From Rome to Jerusalem:
The Myth of United Italy and the Birth of Zionism
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Lattimore 401, Hartman Room
Presented by Roberta Ascarelli
Professor of German Literature, University of Siena
Professor of Ashkenazi Literature, Rabbinical Collegium – Rome
Visiting professor for Italian, University of Rochester
In the history of Zionism we find an absolutely eccentric model with respect to the Jewish tradition: Italy. Italy is a topic for the political ideologues who first begin to imagine a country for the Jews: from the socialist Moses Hess, to the rabbi Leo Pinsker. Along with them, even the Italian patriots imagine a new land for the Jews: indeed the first modern treatise on Zionism is written by a fighter for the freedom of Italy, Musolino, leader of the riots in the South against the House of Bourbon. What connects two distant countries such as Italy and Israel and with such different histories and traditions? There are political similarities: the huge problem of the foreign domination and the power of religious institutions opposed to unity – the Catholic Church and Islam. But there is also the powerful memory of the book of Exodus that becomes the basis of a common revolutionary thought.
Refreshments will be provided.
Professor of Russian and the Director of the Russian Studies Program, Kathleen Parthé, editor and translator of “A Herzen Reader,” will have the book featured in a panel discussion at the 2014 American Association of Teachers of Slavic and European Languages Conference.
Professor Jenny Creech will sit on the discussion panel for the film, “The Price of Sex,” Tuesday, March 26 at The Little Theater. The film will begin at 7pm with the discussion to follow.
Landscapes of Memory – The Life of Ruth Kluger
“Landscapes of Memory – The Life of Ruth Kluger“ is a biopic about the high profile author Ruth Kluger, a famous scholar of German literature. Her autobiography “Still Alive: A Holocaust Girlhood Remembered“ is an international bestseller and the book‘s publication in 12 languages has garnered multiple awards for Kluger.
It is one thing to survive the Holocaust, but quite another to deal with the lasting impact of this experience. This filmic portrait of Ruth Kluger, an American literary scholar from Vienna, deals with these issues by revisiting four significant places in her life: Vienna, California, Göttingen and Israel. Ruth Kluger also shares her thoughts on very personal topics: her childhood in anti-Jewish Vienna, her life in the States, her motherhood of two American sons and the culture of commemoration.
Associate Professor of Japanese, Joanne Bernardi, will be giving a talk at the University of South Alabama about the film and novel, “The Dragon Painter.” She will also be presenting, “Re-envisioning Japan: Japan as Destination in 20th-Century Visual and Material Culture.”
Interested in study abroad this summer? Check out our Facebook for flyers and information.
“Dante and the Arts: Textual and Intertextual Perspectives”
Friday, February 22, 2013
10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Robbins Library, Rush Rhees
“Dante’s Divine Comedy has always been a source of inspiration for all sorts of artistic expression in the visual arts, music, theater, cinema, and popular culture. In the context of this multifarious and ongoing production, the tradition of the poem’s illustrations, starting with the fourteenth century illuminated manuscripts and fifteenth century early printed texts, and including works from the most diverse historical and geographic backgrounds, spans over seven centuries and constitutes a vast field of its own. While Dante’s visual imagination-as T. S. Elliot used to define it-has played a role in sustaining this tradition, the poet’s “meta-visual” discourse within the text and his awareness of the issues involved in artistic representation, has become in the last decades a major object of critical inquiry.
This conference addresses musical interpretations, illustrations, and art works inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy, along with theoretical and philosophical problems raised within the text. Placing this canonical text in an interdisciplinary, international, and intercultural context, the conference will explore the potential of diverse modes of representation to be works of art in their own right and to produce, at the same time, original insight on the text itself. It will also show how the historical and cultural climate affect interpretation and, conversely, how a cultural product, while providing a reading of a medieval text in a different medium, opens up a window on the epoch in which it was produced: in our case Sixteenth Century Medicean Florence, Nineteenth Century Europe, and contemporary Peru.”
For more information click here.
Check out this series of events by The Humanities Project organized by MLC’s Claudia Schaefer and Brad Weslake, Assistant Professor of Philosophy.
Spotlight On … Series: Luisa-Maria Rojas-Rimachi
Rush Rhees Library Welles-Brown Room
Thursday, February 28, 2013
5:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Luisa-Maria Rojas-Rimachi, senior lecturer in Spanish in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures, will give a talk, “Literature as a Window for Critical Cultural Learning: An Example.”
More information here.
The Authoritarian Absurd
Before and After Communism
A talk by Kathleen Parthé, Professor of Russian & Director of Russian Studies
Friday, November 30th
“Theatre of the absurd” has been increasingly used to describe governance under Putin, both in policy and in the visual aspects of his second and third terms as president (riding shirtless, diving for carefully arranged artifacts, tranquilizing wild animals, flying with the birds…). Recognition of the absurdity of authoritarian rulers with reformist pretensions arose earlier in Russian political analysis, particularly in the writings of Alexander Herzen (1812-1870), and many of his observations apply as easily to Russia after 2000 as they do to his own time. Even from London exile, Herzen picked up on contradictions that arose when – unlike the folk hero Ilya Muromets, who confidently chose one of three paths before him – the tsar attempted to travel in two different directions simultaneously, on one road liberating people and on another severely restricting their freedom. A modern court system coexisted with politicized trials and unhealthy prisons, and serf emancipation alongside poverty and the absence of rights. Openness was heralded, but investigative reporting was dangerous, and the more troubled the nation, the louder the jubilees. Herzen gave Alexander II ample time to enact reforms, but by the early 1860s his faith had failed, and, like critics of Russia’s 21st century rulers, Herzen used laughter to expose the fact that Russians “have a great many policeman and very few rights.” In Rabelais and his World, Mikhail Bakhtin remarked on Herzen’s wish to write a history of laughter as the great leveler and one of the most powerful means of destruction. Herzen exploited a number of comic possibilities in his writing: puns, sarcasm, satire, parody, and what he called “irony-the-consoler and avenger.” My paper will examine the phenomenon of continuity (preemstvennost’) in Russian civilization that has brought authoritarianism and blasphemy safely through to the present.
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