Xavier University historian Kathleen Smythe will discuss a pair of long-term historical processes of significance in African history before 1000 CE (Common Era), explore their connections to history in other parts of the world and how they illuminate world history in general in a Lawrence University Main Hall Forum.
Smythe presents “African Lessons for World History” Thursday, March 4 at 4:30 p.m. in Main Hall, room 201. The event is free and open to the public.
Because African historians have traditionally not situated their works and discoveries within a wider frame of world historical developments, African history tends to be integrated less consistently into world history than other geographical regions. Smythe will examine some of the methods African historians have pioneered to uncover history beyond the use of written sources, including the techniques of historical linguistics.
She also will discuss how current historical research on Africa often has been hindered by an overreliance on Western history and concepts constructed by 19th- and 20th-century Western historians who typically
relied on written evidence and paradigms based on centralized states, development, progress and technology which tend to neglect most regions of the world.
A specialist in African and colonial history, Smythe joined the Xavier history department in 1997 after earning her Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin. She is the author of the forthcoming articles “Literacy: A Vehicle for Cultural Change” and “Religion in Colonial Africa: Indigenous Religion” for the Encyclopedia of African History.
Lawrence University associate professor of Spanish and Italian Patricia Vilches examines issues of national and cultural identity in a Lawrence Main Hall Forum.
Vilches presents “Is it Your Border or Mine,” Tuesday, Feb. 3 at 4:30 p.m. in Main Hall, Room 201. The event is free and open to the public.
Vilches will discuss examples of modern Latin American cinema and literature that deal with physical as well as metaphysical border issues and the cultural identity issues that can ensue. Included in her discussion will be a look at “borders” that result when people return to a country after many years away, such as Chileans who lived in the United States during General Augusto Pinochet’s regime then returned to Chile after the dictatorship ended. Among the works Vilches will examine are the films “El jardin del Eden” by Maria Novaro and “El Norte” by Gregory Navas and the book “How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents” by Julia Alvarez.
A specialist in Latin American culture and literature, Vilches joined the Lawrence faculty in 2000. She earned her doctorate in romance languages and literatures at the University of Chicago.
Best-selling author J.K. Rowling’s magical world of whiz kid Harry Potter and his adventurous confrontations with ethical dilemmas will be the focus of a Lawrence University Main Hall Forum.
Lawrence historian Edmund Kern, presents “Imagination at Work: Harry Potter and Stoic Virtue,” Monday, Oct. 27 at 4:10 p.m. in Main Hall, Room 201. The event is free and open to the public.
Kern¹s address will examine how Rowling’s creative blending of imaginative wit with serious contemplation of virtue offers readers the promise of triumph over evil and provides guidance on the importance of thoughtful attention to right and wrong. Kern argues in Rowling’s updated version of Stoicism, Harry’s resolve in the face of adversity is the result of conscious choice and attention to what is and is not within his control.
Kern, a specialist on early modern European history as well as the history of witchcraft and religious culture, is the author of the recently published book, “The Wisdom of Harry Potter: What Our Favorite Hero Teaches Us About Moral Choices.”
Rebecca Matveyev traces the long and often-complicated history of official and informal national anthems of Russia in a Lawrence University Main Hall Forum.
Matveyev, associate professor of Russian at Lawrence, presents “Russian, Soviet and Post-Soviet National Anthems” Tuesday, March 11 at 4:30 p.m. in Main Hall, Room 201. The event is free and open to the public.
Beginning in the late 1600s up to the present, Matveyev will examine the evolution of the various anthems and the roles that historic events and national identity played in their development.
A specialist in 19th-century Russian literature, Matveyev joined the Lawrence faculty in 1996. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English and Russian at Rice University and her Ph.D. in Russian language and literature at the University of Wisconsin.