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Humanities Viewpoints
A Podcast from the Wake Forest University Humanities Institute
Category: Society & Culture
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March 07, 2017 09:08 AM PST

Today on Humanities Viewpoints I talk with professors Gillian Overing and Ulrike Wiethaus about the recent publication of the book they co-edited: American/Medieval: Nature and Mind in Cultural Transfer. The project began with the Humanities Institute-sponsored interdisciplinary faculty seminar called American/Medieval, which led to the group representing the institute and Wake Forest in organizing a roundtable discussion on the American/Medieval at the Leeds International Medieval Congress in 2014. We discuss this project from a number of different angles, including developing a definition, connections between American/Medieval and our contemporary world, approaching these topics in the classroom, and future projects inspired by all of these collaborations.

To hear even more about the book and to meet some of the contributors, Wake Forest faculty, staff, and students are invited to attend a Book Launch Celebration for American/Medieval at 4:00pm on Tuesday, March 14th in the Ammons Lounge of Tribble Hall. Join us for conversation, readings, and refreshments to celebrate this exciting new work!

Gillian R. Overing is a Professor of English at Wake Forest University where she teaches courses in Medieval Narrative, Old English language and literature, Gender and Landscape studies, History of the Language, Linguistics, and Women's and Gender Studies, as well as seminars in the English Major, multiple team-taught Interdisciplinary Honors courses, and seminars in Major British Writers. She received her PhD from the State University of New York at Buffalo before joining the Wake Forest faculty in 1993. She has published numerous articles in scholarly journals and was a Commissioned Editor with Clare A. Lees of Gender and Empire, a special volume of the Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 34.1 (2004). Her books include Language, Sign and Gender in Beowulf (Southern Illinois University Press, 1990); Landscape of Desire: Partial Stories of the Medieval Scandinavian World, with Marijane Osborn (University of Minnesota Press, 1994); A Place to Believe In: Locating Medieval Landscapes, co-edited with Clare A. Lees (Penn State Press, 2006), Double Agents: Women and Clerical Culture in Anglo-Saxon England, with Clare A. Lees (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001), reprinted by University of Wales Press, 2009, and most recently American/Medieval: Nature and Mind in Cultural Transfer, co-edited with Ulrike Wiethaus, (Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 2016).

Ulrike Wiethaus received a PhD in Religious Studies from Temple University. She holds a joint appointment in the Department for the Study of Religions and the American Ethnic Studies Program at Wake Forest University. Her research interests focus on the history of Christian spirituality with an emphasis on gender justice and political history, and most recently, historic trauma and the long-term impact of US colonialism. Her most recent book-length publications include American/Medieval: Nature and Mind in Cultural Transfer, co-edited with Gillian Overing (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2016); American Indian Women of Proud Nations: Essays on History, Education, and Language, co-edited with Cherry Beasley and Mary Ann Jacobs (Peter Lang Publishing, 2016); Medieval German Mysticism and the Politics of Culture (Peter Lang Publishing, 2015); and Trauma and Resilience in African American and American Indian Southern History, co-edited with Tony Parent (Peter Lang Publishing, 2013).

February 16, 2017 01:16 PM PST

Samuel F.B. Morse is perhaps best known for his invention of the single-wire telegraph system and the co-inventor of Morse code. However, he was also an artist, and his work, The Gallery of the Louvre, is the subject of today’s episode, a conversation with Morna O’Neill, Associate Professor of Art History at Wake Forest University. Professor O’Neill discusses Morse’s identity as an artist, his intentions in creating The Gallery of the Louvre, his relationship to technology, and the questions this particular painting raises for contemporary audiences.

Professor O’Neill will also moderate the special event for Wake Forest Faculty, “Decoding Morse”: Cross-Disciplinary Conversation and a Viewing of Samuel F. B. Morse’s Gallery of the Louvre at 3:00pm on Friday, February 24th. You can find more information about this event at humanitiesinstitute.wfu.edu/decodingmorse.

Morse’s painting is on display during the exhibition Samuel F. B. Morse’s Gallery of the Louvre and the Art of Invention at the Reynolda House Museum of American Art, which opens Friday, February 17th and runs through June 4, 2017. Visit www.reynoldahouse.org for more information.

Samuel F. B. Morse’s Gallery of the Louvre and the Art of Invention was organized by and with support from the Terra Foundation for American Art. Reynolda House is grateful for the generous sponsorship of this exhibition from Major Co-Sponsor Wake Forest Innovation Quarter and Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, Contributing Sponsors the Terra Foundation for American Art and an anonymous donor, and Exhibition Partners Joia Johnson and Jeff and Sissy Whittington.

Morna O'Neill is associate professor of art history in the Department of Art at Wake Forest University, where she teaches courses in eighteenth and nineteenth-century European art and the history of photography. Prior to her arrival at Wake Forest, she taught in the History of Art Department at Vanderbilt University and served as a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Research at the Yale Center for British Art. Her scholarship addresses the conjunction of art, design, and politics at the end of the nineteenth century. She is the author of Walter Crane: The Arts and Crafts, Painting, and Politics (Yale University Press, 2011). She also curated the exhibition 'Art and Labour's Cause is One:' Walter Crane and Manchester, 1880-1915 (Whitworth Art Gallery, University of Manchester, August 2008-June 2009). She is currently preparing a book manuscript on the art dealer Hugh Lane (1875-1915) and the rise of the global art market. She is the co-editor, with Michael Hatt (University of Warwick), of The Edwardian Sense: Art, Design, and Performance in Britain, 1901-1910 (Yale University Press, 2010).

November 08, 2016 12:57 PM PST

This month’s episode marks the first Roundtables episode of Humanities Viewpoints in which a group of Wake Forest faculty gather to discuss a topic from the lens of their respective fields. Today, our topic is “Familiar Prejudices from Unexpected Sources.” Our conversation includes discussions of anti-Greek sentiments in Roman satire, Ancient Greek and Roman anti-Semitism, women’s involvement in the second era Ku Klux Klan, imagined histories, and the rhetoric of the 2016 Presidential campaign.

My guests are T.H.M Gellar-Goad, Jeffrey D. Lerner, and Lynn S. Neal.

T. H. M. Gellar-Goad is Assistant Professor of Classical Languages at Wake Forest University. He specializes in Latin poetry, especially the funny stuff: Roman comedy, Roman erotic elegy, Roman satire, and — if you believe him — the allegedly philosophical poet Lucretius.

Jeffrey D. Lerner is a Professor of History at Wake Forest University. His research focuses on the Hellenistic Period in the East. He teaches a variety of courses on Ancient History, including History 312: Jews, Greeks, and Romans.

Lynn S. Neal is a scholar of American religious history. She is the co-editor, with John Corrigan, of Religious Intolerance in America, and the author of a number of articles on religious intolerance, including "Christianizing the Klan: Alma White, Branford Clarke, and the Art of Religious Intolerance," "The Ideal Democratic Apparel: T-shirts, Religious Intolerance, and the Clothing of Democracy," and "They're Freaks!: The Cult Stereotype in Fictional Television Shows, 1958-2008." She is Associate Professor and Associate Chair in the Department for the Study of Religions.

I hope you enjoy our conversation.

Here is a list of the readings and sources my guests draw from during this discussion:

From Dr. Gellar-Goad:
Translation of Juvenal's Third Satire by A. S. Kline: http://www.poetryintranslation.com/PITBR/Latin/JuvenalSatires3.htm
Translation of Catullus 63 on Attis by A. S. Kline: http://www.poetryintranslation.com/PITBR/Latin/Catullus.htm#anchor_Toc531846788

From Dr. Lerner:
Dio Cassius, Roman History, Volume 9: Books 71-80. Translated by Cary, E., Foster, H.B., Loeb Classical Library 177 (Harvard University Press, 1927). See 75.32

Tacitus, Annals, Volume 4: Books 4-6, 11-12. Translated by Jackson, J. Loeb Classical Library 312 (Harvard University Press, 1937). See 12.54.

Tacitus, Histories, Volume 3: Books 4-5. Annals: Books 1-3. Translated by Moore, C.H. Classical Library 249 (Harvard University Press, 1931). See 5.1-13.

For Claudius’ edict concerning the inhabitants of Alexandria, see Select Papyri, Volume 2: Public Documents. Translated by Hunt, A.S. and Edgar, C.C. Classical Library 282 (Harvard University Press, 1934). See Chapter 3 (pp.78-89).

For Manetho, see Josephus, The Life. Against Apion. Translated by Thackery, H.St.J. Classical Library 186 (Harvard University Press, 1926). See 1.26-31 (227-287).

August 29, 2016 05:08 PM PDT

Welcome back!

Hamilton: An American Musical tells the story of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton. It was written by Lin-Manuel Miranda who also starred in the title role. It debuted Off-Broadway at the Public Theatre to critical acclaim and transferred to Broadway in August 2015.

Since then it was nominated for a record-setting 16 Tony Awards, winning 11, including Best Musical as well as awards for Best Book and Best Score for its creator, Miranda. It was also the recipient of the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album and the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. It’s even made its way into Wake Forest University’s undergraduate admissions application as a short-answer question. You can read the full story about that at news.wfu.edu.

Today on Humanities Viewpoints, Jake Ruddiman from the History Department talks with me about the Hamilton phenomenon. We discuss what Hamilton, the musical, gets right, what it leaves out, and what may have captivated Lin Manuel-Miranda’s imagination, inspiring the creation of his version of this “Founding Father without a father.”

Jake Ruddiman is an Associate Professor of History at Wake Forest University. His first book, Becoming Men of Some Consequence, presents the experiences of young men in fighting in the Revolutionary War. His next projects explore the Revolution in the southeast.

February 26, 2016 10:41 AM PST

This month's guest is Dr. Sarah Hogan. She’ll be talking about utopian literature, specifically Thomas More’s Utopia from 1516. We’ll discuss the etymology of the word utopia, the history of More’s book and its relevance today, as well as the current pervasiveness of dystopias, utopian literature's sister genre.

Sarah Hogan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Wake Forest University. Her teaching and research interests are in early modern British literature, Utopian Studies, and cultural theory. She is currently at work on a book, Island Worlds and Other Englands: Utopia, Capital, and Empire (1516-1660). Her writing has appeared in The Journal of Early Modern Cultural Studies, The Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, and Upstart: A Journal of English Renaissance Studies.

To hear about more on the subject of utopias, don't miss Utopia: Dreaming the Social, a one-day, interdisciplinary symposium. It takes place from 10:00am-4:30pm on Wednesday, March 2nd at the Reynolda House Museum of American Art.

The event is sponsored by the Program in Medieval and Early Modern Studies with additional sponsorship from the WFU Humanities Institute, made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the WFU Department of History, and the WFU Department of Philosophy. Featured speakers include several WFU faculty members, including Dr. Hogan, as well as faculty guests from Indiana University and Loyola University-Chicago.

November 19, 2015 07:53 AM PST

This past May, the ancient Roman-era city and UNESCO World Heritage site of Palmyra in Syria was seized by ISIS. Later in the summer, Khaled al-Asaad, an 82-year-old archaeologist and renowned antiquities scholar, was brutally murdered in Palmyra by Islamic State militants when he refused to reveal where valuable artifacts had been moved. Since then, ISIS has set about demolishing the architectural riches of the city. Why is the preservation of these sites and the objects within them so important, a life or death matter for someone like al-Asaad?

Dr. Laura Veneskey joins Humanities Viewpoints this month to discuss this and other questions related to the systematic destruction of one of the world’s most important ancient sites.

Laura Veneskey (Sarah Lawrence College, B.A.; Northwestern University, Ph.D.) teaches courses in ancient, medieval, and Byzantine art. Her research explores the visual culture of the late Roman and early medieval Mediterranean, particularly Syria-Palestine, with special focus on issues of materiality, medieval image theory, pilgrimage, and the cult of relics. She is currently preparing a book manuscript investigating the material aspects of Mediterranean visual culture between the 3rd and 9th centuries. Professor Veneskey has received grants from the Mellon Foundation, the Max-Planck-Institut, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, the Graham Foundation, and the Warburg Institute. Before coming to Wake Forest, she was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at Columbia University.

October 15, 2015 07:19 AM PDT

This past June, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples can marry nationwide, an historic victory for gay rights. While this landmark decision was cause for much celebration, marriage equality is hardly the end of the struggle for LGBTQ rights. This issue and many others will be discussed at Rising Voices: A Wake Forest Alumni LGBTQIA Conference which will be held on the Wake Forest University campus October 23rd and 24th. You can register for the Rising Voices Conference by visiting lgbtq.wfu.edu/risingvoices.

In this month’s bonus episode of Humanities Viewpoints, Wake Forest LGBTQ Center Director Angela Mazaris and I discuss the upcoming conference, the founding of the LGBTQ Center at Wake Forest, and her own work on queer public histories.

Dr. Angela Mazaris is the founding director of the LGBTQ Center at Wake Forest University, where she also teaches in the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program. As LGBTQ Center Director, she provides education, advocacy, and support to the campus community around issues of gender identity and sexual orientation. Dr. Mazaris serves as part of the university’s Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Team, and is committed to creating an institution that welcomes, supports, and engages everyone to his or her fullest potential. Dr. Mazaris has a Ph.D. in American Studies from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, where she was honored to hold a Jacob Javits Fellowship from the U.S. Department of Education. Her teaching and research focus on LGBTQ history, queer theory, public history, and gender studies. At Brown she served as the first Coordinator of the LGBTQ Resource Center, and as Graduate Proctor at the Sarah Doyle Women’s Center. She was also a member of Brown’s Diversity Advisory Board, where she worked specifically on issues related to first-generation students and social class.

October 05, 2015 10:19 AM PDT

Last week it was released that work will soon begin on a church planned to honor the deaths of a group of Egyptian Coptic Christians who were killed earlier this year by a Libyan militant group affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). This is just one instance of violence against Coptic Christians in the Middle East, part of a complex history of persecution that goes back hundreds of years and continues today.

On this episode of Humanities Viewpoints, Dr. Nelly van Doorn-Harder talks with me about the history of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt, sectarian violence, and the current state of the church. Nelly van Doorn-Harder is Professor of Islamic Studies in the Department for the Study of Religions at Wake Forest University. Her research straddles issues concerning women and religion, human rights in Muslim countries, and the interreligious encounter between Muslims and Christians. She was born and raised in the Netherlands where she earned her PhD on the topic of women in the Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt at the Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam. Her main books on Egypt are on Coptic nuns and the modern history of the Coptic popes. Before moving to the United States she was director of a refugee program in Cairo, Egypt, and taught Islamic Studies at universities in the Netherlands and Indonesia.

September 01, 2015 10:00 AM PDT

It’s good to be back after the summer break, and we have some interesting episodes lined up for the fall. Look for a new episode on the first of every month (with the possibility of bonus episodes throughout the semester).

Ronald Neal, Assistant Professor in the Wake Forest University Department for the Study of Religions, is our guest today and will talk with me about the tragic shooting in Charleston this summer. Nine people were shot and killed during a Bible study session at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina on June 17th. This church is one of the largest and oldest black congregations in the South, and the recent massacre is not the first time it has been the target of a hate crime. Black churches have been the target of violence throughout the history of the United States – one of the most well-known being the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama that killed four African American girls. Dr. Neal and I discuss the history of African American churches in the United States, the legacy of the church as a center of political organization, and the history of violence against black churches as political acts of terrorism.

Ronald B. Neal holds a PhD in Religion from Vanderbilt University. He is the author of Democracy in 21st Century America: Race, Class, Religion, and Region (Mercer University Press, 2012). Professor Neal is a theorist of religion and culture whose primary area of teaching and research is African American Religious Studies. He also does teaching and research in other areas including world religions, religion and popular culture, religion and political culture, and gender studies in religion. He is currently writing a book on Black Masculinity, Myth, and the Western Imagination.

January 14, 2015 09:46 AM PST

This episode of Humanities Viewpoints, our first for 2015, is about Public History. Academics engaging and working with public audiences is getting a good deal of attention. The annual meeting of the American Historical Association earlier this month included a panel session called, “Being a Public Intellectual: Historians and the Public.” Also, just this past December, the National Endowment for the Humanities announced the creation of their new “Public Scholar Grant Program” that encourages the publication of nonfiction books that apply serious humanities scholarship to subjects of general interest and appeal.

Dr. Lisa Blee, Assistant Professor of History at Wake Forest University, joins me today to talk about Public History, the background of the field, as well as her definition and how it applies to her teaching.blee23

Dr. Blee will also talk a bit about the upcoming exhibition, Release: From Stigma to Acceptance. This exhibition features the words and art of formerly incarcerated offenders and was a collaboration between Project Re-entry program graduates, Wake Forest University students in Dr. Blee’s course Issues in Public History (HST 367), and Project Re-entry coordinators during the Fall 2014 semester. The exhibition opens this Saturday, January 17th at the Sawtooth School for Visual Art with an opening reception from 1-3pm. Enjoy refreshments and music while learning about the history of incarceration, stories of re-entry, and the background of the exhibit.

Lisa Blee grew up in Arizona, attended college in Portland, Oregon, and received her PhD at the University of Minnesota. She joined the Wake Forest faculty in 2009 and teaches courses in the U.S. West, Native American history, environmental thought, and public history. Her research interest is in historical memory and late-nineteenth and twentieth century Pacific Northwest Indigenous history. Her first book is Framing Chief Leschi: Narratives and the Politics of Historical Justice (2014, University of North Carolina Press).

I hope you enjoy our conversation.

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