Honors College Professor Ellen Handler Spitz, under the auspices of Honors College Director Simon Stacey, invited Enchantment Theater Company of Philadelphia to present two, two and a half-hour long workshops in her classes last week.
Photo of students taken by Honors student Sehrash Khan.
Enchantment co-directors Jennifer and Landis Smith screened scenes from their latest production, spoke on their use of classical music (Rimksy-Korsakov’s “Scherezade”), masks, gigantic puppets, fabrics, projections and sleight-of-hand magic to create evocative, nearly wordless imaginings of tales from “The Arabian Nights.”
Dr. Spitz’s students, having read and studied several tales from the Nights, donned masks and experienced first-hand the processes of transformation from text to theater and from words to gesture and mime.
Honors College Professor Ellen Handler Spitz has been invited to speak on a panel at McNally Jackson Bookstore in New York City.
The New York Review of Books has been republishing time-honored classic books for children for the past decade, and this panel has been convened to celebrate this venture on its tenth anniversary.
Edwin Frank, editor of the NYRB’s Children’s Collection, and Betsy Bird, New York Public Library Children’s Librarian, will discuss the changing character of children’s books with Ellen Handler Spitz and other children’s literature experts.
The event is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Sunday, November 10th at McNally Jackson Bookstore. You can find more information here.
Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner David Levering Lewis is this year’s speaker for the W.E.B. Du Bois Lecture, “W.E.B. Du Bois Fifty Years after the March on Washington.” He is the author of eight books and editor of two more.
Lewis is a Professor of History at New York University and his field is comparative history with special focus on twentieth-century United States social history and civil rights. He has won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography twice for part one and part two of his biography of W.E.B. Du Bois in 1994 and 2001 respectively.
The W.E.B. Du Bois Lecture is co-sponsored by the Department of Africana Studies, the Department of History, the Department of American Studies, the Language, Literacy and Culture Doctoral Program, the Honors College, the Dresher Center for the Humanities, the Office of the Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, the Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery, and the Mosaic Center of the Office of Student Life.
The lecture will be held at 7 p.m. on November 13th in the University Center Ballroom.
The Museum of Modern Art in New York City is hosting an exhibit on Belgian Surrealist painter Rene Magritte. The show, Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926-1938, is running through January 12, 2014.
Artcritical has published an article about Magritte by Honors College Professor Ellen Handler Spitz in conjunction with the exhibition.
The show is attracting thousands of visitors from around the world. After New York City, it travels to Houston and then Chicago.
You can read the full article by Ellen Handler Spitz here.
On Wednesday, July 17, the Marc Steiner Show reaired its episode on the 162nd anniversary of Sojourner Truth’s “Ain’t I a Woman?” followed by a discussion on African American women and feminism. Jodi Kelber-Kaye, associate director of the honors college, joined singer and activist, Lea Gilmore; Dream Hampton, journalist and cultural commentator; and A. Adar Ayira, project manager of the More in the Middle Campaign for Associated Black Charities for a conversation about the growing divide between the feminist movement and African American women.
“The word feminism is a more recent invention, and if we want to say it was invented out of white women’s movements we could easily say that,” Kelber-Kaye said. “Black women’s rights people have always had a dissonant relationship with that term.”
Listen to the full episode »
Ellen Handler-Spitz’s, most recent publication, Barbara Chase-Riboud: The Malcolm X Steles, in which she is a principal contributor, is featured now on the Yale University Press’ website.
The publication, a catalog for the exhibition of the same name, features Handler-Spitz’s writing alongside photography of the work of Barbara Chase-Riboud’s “monumental series of sculptures dedicated to the assassinated civil rights leader Malcolm X.” It includes a fascinating analysis of the Malcolm X sculptures in light of critical debates on abstract art’s role in memorializing the past.
Barbara Chase-Riboud: The Malcolm X Steles will be on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art September 14 – December 8, 2013.
On May 29, Jodi Kelber-Kaye, associate director of the honors college, was a guest on the Marc Steiner Show to discuss the 162nd anniversary of Sojourner Truth’s “Ain’t I a Woman?” speech. Kelber-Kaye was joined by Lea Gilmore, singer, activist, and Center for Emerging Media cultural correspondent; Dream Hampton, journalist and cultural commentator; and A. Adar Ayira, project manager of the More in the Middle Campaign for Associated Black Charities and facilitator and analyst at Baltimore Racial Justice Action to discuss African American women and feminism.
“The word feminism is a more recent invention, and if we want to say it was invented out of white women’s movements we could easily say that. Black women’s rights people have always had a dissonant relationship with that term,” said Kelber-Kaye.
The full conversation can be heard here.
Ellen Handler Spitz, honors college professor of visual arts, recently spent several days in southern Appalachia as part of a program at the University of the South sponsored by the Yale University School of Medicine and Scholastic Books.
During her visit, Spitz spoke on “Reflections on Children’s Cultural Lives.” Spitz’s lecture was the third event in the annual Easter semester lecture series presented by Community Engaged Learning, the University of the South’s academic community engagement program. This annual series features a range of speakers from all over the world. Speakers address a variety of topics of concern for people living on the Cumberland Plateau and in surrounding communities.
Spiz was also a guest lecturer in “Child, Family, and Community Development in Rural Appalachia,” a psychology course developed out of a partnership between Sewanee’s Psychology Department and Yale School of Medicine’s Child Study Center. The purpose of the program is to help children and families in poverty-stricken Appalachia and to build community and foster a rich cultural life.
In addition to lectures, meetings, classes, Spitz also read aloud to four groups of small children in Grundy County. She read “Trumpet,” “A Birthday for Frances,” and “Miss Agatha’s Lark.”
On Saturday, March 16, Ellen Handler Spitz, honors college professor of visual arts, will participate in a panel discussion in New York City about what we can learn from the perennial controversies about children’s books that are “too dark.”
Spitz will be joined on the panel by author Lois Lowry and former New York Times children’s books editor Julie Just. The event will take place at 2:00 p.m. at the New School’s Arnold Hall, 55 West 13th St., New York, NY.
Ellen Handler Spitz, honors college professor of visual arts, discussed Maurice Sendak’s posthumously-published “My Brothers Book” in a column for The New Republic. Spitz writes that while the book is “unintelligible as a story, mostly unoriginal as art, [and] emotionally distant,” it “may send us back to Sendak’s other work with new critical insights.”
Spitz notes that one aspect of Sendak’s life that has not been analyzed is his sexuality; Sendak was gay. “’My Brother’s Book’ offers us a chance to return to Sendak’s prodigious body of complex, fascinating, sometimes troubling work and reexamine it through lenses that have not yet been tried. When an artist’s sexuality, or indeed any other core aspect of his identity, is denied public acceptance and affirmation, that denial cannot but find its way into his work,” Spitz writes.
“Although ‘My Brother’s Book’ is ostensibly an elegy for Sendak’s brother Jack, who died in 1995, Guy may well represent [Sendak’s parter] Glynn as well, who died in 2007. Jack and Guy seem to love each other with an overweening passion. We see them nude or draped in gossamer cloths but minus clearly identifiable male genitalia.” writes Spitz. “The loneliness and occasional anger of Sendak’s protagonists may be another element of his work that suggests the as yet unexamined influence of his sexuality.”
“In a time of growing tolerance, we may anticipate a reconsideration spearheaded by this final work, the one in which Maurice Sendak says his farewell to a life that was not always kind to him,” Spitz concludes.
The piece, “Maurice Sendak’s Sexuality,” appeared online on February 21.