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2010-2011 Humanities Forum

FALL 2010
September 15,         7:30 p.m.                 Library 7th Floor
Lost in the Unknown: Family Secrets and Their Consequences
Steve Luxenberg, Author of Annie’s Ghosts: A Journey Into a Family Secret and Associate Editor of the Washington Post

This is the story of a mother’s secret – and the son who used his skills as an investigative journalist to uncover her motivations for hiding her sister’s existence. Annie’s Ghosts reveals the emotional costs of stigma and secrecy, as well as a writer’s difficulty in ferreting out the buried facts when memories have dimmed and records no longer exist.

Sponsors:  Dresher Center for the Humanities and The UMBC Retriever Weekly

September 20,           4 p.m.                  Library  7th Floor
Higher Education?  Some Pertinent and Impertinent Questions about the Value Students and Families Receive for their College Investment
Andrew Hacker and Claudia Dreifus
Claudia Dreifus, New York Times columnist and School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University and Andrew Hacker, Contributor to the New York Review of Books and Department of Political Science, Queens College (CUNY)

Andrew Hacker and Claudia Dreifus will speak about the highs and lows they encountered during three years of research at colleges and universities from coast-to-coast. They will explore what’s wrong, what’s right, and why UMBC earned a spot on their list of model institutions.

Sponsors: Office of the President, Social Sciences Forum and the Dresher Center for the Humanities
September 29,            4 p.m.                 Library Gallery
After Hours in the Cerebral Kitchen:  Experimental Filmmaking in the 21st Century
Fred Worden, Department of Visual Arts, UMBC

Adopting the model of the broadcast T.V. cooking show, Worden shares the secret recipes, ingredients and techniques he has created in his quest to cook up new cinematic cuisine. He will trace lines of continuity from early cinema’s first photochemical explorations to the current digital reinvention of the form. As in the first decade of the twentieth century, a technology-driven growth spurt is opening doors to uncharted cinematic territories, and it is the artists who are heading out first to scout the lay of the land.

Sponsors: Dresher Center for the Humanities and the Department of Visual Arts
October 13,         4 p.m.                   Library Gallery
Ancient Studies Week Lecture: Cultic Revelries in the Egyptian New Kingdom
Betsy Bryan, Alexander Badawy Professor of Egyptian Art and Archaeology, Johns Hopkins University

This lecture explores festivals of drunkenness celebrated in Thebes in the Egyptian New Kingdom between ca. 1470 and 1100 B.C. Knowledge of these festivals springs from the archaeological remains of a “hall of drunkeness” discovered by the JHU expedition to the Temple of the goddess Mut at South Karnak, where a festival was celebrated  during the reign of Queen Hatshepsut, ca. 1470. Dr. Bryan will also discuss the evidence in general for such festivals in the New Kingdom.

Sponsors: Department of Ancient Studies and the Dresher Center for the Humanities
October 27,     4 p.m.          Library Gallery Webb Lecture
The Very Long Eighteenth Century: An Experiment in the History of Religion?
Robert K. Webb, Professor Emeritus, Department of History, UMBC

Known for its identification with “the age of reason,” the eighteenth century also saw the rapid spread of Methodism and Evangelicalism, the Anglican revival, and the impact of early Romanticism. This lecture will explore how the development of rationalism, in which the eighteenth century remains central, posed the primary and ultimate challenge to religion in England and elsewhere in Europe.

Sponsors: Department of History and the Dresher Center for the Humanities
November 10,          7 p.m.             UC Ballroom
32nd Annual W.E.B. Dubois Lecture: Politics and Policy in the 21st Century:  Does Race Still Matter?
Mary Frances Berry, Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought and Professor of History, University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Berry has had a distinguished career in scholarship, including nine books on African American and women’s history and American justice and civil rights law, and in public service.  She was a long-time member and chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and Assistant Secretary for Education in the Department of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW). She has served as a provost at UMCP, the Chancellor of the University of Colorado-Boulder and the former President of the Organization of American Historians (OAH) and is the recipient of the SCLC’s Rosa Parks Award and the NAACP’s Roy Wilkins Award.

Sponsors:  Department of Africana Studies and the Dresher Center for the Humanities
November 30,           4 p.m.              Library 7th floor
Social Movements and Participatory Cultural Democracy in Latin America and the U.S. in a Time of Crises
James Counts Early, Director, Cultural Heritage Policy, Smithsonian Institution

The financial crash in the United States and the economic “push and pull” factors of migration, immigration, and transnational cultural identity have sparked new conservative and radical perspectives on social movements and participatory cultural democracy.   Across the ideological and political spectrum there are growing challenges to the status-quo, including the Tea Party Movement in the U.S. and new democracy movements among Latinos. Dr. Early will examine the nexus of participatory democracy and pluralist socialist movements that have altered the state of national politics and cultural identity in Latin American and the U.S.

Sponsors: Dresher Center for the Humanities, Language, Literacy and Culture Program and the Department of Sociology

February 21,              4:30 p.m.       Library Gallery
The “Viractual”
Joseph Nechvatal, The School of Visual Arts (NYC) and Galerie Richard, Paris

Through the computer hybridization of components of the male and female sexual anatomy, Nechvatal arrives at hermaphroditic abstractions weirdly in tune with the cultural white noise of the present moment. In attaining this “viractual” state for something between the virtual and the actual, Nechvatal’s work is simultaneously classical and futuristic–part anatomical rendering, part forensic voyeurism.

Sponsors:  Department. of Visual Arts and the Dresher Center for the Humanities
March 2,                  4 p.m.           Library 7th Floor
Booksigning and Panel Discussion: “The Obama Effect”
Heather E. Harris, Stevenson University, Kimberly R. Moffitt, UMBC, Catherine R. Squires, University of Minnesota,The moderator will be Dan Rodricks of WYPR’s Midday With Dan Rodricks

These three co-editors of  The Obama Effect, a multidisciplinary analysis of Obama’s presidential campaign and the November 4, 2008 election place the “Obama effect”  in the context of the American experience with race and the media. They remind us that reaching a point in U.S. history where a biracial man could be deemed electable is only part of an ongoing struggle.

Sponsors:  Department of American Studies and the Dresher Center for the Humanities
March 9,     4 p.m.           Library Gallery
Sita Sings the Blues: The Ramayana and “Free Culture”
Nina Paley, Independent Filmmaker and Artist-In-Residence at

Nina Paley’s 2009 feature film Sita Sings the Blues combines the ancient Indian epic Ramayana with 1920’s American jazz and contemporary animation. Focusing her talk around the film’s production, licensing struggles and eventual “copyleft” release, Paley discusses artistic liberty in an era of copyright wars, censorship, and religious extremism.

Sponsor:  Dresher Center for the Humanities
March 30,              4 p.m.              Library Gallery
Maryland Traditions:  A Panel Presentation
Elaine Eff and Cliff Murphy, Co-directors, Maryland Traditions, Kara Rogers Thomas, Folklorist, Frostburg State University, Cynthia Byrd, Curator, Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art, Salisbury, Mark Puryear, Smithsonian Institution’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, Lafayette Gilchrist, Maryland Traditions Apprentice

Join us for a conversation with representatives of Maryland’s only statewide program to sustain living traditions through documentation and presentation. Maryland Traditions folklorists from Western Maryland, Eastern Shore, and the Capitol region share their efforts along with self-taught Jazz pianist Lafayette Gilchrist, recipient of Maryland Traditions’ Master and Apprentice awards.

Sponsors:  Dresher Center for the Humanities and the Orser Center for the Study of Place, Community and Culture
April 13,                4 p.m.               Library Gallery
The Daphne Harrison Lecture: Harlem Renaissance Personages and Haiti
Richard A. Long, Atticus Haygood Professor Emeritus, Emory University

This presentation will provide an account of the Haitian contacts and connections of several distinguished Harlem Renaissance figures, most of whom are included in Alain Locke’s The New Negro, the principal compendium of the movement. Among these figures are Locke himself, W E B Du Bois, Langston Hughes, and Zora Neale Hurston.

Sponsor:  Dresher Center for the Humanities
April 20,               4 p.m.               Library Gallery
Annual Lipitz Lecture: The Historian: Citizen of the World, and an Archive Mouse
James S. Grubb, Department of History, UMBC

Historians strive to be citizens of the world, crossing cultural boundaries in time to explore the values and structures of peoples who are strangers to us.  Focusing on the Italian Renaissance, James Grubb’s work looks at middling folk five hundred years past, those neither powerful nor marginalized, who lived their days as best they could and left few traces in the history books.  He reminds us that the task of reconstructing the ordinary can only take place in the archives, those cathedrals of the dead, by painstakingly assembling the scattered shards of forgotten lives.

Sponsors:  College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and the Dresher Center for the Humanities
April 27,                 4 p.m.               Library 7th Floor
Poetry Reading
Joelle Biele, Literary Critic and Poet

Joelle Biele is the author of White Summer, the winner of the Crab Orchard Review First Book Award. A Fulbright scholar twice over, she has received awards from the Poetry Society of America and the Maryland State Arts Council. Her latest book, (to be released in February 2011) Elizabeth Bishop and The New Yorker: The Complete Correspondence, is a rare glimpse at the artistic development of one of the twentieth-century’s most celebrated poets. Dr. Biele has taught at Goucher College, UMCP and Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. She is currently a Humanities Scholars Teaching Fellow at UMBC.

Sponsors:  Department of English and the Dresher Center for the Humanities