Humanities Symposium in Honor of Sandra Luft

Saturday, October 21, 2017, 9:00 am to 4:30 pm
Photo of Sandra Luft
Professor Sandra Luft, who has been teaching in the Humanities program at San Francisco State longer than anyone in the University's history, will retire after the fall semester. This symposium features some of the many students Professor Luft has taught since 1962. They will discuss their own academic careers and achievements, careers and achievements, which were stimulated by the Humanities program, a very new -- and even controversial -- experiment at the time it began at State. Free.
Humanities Building, Room 587
School of Humanities & Liberal Studies
School of Humanities & Liberal Studies
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Sandra Luft

Luft’s teaching and research interests have centered on modern European (16th to 21st centuries) history of ideas, with an emphasis on philosophy of history and on the theoretical and methodological assumptions of the interdisciplinary study of intellectual and cultural history. From the mid-1960s to the mid-1990s, she participated in NEXA, an interdisciplinary science/humanities program at SF State.

More recently, Luft’s teaching has focused on contemporary postmodern literature, particularly the works of Nietzsche, Heidegger and Derrida, as well as the writings of Hannah Arendt.

For many years Luft’s research has focused on 18th-century Neapolitan philosopher Giambattista Vico. Her book, Vico’s Uncanny Humanism: Reading the “New Science” between Modern and Postmodern, was published by Cornell University Press in 2003. Her most recent publication is the 2013 article, “The Divinity of Human Making and Doing in the 18th Century,” published in A Companion to Enlightenment Historiography (Brill Publishers).

Luft received her Bachelor’s degree from University of California, Berkeley, in 1956, with a double major in philosophy and English literature. She earned her Master of Arts and Ph.D. in the history of ideas from Brandeis University in 1963.


9am – 9:20 am

  • Coffee and greetings

9:20am – 9:30am

  • Welcome and introductory remarks: Professor Cristina Ruotolo, director, School of Humanities and Liberal Studies

9:30am – 11am

Students from the 1960s – early 1990s

  • Sue-Ellen Case (B.A., Humanities, ’64; M.A., Humanities, ’67), professor emerita and distinguished research professor in critical studies, school of theater, film and television, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Tom Leddy (M.A., Humanities, ’74,), professor of philosophy, San Jose State University
  • Bruno Gulli (M.A., Philosophy, ’92), faculty of history, philosophy and political science, Kingsborough Community College, City Universityof New York
  • Laikwan Pang (B.A., Cinema, ’92), professor of cultural and religious studies, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

11am – 11:10am

  • Break

11:10am – 12:20pm

Students from the 1990s

  • Rebecca Overmyer-Velazquez (B.A., Cinema, ’94), associate professor, sociology, Whittier College
  • Ed Cameron (M.A., Humanities, ’94), professor, literatures and cultural studies, University of Texas, Rio Grande
  • Kevin Fellezs (B.A., Music, ’98;; M.A., Humanities, ’00), assistant professor of music, Columbia University

12:20pm – 1:30pm

  • Lunch Break

1:30pm – 2:40pm

Students from the late 1990s/2000s

  • Richard Ackerman (B.A., German/Philosophy, ’99)
  • Robin Chang (B.A., Political Economy/Philosophy, ’04; M.A., Social Science, ’10), Ph.D candidate in philosophy, York University, Ontario
  • Lisa Arellano (M.A., Humanities, ’97), associate professor of American studies and women’s, gender and sexuality studies, Colby College

2:40pm – 2:50pm

  • Break

2:50pm – 4pm

Students from the 2010s

  • Troy Dujardin (B.A., Philosophy/Religion/Japanese, ’05; M.A., Philosophy, ’10),Ph.D. candidate in Department of Religion, Boston University
  • Spencer Horne (B.A., Philosophy, ’12)
  • Dan Schifrin, Creative Writing, San Francisco State University

4pm – 4:30pm

  • Closing Remarks: Sandra Luft and Cristina Ruotolo