Faculty Seminar Series

A series of events centered around a subject that is of great interest and which has a significant impact on the transdisciplinary world of humanities.



2018-19 Faculty Seminar Series Theme

Erosion as Process and Metaphor

Many humanities scholars study slow processes of change: erosions of authority, will, self-determination, language, relationships, institutions, diplomacy or values. Erosions, unlike sudden catastrophes or revolutions, occur quietly and slowly, and they demand methods of analysis that engage with these gradual cultural, sociological or historical shifts. Erosion in the material world, defined as the process of gradual destruction or diminishment of things like soil and stone, can also serve as a useful metaphor for other diminutions, uncovering the many varieties and speeds of change in human cultures. The physical process that operates as the foundation for this metaphor can also serve to remind scholars that erosion itself can be value neutral: it can mean decline or decay, but it can also describe necessary or inevitable changes to things of larger scale or profound significance.

This faculty seminar series will bring scholars together from across the humanities to consider erosion—both material and immaterial—from a variety of perspectives. Welcoming but not limited to environmental humanists, this theme seeks to generate creative interdisciplinary dialogues about change, both in our methods and our matter of study.

How to apply

Individuals or teams may submit proposals for panel presentations (20 minutes per presenter), workshops, or other formats for scholarly engagement. Proposals should include names, titles, and affiliations of presenter(s), presentation titles, and a 250-500 word description of the proposed presentation or other event and its relationship to the series theme. We hope to develop 3-4 sessions throughout the coming year. Applications should be sent to ihr@asu.edu by June 15, 2018.


Erosion as metaphor and process

Possible topics might include

  • erosions of civility
  • erosions of communities or relationships
  • erosions of institutions
  • erosions of state or presidential authority
  • erosions of values or belief systems
  • erosions of disciplinary boundaries
  • models of change or metamorphosis
  • incremental progress in political organizing or activism
  • natural erosion
  • erosion v. disaster
  • dominant, residual, and emergent cultures (Raymond Williams)
  • erosion v. subversion as models of cultural or political change
  • erosion v. resilience
  • erosions of professional life
  • erosions of gender or other identity characteristics


Past Faculty Seminar Series