Comparative Literature

A Reading of a Poem by Baudelaire

Harper 140

In this close reading of Baudelaire's famous poem A une Passante, the historical and political contexts that inform the poem indirectly will be considered. The rebuilding of Paris by Haussmann suffuses the text and makes for the poem's confused and noisy atmosphere. Brief at it is, A une Passante captures what will be called "modernity" (beginning with Walter Benjamin) and demonstrates how the poetry of Baudelaire is motivated by the birth of the modern city.

English Language and Literature

Cinema, History and the Politics of Style: Neil Jordan’s "Michael Collins" and Ken Loach’s "The Wind that Shakes the Barley"

Franke Institute

This lecture looks at two recent and acclaimed treatments of roughly the same tumultuous and transformative period of Irish History: 1916-1922. These two films have very different ways of presenting their stories and very different arguments about the large events in question. The aim will be to consider how the stylistic choices made by each director reinforce (or complicate) the implicit political tendencies of each film. A short clip from each will be shown, although viewing both films beforehand is recommended.

Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations

How Islam Began

Breasted Hall

The origins of Islam in an ecumenical “Believers’ movement” started by Muhammad at first included Christians, Jews and those Believers who followed the Qur’an. This lecture will examine how this movement spread rapidly through the near East in the seventh century C.E. and how Islam as a distinct religious confession emerged from this matrix only starting around 700 C.E.


Linguistics Open House in the Landahl Linguistics Labs

Landahl Linguistics Lab

The distinguished faculty of the Department of Linguistics will give presentations on the current experimental and computational research on language taking place in the Department of Linguistics.


Old and New in the Letters of Lupus of Ferrières

Stuart 104

Lupus of Ferrières (ca. 805-862) was one of the great Classical Scholars of the Carolingian Renaissance. His activities as teacher, book-borrower, abbot, and scribe affected the shape and survival of major works we still read. A collection of his letters assembled near the time of his death provides a unique window into that activity over thirty turbulent, but fruitful years. For their style and content, the letters have counted as classics. Fresh study shows what more they have to tell about Lupus, his times, and his readers.

South Asian Languages and Civilizations

Radical Cinema and the “FIlm Society” Movement in India

Film Studies

To cinema lovers in different parts of the world, Indian cinema today is best known through the moniker “Bollywood.” This label refers to films that are usually three-hour melodramas in Hindi, featuring five or six song and dance sequences in exotic locales and a hefty dose of nationalist sentiments. These films are products of an industry based in Mumbai and have become a model for other Indian regional language film industries. Indeed, if there is such a thing called a national cinema in contemporary India, it is best represented by Bollywood films. But, there is a lot more to India cinema than Bollywood or its variants in other languages. A section of Indian cinephiles have responded critically to these popular commercial films in India. To them “good cinema” is not "Bollywood" but a particular kind of film made by a small group of Indian filmmakers in Europe, Japan, and Cuba. Good cinema is politically responsible and socially progressive. This discussion will shed light on certain aspects of avant garde cinema in India.

Civic Knowledge Project

The Civic Knowledge Project Celebrates the Humanities

Harper 103

The Civic Knowledge Project is the community connections branch of the Humanities Division, and it specializes in building bridges between the University and the brilliant cultural life of its surrounding communities. Come meet some of the extraordinary artists, poets, and philosophers who are continuing the legacy of such figures as Gwendolyn Brooks, Margaret Burroughs, and Richard Wright.

Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations

The Jews of Modern Babylon, June 1941

Stuart 102

This lecture examines Iraqi Jewish history during the years 1921-1958 and focuses mostly on one case study, the Farhud, which means looting or robbing. The Farhud came to designate the killing, looting, lynching and wounding of Jews in Baghdad during the first two days of June 1941, apparently inspired by Nazi propaganda. Many Muslims helped the Jews during the Farhud. It demonstrates how friendships, neighborly relations, and business-partnerships between Muslims and Jews led these Muslims to protect their Jewish neighbors.

Germanic Studies

Three Contemporary Poets on the Experience of Time: Richard Wilbur, C.K. Williams, and Adam Zagajewski

Stuart 105

The human experience of time is a perennial theme of lyric poetry. This session considers three contemporary masters of the genre -- Richard Wilbur, C.K. Williams, and Adam Zagajewski -- with a view to understanding the way they employ lyric form to deepen our understanding of temporality. The discussion will focus on three poems, which will be distributed before Humanities Day on request as well as in the meeting itself.

Smart Museum of Art

Tour of the new Exhibition "Echoes of the Past: The Buddhist Cave Temples of Xiangtangshan"

Smart Museum of Art

Tony Hirschel, the Dana Feitler Director of the Smart Museum of Art, will lead the tour of the exhibition of this extraordinary research project. It sheds new light on the original beauty and meaning of these shrines, uniting dispersed objects from Xiangtangshan—considered among the finest achievements of Chinese sculpture—with innovative digital components, including a video installation that provides an immersive, kinetic re-creation of one of the most important caves.

South Asian Languages and Civilizations

War, Trauma, and Humanism in Literature from Sri Lanka

Stuart 101

This presentation will examine how an extraordinary body of creative writing in the Tamil language - the work of poets, novelists, short story writers, and playwrights - has been commenting on Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict since the 1970s. The work of these writers offers an alternative history of one of Asia’s most violent and enduring conflicts.