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Humanities Viewpoints
A Podcast from the Wake Forest University Humanities Institute
Category: Society & Culture
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by Aimee Mepham
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September 29, 2017 08:24 AM PDT

My guests for this episode are Professor John Curley and Professor Leigh Ann Hallberg. They have both led the Wake Forest University Art Acquisitions Trip in which a group of six Wake Forest students purchase art from New York galleries to add to the Student Union Collection. Our conversation will touch on a number of topics related to this trip, including the history of the trip itself and how students prepare for it, the role of art in public spaces, what it means to build a collection, and how art can capture and reflect the cultural and political concerns of a particular time and place.

The exhibition from the most recent trip, ex postGlobal: New Acquisitions to the WFU Student Union Collection of Contemporary Art, is currently on view through October 15th at the Charlotte and Philip Hanes Art Gallery on the Wake Forest Reynolda campus. For more information, visit hanesgallery.wfu.edu.

John Curley is Associate Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art in the Department of Art, where he teaches courses in twentieth and twenty-first century art, as well as the history of photography. His research explores the ways that postwar art, primarily in the United States and Europe, intervenes into larger realms of visuality, the mass media, and politics, especially during the period of the Cold War. These concerns are addressed in his award-winning first book: A Conspiracy of Images: Andy Warhol, Gerhard Richter, and the Art of the Cold War (Yale University Press, 2013). He has also published numerous essays in journals and international exhibition catalogs. His current book project Art and the Global Cold War: A History is under contract with Laurence King and should appear in 2018. His research has been supported by the Getty Research Institute, the Yale Center for British Art, the Henry Moore Institute, and the Terra Foundation, among others. At Wake Forest, he received a Teaching Innovation Award in 2012 and co-led the Art Buying Trips in 2009 and 2013.

Leigh Ann Hallberg was born in New Haven, Connecticut in 1956. She received her BA, Magna Cum Laude, from Mount Union College in 1978 and her MFA from University of Colorado Boulder in 1989. Hallberg has exhibited at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Reynolda House Museum of American Art, Verge Art Fair NY, the Museo Archeologico Nazionale – Ferrara, Italy, Museo Civico Archeologico, Stellata, Italy, Plymouth Rock Gallery in Zurich, Switzerland and Unterhammer im Karistal, Germany among other venues. Hallberg is a Teaching Professor at Wake Forest University where she has been a Hoak Family Fellow and awarded numerous grants.

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.

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