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INTERSECT is an initiative in interdisciplinary arts and humanities research & training. These are two-year awards that will provide up to $125,000 per year (for a total of up to $250,000 per award) to support graduate students in the arts and the humanities.
The dominant focus of INTERSECT is to develop innovative and collaborative environments for graduate education that will respond to the rapid rates of change within institutions of higher learning.  This program will place graduate students trained in the arts and humanities at the University of Illinois at the forefront of interdisciplinary research.  These students will be capable of producing new knowledge valuable across disciplines, creating transformative learning experiences, and developing high levels of expertise necessary to contribute to new and emerging fields relevant to life in the 21st century.

“INTERSECT is a launching pad for bringing very disparate groups that are working on similar things into necessary conversation with each other.” 

T.J Tallie (History, 2012 INTERSECT Fellow)


"Participating in the Cultures of Law INTERSECT initiative taught me a new way to research, write, and think." 

Katie Walkiewicz (English, 2012 INTERSECT Fellow)



Seeing Systems: Technology Studies and Knowledge Infrastructures
across the Humanities (2015-17)

This project will establish a new, regularly-offered cluster of courses on histories and theories of technology, and apply material from these courses toward an extra-curricular laboratory for experimentation in new forms of scholarly publishing and dissemination. Building on two previous INTERSECT efforts and a third successful, multi-campus course in feminist learning technologies, Seeing Systems will fill a void on this campus typically filled by a Science, Technology and Society program. In place of such a single new disciplinary hub, this approach instead collects differing disciplinary approaches to technology studies into a single course cluster, designed to expose students to differences in research and teaching methodologies on a similar subject. Outcomes will include: education for graduate students in core texts on technology from the perspectives of rhetoric, composition, anthropology, communication, media studies, digital studies, and representation; training in basic professional skills of humanities scholarship; a visible, regularly offered collection of courses for humanities students with an interest in science and technology; student-led workshops and tutorials at home and abroad in the various new technical and social tools of contemporary knowledge labor; student-led alternative publishing efforts; and a culminating symposium on technology studies across the humanities.

Participating faculty/staff include: William Barley (Communication), Jimena Canales (History), Anita Say Chan (Media & Cinema Studies, ICR), C.L. Cole (Media & Cinema Studies, ICR), Sally Jackson (Communication), Melissa Littlefield (English), Prita Meier (Art History), Jerome McDonough (GSLIS), and Terri Weissman (Art History).


Cultures of Law in Global Contexts (2014-16)

Cultures of Law in Global Contexts (CLGC), will create and promote intellectual exchange among the Humanities, Social Sciences, Arts, and Law to examine synergies of culture and law in various contexts. CLGC cultivates an interdisciplinary environment in which graduate students study the relationships between culture and law in a global framework, with attention both to macro phenomena and local histories.

The project grows out of recognition of the serious challenges emerging from the multiplicity of systems of justice globally, leading to confusion and confrontation on several fronts: clandestine economies and the criminalization of poverty; terrorism and ultranationalism; sustainability and economic development; gender, race, and immigration; medical law and ethics. These challenges require scholars to understand and communicate not only across national/continental/linguistic borders but also across disciplinary lines. Understanding multiple systems of justice is essential in an age where interactions among peoples from different cultural backgrounds increase with unprecedented speed and scale.

Participating faculty/staff include: Eugene Avrutin (History), Robin Kar (Law), Jason Mazzone (Law), Feisal Mohamed (English), Chantal Nadeau (Gender and Women’s Studies) and Dan SHAO (East Asian Languages and Cultures).



Global Indigenous Studies: The State of Play (2013-15)

INTERSECT Global Indigenous Studies: The State of Play  This innovative and multidisciplinary initiative launches the institutional frameworks necessary for robust graduate training in Indigenous studies. Along with shared commitments to the development of Native and Indigenous studies, the six-faculty-member team brings together expertise in history, literary studies, religion and theology, gender and sexuality studies, political science, and the history of consciousness. The team also enables access to an extensive network of scholars in the Indigenous world.

Envisioning global Indigenous studies as a field at and in play, this program will consider how indigeneity troubles and transforms disciplinarity at the site of technological invention and embodied performance. It will prepare students to navigate the interdisciplinary, transnational, and cross-cultural demands of inclusive global Indigenous studies. In addition to providing students with the necessary critical, methodological, and technical skills to address the most pressing needs of Indigenous peoples, this group will innovate new approaches in the field to theorize how Indigenous peoples figure within the edu-tainment domains of museums, sports, performance, and digital games. At the same time, students and faculty will consider how traditional embodied knowledge manifests in such sites of play and performance.

Students will learn how to develop research projects responsive to the needs of Indigenous peoples and will gain experience in working within and across disciplines to activate global indigeneity as an analytic frame.

Participating faculty/staff include -  Back row: Vicente M. Diaz (Pohnpeian), American Indian Studies, Anthropology, Asian American Studies (LAS); LeAnne Howe (Choctaw Nation), American Indian StudiesCreative Writing/English, Theater (LAS & FAA); Robert Warrior (Osage Nation), American Indian Studies, English, History (LAS).  Front row: Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert (Hopi Nation), American Indian Studies, History (LAS); Christine Taitano DeLisle (Chamorro), American Indian Studies, Gender and  Women’s Studies (LAS); Jodi A. Byrd (Chickasaw Nation), American Indian Studies, English (LAS).


Learning to See Systems (2013-15)

INTERSECT Learning to See SystemsThis curricular initiative will address our campus' growing need for an area of concentration in Technology Studies. We will address the role of vision in new technologies through the production of texts as well as images, interfaces, and software.

The question of vision is central to the study of new technologies not only because of the role of images in these systems, but also of sight itself, and the act of seeing. To address and understand the role of vision in technological systems is to expose their underlying value systems, the ways in which they mediate visibility for others. As evidenced by rising interest in Media Studies among International and Area Studies disciplines, scholars of the experience of underrepresented groups must increasingly grapple with the technological and visual.

We will equip students to be effective critics of not only their chosen subjects of study, but of their own increasingly digital scholarly spaces. Outcomes will include scholarly publications and presentations in traditional and experimental forms, a new digital tool made available to the public for use in scholarly research and publication, and a concluding symposium on the rise of the "Humanities Lab" as a space of experimentation for scholarly form, method and audience.

Participating faculty/staff include -  Back row: Sally Jackson, Communication (LAS); Safiya Noble, African American Studies; Anita Chan, Media & Cinema Studies (MDIA).  Front row: Ned O'Gorman, Communication (LAS); Prita Meier, Art History (FAA); Kevin Hamilton, Art and Design I FAA Not shown: Terri Weissman, Art History (FAA).


Read about previous INTERSECT groups