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Spring 2013 Humanities Center Lecture Series on Love & Desire
An exciting line-up of scholars, performers and artists will appear on Tuesday evenings this semester in the Humanities Center Lecture Series on Love and Desire, led by Dr. Nicholas Ealy of the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures in the College of Arts & Sciences.
All students, faculty, and staff, as well as members of the community, are invited to explore love and desire in disciplines from the sciences to the arts, media, psychology, history, film, philosophy, and literature. Faculty are urged to require or encourage student attendance at relevant lectures. All lectures begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Mali 1 lecture hall (Dana 201), and are free and open to the general public.
The lecture series began on Feb. 5 with Dr. Catherine Borck, assistant professor of politics and government and a Humanities Center Faculty Fellow, giving a talk on “Love and Friendship: The Platonic Sources of Postmodern Politics.” On Feb. 12, Dr. Aimee Miller-Ott, assistant professor in the School of Communication and a Humanities Center Faculty Fellow, lectured on the subject of “Seeking Love after Divorce: Changes in Dating and Love after a First Marriage.”
Following is the schedule of Humanities Center lectures for the rest of the spring semester.
On Feb. 19, Dr. Richard Freund will explore “Love and Desire: Examples from Ancient Art and Archeology.” He will review some of the greatest images of all time and what they meant in the Iron, Persian and Greco-Roman periods, with special emphasis on the Byzantine period. Freund is the Maurice Greenberg Professor of History and the director of the Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Hartford, and a Faculty Fellow of the Humanities Center. He directs six archaeological projects on behalf of the University of Hartford in Israel. He is the author of eight books and hundreds of articles. His most recent book is entitled Digging through History: Religion and Archaeology from Atlantis to the Holocaust (Rowman and Littlefield, 2012).
“From Private to Public Sphere: Love and Desire in the American Penny Press” will be the subject of Dr. Elizabeth Burt’s lecture on Feb. 26. Through analysis of news stories from the mid-1800s, Dr. Burt, professor in the School of Communication, A&S, will examine how penny newspapers initiated public display of love and desire, revealing changing values in mid-1800s America, where the private world of domesticity was quickly being eroded. Professor Burt's research focuses on journalism during the Progressive Era (1880-1920) and often examines issues affecting women and women journalists. She has published two books on these topics (Women's Press Organizations, 1881-1999 and The Progressive Era: Debating Historical Issues in the Media of the Time) and has won awards from the American Journalism Historians Association and the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication for her research.
On March 5, Dr. Robert Lang will discuss “Sexuality and the Police State in Férid Boughedir’s Halfaouine.” Halfaouine, the most successful film ever made in Tunisia, tells the story of a 12-year-old boy, Noura, who lives in Tunis. The film, about the awakening of desire and Noura’s transition to heteroexual maturity, combines this theme of desire with a commentary on the encroaching police state. A Faculty Fellow of the Humanities Center, Lang teaches film studies at the University of Hartford and offers courses such as Road Movies, Arab Cinema, Popular Heroes and Film History. He has published in both French and English, is the author of two books, and is currently at work on a book-length project on Tunisian cinema.
Reading from his own work, Pushcart Prize winner and New York Times best-selling author Steve Almond will read from and discuss his new collections of erotic short fiction titled Writs of Passion on March 12. Almond's second book, Candyfreak (2005), was a New York Times bestseller, won the American Library Association Alex Award, and was named the Booksense Adult Nonfiction Book of the Year (2005). His books have been published in half a dozen foreign countries and translated into German, Dutch, Spanish, and Croatian. He has published more than 150 stories in magazines such as Tin House, Playboy, Zoetrope, and Ploughshares. His story "Donkey Greedy, Donkey Gets Punched" was selected for the Best American Short Stories 2010 and has been optioned for film by Spilt Milk Entertainment.
Drawing on his recent book, Dying for Time, Martin Hägglund will explore the relation between love, loss, and time, with vivid examples from Marcel Proust, in a lecture titled “Losing Love” on April 2. Martin Hägglund is a tenured associate professor of comparative literature and humanities at Yale University. In English, he is the author of Dying for Time: Proust, Woolf, Nabokov (Harvard University Press 2012) and Radical Atheism: Derrida and the Time of Life (Stanford University Press 2008). His work has been the subject of a special issue of CR: The New Centennial Review, Living On: Of Martin Hägglund.
On April 9, Lucy Brown will lecture on “Love and Desire: Brain Systems for Survival and More.” Is it possible to study the brain systems of romantic love? Do we humans have some brain systems in common for love, or are we all too different to identify any one or two brain systems involved? With Helen Fisher and Art Aron, Dr. Brown designed and implemented five brain scanning investigations and found over and over again that love is associated with primitive reward and drive systems, at the level of involuntary behavior necessary for survival. This helps to explain why romantic love is so hard to control. In addition, data point to behaviors that increase the quality and longevity of our relationships, increasing our sense of well-being. Lucy L. Brown, PhD, is clinical professor in neurology at Einstein College of Medicine in New York. She received her degree in experimental/physiological psychology from NYU in 1973. At Einstein she was director of the Laboratory for Functional Neuroanatomy and Movement Disorders for 20 years. She now collaborates with several other investigators on brain imaging of romantic love, personality, and also on mobility and cognition in normal aging.
On April 16, Garren Small will read his poetry on love and desire and then speak about the themes in his poetry in a lecture titled “Fires Dared to Ignite.” He has written and produced short works, one-act plays, and poetry in the New York City area; his poetry has been featured at celebrations of Martin Luther King and in honor of Pearl Harbor veterans, and at services commemorating 9-11. He created and directed the New American Writers workshop on the West Side of Manhattan and has developed tolerance curricula for the Holocaust Center in Glen Cove on Long Island.
On April 23, Jodie Mack will screen and speak about her short film, “Yard Work is Hard Work,” dealing with love, dating, and relationships. Jodie Mack is an independent moving-image practitioner, curator, and historian-in-training who received her MFA in film, video, and new media from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2007 and currently teaches animation at Dartmouth College. Combining the formal techniques and structures of abstract/absolute animation with those of cinematic genres, her handmade films use collage to explore the relationship between graphic cinema and storytelling, the tension between form and meaning. She has screened films at a variety of venues and worked as curator and administrator for numerous film festivals.
“Ethics and Desire in Contemporary Levantine Literature” is the subject of an April 30 talk by Kifah Hannah. She will discuss expressions of sexual desire in Arabic literature, especially the representation of homosexuality. She will explore how the cultural/literary production of (homo)sexuality challenges the established moral standards and redefines the ethics discourse of the post-colonial era by examining novels by Lebanese authors Hoda Barakat, Ulwiyah Subh, and Hanan al-Shaykh. Kifah Hanna is an assistant professor of Arabic language, literature, and culture at Trinity College. She completed her graduate studies at Edinburgh University, Scotland, UK. Her research and teaching interests broadly include 20th and 21st century Arabic literature, especially women’s writings; more specifically the aesthetics of Arab women’s writings on gender, sexuality and war, postcolonial theory, film studies, and cultural studies.