Knowing Otherwise: Haunting, Conjuring, and Spectral Encounters

To connect with ancestors, spirits, and ghosts entails intergenerational remembering that transcends individual memories and experiences and disrupts the space-time continuum. It involves tending to both the dead and the living, presence and absence, matter and trace, and past and future. It calls into question notions of discrete selfhood, human agency, and linear temporality, the anthropocentrism and humanistic possessive individualism of Eurocentric, colonial, heteropatriarchal systems of knowledge. It demands that we reimagine our relationship not only to time, knowledge, and the non-human but also to the object of our study. We should be prepared to be surprised, affected, changed, and hailed by that which lingers and haunts, instead of expecting intellectual mastery and command. Engaging with non-material and spectral forms of existence requires knowing, relating, and doing in ways that may transcend our training in the academy.

Knowing Otherwise will extend our discussion of our 2023–2024 annual theme, Possession, to explore interstitial ways of knowing, feminist and queer theorizing, and world-making. This seminar will explore how haunting, conjuring, and spectral encounters challenge us to think beyond the limits of what is already comprehensible and conceivable and refuse the epistemic exclusion of knowledge frameworks and practices that come from outside of the academy. We will reauthorize embodied knowledge and subaltern memories that elude documentation and verification, while straining to apprehend that which cannot be fully grasped, yet cannot be ignored.

We invite applications from faculty and advanced graduate students (ABD status required) whose projects explore aspects of our theme. Such studies may examine any time period(s) or geographical location(s) and be rooted in any disciplinary or interdisciplinary approach(es). We welcome work that centers ways to revive and reclaim lost or suppressed histories, memories, relations, epistemologies, and practices through a range of modalities, from poetry and the creative arts to genome science and archaeology. Topics may include but are not limited to: hauntology; rememory; conjure feminism; queer temporality; restorative nostalgia; grief work; spectral justice; spiritualism; the occult; writing about ghosts; dark tourism; deathscapes; traumascapes; ghost species; ecocide; artificial intelligence; and multispecies justice.

The seminar will support up to six Rutgers Faculty Fellows and up to four Graduate Fellows from the New Brunswick, RBHS, Camden, and Newark campuses. Seminar fellows are expected to attend all Thursday morning seminar meetings during Fall and Spring Semesters 2024-2025, provide a paper for discussion in the seminar, and open a seminar session with an extended response to another scholar’s paper.

Graduate students will receive a $5,000 stipend for the year as seminar fellows. Faculty fellows will receive either $4,000 in research support or a one-course teaching release for one semester to enable them to participate in the year-long seminar. In the latter case, departments will be reimbursed for instructional replacements at the minimum contractual rate for a Lecturer 1. Financial arrangements will be made in advance of the seminar with the department chairs and/or appropriate deans.

Applications should include a project title and 150-word abstract, a project description of up to five double-spaced pages, a reference list of five key books/articles or five scholars/activists whose work speaks to your project and the theme, and an updated curriculum vitae. Applications should be received at IRW by Monday, January 29, 2024. All decisions of the selection committee are final. 2024-2025 Seminar Fellows will be notified by Friday, March 1, 2024. Please contact IRW at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have any questions.


**Download application materials for the 2024-25 seminar**