The University has received $1.5 million in funding from the Andrew W. Mellon foundation to facilitate humanities projects amongst Cornell, Syracuse University, University of Rochester and the Schools of the New York Six Liberal Arts Consortium.
“The opportunity for collaboration is always important for one’s research in the Humanities,” Prof. Paul Fleming, comparative literature and German studies, told The Sun in an email. “It can offer dialogue partners; perspectives one would not achieve on one’s own; insight into different methods and materials; feedback; and collaborative networks.”
The Central New York Humanities Corridor supports programs in seven main research clusters — philosophy, linguistics, visual arts and culture, musicology and music history, digital humanities, literature, language and culture, and archives and media — according to its website. Cornell faculty are making “remarkable progress and research outcomes” through the Corridor-sponsored working groups, Fleming said.
Some examples of current projects include Prof. Debra Castillo’s “New Readings’ Bodies in Latin American Visual Arts and Culture” and Prof. Ezra Akcan’s “New Approaches to Scholarship and Pedagogy in Ottoman and Turkish Architecture.”
Akcan has been involved in the project for three years. Through the humanities corridor funding, she has been able to invite scholars from all around the world who have contributed to the study of Ottoman and Turkish Architecture to speak at Cornell and the University of Rochester.
Akcan also said that through the working group, she and her collaborator have been able to respond to “the violations of academic freedom in Turkey.”
“We have brought in last year a scholar who lost the job due to the violation of human rights and academic meltdown there,” Akcan said. “Because of current events, we have directed attention to creating a platform for threatened scholars or scholars at risk to share their work and continue their academic activity.”
Even though Fleming is currently not a part of the working groups, he said he plans on co-leading two initiatives soon. He will work on a project that examines the connections between art, handicrafts and gender during the 1800-1900s. He will also organize an undergraduate research conference for students in the Corridor schools.
“In addition to the opportunities the Corridor already presents for faculty, I see it providing a tremendous potential for developing and supporting undergraduate research and exchange in the Humanities, as well as for augmenting the ones already existing for graduate students,” he said.