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Past Events

Event Date Summary
God and the Big Bang: Discovering Harmony between Science and Spirituality Fri. April 28th, 2017
11:45 am-1:45 pm

Mysticism and science: What do they have in common? How can one enlighten the other? By drawing on modern cosmology and ancient Kabbalah, Matt shows how science and religion can together enrich our spiritual awareness and help us recover a sense of wonder and find our place in the universe. Drawing on the insights of physics and Jewish mysticism, Professor Daniel Matt from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkley, California,  uncovers the sense of wonder and oneness that connects us with the universe and God. He describes in understandable terms the parallels between modern cosmology and ancient Kabbalah.

Faculty Work-in-Progress: The Modernization of Knowledge Tue. April 25th, 2017
4:30 pm-5:30 pm

Haifa Talk ImageIn his talk, Chris Haufe, Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy, compares the individual and community-level practices that have contributed to the growth of scientific knowledge with those that were historically important to the growth of Islamic law and legal theory. This comparison is composed of two independent lines of inquiry. The first looks at the major features that played a role in the historical development of each knowledge tradition. The second line of inquiry compares structural features of knowledge practices across the two traditions.

Pre-lecture reception begins at 4:15 pm.

Free and open to the public.  

2017 Joseph and Violet Magyar Lecture in Hungarian Studies: Television and the Politics of Nostalgia in Hungary and Eastern Europe Thu. April 20th, 2017
5:00 pm-6:00 pm

tv imageIn her lecture, Aniko Imre, Professor and Chair of the Division of Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Southern California, provides an overview of how television functioned in Hungary and, more broadly, in the Soviet-controlled region as a medium at the cross-section of the public and domestic spheres, between top-down attempts at political control and bottom-up demands for entertainment and consumption. It highlights some of the program types that were most favored by politicians, media producers and audiences, respectively; and zooms in on the continued popularity of some of these programs in the postsocialist era.

A Community Conversation About Libraries: Moving From Present to Future Wed. April 19th, 2017
4:00 pm-5:00 pm

This event is a “Soul of Cleveland” dialog.

As demographics, technology, and forms of information dissemination constantly change, libraries of all types must continually adapt to new user behaviors and expectations, and do so within limited resources.  Cleveland is extraordinarily blessed; we have heavily used and nationally recognized public and academic libraries. 

At this event, the leaders of the three largest libraries will serve as a panel to provide a stimulating overview of the issues and opportunities for their respective libraries, and engage with the audience in a dialog to explore what might be coming next. 

The Color of Creation and the Creation of Color: Making Art in Ancient Egypt Wed. April 12th, 2017
5:30 pm-6:30 pm

Robins Event ImageFor the ancient Egyptians nothing existed before creation except a dark expanse of endless water. With the creation of the cosmos came light and color. In this talk Gay Robins, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Art History at Emory University, explores the ways in which the Egyptians used color to represent their ideas about the created world, its divine inhabitants, and the king who ruled on earth as the sun god’s representative.

This event is co-sponsored with the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Free and open to the public.  Registration recommended. Registration Button


Jews and Jazz: Improvising Ethnicity – A Talk with Charles Hersch Thu. April 6th, 2017
5:00 pm-6:00 pm

Charles HerschMusic has been an important vehicle for ethnic groups to assert and explore their identities. In his new book Jews and Jazz: Improvising Ethnicity, Professor Hersch looks at how Jewish musicians have used jazz to construct three kinds of identities: to become more American, to emphasize their minority outsider status, and to assert their Jewishness. This talk focuses on “Jewish jazz” – attempts beginning in the 1960s to combine “Jewish music” and jazz. Hersch analyzes these musical forays as attempts to explore and expand modern American Jewish identity. Though Jewish jazz began tentatively, reflecting the assimilationist leanings of American Jews in the post-World War II era,

Building Bridges: Fixing the Immigration Issue and Strengthening U.S.-Mexico Relations Mon. April 3rd, 2017
5:00 pm-6:00 pm



Immigration reform has long been a priority for President Vicente Fox, who, during his time in office, worked with then-President George W. Bush to negotiate immigration policy. Since leaving office, President Fox continues to emphasize the importance of immigration reform with the goal of building bridges and why America must establish sensible pathways for citizenship for undocumented immigrants. In his speech, President Fox will addresse why immigration reform is crucial not just for America and Mexico,

When Away Becomes Home: The Refugee Crisis and Opportunities for Welcome in Northeast Ohio Fri. March 31st, 2017
12:00 pm-1:00 pm


refugee imageThe world is in the midst of the worst refugee crisis since World War II. Several organizations in Northeast Ohio are actively engaged in resettling individuals and families who have fled from their homelands. What are the stories of these people? And “how are they successfully integrating into our communities, bringing their skills and perspectives to a region poised for growth, but needing some additional resources? That is is the subject of the conversation moderated by Wendy Pearlman, the Martin and Patricia Koldyke Outstanding Teaching Professor at Northwestern University.

Lady Mary’s Legacy: Vaccine Advocacy from The Turkish Embassy Letters to Video Games Thu. March 30th, 2017
6:00 pm-7:00 pm


RosnerOn April 1, 1717, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu wrote her famous “Letter to a Friend” from the Turkish Embassy, describing the process of smallpox inoculation. With that letter, she became one of the earliest vaccination advocates, joined over the next three hundred years by celebrities and scientists, pop culture icons and heads of state, patients and game developers. In her talk Lisa Rosner, Distinguished Professor of Historical Studies at Stockton University, will explore the colorful and controversial history of vaccine advocacy, the most successful public health measure its beneficiaries love to hate. 

Film Screening and Discussion – I Learn America: One High School, One School Year, Five New Americans Wed. March 29th, 2017
4:30 pm-7:00 pm


learn americaIn America, nearly one student in four is a child of immigration. How America fares in welcoming immigrants will determine our identity for the years to come. This film follows five immigrant teenagers over the course of one year at the International High School at Lafayette, a public high school in Brooklyn, NY dedicated to newly arrived immigrants from all over the world. By walking in the shoes of five complex (and in some ways, typical) teenagers who encounter everything from learning a new language, adapting to families they haven’t seen in years,

Who Should Enter the Golden Door: American Immigration Policy in Historical Perspective Wed. March 29th, 2017
12:00 pm-1:00 pm


immigration image

Click HERE to view the recording of this lecture.

The current debate about immigration often neglects or misinterprets past “policies” that have related to immigration and citizenship in the United States. In his talk John Grabowski, CWRU’s Krieger-Mueller Joint Professor in History and Historian and Senior Vice President for Research and Publications at the Western Reserve Historical Society, provides a broad historical perspective on not only the creation (or, indeed, the absence) of policy relating to immigration to the United States but on the manner in which citizens and policymakers chose to see immigrants and immigration in relation to economic,

Internal Immigration and Return: Jewish Renaissance in Sicily and Sardinia Tue. March 28th, 2017
12:00 pm-1:00 pm


The infamous 1492 Edict of Expulsion of the Jews forced close to 500,000 people into exile. Many had to leave their home-country where they lived for centuries, but still many, with nowhere to go, were pressured into conversion and into what became their “internal immigration.”

Travel with Irene Shaland to the islands of Sicily and Sardinia that present a fascinating chapter in both, the history of immigration and the history of Jewish Diaspora. Discover a world of little-known Jewish narrative: centuries marked by fear and secrets,

Muslim in America: A Conversation with Ayad Akhtar Mon. March 27th, 2017
5:00 pm-6:00 pm


AkhtarPulitzer Prize winning playwright Ayad Akhtar discusses the Muslim experience in America with Justine Howe, Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies. Akhtar is the author of American Dervish, published in over twenty languages worldwide and a 2012 Best Book of the Year at Kirkus Reviews, Toronto’s Globe and Mail, Shelf-Awareness, and O (Oprah) Magazine. His stage play Disgraced won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.  As a screenwriter, he was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay for The War Within.

A Polish Doctor in the Nazi Camps: My Mother’s Memories of Imprisonment, Immigration, and a Life Remade Fri. March 24th, 2017
12:00 pm-1:00 pm


rylkobauercoverREGISTRATION FOR THIS EVENT IS CLOSED. Please email: to be placed on the waiting list.

In her talk, author and anthropologist Barbara Rylko-Bauer will use her mother’s story to talk about broader issues of immigration, examining the echoes from the past that are appearing today.  Her mother’s story is the focus of her book, A Polish Doctor in the Nazi Camps: My Mother’s Memories of Imprisonment, Immigration, and a Life Remade, which weaves personal family narrative with twentieth-century history to present a daughter’s account of her Polish Catholic mother’s World War II experiences as a prisoner-doctor in Jewish slave labor camps in Nazi Germany and the challenges of “surviving survival” – rebuilding a new life,

Imagination and Diaspora in Peter Balakian’s Poetry and Prose Fri. March 24th, 2017
4:30 pm-5:30 pm


balakian booksPeter Balakian, Pulitzer-prize winning Armenian American poet and writer and the Donald M. and Constance H. Rebar Professor of Humanities at Colgate University, will discuss the impact of the post genocide Armenian diaspora in his poetry and his memoir Black Dog of Fate.  He will explore how the impact of the history of exile and uprooting can inflect and shape literary imagination and in doing so help create a wider understanding of the legacy of traumatic history.

This event is co-sponsored by the Armenian Cultural Organization.

Ancestry Thu. March 23rd, 2017
6:00 pm-7:00 pm


gates imageHenry Louis Gates Jr.’s presents the F. Joseph Callahan Distinguished Lecture, which is also the keynote address for the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities’ contributions to the Cleveland Humanities Festival. Gates is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. A literary critic and filmmaker, he also sits as jury chair of Cleveland’s Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards. He has authored or co-authored 21 books and created 16 documentary films, the latest of which is Black America since MLK: And Still I Rise.

Graduate Student Work-in-Progress – Bioaffect, Medical Memoir, and the Making of a Physician Tue. March 7th, 2017
4:30 pm-5:30 pm

der-arzt-by-ivo-salingerMedical students and physicians in the US are routinely rhetorically positioned as subjects who lack empathy. By examining memoirs that medical students produce about their time in medical school and essay collections written about physicians and empathy, Melissa Pompili, a PhD candidate in the Department of English, identifies the cultural forces at work behind this positioning in order to illuminate how the humanities can bring the physician’s own conception of self into the conversation about the humanity of medical encounters.

Pre-lecture reception begins at 4:15 pm.

Free and open to the public.  

Platonic Properties Thu. March 2nd, 2017
4:30 pm-5:30 pm

Bailey ImagePlato’s Theory of Forms has mostly been conceived by his later readers as a theory of universals or properties: that is, its primary aim is to explain the application of a single expression to distinct entities; or to explain relations of similarity among them. Some moderns disagree, both close readers of Plato’s Greek and thoughtful metaphysicians alive to what it required of a proper realist theory of universals. Dominic Bailey, Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Colorado, Boulder, presents fresh reasons for thinking Plato’s theory is not one of universals, but also offers further reasons for why the matter is intrinsically irresoluble: for it requires some assumptions in philosophical psychology that can never with justification be brought to Plato,

Humanities@Work: Practical Advice from Human Resources Directors Fri. February 24th, 2017
12:00 pm-1:00 pm

Panelists will discuss how they consider applicants with humanities degrees, how applicants can best explain their skills, and will give humanities students practical advice on resumes, cover letters, and other aspects of the job/internship search from an HR perspective.

Panelists include:

Lonnie Brown is the Talent Acquisition Manager at the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority, a nationally recognized leader in providing safe quality affordable housing for individuals and families of Cuyahoga County. Lonnie leads the recruitment and selection efforts to attract, recruit, and hire top internal and external talent for CMHA positions. Lonnie graduated from CWRU with a BA in History and American Studies,

Faculty Work-in-Progress – The Big Sale: Elk Hills, the Energy Crisis, and the Invention of the Neoliberal Market, 1969-1998 Tue. February 21st, 2017
4:30 pm-5:30 pm

Shulman Talk

In his talk, Peter Shulman, Associate Professor in the Department of History, will discuss the Elk Hills Naval Petroleum Reserve. In the middle of the 20th century, the most valuable piece of federal property was California’s Elk Hills Naval Petroleum Reserve, set aside decades before to provide oil for the military in future emergencies. In 1998, the Clinton administration sold the field for $3.65 billion–still the most expensive divestiture of a single piece of public property in American history. Yet selling this field, a process that actually took over a quarter-century, reveals the fraught ways Americans reconciled increasing national security concerns with a drive to withdraw the federal government from the private economy.

Humanities@Work: Politics – A Conversation with Senator Sherrod Brown Mon. February 20th, 2017
5:00 pm-6:00 pm

Please join Ohio’s senior United States Senator Sherrod Brown for a conversation about how studying the humanities prepared him for a career in public service.

Senator Brown majored in the humanities before going on to serve his community in the Ohio House of Representatives, and to serve Ohio as Secretary of State. From 1993 to 2007, he represented Ohio’s 13th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives. He has served as Ohio’s United States Senator since 2007, and as senator has held more than 250 community roundtables across Ohio’s 88 counties. He is married to Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Connie Schultz,

Graduate Student Work-in-Progress – Expanding the Closed Loop: Industrial Conservation, Recycling, and Environmentalism in the United States Tue. February 14th, 2017
4:30 pm-5:30 pm

hazlett imageContemporary solid waste recycling did not simply arise from the countercultural environmentalism of the late 1960s and 1970s. In this talk, Jon Corey Hazlett, a PhD candidate in the Department of History, explores the historical connections of recycling to conservation efforts developed and promoted by a variety of industries from the 1930s through the 1950s. As environmentalism grew in popularity, these industries worked alongside environmental organizations to shape recycling programs, and the broader movement itself, in terms of market-based initiatives and economic growth, laying the foundation for the “green” consumption that now defines the movement.

Pre-lecture reception at 4:15 pm.

Film Screening and Discussion – Paul Laurence Dunbar: Beyond the Mask Thu. February 9th, 2017
5:00 pm-8:00 pm

dunbar posterThis documentary looks at the life and legacy of Paul Laurence Dunbar, the first African American to achieve national fame as a writer. Born to former slaves in Dayton, Ohio, Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906), is best remembered for his poem, “We Wear The Mask” and for lines from “Sympathy” that became the title of Maya Angelou’s autobiography “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings.” Dunbar’s story is also the story of the African American experience around the turn of the century. Frederick Lewis, the program’s writer and director will be on hand to introduce the film and lead a post-screening discussion.

Career Opportunities and Resume Writing for Humanities Majors Fri. February 3rd, 2017
12:00 pm-1:00 pm

career workshop image

Click HERE for the PowerPoint presented at this event.

The recently expanded Humanities@Work program connects CWRU humanities students with corporate, government, nonprofit, and other partners through community discussions, networking events, and paid career opportunities (internship, practicum, etc.) . These exciting opportunities will be shared at this first Humanities@Work event of the semester.

As well, Sylvia Marrero, Assistant Director for Student Outreach at the CWRU Career Center, will provide a general overview for creating effective resumes and will discuss other important aspects of career planning for Humanities majors. This workshop is scheduled to allow students to prepare for the February 13th Career Fair and for the first round of Humanities@Work internship opportunities which will begin in summer,

2017 Baker-Nord Distinguished Faculty Lecture : The Sauroktonos (Lizard-Slayer) from Praxiteles to Charles Ray Wed. February 1st, 2017
4:30 pm-5:30 pm

Click HERE to view this event.

In 2004 the Cleveland Museum of Art acquired a rare ancient bronze statue of the type known as Apollo the Lizard-Slayer. In her lecture, Jenifer Neils, Elsie B. Smith Professor in the Liberal Arts in the Department of Classics, takes a deeper look at the style and meaning of this notable Greek sculpture and questions its identity as Apollo and its attribution to Praxiteles. If the Roman poet Martial is to be believed, it may have had an entirely different and sexually charged message for its Roman audience.

Humanities@Work: Media Mon. January 30th, 2017
6:00 pm-7:00 pm

media-wall-1600x700_cPanelists discuss how studying the humanities influenced their careers and answer questions from the audience. Panelists include:

Carlo Wolff (Boston University ’68) majored in English. He contributes news stories and features to the Cleveland Jewish News and writes book reviews for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and music reviews for DownBeat. He is the author of Cleveland Rock & Roll Memories (2006), and between 1990 and 2008 worked at Lodging Hospitality, a former Penton Media magazine where he was a longtime Features Editor.

Chris Sheridan (Yale ’89) majored in history. After graduation, she spent nearly two decades writing about education as a reporter and editorial writer in Connecticut and Cleveland before coming to Case Western Reserve in 2007 as President Snyder’s Chief of Staff.

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