(10 resources)

The Government of God and the Economics of Moses: Painting the Exodus in the Age of Reform in Britain
Coltrin, Chris - University of Michigan
2011-01-11 12:10:00-05:00
Ann Arbor, MI - University of Michigan - Room 2022, 202 S. Thayer St.
Duration: 01:10:00

During the 1820s three British artists made monumental paintings based on the biblical narrative of the Israelite exodus from Egypt. John Martin, Francis Danby, and David Roberts each created large-scale works that excited London audiences with their scale, perspective, and visual drama. However, they were more than simple spectacles. The story of the exodus was politically charged during the 1820s and each of the works engaged with significant political discourses. Religious art of the nineteenth century has at times been assumed to be allied with conservative political ideologies, yet Coltrin's research suggests otherwise. He proposes that the meanings produced by these biblical paintings supported progressive political policies. The exodus was a narrative commonly cited by radical and reformist political writers in an attempt to justify their proposed legislative measures. Broadly speaking, Coltrin's work attempts to shed light on the connections between Christianity and progressive political ideas in the early nineteenth century and illuminate the ways in which visual media affected these dynamic processes.

Chris Coltrin is a former Mary Fair Croushore Graduate Student Fellow at the U-M Institute for the Humanities and a graduate student in the U-M Department of History of Art.
Concerning Contemporary African Art: A Critique and Variations on a Theme
Kwami, Atta - University of Michigan
2011-01-18 12:10:00-05:00
Ann Arbor, MI - University of Michigan - Room 2022, 202 S. Thayer St.
Duration: 01:02:00

Atta Kwami comments on contemporary and historical art practice in Africa and beyond in order to share knowledge and understanding of ideas and methods of research relevant to his work. As he observes, "It is important to get a sense of contemporary practice in order to understand the tradition-based works." Kwami’s schematic paintings acknowledge the significance of the vibrant realistic traditions of commercial sign-painting in Kumasi. As an organizer of the SaNsA International Artists' Workshop, he also gives an account of how assembling a global art community impacts local art practices. He sees the forum for exchange between international and local artists as vital to the growth of all the participants. Atta Kwami is an independent artist/scholar. Until recently he was senior lecturer in the College of Art at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi. His paintings are held in major public collections including the National Museums of Ghana and Kenya, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the National Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C., the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, and the British Museum.
Caught in the Act: Spells and Imagery of Erotic Magic in 17th-Century Russia
Kivelson, Valerie - University of Michigan
2011-01-25 12:10:00-05:00
Ann Arbor, MI - University of Michigan - Room 2022, 202 S. Thayer St.
Duration: 01:12:00

The evil deeds and sexual depravity of witches fascinated visual artists in early modern Western and Central Europe during the time of the witch trials, and a lurid array of paintings, drawings, and prints document the wild excesses associated with witchcraft. By contrast, virtually no depictions survive from early modern Russia. Russian Orthodox culture discouraged the use of visual imagery outside of the prescribed forms and spaces of religious veneration, and the state was willing to prosecute unauthorized drawing. However, a single sketch from 17th-century Russia, at first seemingly innocuous, turns out on close examination to depict a scene of violent, erotic magic in progress. Analysis of this intriguing image offers rich possibilities for understanding the otherwise largely inaccessible visual, sexual, and affective imaginations of its author and of Muscovites more generally.

Valerie Kivelson is a professor of history at University of Michigan and a former Steelcase Research Professor at the U-M Institute for the Humanities.
Come Back Africa (1959): From America to Africa and Back Again
Modisane, Litheko - University of Michigan
2011-02-01 12:19:00-05:00
Ann Arbor, MI - University of Michigan - Room 2022, 202 S. Thayer St.
Duration: 01:14:00

Litheko Modisane explores one of the icons of South African cinema by American independent filmmaker Lionel Rogosin, made in collaboration with Sophiatown intellectuals Lewis Nkosi, Bloke Modisane, and Can Themba. The film was produced surreptitiously, during the Apartheid days of repression, and mostly circulated abroad. This presentation is based on one chapter of the book Modisane has completed while a University of Michigan Presidential Scholar, on leave from a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Cape Town.
On the Genesis of Creole Languages: Linguistic Variation and the Genetic Origins of the Founding Populations
Baptista, Marlyse - University of Michigan
2011-02-08 12:13:00-05:00
Ann Arbor, MI - University of Michigan - Room 2022, 202 S. Thayer St.
Duration: 01:19:00

Pidgin and creole languages are primarily oral languages that typically (but not always) emerge in the sociohistorical context of slavery and may result from a mix between a European language and a set of African languages.

While the consensus among creolists is that creoles draw their lexicon from the superstrate language (the socially dominant language), there is much division in the field as to the source of their grammatical properties. While some linguists have proposed that creoles are approximations of the European varieties spoken at the time of colonization (Chaudenson, 1992), others (Lefebvre, 1998, 2004; Holm, 2000) have argued that their grammatical features are inherited from the substrates (languages of the dominated groups). In addition, some properties of creole grammars are genuine innovations.

This presentation (a follow-up on "Creole Genesis: Echoes from Past Voices", presented at the institute last February) focuses on how to identify the sources of some of the grammatical properties of creole languages. We examine the case of Cape Verdean Creole and show that in archipelago settings, the mixing of linguistic features between a European language and typologically diverse African languages combined with distinct settlement histories for each island make for a complex linguistic variation continuum. In an attempt to unveil the "possible" founding populations (and source languages) that may have contributed to the early development of Cape Verdean Creole, the second part of the lecture presents the methods and goals of a collaborative project between linguist Marlyse Baptista and geneticists Paul Verdu and Noah Rosenberg. We report on the preliminary results of the first genetic samples of Cape Verdean speakers collected during fieldwork in Cape Verde islands last summer.

Marlyse Baptista is an Associate Professor of Afroamerican and African Studies and Associate Professor of Linguistics
Remarks about Mahler's Third Symphony
Lipsky, Arie - Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra
2011-03-08 12:25:00-05:00
Ann Arbor, MI - University of Michigan - Room 2022, 202 S. Thayer St.
Duration: 00:45:00

Performing any Mahler symphony is a great challenge to musicians and conductor, however, the Third possesses particular issues of interpretation and endurance. Overall, the symphony is conceived as a set of tone poems or musical pictures. Summer, flowers in the meadow, animals in the forest, night, morning bells, and love provide the inspiration for each of the separate movements, although-in the Mahler manner-each movement reflects elements from all of the tonal pictures.

A consummate conductor and interpreter himself, Mahler created a very detailed score, dictating almost obsessively every possible nuance in every measure and every phrase. But he omitted one factor of vital importance: there are no metronome markings for the tempos! Therefore, he grants to the conductor and players a limited artistic license to evoke our own musicianship and character.

As a young boy, Mahler composed a polka to which he added a funeral march as an introduction. These contradictory traits evolved as the mature Mahler was able to juggle all at once music that is sometimes comic, sometimes painful, sometimes heroic-at times hushed and mournful, at times robust and jubilant-or perhaps pastoral, childlike and angelic. Mahler's unique achievement was to fuse these elements into magnificent symphonic statements. In the process, he created one of the most distinctive, instantly recognizable sounds in the orchestral repertory.

Undoubtedly, Mahler remains one of the most fascinating composers in classical history and his biography and style remain topics for compelling discussion today. In recognition of the 100th anniversary of Mahler's death, the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra concludes its 2010-11 season with the epic Third Symphony. Melody Racine, U-M professor and chair of voice, will join the UMS Choral Union Women's Chorus and the Ann Arbor Youth Chorale in this rare presentation of expanded orchestration.

Arie Lipsky is Music Director of the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra

Due to technical difficulties, the introduction could not be recorded.
Promiscuous Generation: Rogue Sexuality in Early Modern England
Friedlander, Ari - University of Michigan
2011-03-15 12:16:00-04:00
Ann Arbor, MI - University of Michigan - Room 2022, 202 S. Thayer St.
Duration: 00:58:00

This lecture is part of a larger project examining how early modern English popular pamphlets, moralist literature, legal statutes, and stage drama consistently represent the criminal underclass – or "rogues," as they were called – in sexualized terms, as a “promiscuous generation” consumed by "sensual lust." These texts construct a causal connection between the supposed immoderate sexuality of the vagrant poor, the deceitful conman, and the wily prostitute and their alleged prodigious fertility, forging tight links between sexual activity, biological reproduction, and the increase of the criminal poor. While literary and cultural critics have commonly consigned rogues to the margins of early modern culture, where they are thought to mark the boundaries of their society, this project argues that rogue sexuality can be found at the center of stage depictions of the English court, capital, and nation.

This talk provides an overview of the project by way of introduction to a detailed case-study of the role of rogue sexuality in depictions of seventeenth-century London-particularly Ben Jonson's play, Epicoene, Or the Silent Woman. Analyses of the role of gender and sexuality in Epicoene have tended to focus on its shocking conclusion, the exposure of the supposedly female title character as a disguised servant boy. This lecture examines the critical consequences of reading Epicoene as he is presented throughout the majority of the play, as a sexually disreputable woman and con artist. More specifically, it argues that contemporary exposes of urban trickery provide a context for understanding the relationship between Mistress Epicoene and her partner-in-crime, Sir Dauphine Eugenie. In doing so, it offers a reassessment of the gender dynamics of the play, one that focuses on the socio-economic tensions between emergent notions of urban masculinity and femininity.

Ari Friedlander is a University of Michigan graduate student in English and a former A. Bartlett Giamatti Graduate Student Fellow at the Institute for the Humanities.
Graphic Sentiment: Image-Texts of 9/11 Terror and Recovery
Tapia, Ruby - Ohio State University
2011-03-29 12:11:00-04:00
Ann Arbor, MI - University of Michigan - Room 2022, 202 S. Thayer St.
Duration: 01:17:00

From Art Spiegelman’s In the Shadow of No Towers to Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close to Sid Jacobson’s and Ernie Colón’s 9/11 Report, a range of US literary responses to the tragedies of September 11, 2001 have assumed the hybrid image-text form of the graphic novel. Perhaps befitting their narrative charge to remember anew a traumatic event that was, from its originary moments and via its multiple screened repetitions, hypervisual, these graphic novels turn to the intermedial space of words with/against image to tell their different stories. In this lecture, Ruby Tapia reads a graphic memoir by an alternatingly beloved and disdained character of September 11th visual drama: the 9/11 widow. In Tapia’s analysis, Alissa Torres’s and Sungyoon Choi’s American Widow revisions the sentimentalized projections upon widows’ bodies and experiences, drawing out, specifically, the gendered scripts of feeling that attend graphic visions of national terror and recovery.

Ruby Tapia is associate professor of Women’s Studies and Comparative Studies at Ohio State University and a visiting fellow at the U-M Institute for the Humanities.
Remembering Java's Islamization: A View from Sri Lanka
Ricci, Ronit - Ohio State University
2011-04-07 12:14:00-04:00
Ann Arbor, MI - University of Michigan - Osterman Commons Room, 202 S. Thayer St.
Duration: 00:51:13

This talk considers the ways Java’s Islamization was imagined and remembered within the small ‘Malay’ community of Sri Lanka at the turn of the twentieth century. This community, descended from exiles, convicts, soldiers, and others from across the Indonesian-Malay world who were brought to Sri Lanka first by the Dutch and later the British, maintained its Muslim-Malay identity for over two centuries largely via an adherence to the Malay language and its rich literary culture. Through a reading of the Hikayat Tuan Gusti, an 1897 manuscript composed in Malay in Sri Lanka and retelling the story of Java’s conversion to Islam, I explore the community’s perceptions of the past and the centrality of mobility—via travel, trade, and translation—to understanding its history.

Ronit Ricci is a lecturer at the College of Asia-Pacific, Australian National University and winner of the Emerging Scholars Prize Honorable Mention at the U-M Institute for the Humanities.
Conversion and Narrative in the Medieval Mediterranean
Szpiech, Ryan - University of Michigan
2011-04-12 12:12:00-04:00
Ann Arbor, MI - University of Michigan - Room 2022, 202 S. Thayer St.
Duration: 01:18:00

What is meant by the word "conversion" in the context of the religions of the late-medieval Mediterranean? How do we, as post-medieval readers understand and interpret this word as it appears in various written sources? This talk will look at the problem of talking about conversion in the context of late-medieval polemical writing in the western Mediterranean, especially as it intersects with the use of narrative structure and historical emplotment. It will consider a variety of conversion narratives, including those of figures such as Abner of Burgos, Juan Andrés, Paul of Burgos, Anselm Turmeda, and Obadiah the Norman, in order to raise the importance of narrative in understanding conversion and to challenge the predominant historiographical readings that place conversion within a fixed hierarchy of religious belief and action. It will also examinef the intersection of conversion narratives with the wider agenda of polemical writing, that of the representation and repetition of competing notions of sacred history, and question the appropriateness of the very term "conversion" in speaking of religious belief and change outside of a Christian context.

Ryan Szpiech is assistant professor of Romance languages and literatures and assistant professor of Judaic studies