Humanities Forum: Samuel Kerstein: Dignity and Disability (4/9)

KersteinSamuel Kerstein presents, “Dignity and Disability,” on Wednesday, April 9 at 4:00 p.m. in the Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery.

Samuel Kerstein (Ph.D., Columbia University) is professor of philosophy at the University of Maryland, College Park. His research focuses on Kant’s moral philosophy, normative ethics and bioethics. Several of his current projects stem from his book, How to Treat Persons (Oxford, 2013). He is developing a Kantian conception of the dignity of persons and is exploring its implications for issues in bioethics, including the fair distribution of scarce, life-saving resources and moral constraints on medical research.

Admission to this event is free. The annual Barker Lecture is sponsored by the Department of Philosophy and co-sponsored by the Dresher Center for the Humanities. For more information, click here.

Humanities Forum: The Aesthetics of Astronomy: A Subjective Look at Cosmographical Depictions Through Time (4/1)

Image courtesy of NASA/JPL/Michael Benson, Kinetikon Pictures

Image courtesy of NASA/JPL/Michael Benson, Kinetikon Pictures

On Tuesday, April 1, writer, photographer and artist Michael Benson presents, “The Aesthetics of Astronomy: A Subjective Look at Cosmographical Depictions Through Time,” at 5:30 p.m. in the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture.

Benson presents a retrospective look at the visual legacy of space exploration, covering fifty years of space travel, from the American Mariner probe fly-by of Venus in December 1962 to the latest images from the Mars Rover. His images are not so much otherworldly as abstract, modernist creations of lush imagination.

Benson works at the intersection of art and science. A photographer, writer, filmmaker, book-maker and exhibitions producer, in the last decade he has staged a series of increasingly large-scale shows of planetary landscape photography internationally. Benson takes raw data from NASA and European Space Agency archives and processes it, creating large-format landscapes. He edits, composites, frequently mosaics and then finally optimizes these images, producing seamless digital C prints of landscapes beyond direct human experience. He is also an award-winning filmmaker, with work that straddles the boundary between fiction and documentary practice.

Admission is free. The event is sponsored by the Dresher Center for the Humanities and is co-sponsored by the Center for Innovation, Research and Creativity in the Arts and the Department of History. For more information, click here.

Humanities Forum: “The Fraught Crossroads: Where Class, Race, Sex and Violence Converge Across American History” (3/25)

Lawrence WeschlerOn Tuesday, March 25, author Lawrence Weschler presents, “The Fraught Crossroads: Where Class, Race, Sex and Violence Converge across American History,” at 4:30 p.m. on the 7th floor of the Albin O. Kuhn Library.

Using assemblage artist Edward Kienholz’s harrowing 1970 lynching tableau Five Car Stud as a point of departure, Lawrence Weschler explores the ways in which race has served as the radioactive core of American history, continually warping the potential for ordinary class-based politics and accounting for all manner of perverse American exceptionalisms (the subject of Weschler’s current work-in-progress).

Lawrence Weschler was for over twenty years (1981-2002) a staff writer at The New Yorker, where his work shuttled between political tragedies and cultural comedies. He is a two-time winner of the George Polk Award (for Cultural Reporting in 1988 and Magazine Reporting in 1992) and was also a recipient of Lannan Literary Award (1998).

Admission to this event is free and it is sponsored by the Dresher Center for the Humanities. It is co-sponsored by the American studies department and the Orser Center for the Study of Place, Community, and Culture.

Additional information can be found here.

Humanities Forum: “The Loving Story” Film Screening and Panel Discussion (2/10, 2/11)

“The Loving Story” is a moving documentary film that tells the story of the Richard and Mildred Loving, who were arrested in 1958 for violating Virginia’s ban on interracial marriage. Their struggle culminated in the 1967 landmark Supreme Court decision Loving v. Virginia. The film was directed by Nancy Buirski and produced by Nancy Buirski and Elisabeth Haviland James.

The Loving Story

The “Loving Story” will be screened Monday, February 10 from 12-1:30 p.m. in the Gallery in Special Collections at Albin O. Kuhn Library. It is free and open to the public.

The screening will be followed by a panel discussion the next day with historian Claudrena Harold. Harold is an associate professor of history at the University of Virginia. She recently co-directed a short film titled “Sugarcoated Arsenic,” which explores African American social, political, and intellectual life at the University of Virginia during the 1970s.

The panel discussion takes place Tuesday, February 11 at 4:30 p.m. in the Gallery in Special Collections at Albin O. Kuhn Library. It is free and open to the public.

The screening and panel discussion are part of the Created Equal Project of the National Endowment for the Humanities public programming initiative. The program encourages public conversations about the changing meanings of freedom and equality in America.

The event is sponsored by the Africana Studies department, Albin O. Kuhn Library and Gallery, Dresher Center for the Humanities, Gender and Women’s Studies department, Office of Student Life’s Mosaic: Center for Culture and Diversity, and the Department of Visual Arts. For more information, click here.

What Remains?: Baltimore Neighborhoods in Transition (9/19)

On Thursday, September 19 at 4:30 p.m. in the Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery, the Dresher Center for the Humanities and the Department of American Studies is pleased to present the Humanities Forum, “What Remains?: Baltimore Neighborhoods in Transition.”

Join this panel discussion as we ask: In this age of industrial decline, what happens to communities and places that once thrived?

Moderator: Denise Meringolo, History, teaches courses in public history and in American social and cultural history, particularly during the Progressive era, the 1920s and the 1930s. Her research explores the significance and value of American cultural institutions, and her book, Museums, Monuments, and National Parks: Toward a New Genealogy of Public History (University of Massachusetts, 2012), explores the federal government’s efforts to collect and preserve the nation’s cultural resources, and argues that public history has always been multidisciplinary, service-oriented, and educational.

Participants include: Deborah Rudacille, English; Nicole King, American Studies; Steve Bradley, Visual Arts; Bill Shewbridge, New Media Studio; Michelle Stefano, American Studies and Maryland Traditions; Eddie Bartee, Jr., a former Sparrows Point steelworker; Jason Reed, a community gardener of the Curtis Bay neighborhood in Baltimore.

Hispanic Americans: The Cosmic Race (9/10)

AranaOn Tuesday, September 10 at 4 p.m. in the Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery, the Humanities Forum will present “Hispanic Americans: The Cosmic Race” with Marie Arana, biographer, essayist and literary editor.

Throughout her career as a writer, Marie Arana has aimed to explain who Hispanic Americans are and what it means to have a north-south American identity. In this talk, she will explore questions of Latin American identity, its links to history, its extraordinary diversity, and the singular lessons she learned while writing her biography of Simón Bolívar.

Arana is the author of a prize-winning memoir “American Chica: Two Worlds, One Childhood,” the novels “Cellophane” and “Lima Nights,” and the biography “Bolívar: American Liberator.” She was the literary editor of The Washington Post for many years, as well as a writer for the Post, the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, and numerous other publications around the world.

The talk will be preceded by a reception and book sale, 2:30-3:45, and followed by questions and discussion.

This event is sponsored by the Dresher Center for the Humanities and the Latino Hispanic Family Association.

Race and the Civil Rights Movement in Music and Media (2/13)

Race and the Civil Rights Movement in Music and MediaOn Wednesday, February 13, at 4 p.m. in the Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery, the Humanities Forum will present “Race and the Civil Rights Movement in Music and Media.”

This discussion will feature Marc Steiner, host of “The Marc Steiner Show,” Derek Musgrove, assistant professor of history, and Michelle Scott, associate professor of history.

The panel respondent will be Daphne Harrison, Emerita Professor, Africana Studies, and a founder of the UMBC Humanities Center. The panel will be moderated by Kimberly Moffitt, assistant professor of American studies.

Manil Suri, Mathematics, in Baltimore Magazine

thecityofdeviBaltimore magazine reviewed Manil Suri’s latest book, The City of Devi, in the February 2013 issue.  Calling the book “a preculiar love story that’s both tawdry and hopeful,” the magazine says that it is “super-charged by religion, sexuality, and the overarching political conflict.”

The magazine also posted a Q and A with the mathematics and statistics professor on their website, where they asked Suri about teaching a math class for non-math majors.  “It taught me that without at least some basic motivation on the part of the learner, it’s simply impossible to engage people in mathematics, no matter how interesting or fun you make it. The subject is difficult, and for the students who were genuinely curious (and were ready to put in the effort), it was a great class. I’ve now taught a bunch of such courses, and they’ve been essential experience for a ‘math novel’ I’m working on,” he said.

Suri will read from The City of Devi on Febraury 6 at 7 p.m. in the Library Gallery.

Morality Beyond Demands (4/11)

There has been a resurgence of interest in discussing morality as a system of demands — more specifically, the idea that moral obligations, duties, and responsibilities are to be understood as actions we can demand of one another.

In the philosophy department’s annual Evelyn Barker Memorial Lecture, part of the Spring 2012 Humanities Forum, Margaret Little will discuss “Morality Beyond Demands.” She will argue that the notion of what we can demand of one another is a crucial one, well worth keeping for the important work it does, but it is a deep mistake to think that it exhausts the morally deontic realm; the fact that an action or its forbearance is not something we can demand of someone does not settle the question of whether it is morally wrong.

Margaret Little is the director of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics and associate professor of philosophy at Georgetown University.

The lecture will take place on Wednesday, April 11 at 4 p.m. in the Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery.  It is sponsored by the department of philosophy with support from the Dresher Center for the Humanities.

Approaching Authenticity: Locating Living Cultural Memories, Identities, and Traditions in the 21st Century (4/3)

In a Humanities Forum lecture entitled “Approaching Authenticity: Locating Living Cultural Memories, Identities, and Traditions in the 21st Century,” Maryland Traditions brings together a panel of scholars to discuss what ‘authenticity’ means with respect to our living cultural memories, identities and traditions of today.

In this increasingly globalized world, where ideas are shared, taken and/or sold instantaneously and where the boundaries between communities, groups and individuals are more fluid than ever before, this panel will focus on what makes one cultural expression, memory or tradition more authentic than another, and who decides what is authentic and what is not.

Maryland Traditions is the Folklife Program of the Maryland State Arts Council.

The lecture will take place on Tuesday, April 3 at 4 p.m. in the Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery. It is sponsored by Maryland Traditions with support from the Dresher Center for the Humanities