Session Three

3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Medieval Chinese Demonology: Texts and Images

Donald Harper Bio

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

Prof. Harper explores the content and context of a 10th century Chinese manuscript, discovered in 1900 at Dunhuang (on the Silk Road), which identifies demons and weird events around the typical elite household. Entitled “White Marsh’s Diagrams of Spectral Prodigies,” the manuscript records the knowledge of White Marsh, a popular medieval protector deity. The book itself as magical icon mutated into a “Diagram of White Marsh” – an icon of the deity to hang in the household (confirmed by paintings and block prints of White Marsh still surviving in Japan).

Cosmic and Quotidian: Perceptions of Reality in Ancient Mesopotamia

Seth Richardson Bio

Mesopotamian Gallery, Oriental Institute (1155 E. 58th St.)

Materials for the study of cuneiform texts can vary widely - from scrappy business receipts to lengthy poetic compositions. The differing concerns of these types and genres has sometimes produced widely differing views of ancient Mesopotamian society. Seth Richardson presents and discusses two modern perspectives on the Mesopotamian mindset - one rooted in ideologies and cosmologies, one in material, politics and economy - and the texts from which these views arise.

The Invention of Fiction in Ancient Greece: Theory & Practice

Mark Payne Bio

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

The Greek poets of the Hellenistic age (Theocritus, Callimachus, Apollonius) are far less familiar to most readers than their archaic predecessors (Homer, Hesiod, Sappho). Yet it is to the former that we must look for the first appearance of what we could call literary fiction. Prof. Payne discusses what distinguishes fiction from myth and reflects upon the philosophical and cultural background to the emergence of fiction in these writers.

How to Read the Declaration

Eric Slauter Bio

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

Generations of scholars have explored the writing of the Declaration of Independence--the philosophy informing Jefferson and his co-authors, the political circumstances behind its drafting, even the literary qualities of the document. We know far less, however, about how the Declaration was understood by early readers. What did the text mean to contemporaries? When did readers begin to focus on the Declaration as primarily a charter of rights rather than an assertion of national sovereignty? Is the history of liberty in the United States in part a story in which readers, both free and enslaved, productively misread the Declaration? Prof. Slauter explores these and related questions.

The Shroud of Turin

Armando Maggi Bio

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

Prof. Maggi analyzes the so-called Shroud of Turin from a religious, literary, and cultural point of view, beginning with a discussion of some Catholic baroque books written when the Shroud was moved to Turin and the end of the sixteenth century. These late Renaissance texts see the Shroud as an artifact that is at once a painting and a written text (the blood of Christ is the ink with which God has composed the story of his incarnation). Today, the shroud is seen as a painting and the negative of a photograph.

Naturalism About the Mind

Jason Bridges Bio

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

Naturalism is the view that the phenomena of human mental life—perception, thought, emotion, and so on—can be fully understood and explained by the natural sciences. It is often assumed that the only alternative to naturalism is to suppose that human minds are in some sense supernatural. Prof. Bridges suggests that both alternatives are mistaken and that both stem from the same source: a desire to explain our subjectivity—to explain what it is to think, feel, and understand the things we do—from a standpoint that is somehow outside of what we have in view when we exercise these capacities. As he explains, this desire is unsatisfiable; it is probably also incurable.

Tolstoy and Education

Lina Steiner

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

The great Russian novelist Lev Tolstoy was also a dedicated educator and an innovative pedagogical theorist. Upon a closer look, the question of what it means to be an enlightened human being also appears, under various historical and ideological guises, as the crucial theme of much of Tolstoy's fiction. Drawing on Tolstoy's novels, plays, essays, and diaries, Prof. Steiner sketches a Tolstoyan vision of the "enlightened self" and argues that Tolstoy's ideas not only still retain their appeal as an ideal, but can also contribute to contemporary critical debates about the privileges and the consequences of "enlarged mentality."

Panel Discussion: Ancient History, Modern Politics

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

Danielle Allen, Dean of the Division, moderates a panel discussion examining what’s at stake for understanding our present world by spending time thinking about ancient history. Can such a pursuit be justified by notions of relevance, or should such notions be left aside? How does a scholar think about ancient history differently than a polemicist, politician, or op-ed columnist? Dean Allen considers these questions and others with the help of faculty panelists, including Jonathan Hall, chair of the Department of Classics.

Panel Discussion: Technology and the Humanities

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

Increasingly, researchers in the humanities are using technology to further their pursuits. Arno Bosse, director of technology in the Division, leads a panel discussing how this intersection is opening new areas of understanding for the humanities scholar. Panel participants include Kotoka Suzuki, assistant professor in the department of Music, Katherine Mino, director of the Center for the Art of East Asia, and Eric Elshtain and Jon Trowbridge, creators of the Gnoetry Project.

Film Music and the Fantastical Gap

Berthold Hoeckner Bio

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

Where does film music come from? We hear the lush sounds of the orchestra, but don’t see any instruments. We hear a haunting song, but don't see a singer. There exist a fundamental distinction in film music between source music and underscoring. Source music originates in the story of the film: for instance, with a character whom we see playing the piano. Underscoring has no such source in the narrative: it is added from outside. From a phenomenological perspective, the difference between the two types of film music would seem to be absolute. But in cinematic practice it is not. It is a fantastical gap that can be bridged, and Prof. Hoeckner explores how in this presentation.

Brethren in Pain: Darwinism, Buddhism, and the Bears of Japan

Gregory Golley Bio

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

Today the Japanese black bear is approaching a crisis, living under the shadow of diminishing habitats and an unrelenting global market in bear gall bladder for medicinal use. In the 1920s, one of Japan’s best-known modernist authors, Miyazawa Kenji (1896-1933), wrote a children’s story about a bear hunter that seemed to anticipate this crisis. Prof. Golley discusses the image of hunting presented in this story and considers what its author’s relationship to Buddhism and to Darwinian biology can teach us today about relations between human and non-human species.

The 'Trobairitz': Female Poets in the Middle Ages

Daisy Delogu Bio

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

Prof. Delogu discusses the Old Provençal lyric tradition and the place of women within the literary production of the time.

Smart Museum: A Director’s Tour

Smart Museum of Art (5550 S. Greenwood Ave.)

Tour the Smart Museum with Dana Feitler Director Anthony Hirschel. Join him in a lively conversation about what university museums are and what role they play both within and beyond the campus. Learn more about the museum's collection, the ways the Smart approaches exhibition displays, and what these say about the Smart's mission as a university art museum.

Performance: Motet Choir

Rockefeller Chapel (1156 E. 59th St.)

Walking Tour: Modern Residential Architecture in Hyde Park (Part II)

Tour departs from Herrick House (5735 S. University Ave.)

A walking tour of many of the significant residential buildings in Hyde Park discussed in the earlier lecture. The tour will include homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, Keck and Keck, I.M. Pei, Harry Weese, Y.C. Wong, and others.

An optional lecture precedes this walking tour from 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. See Session 2 description for details.