Presentations

If you wish, you can download a printable pdf of the program.

Keynote Address

11 A.M.–Noon

Presenter: Lenore Grenoble

Languages in Danger: Why Should We Care?

Presenter

Although there are somewhere between 6,000 and 7,000 languages spoken in the world today, linguists estimate that anywhere from 50 to 90 percent of those languages will be lost over the course of the century. If this trend continues scholars predict that soon the overwhelming majority of the world's populations will speak only one of a very small number of languages. So what? This talk explores what we lose when a language is lost, who cares, and why.

Session 1

9:30–10:30 A.M.

Presenter: Lawrence Zbikowski, Iddo Aharony, Anya Bershad, Bill Hutchison, Ivo Peters, Qin Xu

Fiction Addiction and Breaking Ice: A Panel on the Arts|Science Initiative

The Arts|Science Initiative encourages independent cross-disciplinary research between students in the arts and the sciences. Graduate students from areas such as art history, English, music, cinema and media studies, theater and performance, creative writing, or visual arts are encouraged to pair up with graduate students from astronomy and astrophysics, biological sciences, chemistry, computer science, geophysical sciences, math, physics, or statistics areas for joint research projects. Two of the projects from 2013–2014 are “Breaking Ice,” a collaboration between Ido Aharony (Music), Ivo Peters (Physics), and Qin Xu (Physics), and “Fiction Addiction,” a collaboration between Anya Bershad (Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences) and Bill Hutchison (English).

Fiction Addiction and Breaking Ice: A Panel on the Arts|Science Initiative

The Arts|Science Initiative encourages independent cross-disciplinary research between students in the arts and the sciences. Graduate students from areas such as art history, English, music, cinema and media studies, theater and performance, creative writing, or visual arts are encouraged to pair up with graduate students from astronomy and astrophysics, biological sciences, chemistry, computer science, geophysical sciences, math, physics, or statistics areas for joint research projects. Two of the projects from 2013–2014 are “Breaking Ice,” a collaboration between Ido Aharony (Music), Ivo Peters (Physics), and Qin Xu (Physics), and “Fiction Addiction,” a collaboration between Anya Bershad (Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences) and Bill Hutchison (English).

Fiction Addiction and Breaking Ice: A Panel on the Arts|Science Initiative

The Arts|Science Initiative encourages independent cross-disciplinary research between students in the arts and the sciences. Graduate students from areas such as art history, English, music, cinema and media studies, theater and performance, creative writing, or visual arts are encouraged to pair up with graduate students from astronomy and astrophysics, biological sciences, chemistry, computer science, geophysical sciences, math, physics, or statistics areas for joint research projects. Two of the projects from 2013–2014 are “Breaking Ice,” a collaboration between Ido Aharony (Music), Ivo Peters (Physics), and Qin Xu (Physics), and “Fiction Addiction,” a collaboration between Anya Bershad (Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences) and Bill Hutchison (English).

Fiction Addiction and Breaking Ice: A Panel on the Arts|Science Initiative

The Arts|Science Initiative encourages independent cross-disciplinary research between students in the arts and the sciences. Graduate students from areas such as art history, English, music, cinema and media studies, theater and performance, creative writing, or visual arts are encouraged to pair up with graduate students from astronomy and astrophysics, biological sciences, chemistry, computer science, geophysical sciences, math, physics, or statistics areas for joint research projects. Two of the projects from 2013–2014 are “Breaking Ice,” a collaboration between Ido Aharony (Music), Ivo Peters (Physics), and Qin Xu (Physics), and “Fiction Addiction,” a collaboration between Anya Bershad (Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences) and Bill Hutchison (English).

Fiction Addiction and Breaking Ice: A Panel on the Arts|Science Initiative

The Arts|Science Initiative encourages independent cross-disciplinary research between students in the arts and the sciences. Graduate students from areas such as art history, English, music, cinema and media studies, theater and performance, creative writing, or visual arts are encouraged to pair up with graduate students from astronomy and astrophysics, biological sciences, chemistry, computer science, geophysical sciences, math, physics, or statistics areas for joint research projects. Two of the projects from 2013–2014 are “Breaking Ice,” a collaboration between Ido Aharony (Music), Ivo Peters (Physics), and Qin Xu (Physics), and “Fiction Addiction,” a collaboration between Anya Bershad (Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences) and Bill Hutchison (English).

Fiction Addiction and Breaking Ice: A Panel on the Arts|Science Initiative

The Arts|Science Initiative encourages independent cross-disciplinary research between students in the arts and the sciences. Graduate students from areas such as art history, English, music, cinema and media studies, theater and performance, creative writing, or visual arts are encouraged to pair up with graduate students from astronomy and astrophysics, biological sciences, chemistry, computer science, geophysical sciences, math, physics, or statistics areas for joint research projects. Two of the projects from 2013–2014 are “Breaking Ice,” a collaboration between Ido Aharony (Music), Ivo Peters (Physics), and Qin Xu (Physics), and “Fiction Addiction,” a collaboration between Anya Bershad (Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences) and Bill Hutchison (English).

Presenter: Bill Brown

The Poetics of Re-assemblage: William Carlos Williams

Presenter

William Carlos Williams remains best know for his short poems describing wheelbarrows and plums and slippers, for instance. The long poem with which he concluded his career, however, derives from a very different aesthetic, one which integrates lyric fragments with bits and pieces of letters, newspaper articles, paragraphs from history, etc. Paterson can thus be conceived as an assemblage, productively thought of in relation to the visual and plastic arts (the work of Robert Rauschenberg, say) and current assemblage theory in the social sciences. How does this change our understanding of the poem, and how does it change our understanding of assemblage as such?  

Presenter: Benjamin Callard

Humor and Explanation

Presenter

Notoriously, explaining jokes is a grim business--in the words of E.B. White, “Humor can be dissected, as a frog can, but the thing dies in the process and the innards are discouraging to any but the pure scientific mind.” In this talk I try to explain why explanations have this effect on jokes, with the broader goal of shedding some light on the nature of explanations and humor.

Presenter: Steven Collins

The Varieties of Buddhist Wisdom

Presenter

This talk, based on Pali texts of the Theravāda tradition in South/Southeast Asia, will counter the view of Buddhist ‘wisdom’ as solely a matter of profound spiritual insight. There are many stories where the future Buddha ‘fulfils the Perfection of Wisdom’ by other means: good strategy, cunning, riddle-solving, problem-resolution and other ‘worldly’ skills. What might this teach us about the viability of a concept of ‘wisdom’ in the modern world?

Presenter: Teri Edelstein

Tour of En Guerre: French Illustrators and World War I at the Special Collections Exhibition Gallery – 9:30 a.m.

Presenter

On the centenary of the Great War’s commencement, En Guerre: French Illustrators and World War I explores the conflict through French graphic illustration of the period. The exhibition presents themes essential to a deeper understanding of the war in France: patriotism, propaganda, the soldier’s experience, as well as the mobilization of the home front as seen through fashion, humor, and children’s literature. Like no other conflict before it, the Great War was a war of images. Its scale, duration, and intensity were brought home to the public by media and technologies that, in some cases, were well established, but in others seemed novel and even startling. Films, photographs, lithographic posters, illustrated books, prints, and postcards—many in huge quantities—were part of an international propaganda effort that had few parallels before or since. It offered special opportunities to artists with established reputations and rich possibilities for those just beginning their careers.

Presenter: Christopher Faraone

Ancient Greek Gems as Vehicles for Healing, Protection, Cursing, and Erotic Magic

During the Roman Imperial period Greeks began to inscribe gems with various texts that reveal them to be curative and protective amulets -- no surprise there -- as well as vehicles for cursing and erotic conquest.  This second class of gems, apparently worn on the body of the person who is launching the curse or erotic spell, is itself an invention of the period that confuses our understanding of amulets and innovates in the types of images it uses, most notably an image of the eagle feasting on the liver of the bound Prometheus.  This presentation will include color photographs taken over the past year or so at the British Museum and various smaller museums in central Germany and in Madrid.

Presenter: Philip Gossett

The Complete La Gazzetta, a Comic Opera by Rossini

Presenter

Almost by chance, a major quintet was rediscovered in Palermo that falls in the middle of Act I of La gazzetta. Rossini probably cut it before the first performance of the opera, but the quintet is needed to complete the action. Stage directors have wanted to know about it since Dario Fo had the cast declaim the text in rhythm, but without music. Rossini borrowed the piece, in part, from two operas, La scala di seta and Il barbiere di Siviglia, but he developed it very differently from both of those operas. This presentation will talk a bit about some of those differences, particularly with regard to Barbiere.

Presenter: Reginald Jackson

Slavery, Performance, and the Question of Personhood in Medieval Japanese Drama

Presenter

Plot: Filial girl sells herself into slavery to pay for parents’ funeral rites. Daring priest dances to purchase her freedom. Such transactions tell us much about the volatile valuation of human life in medieval Japan. What strictures defined personhood and how could spectacular gestures amend them? This presentation takes up medieval Noh plays to explore dramatic labor’s role in redrawing the boundaries between subject and object, performer and commodity, stage and auction block.

Presenter: Christine Mehring, Alice Kain

Concrete Traffic

On January 15, 1970, the German Fluxus artist Wolf Vostell (1932–1998) had a 1957 Cadillac DeVille covered in sixteen tons of concrete to be exhibited as “event sculpture” in a parking lot on Ontario Street outside of Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art. Today, Concrete Traffic counts as one of the most significant public art works not only in the University’s collection but in the history of 20th-century art. Supported by the Neubauer Collegium in partnership with the Gray Center, we are collaborating with New York–based conservator Christian Scheidemann to conserve the sculpture and return it to campus. We will discuss the work’s significance as well as our conservation process.

Concrete Traffic

On January 15, 1970, the German Fluxus artist Wolf Vostell (1932–1998) had a 1957 Cadillac DeVille covered in sixteen tons of concrete to be exhibited as “event sculpture” in a parking lot on Ontario Street outside of Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art. Today, Concrete Traffic counts as one of the most significant public art works not only in the University’s collection but in the history of 20th-century art. Supported by the Neubauer Collegium in partnership with the Gray Center, we are collaborating with New York–based conservator Christian Scheidemann to conserve the sculpture and return it to campus. We will discuss the work’s significance as well as our conservation process.

Presenter: Robert Kendrick

Pieces at an Exhibition: Music and Politics in 1930s Mexico

Presenter

The current Art Institute of Chicago exhibit of graphic art by the Mexican print collective Taller de Gráfica Popular in the 1930s–40s provides the context for this discussion of how Mexican composers of the era reacted to the social and cultural currents of the time. We will listen to little-known pieces by Cesar Chavez and Silvestre Revueltas in conjunction with images on display at the AIC.

Presenter: Alison LaCroix, Jason Merchant

The Use and Abuse of Linguistics at the US Supreme Court

Legal reasoning in the U.S. in recent years has taken a linguistic turn, with heavy and increasing use of linguistic reasoning and dictionaries in courts from the Supreme Court on down; this is largely due to the increased prominence of originalism as a guiding legal philosophy. But these tools must be used with care, and the practitioners of these techniques are apt to reach erroneous conclusions. We show that more accurate use of large-scale data-mining techniques such as the Google n-gram corpus leads to conclusions in conflict with the decisions the courts have handed down.

The Use and Abuse of Linguistics at the US Supreme Court

Legal reasoning in the U.S. in recent years has taken a linguistic turn, with heavy and increasing use of linguistic reasoning and dictionaries in courts from the Supreme Court on down; this is largely due to the increased prominence of originalism as a guiding legal philosophy. But these tools must be used with care, and the practitioners of these techniques are apt to reach erroneous conclusions. We show that more accurate use of large-scale data-mining techniques such as the Google n-gram corpus leads to conclusions in conflict with the decisions the courts have handed down.

Presenter: Laura Letinsky

Unsuspending Disbelief: What Photographs “Mean”

Presenter

Is what the photograph pictures the same as what the photograph means? The photograph’s ubiquity naturalizes its ways of describing such that what is “pictured” is regularly taken as evidentiary. However, what the photograph actually means is in fact rarely self-evident and always relative. Through a variety of perspectives we will examine the photograph’s lamination of content and subject that will be the subject for a symposium, a practicum-seminar class, and the focus for an exhibition at the Logan Center, The Faculty of Belief, co-curated by Letinsky and Monika Szewczyk.

Presenter: DN Rodowick

Why Art Matters to the Humanities

Presenter

The visual arts are often considered to be distinct from the humanities, as image is to text and practice is to theory. I want to open for discussion another perspective where the arts and humanities are imagined as inseparable and integrated activities that both challenge and enlarge our basic human capacities for interpretation and evaluation.

Presenter: Lawrence Rothfield

Antiquities Under Siege, Again

In the wake of the 2003 looting of the Iraq Museum and the consequent pillaging of thousands of archaeological sites, UChicago’s Cultural Policy Center convened an array of experts (legal, military, archaeological, economic) to better understand what went wrong and to develop recommendations on steps to be taken to prevent or mitigate future threats posed to cultural heritage in times of armed conflict. Recent events in the Middle East have raised new alarms about the future of the past. In this presentation, we review the events of 2003 and assess both the progress made in disaster preparedness and response and the more difficult challenges posed by the new environment. We’ll end by pulling back to ask what more might be done to address the root cause of antiquities looting: the untrammeled international demand by collectors for artifacts.

Presenter: Yuri Tsivian

What Makes Them Run, What Slows Them Down: Cinemetrics Looks at Film History and Culture

Presenter

Nowadays, as filmmaking goes digital, so do film studies. This presentation features “Cinemetrics,” an online addition to the traditional toolkit of film studies. Some films are slow and pensive; some are fast and furious; some start slowly and run amuck after a while. Much of it depends on film cutting: some movies or sequences are “cuttier” than others. Cinemetrics is a speedometer of cutting; how it works and why we need it is what this presentation is about.

Presenter:

Tour of the Joe and Rika Mansueto Library

The Mansueto Library creates new spaces and tools for collections, preservation, and collaboration. Designed by Helmut Jahn, its inviting research space includes the Grand Reading Room, where scholars from all disciplines can work under a soaring elliptical glass dome with views of the historic campus.

Session 2

2–3 P.M.

Presenter: Philip V. Bohlman

The Golden Age of Jewish Film Music

Presenter

Jewish music, especially cabaret styles, was present as sound first entered film history. The first English- and German-language talkies, The Jazz Singer and The Blue Angel, took place on vaudeville and cabaret stages. Jewish popular music was no less essential to early film musicals than to Yiddish film on the eve of the Holocaust. The New Budapest Orpheum Society, a Division of the Humanities ensemble-in-residence, brings this golden age to life for their Humanities Day performance.

Presenter: Diane Brentari, Peter Cook

Sign Language Poetry and Narrative

This talk provides an overview of how sign language poetry uses movements of the body and hands to create visual poetic form. We will focus on the rhythm, timing, and coordination of the articulators (the two hands, the body, the head) which give form and structure to the poetic verses.

Sign Language Poetry and Narrative

This talk provides an overview of how sign language poetry uses movements of the body and hands to create visual poetic form. We will focus on the rhythm, timing, and coordination of the articulators (the two hands, the body, the head) which give form and structure to the poetic verses.

Presenter: John Eaton

“The End of It”: Contempo's 50th-Anniversary Commission

Presenter

John Eaton will discuss his piece “The End of It,” commissioned by Contempo for their 50th-anniversary performance. This multimedia presentation, including excerpts from four previous song cycles and and a DVD excerpt from an opera, will point toward the new song cycle and will discuss the use of microtonal and new vocal and instrumental techniques. The poems that inspired and are set in “The End of It” move from the terror of confronting the end of life in some of Donne and Swenson to the ecstatic end of the Paradiso, with the Borsch serving as a transition.

Presenter: Neil Harris

Challenging Gotham: J. Carter Brown’s Transformation of the National Gallery of Art

Presenter

J. Carter Brown directed the National Gallery from 1969 to 1992. During those years he changed the Gallery’s culture and competed with the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York for attention and glory. This lecture recounts the strategies he employed to do this, including his planning of the Gallery’s new East Building and his deployment of sensational blockbuster exhibitions, something of a novelty in the 1970s. It will also explore the tensions between Brown and his rival, Thomas Hoving.

Presenter: Michael Kremer

Knowing How

Presenter

“That’s all well and good in practice… but how does it work in theory?” is a popular slogan on student t-shirts on this campus. This joke depends on a distinction between theoretical and practical knowledge—a distinction enshrined in philosophical orthodoxy by Gilbert Ryle’s mid-20th-century essay “Knowing How and Knowing That.” Ryle attacked the “intellectualist legend” that to do something intelligently is “to do a bit of theory and then to do a bit of practice.” In the 21st century, though, Jason Stanley and Timothy Williamson (Yale and Oxford) have attacked Ryle’s distinction, arguing that “knowing-how is a species of knowing-that.” I will sketch a bit of the history of this debate. By looking at the use of the term “intellectualism” in Ryle’s day, I will show that his actual position has gone missing in the 21st-century discussion. We’ll see how history of philosophy can inform philosophical inquiry, opening up neglected insights and restoring our sense of the genealogy of philosophical arguments and problems.

Presenter: David Levin, Saar Magal

Collaboration 2.0: Preparing “Jephta’s Daughter” for the Stage

In July, 2015, the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich will present the world premiere of a piece tentatively titled “Jephta’s Daughter,” directed by Saar Magal in collaboration with David Levin. Before its premiere, Magal and Levin are team-teaching a course that serves as a laboratory for the piece’s preparation. In this presentation, Levin and Magal introduce the project and model the process of collaborative creation in a performance laboratory.

Collaboration 2.0: Preparing “Jephta’s Daughter” for the Stage

In July, 2015, the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich will present the world premiere of a piece tentatively titled “Jephta’s Daughter,” directed by Saar Magal in collaboration with David Levin. Before its premiere, Magal and Levin are team-teaching a course that serves as a laboratory for the piece’s preparation. In this presentation, Levin and Magal introduce the project and model the process of collaborative creation in a performance laboratory.

Presenter: Michèle Lowrie

From Fratricide to Suicide: Roman Civil War

Presenter

Fratricide became a conventional way of describing the horror of the American Civil War when brothers were found fighting on opposing sides. The figure, however, is much older. This session will look at Roman figurations of civil war, particularly how conflict within the polity is represented as conflict within the family and is then turned further inward as conflict within the self.

Presenter: Armando Maggi

Contemporary American Memoirs and Classical Fairy Tales

Presenter

Memoirs and fairy tales are usually considered two different forms of storytelling. Memoirs are about real things, whereas fairy tales are products of the imagination. My presentation will examine a number of contemporary autobiographical writings that reproduce a fairy-tale structure or allude to fairy tales. I will show how the two literary genres relate to each other in our contemporary culture.

Presenter: Patrice Michaels

Divas of Mozart's Day: Arias Made To Measure

Presenter

Composers and divas both needed to make some complicated calculations when writing—or singing—new material in 1780s Vienna. Is an aria the personal fingerprint of the diva, or a custom-made garment to suit a specific event? We will take a glimpse into the musical lives of five of the greatest divas of 1780s Vienna through arias tailored to their talents by Mozart, Salieri, Martin y Soler, Cimarosa, and others. The presentation will include live and recorded examples.

Presenter: WJT Mitchell

Arts and Public Life

Presenter

From John Dewey through Hannah Arendt and Jurgen Habermas, the notion of the public has remained central to a wide variety of debates in the humanities and social sciences. What is a public? How are publics constituted? And, most centrally for our purposes, what role can and do the arts play in the emergence of various kinds of publics? Central to this investigation is the emergence of new concepts of art as “social practice” and new modes of thinking about the public sphere not merely as a kind of space, but as the site of practices and actions. Over the course of the year, Arts and Public Life will also bring visiting artists, critics, and scholars to the University of Chicago campus to give a series of public lectures on the topic that will be considered for publication in a special issue of Critical Inquiry. WJT Mitchell, co-leader of the Arts and Public Life seminar and Neubauer Collegium project, will lead a discussion on these themes for Humanities Day.

Presenter: Daniel Morgan

The Camera Eye? Movement, Perspective, and Identification in the Cinema

Presenter

One of the most intuitive beliefs about cinema is that the camera stands in for the viewer’s gaze on the world. This is especially true when the camera is in motion. From cell phone videos to horror films to documentaries to animation, filmmakers have exploited the ways in which we identify with the moving camera. This talk argues that this belief is mistaken but also productive: filmmakers as diverse as Welles, Hitchcock, and Dreyer achieve their unique effects by playing with our desire to occupy the position of the camera.

Presenter: John Muse

Theater and Other Social Media

Presenter

This talk introduces a new project about the intersection of theater and recent social media. Global digital networks are making possible fascinating new performance forms, from collaborative plays written via wikis or Twitter, to the surprise public stunts known as flash mobs, to high-stakes political demonstrations enabled by mobile devices. These new activities pose fascinating questions about the ways social media are changing theater, but also about the inherent theatricality of everyday life in the age of social media. 

Presenter: Sarah Nooter, Rosanna Warren, John Wilkinson, David Wray

Poetics Across the Disciplines: Elegies by Ben Jonson and Dylan Thomas

In this session, a panel of faculty members from English, Classics, Comparative Literature, and Creative Writing will discuss Ben Jonson’s “On my First Son” and Dylan Thomas’ “A Refusal to Mourn the Death, by Fire, of a Child in London.” In conversation with the audience, the panel will illustrate how interdisciplinary perspectives in the humanities shed light on two masterpieces of lyric poetry that grapple with grief and the role of elegy.

Poetics Across the Disciplines: Elegies by Ben Jonson and Dylan Thomas

In this session, a panel of faculty members from English, Classics, Comparative Literature, and Creative Writing will discuss Ben Jonson’s “On my First Son” and Dylan Thomas’ “A Refusal to Mourn the Death, by Fire, of a Child in London.” In conversation with the audience, the panel will illustrate how interdisciplinary perspectives in the humanities shed light on two masterpieces of lyric poetry that grapple with grief and the role of elegy.

Poetics Across the Disciplines: Elegies by Ben Jonson and Dylan Thomas

In this session, a panel of faculty members from English, Classics, Comparative Literature, and Creative Writing will discuss Ben Jonson’s “On my First Son” and Dylan Thomas’ “A Refusal to Mourn the Death, by Fire, of a Child in London.” In conversation with the audience, the panel will illustrate how interdisciplinary perspectives in the humanities shed light on two masterpieces of lyric poetry that grapple with grief and the role of elegy.

Poetics Across the Disciplines: Elegies by Ben Jonson and Dylan Thomas

In this session, a panel of faculty members from English, Classics, Comparative Literature, and Creative Writing will discuss Ben Jonson’s “On my First Son” and Dylan Thomas’ “A Refusal to Mourn the Death, by Fire, of a Child in London.” In conversation with the audience, the panel will illustrate how interdisciplinary perspectives in the humanities shed light on two masterpieces of lyric poetry that grapple with grief and the role of elegy.

Presenter:

Highlights of the Collection: A Guided Tour of the Oriental Institute – 2 p.m.

The Oriental Institute Museum is a world-renowned showcase for the history, art, and archaeology of the Ancient Near East. A guide will take you on a one-hour tour focusing on some of the highlights of the collection.

Tour of Carved, Cast, Crumpled at the Smart Museum of Art – 2 p.m.

The immersive exhibition Carved, Cast, Crumpled investigates the essential qualities of three-dimensional art across historical and cultural contexts, questioning what it means to be in the presence of an object. The exhibition is the first in a series of special projects celebrating the Smart Museum of Art’s 40th anniversary. Comprised entirely of three-dimensional works and a handful of drawings by sculptors, it showcases a foundational component of the Museum’s collection, one that can be traced back to the Joel Starrels Jr. Memorial Collection of modern sculpture that was featured in the Smart’s inaugural exhibition in the fall of 1974.

A tour at 3:30 p.m. is also available.

Presenter: David Wellbery

The Aphorism: Condensation and Surprise

Presenter

The aphorism is a literary-philosophical genre that has had an especially rich tradition in Germany, although it is known, of course, in other literary traditions. Referring to examples by some of the most famous aphorists—the 18th-century scientist Georg Lichtenberg, Goethe, Nietzsche, Elias Canetti, as well as the Rumanien-French writer E. M. Cioran—this presentation will demonstrate the possibilities of this genre and explain the source of its power and fascination.

Session 3

3:30–4:30 P.M.

Presenter: Orit Bashkin

The Arabic Novel in the Late 19th Century

Presenter

The late 19th century was a critical time for the development of cultural forms in the Arabic world. This presentation will discuss some of the literature of the late 19th century and its impact on the larger Arabic cultural world.

Presenter: Catherine Baumann

Arabic + Psychology = ? The New Math of Language Study Across the Disciplines

Presenter

Language learners reaching advanced proficiency aren’t just majors in literature and cultures—they study everything from psychology to political science. At the University of Chicago Language Center we continually redesign our methods and modes of instruction to meet the needs of these learners while keeping up with current trends in language pedagogy. Stop by our center and learn about what it can mean to learn languages in the new millennium—the why and the how. Then see our staff in action as they develop new multimedia to support these learners.

Presenter: David Bevington

The Tempest as Utopia

Presenter

The Tempest is officially Shakespeare’s last play. In it he fantasizes what it would be like to live on an isolated island as a father with a daughter as one’s constant companion, who then, under the father’s guidance, meets the young man she will marry, while the father contemplates old age, retirement, an end to his creative work as artist, and eventually death. A deformed native islander and an aerial spirit are also part of this Utopian world, far away from European civilization and wars.

Presenter: Will Boast, Amaia Gabantxo, Dan Raeburn, John Wilkinson

Creative Writing and the Sister Arts

Three teachers from the Creative Writing program choose a work of visual art or music that has been important to their writing, presenting and discussing it from a writer’s perspective. Listen to novelist Will Boast, poet and translator Amaia Gabantxo, and memoirist Dan Raeburn talk about their choices in a presentation chaired by John Wilkinson, Director of the Committee on Creative Writing.

Creative Writing and the Sister Arts

Three teachers from the Creative Writing program choose a work of visual art or music that has been important to their writing, presenting and discussing it from a writer’s perspective. Listen to novelist Will Boast, poet and translator Amaia Gabantxo, and memoirist Dan Raeburn talk about their choices in a presentation chaired by John Wilkinson, Director of the Committee on Creative Writing.

Creative Writing and the Sister Arts

Three teachers from the Creative Writing program choose a work of visual art or music that has been important to their writing, presenting and discussing it from a writer’s perspective. Listen to novelist Will Boast, poet and translator Amaia Gabantxo, and memoirist Dan Raeburn talk about their choices in a presentation chaired by John Wilkinson, Director of the Committee on Creative Writing.

Creative Writing and the Sister Arts

Three teachers from the Creative Writing program choose a work of visual art or music that has been important to their writing, presenting and discussing it from a writer’s perspective. Listen to novelist Will Boast, poet and translator Amaia Gabantxo, and memoirist Dan Raeburn talk about their choices in a presentation chaired by John Wilkinson, Director of the Committee on Creative Writing.

Presenter: Patrick Crowley

Understanding Roman Portraiture in the Age of Photography

Presenter

This lecture explores some important intersections between the history of photography and the production of knowledge in classical art and archaeology. In particular, it shows how the vaunted objectivity of the photographic medium was brought to bear on the study of Roman portraits, traditionally—but not coincidentally—esteemed for their own claims to an objectively truthful likeness.

Presenter: Theaster Gates, Jacqueline Stewart

Rethinking Minstrelsy: Spencer Williams, Ed Williams, Bert Williams

Our respective research projects on Black comic actor/writer/director Spencer Williams (1893–1969), and on African American collector of turn-of-the-century “negrobilia” Ed Williams, raise a shared set of questions about the usefulness and limits of minstrelsy as the dominant framework for understanding histories of Black representation and performance. We consider their work through the lens of preeminent Black vaudevillian Bert Williams (1874–1922), whose blackface stage and screen performances leave a richly ambivalent legacy of Black objectification and virtuosity.

Rethinking Minstrelsy: Spencer Williams, Ed Williams, Bert Williams

Our respective research projects on Black comic actor/writer/director Spencer Williams (1893–1969), and on African American collector of turn-of-the-century “negrobilia” Ed Williams, raise a shared set of questions about the usefulness and limits of minstrelsy as the dominant framework for understanding histories of Black representation and performance. We consider their work through the lens of preeminent Black vaudevillian Bert Williams (1874–1922), whose blackface stage and screen performances leave a richly ambivalent legacy of Black objectification and virtuosity.

Presenter: Anastasia Giannakidou, Sayed Kashua, Na’ama Rokem

Bilingual Knowledge, Bilingual Stories

What do bilinguals know? There are multiple answers to this question, from multiple disciplinary points of view. Linguists, psychologists, anthropologists, and literary scholars use different tools to account for bilingualism. As collaborators at the Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry, Anastasia Giannakidou (Linguistics), Sayed Kashua (Israel-Palestinian novelist and 2014–2015 Fellow at the Gray Center), and Na’ama Rokem (NELC) plan to bridge these different approaches and experiment with bilingual storytelling. In this talk they introduce their collaboration and describe the different points of departure from which they come to it.

Bilingual Knowledge, Bilingual Stories

What do bilinguals know? There are multiple answers to this question, from multiple disciplinary points of view. Linguists, psychologists, anthropologists, and literary scholars use different tools to account for bilingualism. As collaborators at the Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry, Anastasia Giannakidou (Linguistics), Sayed Kashua (Israel-Palestinian novelist and 2014–2015 Fellow at the Gray Center), and Na’ama Rokem (NELC) plan to bridge these different approaches and experiment with bilingual storytelling. In this talk they introduce their collaboration and describe the different points of departure from which they come to it.

Bilingual Knowledge, Bilingual Stories

What do bilinguals know? There are multiple answers to this question, from multiple disciplinary points of view. Linguists, psychologists, anthropologists, and literary scholars use different tools to account for bilingualism. As collaborators at the Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry, Anastasia Giannakidou (Linguistics), Sayed Kashua (Israel-Palestinian novelist and 2014–2015 Fellow at the Gray Center), and Na’ama Rokem (NELC) plan to bridge these different approaches and experiment with bilingual storytelling. In this talk they introduce their collaboration and describe the different points of departure from which they come to it.

Presenter: Dorothea Hoffmann

Lost Stories? Indigenous Narratives of Australia

Presenter

Culture, religion, narrative, land, and language are deeply intertwined in the Australian indigenous context. The Dreamtime Narratives are of timeless importance as creation stories, explanations for landscape and animal features, and as landmarks of orientation. As such, they are an essential part of everyday life used for multiple purposes that go beyond storytelling. This talk, using original material from MalakMalak, a highly endangered language of Northern Australia, and Kriol, an English-lexified Creole, asks what happens when a language slowly disappears. How much is lost and what is maintained of the unique culturally-determining essence in a translated narrative?

Presenter: Alice Kain

Art in Public Spaces: A Walking Tour of Sculptures on the University of Chicago Campus

Presenter

Siting outdoor sculpture is a critical factor to the artwork’s meaning and the artistic intention, but how can this be navigated within an active and developing university campus? During this walking tour of public artwork on the University of Chicago campus we will discuss issues of landscaping, architecture, and conservation. Key sculptures will include Nuclear Energy by Henry Moore, Construction in Space and Time and in the Third and Fourth Dimensions by Antoine Pevsner, and Black Sphere by Jene Highstein.

*REGISTRATION HAS CLOSED FOR THIS PRESENTATION - Looking for more sculpture on campus? Attend the 3:30 tour of Carved, Cast, Crumpled at the Smart Museum. Alice Kain is also co-presenting with Christine Mehring on Wolf Vostell's Concrete Traffic at 9:30 a.m.

Presenter: Miguel Martínez

Winter Soldiers: Veterans and the State in the Spanish Empire

Presenter

In the 16th and 17th centuries the relationship between the state and its soldiers was as conflictive as it has been in our own age. Mutiny, desertion, protest, and subversive writing contributed to shape a radical political culture among the rank-and-file that oftentimes challenged the very institutions and values they were expected to defend. This presentation explores the connections between some of these practices and the social and cultural activism of contemporary veterans.

Presenter: William Nickell

From Sochi to the Crimea: Episodes in the Rise of a New Cold War

Presenter

Russian authorities had high hopes that the Sochi Olympics would serve as the international debut of a new Russia, freed from the stigma of the Soviet period and the difficult years of transition that followed. Instead, the Games and subsequent performances in Ukraine have reinforced old identities on the world stage. William Nickell, who is writing a book on Sochi, will examine the roles and rhetoric adopted by Russia in 2014, as well as the interpretations they have received in the west.

Presenter: Bart Schultz

Philosophy in Difficult Circumstances: A Civic Knowledge Project Discussion

Presenter

The Civic Knowledge Project uses philosophy to facilitate the building of connections between the University of Chicago and its neighboring South Side communities. Although philosophy is not often identified as an area with rich service-learning and experiential learning opportunities, the Civic Knowledge Project is engaged in a series of innovative educational experiments designed to expand the reach of philosophy in precisely such areas, and to highlight the vital role that philosophy can play in contributing to educational reform at all levels. As a key component of the humanities, philosophy can play a role parallel to that of the arts as a resource for community revitalization. 

Presenter: Michael Silverstein

Standards, Styles, and Signs of the Social Self

In our kind of language community, using—or not using—what is termed “standard” English positions an individual as a social person according to a cultural logic of verbal “registers.” But the register phenomenon is not peculiar to language and its standardization; language reflects a more pervasive experience of cultural style and self-fashioning that links us to institutions that aspire to set the values of society as people come to define themselves by orientation or non-orientation to them.

Presenter:

Tour of Carved, Cast, Crumpled at the Smart Museum of Art – 3:30 p.m.

The immersive exhibition Carved, Cast, Crumpled investigates the essential qualities of three-dimensional art across historical and cultural contexts, questioning what it means to be in the presence of an object. The exhibition is the first in a series of special projects celebrating the Smart Museum of Art's 40th anniversary. Comprised entirely of three-dimensional works and a handful of drawings by sculptors, it showcases a foundational component of the Museum’s collection, one that can be traced back to the Joel Starrels Jr. Memorial Collection of modern sculpture that was featured in the Smart’s inaugural exhibition in the fall of 1974.

A tour at 2 p.m. is also available.

Presenter: Anubav Vasudevan

How to Expect a Surprising Exam

Presenter

In this talk, I will present a new solution to the well-known paradox of the surprise exam. Despite its apparent triviality, the paradox turns out to touch upon a number of substantial philosophical issues, including that of how we can coherently accept the fact that a great many of our most deeply held beliefs may be (and at least some of them most certainly are) mistaken. In addition, I will offer some general remarks concerning the role that paradoxes play in philosophical reflection.

Tours

12:30-2 p.m.

Presenter: Teri Edelstein

Tour of En Guerre: French Illustrators and World War I at the Special Collections Exhibition Gallery – 12:30 p.m.

Presenter

On the centenary of the Great War’s commencement, En Guerre: French Illustrators and World War I explores the conflict through French graphic illustration of the period. The exhibition presents themes essential to a deeper understanding of the war in France: patriotism, propaganda, the soldier’s experience, as well as the mobilization of the home front as seen through fashion, humor, and children’s literature. Like no other conflict before it, the Great War was a war of images. Its scale, duration, and intensity were brought home to the public by media and technologies that, in some cases, were well established, but in others seemed novel and even startling. Films, photographs, lithographic posters, illustrated books, prints, and postcards—many in huge quantities—were part of an international propaganda effort that had few parallels before or since. It offered special opportunities to artists with established reputations and rich possibilities for those just beginning their careers.

*REGISTRATION HAS CLOSED FOR THIS PRESENTATION - an additional tour of En Guerre is available at 9:30 a.m.

Presenter: Monika Szewczyk

Guided Tour of Szalon – 1 p.m.

Presenter

Join Logan Center Gallery curator Monika Szewczyk on a tour of Szalon. This exhibition gathers artists' diverse works and takes its inspiration from the heterogeneous social milieus of the salon and the studio. Visit the Logan Center Gallery for more information on the exhibition.

REGISTRATION FOR THIS PRESENTATION IS CLOSED - an additional tour of Szalon is available at 2 p.m.

Presenter:

Highlights of the Collection: A Guided Tour of the Oriental Institute – 1 p.m.

The Oriental Institute Museum is a world-renowned showcase for the history, art, and archaeology of the Ancient Near East. A guide will take you on a one-hour tour focusing on some of the highlights of the collection.

*REGISTRATION HAS CLOSED FOR THIS PRESENTATION a tour of the Oriental Institute is also available at 2 p.m.

Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts – 1 p.m.

Students and staff will lead guided tours of the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, offering the opportunity to experience firsthand the groundbreaking work of architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien. Building highlights include the 474-seat Performance Hall, DelGiorno Deck and Mezzanine, Terrace Seminar Room, Gidwitz Lobby, a gallery space, fourteen arts classrooms, a film screening room, and over 90 individual arts studios, rehearsal rooms, and digital media labs.

Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts – 12:15 p.m.

Students and staff will lead guided tours of the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, offering the opportunity to experience firsthand the groundbreaking work of architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien. Building highlights include the 474-seat Performance Hall, DelGiorno Deck and Mezzanine, Terrace Seminar Room, Gidwitz Lobby, a gallery space, fourteen arts classrooms, a film screening room, and over 90 individual arts studios, rehearsal rooms, and digital media labs.