Ancient Greek Healing Amulets

Franke Institute

This lecture will discuss his current research on the ancient Greek use of different kinds of engraved gemstones for healing. For example: a serpent on green jasper cures stomachache and heartburn; the image of Heracles strangling the lion on red jasper cures colic; a uterus and a key on hematite can heal gynecological problems; a lizard and crescent moon is for eye-disease; and a man reaping wheat on hematite is a cure for sciatica.

English Language and Literature

Cloning Terror: The War of Images, 9/11 to the Present

Harper 140

This presentation is a sneak preview of Prof. Mitchell's latest book, due to be published by University of Chicago Press in November. The lecture will survey the visual images and verbal metaphors that dominated the era of the Global War on Terror, from the initial destruction of the Twin Towers to the invasion of Iraq and the scandal of Abu Ghraib. Drawing from images in art, popular culture, and journalism, the talk will explore the way that the War on Terror was accompanied by a “second front” that Mitchell calls the “Clone Wars,” focused on issues of gender, sexuality and reproduction, biotechnology and biopolitics.

Romance Languages & Literatures

Fact and Fiction in Recent French Literature

Stuart 101

Coming after an age of formal experimentation, much recent French literature expresses renewed concern with both personal experience and contemporary social problems. The novel occupies a central but ambiguous place in this reconfigured literary field, where a number of authors work at the boundaries of fact and fiction. Characterized by a return to the real, to narrative, and to the human subject, their works incorporate documentary and novelistic techniques in order to give new immediacy and ethical urgency to representation.


Meaning without Form: The Linguistics of Ellipsis

Stuart 105

Elliptical structures pose a challenge for all theories of language because ellipsis represents a case where there is meaning without the usual form. For instance, “Homer wrote an epic . . . Vergil did too” means that Vergil wrote an epic, but this meaning is not found in the word “did.” This lecture shows how this challenge is met by current linguistic theory and reviews the evidence that there are abstract objects – known as phrase structures – that underlie ellipsis but do not correspond to pronounced objects (such as words). It will also discuss implications for cognitive science, psychology and philosophy of language, as well as the prospects for Google translate.


Metaphors and Jokes: Instruments of Freedom

Classics 110

When we make metaphors and tell jokes, we break rules. This talk will discuss how this process is a source of human freedom.

Art History

Robie House, 100 Years New

Breasted Hall

This panel discussion will consider the Robie House's place in Modern Architecture.

South Asian Languages and Civilizations

Satyajit Ray's "Pather Panchali" (Song of the Little Road)

Foster 103

This 1955 film directed by Satyajit Ray won several International Awards and set Ray as a world-class director. The film takes place in 1922 and focuses on the lives of a boy and his impoverished family living in their ancestral village in Bengal.


The Biggest Music Spectacle in the World: The Eurovision Song Contest

Fulton Recital Hall

This presentation about the “Eurovision Song Contest” will draw the Humanities Day visitor into the most internationally popular musical spectacle of the year. Viewed live by 600 million around the world, the Eurovision song contest pits singers representing individual European nations against each other, playing out in the public arena some of the most important political events - from the beginning of the Cold War to revolution in Eastern Europe to strife in the Middle East. The profound seriousness of play will resound on the screen with film clips and winning songs from this annual May Grand Prix of music.

English Language and Literature

The lanterne of lyghtte/non fulget luce serena (The lantern of light does not shine with a steady beam), or John Claydon and his Books.

Stuart 102

In 1415, John Claydon, an illiterate London leather-worker, was condemned as a heretic and burned together with his books. This lecture will relate the contemporary account of Claydon’s last trial with some of the other, often unrelated-seeming, narratives that moved him towards this terrible end. They help illustrate the chanciness of what now seems to be the larger workings of history.


You Owe It to Yourself

Harper 103

Do I have any duties to myself? The claim that we do is perfectly familiar from advertising and intimate conversation. In these settings, claims that we owe ourselves things are meant to inspire us to make a better life for ourselves. But moral philosophy sometimes sounds a somber note in this chorus of voices urging us to be our own advocates. Kantians sometimes argue that we have duties to ourselves, and that discharging these is (in some sense) prior to acknowledging obligations to anyone else. This lecture argues against the Kantian position, and examines the more usual thought that I owe myself more than what I am getting, as it frames some kinds of interactions between intimates.