Session Two

1:30 pm – 2:30 pm

King Lear: Act IV, Scene vi

David Bevington Bio

Breasted Hall, Oriental Institute (1155 E. 58th St.)

Prof. Bevington explores the philosophical challenges posed by the attempt of the Earl of Gloucester in King Lear to commit suicide, and the role of his son Edgar in both preventing the suicide and inventing a cosmos for the old man in which his despair can be comprehended.

Poetic Form and the Problems of History

David ThompsonBio , Robert von Hallberg Bio

Classics Building, Room 10 (1010 E. 59th St.)

Relying on examples from such important modern poets as T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound, Prof. von Hallberg and David Thompson, an associate dean in the Division, explore the relationship between aesthetics and extremist politics. The presentation/dialogue will focus on the ways in which poems expressing difficult, often offensive ideas have become occasions for defending the “aesthetic” as a category of experience and evaluation. The two also explore the range of historical concerns (war, immigration, citizenship, race, etc.) that are frequently expressed by controversial poems but can be overshadowed by those elements of the poems that elicit deep concern and sometimes condemnation.

Beowulf’s World

Christina von Nolcken Bio

Franke Institute, Regenstein Library, Room S-118 (1100 E. 57th St.)

“Lif is læne: eal scæceð leoht and lif somod [life is fleeting: everything hastens away, light and life together]” (J.R.R. Tolkien, 1936). It is well known even today that the Old English Beowulf is about a superhero, Beowulf, and his fights against three monsters. Often overlooked, however, are the many other stories that also feature in this hauntingly beautiful poem. Working with Seamus Heaney’s 2000 translation, Prof. von Nolcken considers some of these other stories and what they do for the poem as a whole. Together, you will find man sometimes defeats the monsters, but his is also a highly unstable world.

Aristotle on Happiness and the Goods of Fortune: Nicomachean Ethics I.10

Gabriel Richardson Lear Bio

Stuart Hall, Room 101 (5835 S. Greenwood Ave.)

Aristotle thought that part of being happy is being confident that you won’t easily be shaken from your happiness. However, Greek tragedy and history showed him that even the most successful people can suffer terrible misfortune. Does our susceptibility to bad luck mean that no one ever achieves the ideal of happiness? Is it right to call people happy only once they’re dead, safely in the grave, and beyond the reach of misfortune? Prof. Lear leads a discussion on how Aristotle reconciles his belief that happiness is found in virtuous action with the undeniable importance to us of the goods of fortune.

The Future of the Past: An Internet Research Environment for the Study of Cultural Heritage

David Schloen Bio
Sandra Schloen Bio

Stuart Hall, Room 102 (5835 S. Greenwood Ave.)

Scholars in the humanities increasingly rely on information technology to pursue their research. We will present an Internet database system that has been developed at the University of Chicago over the past few years. This system provides a new environment for studying and analyzing texts, artifacts, and other aspects of the world’s cultural heritage. It is especially suitable for integrating and comparing information from diverse archaeological and textual projects. It is intended not only to store and present data contributed by many different scholars from around the world, but also to foster the sharing of information as an aid to interdisciplinary research.

Meaning and Grammar

Anastasia Giannakidou Bio

Stuart Hall, Room 104 (5835 S. Greenwood Ave.)

Semantics is the formal study of linguistic meaning, i.e. the meaning of words and sentences, and of the way meaning is related to form, i.e. the linguistic means used to express it (syntax). In current linguistic theory, semantics is viewed as part of a speaker's linguistic competence, and it interacts with syntax and conventions of use (pragmatics) in various intriguing ways. Prof. Giannakidou concentrates on certain phenomena – polarity and numeral expressions – that manifest precisely this tight interaction, and discusses how it is encoded in the architecture of grammar.

Fiction and Poetry Reading

Srikanth Reddy Bio
Antonia Logue Bio

Fulton Recital Hall, Goodspeed Hall (5845 S. Ellis Ave., Fourth Floor)

Prof. Reddy reads from his first book of poetry, Facts for Visitors, and his work-in-progress, Voyager. Ms. Logue, a lecturer in the Creative Writing Program at the University, reads from her forthcoming novel, Say of What You See in the Dark.

Vive la Differénce

Nadine O. Di Vito Bio

Biological Sciences Learning Center, Room 109 (924 E. 57th St.)

By examining data relating to native speakers of both French and English, senior lecturer Di Vito explores ways in which cultural values differ in French and American societies and how a discussion of such value differences can be broached in even an elementary French course.

Genetic and Neural Bases of the Language Faculty

Jason Merchant Bio

Biological Sciences Learning Center, Room 115 (924 E. 57th St.)

Recent case studies have shown the possibility of a dissociation between language ability and general cognitive abilities in humans. Prof. Merchant reviews these and explores their consequences for perennial questions of the modularity of mind and the innateness of language.

Aural-Visual Perception and Space

Kotoka Suzuki Bio

Biological Sciences Learning Center, Room 205 (924 E. 57th St.)

Prof. Suzuki provides an introduction to “Kreisen,” a three-dimensional interactive audio-visual installation which invites participants to explore under the subjective surface of the projected images to discover the hidden world underneath, and there, to awaken, guide, manipulate, compose, and transform the revealed elements of sound and images.

Poetry of the Surimono: Exploring the Arts of Japanese Cultural Salons

Hans Thomsen Bio

Biological Sciences Learning Center, Room 218 (924 E. 57th St.)

The surimono – complex, privately printed woodblock prints – were commissioned by numerous Japanese cultural salons in the nineteenth century. Through both texts and images, these printscommemorated key moments for individual members of the salons, such as a new job, name change, marriage, retirement, and death. The intricate works shed light not only on the print culture of early modern Japan, but also on the twists and turns in the lives of individuals active in the cultural world of the day. Prof. Thomsen provides an overview and specific examination of several works, including prints currently on view in the Smart Museum.

The Poetry of Mother and Child

Lisa Ruddick Bio

Rosenwald Hall, Room 405 (1101 E. 58th St.)

How do mothers help to prepare their children for life's complexities?
In this session, Prof. Ruddick leads a discussion of two contemporary poems, by Margaret Atwood and Linda Pastan, that voice from a mother's perspective the challenges of protecting a child and yet allowing him or her an independent discovery of the larger world. In the course of the session, Prof. Ruddick also suggests how recent psychoanalytic theories of attachment offer a vocabulary for describing this parent/child bond and the process of letting go.

Court Theatre: Man of La Mancha

Court Theatre (5535 S. Ellis Ave.)

Get an inside look at the artistic process behind the musical Man of La Mancha at Court Theatre. Artistic director Charles Newell, musical director Doug Peck, and cast members discuss preparing, rehearsing, and staging the play as well and give a backstage tour.


Pre-Tour Lecture: Modern Residential Architecture in Hyde Park

Herrick House (5735 S. University Ave.)

Lecturer Sam Guard argues that although the conventional view is that the modern domestic residence was a product of the modern European movement later transplanted to the United States, it was, in fact, in Chicago that the built environment of the 20th century was progressively developed and given form. This illustrated lecture, in the historic Herrick House, focuses on the pioneering work of Hugh Garden and the importance of Hyde Park to the evolution of modern residential architecture. Guard also demonstrates how the lessons of Gardenís modernist experiments re-emerge after World War II in the work of I.M. Pei, George and William Keck, Harry Weese, Y.C. Wong, Bruce Graham and Fazlur Khan, and then still later in the work of Larry Booth, David Swan, Jack Hartray and John Vinci.

An optional walking tour follows this lecture from 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. See Session 3 description for details.