the Conference Theme:
    Face to Face: Forms of the Humanities

    Over the last couple of years, our institutes and universities have pivoted all over the world to online technologies for our events, collaborations, meetings and communications. The newly dominant technologies have done much to change our current understanding of a face, just as the invention and use of photography, of the close up in cinema, of the smartphone and facial recognition, of the television newscaster, and of the shifting nature of portraiture, icons and masks have done so in the past. These various technologies of the face, that are indicative of the idea of the front and the back, of an idea of the eyes as the mark of the front, have often been seen as indexed to the human, to identity, or to anthropomorphism. Fields in the humanities have addressed this by considering the emergence of face as prosopopoeia, as the instantiation of aesthetic symmetry par excellence, and as figuration.

    This conference will ask, what is a face? And what is the form of a face? How does the face index the human? Do non-human animals have faces? What scale of relationality is implied in the phrase, face to face? And how does the metaphysics of presence—the suggestion of an entity behind the face or through the window of the eyes—relate to a politics of recognition? If one can be known through the face, then how does knowledge function in the instance of no face, of the acousmatic, the face in shadow, the masked or veiled face, the fugitive face, the face as surface. In considering the philosophical implications of linguistic differences and untranslatable figurations of the face, we will address how the rocky face of a mountain, the façade of a building, the face of the earth, the face of the divine also demand an analysis of scale, a dimension of height, and an ethics of relationality.

    CHCI will address these questions concerning form and face also through a consideration of what kinds of forms are currently appropriate to humanities research, collaboration, and presentation. What are the implications of the changing technologies of face for notions of human, non-human, and posthuman; environment, infrastructure, and communicability; public face and interface? How do the changing technologies of face historically shape the manner in which we conceive of humanities research, its presentation, and its historical and geographical depth?


    CHCI poster (cropped) with text "Face to Face: Forms of the Humanities" and conference info
    Thursday, May 19, 2022 - 5:30pm to 7:00pm
    John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute
    Event Co-Sponsors