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Fall 2011 Humanities Forum

Humanities Forum
Fall 2011

Wednesday,  September 14,   4:00 p.m.
7th  floor, Albin O. Kuhn Library
Lecture  and Booksigning: Life and Loss in the Shadow of the  Holocaust: A Jewish Family’s Untold Story
Rebecca  Boehling, UMBC Department of History

When in 2002 UMBC Biology Professor Suzanne  Ostrand-Rosenberg found hundreds of WWII-era family letters in her parents’  home, she contacted History Professor Rebecca Boehling to determine what best to  do with them.  The result is this new collective biography (co-authored  with Uta Larkey, Goucher   College), about a German  Jewish family in Nazi Germany agonizing over whether ‘to go or to stay’ while  confronting ever increasing obstacles to emigration and immigration. The  letters reveal the family members’ hopes and fears as they are scattered over  three continents, forced to contend with wartime postal delays and the  deafening silence of loved ones left behind.

Sponsors: Friends  of the Albin O. Kuhn Library and Dresher Center for the Humanities


Wednesday, October 5,   4:00 p.m.
7th  floor, Albin O. Kuhn Library
Hispanic  Heritage Month
Spanglish:  The Making of a New American Language
Ilan Stavans, Amherst College

Ilan Stavans will  explore the cultural and linguistic significance of this distinctly American  language, comparing it to other languages of minority groups in America such as  Yiddish and Black English. He will explain who speaks Spanglish, why it has so  many varieties and what its existence says about the United States. He will also  speculate on whether it will ever become a standard language.

Sponsors:   Department of Modern Languages, Linguistics and Intercultural Communication,  Language, Literacy and Culture Program, and Dresher Center  for the Humanities


Wednesday October 19,   4:00 p.m.
Albin O.  Kuhn Library Gallery
Ancient  Studies Week Lecture
The  Reception of the Medea in  the United States
Helene Foley, Columbia University

From the nineteenth century onwards Euripides’ Medea  has been the single most performed  Greek tragedy on the stage in the United States. The play’s  resourceful foreign heroine succeeds in winning justice, although at a  terrifying cost. Helene Foley explores Medea’s multiple  incarnations as a wronged but empowered “Other” from the 1840s to the present.

Sponsors: Department of Ancient Studies and Dresher Center for the Humanities

Thursday, October  27,   4:00 p.m.
Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery
Livewire: “On Fire” Festival Keynote  Lecture
Some Observations on the Relationship between Musical Composition and the  “Disturbances” of Temporal and Spacial Orientation
Carlo Landini, Conservatorio  G. Nicolini in Piacenza

Composer Carlo Landini will  summarize some of the key historical and philosophical influences behind  contemporary compositional practice. He will explore the ways in which the  music of the European Medieval and Renaissance periods gave rise to two  opposite and competing streams of thought still present in music composition  today.

Sponsors: Department of Music and Dresher Center for the Humanities

 Wednesday,  November 2,   4:00 p.m. Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery  Webb Lecture
Mosquito  Empires and Revolutionary Fevers in the Greater Caribbean,  1600-1900
John R. McNeill, Georgetown University

John McNeill will explore how the creation of a plantation complex in  the Caribbean brought favorable environmental  conditions for female mosquitoes that spread the deadly diseases of yellow  fever and malaria. Before the 1770s these tiny amazons and their diseases  underpinned empires in the region, but after the 1770s they undermined empires,  helping revolutions succeed in lands from South Carolina  and St. Domingue to Venezuela  and Cuba.

Sponsors: Department of History and Dresher Center for the Humanities

 Wednesday, November 9,  7:00  p.m. University   Center Ballroom
W.E.B. DuBois Lecture
W.E.B. Du Bois’s Intellectual Ancestors: Reassessing the  Works of Alexander Crummell and James McCune Smith
Carla L. Peterson, University  of Maryland College Park

To this day the debate between W.E.B.  Du Bois and Booker T. Washington has dominated post-Reconstruction African
American intellectual history.  Often obscured however has been the  influence of two forefathers, Alexander Crummell (1819-1898)
and James McCune  Smith (1813-1865). Carla Peterson’s reassessment of their works  clarifies these antecedents that allowed
both Washington and Du Bois to reach  their respective positions on education, and Du Bois to shape his thinking on  race and culture.

Sponsors: Department of Africana Studies and  Dresher Center for the Humanities

Thursday, December 1,   4:00 p.m.
Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery
Giving the  Past Presence:  Public History Experiments in New York City
Marci Reaven, New York Historical  Society

Marci Reaven will draw on her own experiences with exhibit planning at  the American History Workshop, New    York City’s City Lore/Place Matters project, and the  New York Historical Society to discuss the joys and challenges of public  history. She will pay particular attention to projects that center around  places and their ability to connect us to the past, and to diverse communities  and their ongoing cultural traditions.

Sponsors: Orser Center for the Study of Place, Community and Culture,  Department of History and the Dresher   Center for the Humanities