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CURRENTS: Julie Oakes (Honors) and Jill Vasbinder (Dance)

Humanities Work Now


Performing Arts & Humanities Building : 216 and Online

Date & Time

April 24, 2024, 12:00 pm1:00 pm


The Dresher Center’s CURRENTS: Humanities Work Now lunchtime series showcases exciting new faculty work in the humanities in a dynamic and inter-disciplinary setting.

Lunch will be served at 11:30am.

‘Meiji Treasure Men’: How Best to Tell Their Story

Julie Oakes, Assistant Director of Curriculum and Retention, Honors College

The story of the Japanese National Treasure system begins in 1871, the year the Meiji government (1868-1912) passed the Means of Preserving Antiquities, a law designed around the protection of Japanese cultural property. While hundreds of individuals were involved in this cultural property protection process, four men had a profound impact on both the tone and the eventual form of the treasure system: consummate bureaucrat Kuki Ryûichi (1852-1941), American educator and collector Ernest Fenollosa (1853-1908), bilingual aesthete Okakura Tenshin (or Kakuzô, 1862-1913), and internationally renowned photographer Ogawa Kazumasa (1860-1929). In this presentation, Oakes will grapple with the challenge of how to organize a book on the creation of the Japanese National Treasure system, considering biographical, event-driven, and visually-focused narrative structures.


The Heart of a Dancer: Stories of American Dance through the Life of One Dancer

Jill Vasbinder, Adjunct Faculty, Dance

Jill Vasbinder will discuss her work in gathering and sharing the stories for the upcoming biography of Barbara Supovitz, a Jewish American dancer in the inaugural class of Juilliard Conservatory's dance program. Her early training with luminaries & innovators in American Modern Dance set the stage for her life in breaking the rules, setting trends. She combined Modern dance and Israeli Folk dance creating a dance company that lasted for nearly half a century. This artist who remembers "ringing bells in the streets on VE day" has found her identity through dance and allowing others to access this tradition and beauty. Vasbinder will discuss the challenges and joys in sharing Supovitz's stories.