Panel Discussion on the Work of Jamaica Kincaid

Marilyn Mobley, Erika Olbricht



A discussion with Marilyn Mobley and Erika Olbricht.


With support from:

Cleveland Public Library


Jamaica Kincaid

Jamaica Kincaid



Jamaica Kincaid, internationally acclaimed, award winning author of “My Garden (Book)” and “Autobiography of My Mother”, among other titles. Her work explores such poignant themes as sense of place, the colonial past and post-colonial present, and tragic familial relationships.


With support from:

SAGES, Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, Cleveland Public Library


Video link: (click)


Poetry in the Garden



Local and national poets share their work in the idyllic setting of the Cleveland Botanical Garden, revealing the role played by nature in their work. The day concludes with the awarding of prizes for poetry contest, book-signing, and reception.

Participants include: Joanna Klink (Briggs-Copeland Poet at Harvard University), as well as Kazim Ali (Assistant Professor of Creative Writing, Oberlin College), Michael Dumanis (Director of the Cleveland State Poetry Center), Sarah Gridley (Assistant Professor, English, CWRU), Mary Quade (Assistant Professor of English, Hiram College).

“Support for this event provided by the Helen Buchman Sharnoff Endowed Fund for Poetry at Case Western Reserve University.”


With support from:

Cleveland Botanical Garden


Circling the Mountains: Ascetic Endurance in Contemporary Japanese Buddhism

William E. Deal



William E. Deal, departments of Religious Studies and Cognitive Science, explores “kaihōgyō“, a ritual performed by Japanese Buddist monks of the Tendai lineage. In the seven-year ritual, the monks complete the equivalent of a marathon a day for 100 or 200 consecutive days. Deal’s project investigates the perceived spiritual benefit of ascetically difficult practices from the perspective of religious studies and cognitive science.


Ethics and Climate Change: 2009 Humanities Week Keynote

Andrew Light



A discussion with Andrew Light.”Funding provided by a grant from Cuyahoga Arts and Culture.”


Video link: (click)


2009 Flip Camera Film Festival: Award Ceremony/Film Showing



Showing of the top contenders from the 2009 Flip Camera Film Contest for the prize of best film and award ceremony. The Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities is co-sponsoring this event with the Freedman Center, a partnership between the College of Arts and sciences and the Kelvin Smith Library.


With support from:

Freedman Center


Manufactured Landscapes: 2009 Humanities Week Film Festival

Ray Watkins



Jennifer Baichwall, Canada, 2006

This provocative documentary captures Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky as he renders the ravaged countryside and industrial wastelands of China as “beautiful” landscapes. Some subtitles.


Silent Running: 2009 Humanities Week Film Festival

Robert Spadoni



Douglas Trumbull – USA, 1971

Douglas Trumbull, who did the special effects for Space Odyssey and Blade Runner, made his directorial debut with this poetic sci-fi film that follows the crew of an orbiting greenhouse carrying the only living specimens that could refoliate the planet blasted by a nuclear holocaust.


Waterworld: 2009 Humanities Week Film Festival

Christopher Flint



Kevin Reynolds – USA, 1995

Set on a submerged Earth after the polar icecaps have melted, the film follows a half-man, half-fish mutant (Kevin Costner) who battles “smokers” (filthy, petroleum-burning pirates, led by Dennis Hopper) while trying to help a woman and her young daughter find a fabled patch of dry land.


Richard N. Campen Lecture in Architecture

Douglas Farr



A discussion with Douglas Farr.


Video link: (click)


Rock and Roll Night School: A Spotlight on Janis Joplin

Lauren Onkey, Jason Hanley



Kozmic Blues: The Life and Music of Janis Joplin

In its 14th year as a collaboration with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, the American Music Masters® Series celebrates the lives and careers of artists who have changed the shape and sound of American culture. This year’s program honors the legendary singer-songwriter Janis Joplin, whose heart-pounding, hard-driving music paved the way for women in a male-dominated industry.

Rock Hall educators Dr. Lauren Onkey and Jason Hanley will introduce the life and career of Janis Joplin with a multimedia presentation.


With support from:

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Cuyahoga County Library


Sarah Rich



A discussion with Sarah Rich.


Tomboys and Cowgirls: Mirrors of Masculinity and Race in 19th century Popular Novels

Renee Sentilles



Renee Sentilles, Department of History, identifies assumptions and anxieties about acceptable forms of white and minority masculinity conveyed indirectly by means of the ambitions, personalities and adventures of unconventional girls in nineteenth-century popular fiction.


Rockwell Kent: A Film by Frederick Lewis

Frederick Lewis



A film produced and written by Frederick Lewis. Artist and social activist Rockwell Kent created haunting landscapes inspired by his adventurous sojourns in Alaska, Tierra del Fuego, and Greenland. For more than ten years, producer/writer Frederick Lewis, associate professor in the School of Media Arts and Studies at Ohio University, retraced the peripatetic artist’s many travels, shooting footage in Greenland, Newfoundland, Alaska, Ireland, and Russia. Lewis will be on hand to answer questions during this film screening of his film.


A Conversation with Pierre Boulez



Renowned composer and conductor Pierre Boulez is an international advocate for modernist music. A founder of IRCAM (Insitut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique) at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, he held the Chair in “Invention, Technique et Langage en Musique” at the College de France from 1976-1995. He has close ties to The Cleveland Orchestra, where he served as musical advisor from 1970-72 and appears regularly as a guest conductor. Boulez will be in dialogue with Mary Davis, Professor and Chair of the Department of Music at Case Western Reserve University. This program, the first annual lecture in memory of Walter A. Strauss (1923-2008), who was the Elizabeth and William T. Treuhaft Professor of Humanities, is generously supported by funds provided by the Paul Wurzburger Endowment.


Black History Month Kick-Off

John A. Jackson



John A Jackson, author of “A House on Fire: The Rise and Fall of Philadelphia Soul”, will present as part of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and the Baker-Nord Center’s celebration of Black History Month. Jackson will discuss the history of Philadelphia soul music, focusing on three of the most influential and successful music producers of the 1960s and 70s: Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff, and Thom Bell who collectively produced over 28-gold or platinum certified albums, 31-million certified gold/platinum singles, and between them wrote over 1,000 songs for such superstars and Cleveland’s own O’Jays, Teddy Pendergrass, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, the Spinners, and many others.


With support from:

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum


From Stills to Motion

Linda Butler



Three years ago, Linda Butler left a 25-year career as a black-and-white photographer to create videos that advocate for living more gently on our planet. Butler’s photographs have been featured in exhibitions around the world in Italy, Japan, and Canada as well as at the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Cleveland Museum of Art. She has published books on the Shakers, rural Japan, Italy, and China. In 1999 she won the Cleveland Arts Prize. Her photographs and book on the Yangtze River and the Three Gorges Dam were featured in an exhibition at Cleveland Museum of Natural History that traveled to UCLA and Cornell. In her short films, Linda seeks to make the science of global warming comprehensible and to feature people who are transforming their lives to live more sustainably.


Staying Home for Dinner: Ruminations on Local Foods in a Cosmopolitan Society

Lisa Heldke



The focus of ethical decision-making should fall on building communities because the importance of any choice we make lies in the relationships that give our choices context. Food is an especially rich intersection of relations that provides many opportunities to connect and imagine more democratic communities. Recognizing these opportunities leads us to see ourselves not as food consumers but as food citizens who seek to enact and transform our relations through not only our purchasing and eating choices but also through our collective work in organizations that promote healthy, just, fair, safe, and delicious food systems for all people.


With support from:

Ohio Humanities Council


Activism, Sacred Geographies, and Mapping the Underground Railroad

Joy Bostic



The Underground Railroad in North America is receiving renewed attention as community groups, agencies, historians, and descendants of those involved have attempted to identify routes, safe houses and border crossings. For contemporary pilgrims trying to retrace these ancestral steps, such mappings (material and imaginative, past and present, individual and collective) serve as “sacred-making” activities and provide new meanings for social justice work and community activism. This project will investigate these modern day mappings and pilgrimages.


NEH Workshop with Russel Wyland

Russel Wyland



A conversation on NEH funding opportunities, the NEH review process, and the characteristics of successful NEH proposal via video-conference with Russell Wyland, Assistant Director of Research Programs, National Endowment for the Humanities.

12:00 – 1:00 p.m.: Overview of NEH grants and proposals with Russell Wyland.

1:00 – 2:00 p.m.: A panel of CWRU faculty members will join the conversation to share their experiences writing successful grants.


Liszt, Sand, Garcia, and the Contrebandier: Intersubjectivity and Romantic Authorship

Francesca Brittan



This talk draws together an cast of unlikely characters: the pianist Franz Liszt, the Spanish tenor Manuel Garcia, the novelist George Sand, and the brigand-hero of an 1809 opera entitled El Poeta Calculista. It examines the ways in which networks and communities shaped Liszt’s Romantic persona, proffering answers to long-standing questions: why was Liszt such a reticent autobiographer? How did he construct and perform a creative persona? What models of genius shaped his conception of the Artist?


Tipping Points in Urban Change: Modern Perspectives on Agents of Urbanization



This symposium will consider the similarities and differences in the histories of urban modernization in cities during the late 19th through the early 21st century–with a look at global cities now under construction or in the planning stages. The particular focus will be on the composition of elites, local versus international economic and political agendas, and the science and technologies involved. Papers will assess contemporary developments in Seoul; the urban-centered and industrial-based City of Detroit in the 1920s-1960s; and the modernity of the Panama Canal at the turn of the century.

Invited Speakers:
Marixa Lasso (Case Western Reserve University): Defining Modernity at the Panama Canal 1904-1936

Robert Fishman (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor): Motor City: The Rise and Fall of Detroit as the Archetypal Industrial Metropolis

Peter G. Rowe (Harvard University): The City and Its Stream: Tipping Points in Seoul’s Modern Development

Roundtable Discussion: Robert H. Kargon (The Johns Hopkins University), Discussant
With support from:

Department of History, National Science Foundation


Music and Nature: Sounding Advocacy

Denise Von Glahn



Denise Von Glahn, a leader in the emerging field of ecomusicology, will speak about the relationship of music to the natural landscape in a talk illustrated with live musical performances.


With support from:

Ohio Humanities Council


Something Fishy: Blue Revolutions, Sustainability, and Environmental History

John Soluri



Since 1980, aquaculture industries have expanded rapidly in Latin America from Mexican mangroves to the fjords of Patagonia. What this potential revolution in food production means for Latin America’s economies and ecosystems is the subject of a fierce debate that revolves around the idea of sustainability: advocates see aquaculture as an industry that reduces pressures on ocean fisheries while creating food, livelihoods, and export revenues. Critics cite marine pollution, the introduction of exotic species, and the creation of hazardous work conditions as major problems. This talk will demonstrate how the interdisciplinary perspectives of environmental history can help us evaluate the promise and peril of aquaculture in Latin America.


Video link: (click)


The Map of Ebullient Life: Language, Reality and Time in the Sixth Mass Extinction

Jeremy Bendik-Keymer



The sixth mass extinction since life began is being caused by us humans. At stake in it are much of the Earth’s biological riches, the very possibility of countless life forms, and the conditions for human flourishing. Relating ourselves morally to this problem seems important for being decent people, but much philosophy leaves us no room to even map the loss we are likely to face. It leaves us speechless in the face of the extinction. In this talk, I explain the extinction, why it matters, why philosophy is at a loss about it, and how we might relate ourselves morally to the extinction by identifying with the process of life that unfolds in us on vast geologic time-scales.


Field Notes from a Catastrophe

Elizabeth Kolbert



A discussion with Elizabeth Kolbert in Celebration of Earth Day.


Havana’s Urban Redevelopment: Learning from the Past and Aiming to the Future

Julio Cesar Perez Hernandez



A discussion with Julio Cesar Perez Hernandez.


With support from:

College of Arts and Sciences, Department of History