Seated woman speaking at an FRN event while other attendees listen attentively

Network Winter 2024

The 2024 FRN Network Winter program will be hosted on the campus of Universidad del Sagrado Corazón (University of the Sacred Heart) in San Juan, Puerto Rico, January 8–12, 2024. Each of the three concurrent seminars offered will journey through topics of power, ethics, and human story,  examining these themes from various interdisciplinary perspectives.

Background information on Network Seminars

When & Where

WhenJanuary 8–12, 2024

WhereSan Juan, Puerto Rico

Application Deadline
The deadline to apply has passed

Seminar Schedule. Seminars run Monday to Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with a midday communal lunch. Seminar conveners may adjust the class schedule in response to participant needs. Special events may also be held during the week. Participants are required to attend the full week of seminar meetings and maintain 90% attendance overall.

Seminar Materials. Eligible participants are provided with all required seminar materials (books, articles, laboratory equipment, and entrance fees).

Accommodations & Meals. Limited housing accommodations are provided to participants who live more than 50 miles from the program site. All admitted participants are provided with some meals during the program period.

Application Procedure. Applicants should submit the completed application along with all of the following:

  • A statement of intent that indicates how the seminar participant will apply what is learned at the home institution
  • A current CV
  • A letter of support from either the division dean or department head, who is well-acquainted with the applicant’s area of research
  • Their institutional liaison officer’s approval

This Year's Seminars

Accounting for the Stages of a Genocide

About the Seminar

This week-long seminar uses the ten stages of a genocide to introduce attendees to the threats of genocide facing us today. Using the Holocaust as an example, we explore how the ten stages appear within the Holocaust. Anti-semitism, a form of racism, is seen as a precondition of the Holocaust. The seminar focuses upon the ways that the stages progress toward a tragic conclusion. During the peak phase actors become identifiable as perpetrators, victims, bystanders, or rescuers on the basis of the exercise of their agency. Questions in applied ethics are posed. Resources for teaching about genocide and the Holocaust are offered.

This seminar is for participants in humanities, historians, ethicists, and persons with a concern about social justice. The seminar should inform participants about the process of a genocide like the Holocaust and make available resources for further study and teaching. Likewise, it will highlight ways to promote peace building and avoid genocide or mass atrocities.

About the Convener(s)

Paul E. Wilson (he/him) is professor of Religion and Philosophy at Shaw University and has been teaching in higher education for more than thirty years working closely with adult learners. For the last ten years he has focused on online learning pedagogy and has offered most classes in that format, while making use of discussions and technology to facilitate student learning. Paul has written and lectured in the area of applied ethics and has begun to focus specifically on the problem of mass atrocities, genocide, and the Holocaust. His monograph, The Degradation of Ethics through the Holocaust, was published in 2023 by Palgrave/McMillan.

Feminist Reproductive Ethico-Politics

About the Seminar

This seminar examines interdisciplinary feminist approaches to reproductive ethico-politics, with an emphasis on philosophical work on birthing ethics. Topics include: the medicalization of reproductive processes, medicine as oppressive institution, the experience and politics of gestation and breastfeeding, birthing definitions and epistemologies (e.g., in obstetrics, midwifery, body epistemologies), reproductive surgeries (e.g., abortion, sterilization, cesareans, episiotomies), the creation of reproductive categories such as infertility as disease, forced impregnation as genocide, obstetric violence, philosophy of technologies of birth, and future reproductive technologies (e.g. ectogestation, gametogenesis).

About the Convener(s)

Sara Gavrell Ortiz (she/her) is professor of Philosophy at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez. Her work bridges the areas of bio/ethical theory and feminism(s), and her research interests include reproductive ethics and the philosophy of birthing in particular. Gavrell Ortiz is especially interested in how the medicalization of life processes and a narrow conception of bio/technology can be detrimental for human experience and limits imagining other interesting and life-affirming possibilities. She has created courses on philosophy of birth, feminist reproductive ethics, feminist ethics, and animal ethics; and regularly teaches bioethics and medical ethics. She has given talks on birthing ethics in different organizations in Puerto Rico and internationally. Dr. Gavrell Ortiz received her Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The Documentary Image: Politics, Ethics, and Pedagogy

About the Seminar

This seminar examines the reality claim of documentary as it is deployed for different political aims, including: the construction and critique of an official historical record; personal and psychological exploration in diary films; appropriation by neoliberal humanitarian aims; community building and organizing efforts; and the ethics of representation as raised by widely-circulated images of violence. Documentary’s claim to “real” events has always been an unstable one, from John Grierson’s description of Robert Flaherty’s Moana (1926) as the “creative treatment of actuality” to our contemporary world of fake news and AI-generated imagery. Still, because of this claim to truth, documentary maintains immense rhetorical force, especially when it is used to bear witness, provide evidence, or facilitate personal and social transformation. Drawing from a wide range of documentary media, including contemporary and historical works by Rea Tajiri, Rithy Panh, Chantal Akerman, Anne Charlotte Robertson, Kirsten Johnson, Jean Rouch, the Berwick Film Collective, Arthur Jafa, and Lawrence Abu Hamdan, and theoretical texts by Vivian Sobchack, Pooja Rangan, Michael Renov, Bill Nichols, Jeffrey Skoller, and Elizabeth Alexander, this course takes the perspective that documentaries are not only audiovisual texts to be unpacked, but tools that are capable of doing things in the classroom and in the world. The course is designed for faculty who utilize documentary media as either primary or secondary material in their teaching.

Participants of this seminar will:

  • Gain familiarity with different rhetorical modes and political uses of documentary expression
  • Examine the deep cultural investment in documentary’s claim to truth and authenticity
  • Access a wide range of independent, experimental, and international documentary media
  • Explore classroom applications of documentary media as an object of study and its potential as a critical pedagogical tool

About the Convener(s)

Genevieve Yue (she/her) is an associate professor of Culture and Media and director of the Screen Studies program at the Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts at The New School. She received her Ph.D. in the Critical Studies program at the School of Cinematic Arts, University of Southern California and has been a recipient of the Consortium for Faculty Diversity postdoctoral fellowship at Macalester College (2011–2013) and the Humanities Center Fellowship at the University of Rochester (2016). She is a former member of the Board of Trustees of the Flaherty, where she led the Nanook Centennial Advisory Group, and she has also independently programmed film screenings at Anthology Film Archives, Light Industry, Metrograph, MassArt, and UCLA. She is co-editor of the Cutaways series at Fordham University Press, and her essays and criticism have appeared in October, Grey Room, The Times Literary Supplement, Reverse Shot, Film Comment, and Film Quarterly. Her book Girl Head: Feminism and Film Materiality was published in 2020 by Fordham University Press.