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The Humanities Project

Current Projects

Fall 2016


Roundtable: A Global History of Architecture, Methods and Strategies

This roundtable will bring together scholars who are currently a team with the Mellon-sponsored Global Architectural History Teaching Collaborative for their work on a curriculum for a global history of architecture through the prism of technologies of communication and transportation. The team will discuss their pedagogical strategies and give sample lectures units which will be followed by a discussion on the larger opportunities and challenges more generally within global historical studies.

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The spontaneous logicality of language: how grammar creates meaning

Humans communicate through language: verbal languages, or sign languages. How do words and sentences or gestures acquire meaning? One way to think about it is to view language as a labeling device: nouns are used as conventional labels for things (e.g., the English noun ‘table’ is a label for, well, tables) and verbs are labels for actions (e.g. ‘to break’ labels actions like demolishing, shattering, and the like); and in virtue of these conventional associations, sequences of words can be used to convey facts about the world, or to tell stories (e.g. “One day, John broke his beautiful table”). 

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New Approaches to Poetry and Song

Poetry, like music, offers too much to attend to. We can listen to the sound of words, the patterns of accent, or the balance of rhymes. We can think about style, tone, voice, and address. We can study form and syntax, rhythm and meter, place and time. And yet when scholars analyze song, they tend to restrict themselves to rather limited aspects of the source poetry, often reducing their inquiry to semantic questions—How does the “meaning” of the poem relate to the expression of the music?

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notchLooking Like the Enemy: The WWII Japanese-American Experience

A lecture by Notch Miyake on the Japanese-American wartime experience and Margaret Miyake’s contemporary photographs of the campsites today draw their inspiration from this journey. Margaret’s photographs (with captions by Notch) will be exhibited in the Hartnett Gallery in Wilson Commons, contextualized with WWII anti-Japanese propaganda from the Re-Envisioning Japan digital humanities project led by Joanne Bernardi, Associate Professor of Japanese, Department of Modern Languages and Cultures. 

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musicalsocialjusticeMusic and Social Justice in an Evolving Zimbabwean Diaspora

Join the University of Rochester’s Humanities Project for an artist-in-residency with musicians and cultural activists Erica Azim and Fradreck Mujuru. On November  6th and 7th, Erica and Fradreck will perform and teach mbira dzavadzimu music from Zimbabwe, as well as talking about their work with the 501(c)(3) non-profit organization MBIRA. 

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transparentTransparent: A Multidisciplinary Symposium

Dubbed by The New Yorker’s Emily Nussbaum a “stealth masterpiece,” Transparent (Amazon, 2014-2016) captures psychological, social, and historical dynamics of being transgender at precisely the moment that transgender individuals and stories have taken a central place in American mass culture. Simultaneously, Transparent presents the most substantively and recognizably Jewish family in the history of American television. Through flashbacks over the three seasons, the show offers intersecting genealogies of gender and Jewishness, from 1930s Berlin to midcentury American suburban acculturation to contemporary religious experimentation.

This two-day multi-disciplinary symposium brings together scholars, writers, and critics to discuss all things Transparent and engage in dialogues at the nexus of Jewish Studies, Media Studies, Religious Studies and Sexuality & Gender Studies.

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Spring 2017


Imagining Histories, Performing Identities: Post-colonial African Art in Context

Organized with the Fredrick Douglass Institute for African & African-American Studies and the Department of Art & Art History at the University of Rochester, this series of programs will contextualize the MAG's exhibition of Meleko Mokgosi's Pax Kaffraria within the current discourse on African art and culture.

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god-has-no-countryGod Has No Country

Dublin-based actor Donal Courtney’s one-man show “God Has No Country” tells the story of Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty’s exploits in German-occupied Rome during the Second World War. Though little remembered today, this unassuming Irish priest used his connections in the Vatican to harbor prisoners of war and Jews and was ultimately responsible for saving over 6,500 lives. The play follows O’Flaherty’s torment as he decides to act in defense of those suffering under Fascist tyranny. It delves into his tortured relationship with SS Obersturmbahnnführer Herbert Kappler, the head of the Gestapo in Rome whom he ultimately received into the Roman Catholic communion. It also reflects on his upbringing in Killarney and on how joining the priesthood protected him from involvement in the Anglo-Irish War. Told with humor and sensitivity and performed with great Irish élan, “God Has No Country” aims to bring the heroic deeds and achievements of this extraordinary but unsung man to a wider audience. 

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lisztLiszt and Virtuosity - An International Symposium

This conference, to be held March 2-4, 2017, brings together scholars and scholar-performers for a three-day event focusing on the Hungarian-born pianist and composer Franz Liszt (1811-1886) and the theme of virtuosity. 

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Symposium on Religion and Law

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maskThe Mask

Tradition and culture of Guinea West Africa breaking down stereotypes and cultural identity in America

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South Asia Humanities Collaborative

The South Asia Humanities Collaborative will showcase local resources, programs, projects, and expertise on South Asia, highlighting those pertaining to the humanities. By organizing a series visually interesting talks that are accessible to a wide audience of non-specialists, we hope to encourage dialogue across departments and schools at the University of Rochester -- and even between the University and other Rochester institutions -- in order to highlight the study of South Asia. These

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