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Humanities Forums Fall 14

The Humanities and Civic Engagement

In 2014-15, the Humanities Forum will highlight “The Humanities and Civic Engagement.” Many of the Forum events address matters of identity and civic belonging, questions of morality and honor in public life, and issues of human rights in an age of globalization. These events shine a light on ways that humanities research and teaching promote civic citizenship and social engagement.


Thursday, September 18th
5:30pm, Albin O. Kuhn Library, 7th floor
Digital Humanities Initiative Event
Mark Tribe: Art is a Three Letter Word
Mark Tribe, artist

Artist, author, and curator, Mark Tribe considers the ways in which landscape images are used to expand territories and defend geopolitical interests. Working indoors, Tribe uses software to generate panoramic outdoor landscape photographs from a “drone’s eye” perspective. Tribe’s photographs suggest that the machinic perspective of unmanned devices produces compelling images that play an influential role in contemporary culture.

Sponsored by the Dresher Center for the Humanities and by the Visual Arts Department; and the Center for Innovation, Research, and Creativity in the Arts.

Tuesday, September 23rd
7:00pm, University Ballroom
An Evening with Sonia Nazario, author, Enrique’s Journey
Sonia Nazario, author; lecture and book signing

Sonia Nazario, author of the national bestseller, Enrique’s Journey, recounts the odyssey of a Honduran boy who braves unimaginable hardship to reach his mother in the United States. Based on the Los Angeles Times newspaper series that won her two Pulitzer Prizes, Enrique’s Journey is the timeless story of families torn apart, the yearning to be together again, and a boy who will risk his life to find the mother he loves. Enrique’s Journey is the selection for UMBC’s new student book experience.

Sponsored by Undergraduate Academic Affairs and by the Office of Institutional Advancement; the Division of Student Affairs, with the support of PNC Bank; the Dresher Center for the Humanities; and the Latino Hispanic Faculty Association.

Thursday, October 2nd
4:00pm, Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery
Webb Lecture
Children of Rus’: Ukraine and the Invention of a Russian Nation
Faith Hillis, Assistant Professor of Russian History, The University of Chicago

Russian national interests in Ukraine became front-page news during the recent crisis. This talk places the struggle for control of Ukraine in a broader historical context. In the 19th century, a powerful and transformative Russian nationalist movement, claiming to restore the ancient customs of the East Slavs, swept across what is today central Ukraine.  By examining the role of this nineteenth century movement, Prof. Hillis will reflect on the causes of and potential solutions to the crisis in Ukraine.

Sponsored by the History Department and by the Dresher Center for the Humanities.

Tuesday, October 7th
4:00pm, Performing Arts and Humanities Building Theatre
America’s Gilded Capital
Mark Leibovich, New York Times reporter and author

Mark Leibovich, chief national correspondent for The New York Times Magazine, talks about his best-selling account of Washington, DC, This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral – plus plenty of valet parking! – in America’s Gilded Capital. The book is described by critics as a stunning and often hysterically funny examination of our ruling class’s incestuous “media industrial complex.”

Sponsored by the English Department and by the Political Science Department, and the Dresher Center for the Humanities.

Monday, October 13th
4:00pm, Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery
Translating the Indian Past: The Poets’ Experience
Arvind Krishna Mehrotra, Indian poet, translator, and critic

Arvind Mehrotra, one of India’s most celebrated contemporary poets and an acclaimed translator of Indian literature, will talk about how three important Indian poets (Toru Dutt, AK Ramanujan, and Arun Kolatkar) translated the Indian classics. Toru’s translation of a Purana story would be unthinkable without her Christianity; Ramanujan’s without Modernism; and Kolatkar’s without the American idiom. These translations bring past and present together in the ongoing construction of India’s literary heritage.

Sponsored by the Dresher Center for the Humanities and by the Asian Studies Program; the English Department; the Global Studies Program; and the Modern Languages, Linguistics, and Intercultural Communication Department.

Monday, October 20th
5:00pm, Performing Arts and Humanities Building Theatre
Daphne Harrison Lecture
The Honor Code
Kwame Anthony Appiah, philosopher, cultural theorist and novelist

Philosophers spend lots of time thinking about what is right and wrong, and some time thinking about how to get people to see what is right and wrong—but almost no time thinking about how to get them to do what they know is right. Anthony Appiah has spent the last decade thinking about what it takes to turn moral understanding into moral behavior. In this talk, he explores one of the keys to real moral revolution: mobilizing the social power of honor and shame to change the world for the better.

Sponsored by the Dresher Center for the Humanities and by the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; the Philosophy Department; the Africana Studies Department; and the Global Studies Program.

Wednesday, November 5th
4:00pm, Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery
Ancient Studies Week
Revel Without a Cause? Dance, Performance, and Greek Vase Painting
Tyler Jo Smith, Associate Professor of Classical Art and Archaeology at the University of Virginia, Director of the Interdisciplinary Archaeology Program

Greek vases have much to teach us about ancient dance and performance. But how do the figures decorating ancient drinking cups and mixing bowls relate to the dances documented by the ancient authors? This talk explores the unique connection between these two important art forms, and reveals the ways they have been understood by scholars over the past 100 years. From drinking games to party tricks, we will explore the context of ancient dance and the special place of vases in performance history.

Sponsored by the Ancient Studies Department and by the Dresher Center for the Humanities; the Visual Arts Department; and the Office of Summer, Winter and Special Programs.

Wednesday, November 19th
6:00pm, Skylight Room
Civil Rights, Asian Americans and Marriage Equality: 50 Years After the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Helen Zia, award-winning author and journalist

50 years after the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed, Americans are more colored, the queers are getting married, the feminists are still marching. Through personal stories from her experiences as an Asian American, feminist and LGBT writer and activist, Helen Zia explores what other evils are lurking as “minorities” become the majority in these contemporary times that some call “post-Civil Rights ” and she considers the opportunities for all communities to move forward together.

Sponsored by the Student Life’s Mosaic: Center for Culture and Diversity and by the Dresher Center for the Humanities; the American Studies Department; the Gender and Women’s Studies Department.

Tuesday, December 2nd
4pm, Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery
Digital Humanities Initiative Event
Mapping Memory: Digitizing Sherman’s March to the Sea
Anne Sarah Rubin, Associate Professor of History and Director of the Center for Digital History and Education, UMBC, and Kelley Bell, Assistant Professor of Visual Arts, UMBC

Anne Sarah Rubin and Kelley Bell use the 150th anniversary of Sherman’s March to the Sea to discuss their collaboration on a digital project about this American Civil War event. Sherman’s March and America: Mapping Memory is an experiment in digital history that uses storytelling to introduce viewers to ideas about the intersections of place and memory. By showing the various approaches to one historical event—the 1864 March to the Sea—this project opens up questions about the stories that are told about the past.

Sponsored by the Dresher Center for the Humanities and by the History Department, the Imaging Research Center, and the Visual Arts Department.