Tag: Main Hall Forum

“Ordinary Happiness” Focus of SMU English Professor’s Main Hall Forum

Award-winning author and essayist Willard Spiegelman discusses the simple joys that can be derived from everyday activities in the Lawrence University Main Hall Forum “Sanguinity for Beginners: Seven Pleasures,” Thursday, April 29 at 4:30 p.m. in Main Hall 201.

Willard-Spiegelman_web
Willard Spiegelman

The presentation is based on Spiegelman’s most recent book, “Seven Pleasures: Essays on Ordinary Happiness,” which examines the pursuit of happiness and its accompanying delights without reliance on religion or drugs through such activities as reading, dancing, writing and walking.

Spiegelman, the Duwain E. Hughes Jr. Distinguished Professor of English at Southern Methodist University, where he has taught since 1971, is the author of nine books and is a regular contributor to the “Leisure & Arts” page of the Wall Street Journal. He serves as editor-in-chief of The Southwest Review, the third oldest continuously published literary quarterly in the country.

Spiegelman’s presentation is sponsored by the Gordon R. Clapp Lectureship in American Studies.

LU Author Discusses Life of Missionary Doctor in Lawrence University Main Hall Forum

The life and work of Dr. Asahel Grant, among the first Americans to live in the Middle East, will be the focus of a Lawrence University Main Hall Forum.

Author Gordon Taylor, a 1965 Lawrence graduate, presents the slide-illustrated lecture “Dr. Grant and the Christian Tribes of Kurdistan, 1835-44” Wednesday, May 10 at 4:30 p.m. in Main Hall, Room 201. The event is free and open to the public.

Taylor will discuss the extraordinary life of Dr. Grant, his mountain milieu and the Kurds and Nestorian Christians among whom he labored. The presentation will include slides of period engravings, contemporary satellite images as well as Gordon’s own photographs of the area.

Grant, a country doctor from upstate New York, and his wife, Judith, set sail from Boston in 1835 to “heal the sick and save the world.” They wound up in Urmia, a town in northwest Iran, where they spent the next eight years among the Nestorian Christians who lived there and in the mountains of Hakkari, across the border in Turkish Kurdistan.

During his stay, Grant experienced a danger-filled life, traversing deserts and glaciers, tending the sick and breaking bread with thieves and murderers. On numerous occasions he narrowly escaped death from drowning, disease and assassination. Within five years he had lost his wife and two daughters to disease. When he died in 1844 at the age of 36, Grant had become a local legend among Muslims, Christians and Jews, who still spoke of him with reverence decades after his death. He is buried in the Iraqi city of Mosul.

Taylor, who earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Lawrence, taught English in Turkey following his graduation. His experiences in Hakkari, the remotest province of southeast Turkey, eventually lead him to write a book about the life of Dr. Grant. The result, “Fever and Thirst: A Missionary Doctor Amid the Christian Tribes of Kurdistan” was published last November.

In the course of conducting research for the book, Taylor discovered Grant’s great-great granddaughter, Phoebe Grant, is a 1977 Lawrence graduate.

Lawrence University Main Hall Forum Looks at Public Memorials to the Truth

The complex challenge of appropriately memorializing an unpleasant chapter of a country’s history and the relationship between politics and aesthetics is the focus of an upcoming Lawrence University Main Hall Forum.

Nancy Gates Madsen, lecturer in Spanish at Lawrence, presents “The Art of Truth-Telling: Memorials to the Disappeared in Buenos Aires,” Tuesday, Feb. 21 at 4:30 p.m. in Main Hall, Room 201. The event is free and open to the public.

Based on two essays Gates Madsen wrote for the 2005 book “The Art of Truth-Telling About Authoritarian Rule,” the presentation will explore the “politics of memory” in Argentina in the wake of the state-inflicted terror during the country’s “dirty war” from 1976-83 in which thousands of citizens simply vanished.

Kidnapped from their homes and workplaces, people were taken to clandestine detention centers, tortured, killed and buried in unmarked graves. Despite demands by victims’ families and human rights groups that the government account for the thousands of “desaparecidos,” their fate still remains largely unknown.

Through a comparison of the officially sanctioned Memory Park in Buenos Aires with a more spontaneous memorial that arose at the ruins of The Athletic Club, a former underground detention center in the capital city, Gates Madsen will address questions such as what constitutes an appropriate memorial to a past horror, if memorials to brutality force people to remember events or enable them to forget them and whether, in a climate of impunity, memorials can serve as a substitute for justice.

A specialist in contemporary Latin American literature and culture, Gates Madsen joined the Lawrence faculty in 2005. She earned her Ph.D. in Spanish from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Role, Definition of Masculinity Focus of Lawrence University Panel Presentation

The recent release of “Brokeback Mountain,” the so-called “gay cowboy movie,” has generated box office success, critical acclaim, a slew of Academy Award nominations and considerable discussion on what constitutes a “real man.”

A four-member Lawrence University faculty panel tackles that topic Wednesday, Feb. 15 in the Main Hall Forum “What is ‘Masculinity’? — And Why That’s the Wrong Question.” The presentation, at 4:15 p.m. in Main Hall, Room 201, is free and open to the public.

Each of the four panelists — Melanie Boyd, Paul Cohen, Randall McNeil and Monica Rico — will address the topic from a different perspective/area of expertise, followed by a general discussion and question and answer session with the audience.

Boyd, one of Lawrence’s charter postdoctoral Fellows with an appointment in gender studies, will discuss masculinity within queer theory. Her presentation will focus on the ways “queerness” is useful in highlighting the routine combining of gender and sexuality, examining the way in which heterosexuality is intrinsic to the hegemonic definition of masculinity.

Cohen, professor of history and the Patricia Hamar Boldt Professor of Liberal Studies who is developing the course, “Reel Men: Masculinity in American Film since World War II,” will review the portrayal of masculinity in post-war American film. Using Howard Hawks’ 1948 classic western “Red River” as an example, Cohen will examine the iconic gender archetypes in the movie, especially the John Wayne persona and the notion that “real men” are wholly self-willed, self-sufficient individuals who don’t need women or anyone else.

Rico, an assistant professor of history with a focus on gender and cultural history, especially of the American West, will discuss how historians have recently taken up the issue of masculinity by examining the ways social pressures to “act like a man” have evolved over time, where those pressures originate and how the ideals of masculinity shift in relation to ethnic and class identities.

McNeill, associate professor of classics whose research interests include Roman and Greek history, will discus “codes of masculine behavior” as a subject of study in the field of classics, specifically how scholars are refining their understanding of the various ways in which Roman men dealt with the expectations that were placed upon them.

Christianity and Intellectual Life Examined in Lawrence University Main Hall Forum

Mark Noll, professor of Christian thought at Wheaton College, presents “Jesus Christ and the Life of the Mind: Very Old Landmarks for Navigating Very Modern Dilemmas” Tuesday, Oct. 11 at 11:10 am. in the Lawrence University Memorial Chapel. The event is free and open to the public.

Noll will examine some of the reasons why several types of Christian communities have become alienated from intellectual life over the last century, why traditional Christian faith points toward a more positive use of the mind and why traditional Christian wisdom speaks effectively to some intellectual difficulties of the present day.

Noll is the director of the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals at Wheaton and has served as a visiting professor at the Harvard Divinity School, the University of Chicago Divinity School and the Westminster Theological Seminary. A member of the Wheaton faculty since 1979, he earned a Ph.D. in the history of Christianity from Vanderbilt University.

Historical Development of Japanese Environmental Policy Focus of Main Hall Forum

Lawrence University economist Yoko Nagase will review five historic Japanese pollution cases and discuss the role each played in the development of Japan’s modern environmental policy Tuesday, Oct. 11 in a Lawrence University Main Hall Forum.

Nagase’s address, “History of Environmental Issues in Japan” at 4:30 p.m. in Main Hall, room 201, is free and open to the public.An assistant professor of economics specializing in environmental and resource economics, Nagase will trace the development of Japan’s environmental policy from 1868 — the beginning of the country’s modern industrial era — through the present.

She will focus on several high-profile pollution cases that were critical factors in shaping the current policy, including the 1950s outbreak of what became famously known as Minamata Disease due to mercury poisoning. More than 900 deaths were attributed to Minamata Disease and more than 2,000 additional individuals were diagnosed with the illness, which resulted from the consumption of fish and shellfish contaminated with mercury. The chemical had been routinely dumped into Minamata Bay for years by the Chisso Corporation, a former fertilizer company that evolved into a petrochemical and plastic-maker company.

Nagase, a member of the Lawrence economic department since 2001, earned her bachelor’s degree at Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo and her Ph.D. at the University of Oregon.

Interpreting the Qur’an: Modern Islamist Thought Focus of Lawrence University Main Hall Forum

Several key verses from the Qur’an concerning the role and status of Christians will be discussed in a Lawrence University Main Hall Forum.

Rachel Scott, a visiting lecturer in religious studies at Lawrence, presents “The Qur’an, Christians and Modern Islamist Thought,” Tuesday, May 17 at 4:45 p.m. in Main Hall, Room 101. The event is free and open to the public.

The verses highlighted in the presentation concern Jews and Christians in general, but Scott will focus on how those verses relate to the proposed legal and social status of Coptic Christians within a proposed Egyptian Islamic state. She will analyze different interpretations of these verses, arguing that modern Islamist thought is not monolithic, but rather is represented by a spectrum of thinkers who have competing visions as to what the true nature of Islam is.

Scott, whose research interests include Islamic intellectual history, Christian-Muslim relations and the social and political origins of the Islamic movement joined the religious studies department at the start of Term III after previously teaching in the department of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Manchester in England.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in Arabic and Islamic history at Oxford University’s Pembroke College and her Ph.D. in Islamic studies at the University of London. In addition, Scott has studied Arabic at the University of Alexandria in Egypt and Hebrew at the University of Jerusalem. This fall she will join the faculty of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University as an assistant professor of religious studies.

Duke University Public Policy Expert Discusses Just War Theory in Main Hall Forum

The parameters of Just War Theory, which provides norms for constraining world leaders’ recourse to war, will be discussed in a Lawrence University Main Hall Forum.

Allen Buchanan, professor of public policy studies and philosophy at Duke University’s Terry Stanford Institute of Public Policy, presents “Global Governance” Tuesday, May 10 at 4:30 p.m. in Lawrence’s Main Hall, Room 201. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Modern Just War Theory asserts war is justified only in response to an occurring or imminent unjust attack. Conversely, “preventive war” to avert a future unjust attack that is not imminent and war to establish democracy are both strictly forbidden.

In his address, Buchanan will discuss the feasibility and morality of allowing a more permissive norm within institutions designed to reduce the risks of abuse and error that have led Just War theorists to assert a blanket prohibition on preventive war and forcible democratization. He also will examine the Bush administration’s attempt to justify preventive war and forcible democratization.

A specialist in political philosophy, Buchanan is the author of six books, including 2003’s “Justice, Legitimacy and Self-Determination: Moral Foundations for International Law” in which he advocates justice, not simply peace among states, as the primary goal of the international legal system and rejects the notion that a state can conduct its foreign policies exclusively according to “national interest.”

Buchanan, who earned his Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of North Carolina, joined the Duke faculty in 2002 after previous appointments at the universities of Arizona, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Noted Feminist Author, Literay Scholar Discusses her Work in Lawrence University Program

Noted author, activist, literary scholar and nationally recognized feminist theorist Jane Gallop will participate in a discussion of her work Monday, April 11 in a Gender Studies/Main Hall Forum presentation at Lawrence University.

The program, at 4:10 p.m. in Riverview Lounge of the Lawrence Memorial Union, will focus on Gallop’s 1997 controversial book, “Feminist Accused of Sexual Harassment.” The event is free and open to the public.

A distinguished professor of English and comparative literature at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Gallop has been hailed as “one of the most prominent voices in the younger generation of feminist theorists” and credited with influencing the work of other post-modernist scholars worldwide. She is the author of nine books, including “Thinking Through the Body,” “The Daughter’s Seduction,” “Around 1981: Academic Feminist Literary Theory” and most recently, “Anecdotal Theory.”

Her book, “Feminist Accused of Sexual Harassment,” chronicles accusations of sexual harassment filed against her in the early 1990s by two female graduate students and explores Gallop’s own theories on sexual harassment, including its evolving definition and how a prominent feminist theorist can wind up being accused of it. A university investigation of the charges determined Gallop and the students had engaged in sexual banter and flirtation but the behavior had not reached the level of harassment.

Intellectual Legacy of Provocative Author Edward Said Examined by Lawrence University Faculty Panel

The influence of award-winning and often-controversial author and social commentator Edward Said will be examined from the perspective of several different academic disciplines in a Lawrence University Main Hall Forum.

A six-member faculty panel presents “Edward Said’s Intellectual Legacy” Tuesday, April 13 at 4:30 p.m. in Main Hall, Room 201. The event is free and open to the public.

Rosa Tapia, instructor in Spanish, will serve as moderator for the forum, which will feature the personal insights of the panelists as well as a question-and-answer session following the individual presentations.

Joining Tapia on the panel will be Peter Blitstein, assistant professor of history, Alexis Boylan, assistant professor of art history, Catherine Hollis, assistant professor of English, W. Flagg Miller, lecturer in anthropology, and Lifongo Vetinde, associate professor of French.

Born in Jerusalem in 1935 and raised in Egypt, Said spent nearly 30 years teaching English and comparative literature at Columbia University. He wrote more than a dozen books and edited numerous others, establishing himself as a provocative cultural critic while writing on topics as diverse as the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the Middle East peace process to literary criticism, cultural theory and opera. Once described as “one of the premier political intellectuals of his generation,” he was widely recognized as an astute commentator on Middle Eastern affairs and as a respected proponent of Palestinian
national rights. He served as a member of the Palestine National Council from 1977-91.

One of Said’s best-known works, “Orientalism,” took a critical view of European and American representations of Middle Eastern people and societies, charging traditional Western scholarship on the region painted stereotypes of its cultures as irrational, unchanging, violent and morally degenerate. He argued that those stereotypes have been used as justification for Western economic and political domination of the Middle East. Said died of leukemia last September at the age of 67.