Calendar

Oct
30
Wed
U-M Author’s Forum: Ellen Muehlberger: Moment of Reckoning: Imagined Death and Its Consequences in Late Ancient Christianity @ Osterman Common Room (1022)
Oct 30 @ 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

Ellen Muehlberger (history, classical studies, Middle East studies) and Deborah Dash Moore (Judaic studies, history) discuss Muehlberger’s latest book, followed by Q & A.

Late antiquity saw a proliferation of Christian texts dwelling on the emotions and physical sensations of dying—not as a heroic martyr in a public square or a judge’s court but as an individual, at home in a bed or in a private room. In sermons, letters, and ascetic traditions, late ancient Christians imagined the last minutes of life and the events that followed death in elaborate detail. This book traces how, in late ancient Christianity, death came to be thought of as a moment of reckoning: a physical ordeal whose pain is followed by an immediate judgment of one’s actions by angels and demons and, after that, fitting punishment. This emphasis on the experience of death ushered in a new ethical sensibility among Christians, in which one’s death was to be imagined frequently and anticipated in detail. This was initially meant as a tool for individuals: preachers counted on the fact that becoming aware of a judgment arriving at the end of one’s life tends to sharpen one’s scruples. But, as this book argues, the change in Christian sensibility toward death did not just affect individuals. Death imagined as the moment of reckoning created a fund of images and ideas within late ancient Christian culture about just what constituted a human being and how variances in human morality should be treated. This had significant effects on the Christian adoption of power in late antiquity, especially in the case of power’s heaviest baggage: the capacity to authorize violence against others

Nov
6
Wed
Frankel Center Speaker Series: Dennis Ross: Be Strong and of Good Courage: How Israel’s Leaders Shaped Its Destiny @ Rackham (Amphitheater)
Nov 6 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

Ambassador Dennis Ross is counselor and William Davidson Distinguished Fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Prior to returning to the Institute in 2011, he served two years as special assistant to President Obama and National Security Council senior director for the Central Region, and a year as special advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. For more than twelve years, Ambassador Ross played a leading role in shaping U.S. involvement in the Middle East peace process and dealing directly with the parties in negotiations. A highly skilled diplomat, Ambassador Ross was U.S. point man on the peace process in both the George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton administrations.

Nov
12
Tue
CWPS Faculty Lecture: Xiaodong Hottman-Wei: Morin Khuur: The Mongolian Horsehead Fiddle @ Benzinger Library, East Quad
Nov 12 @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm

Professor Hottman-Wei, Director of the U-M Residential College’s Chinese Music Ensemble, presents a rare opportunity to hear the bowed stringed instrument considered a symbol of the Mongolian nation. She will also discuss the numerous cultural contexts in which the Morin Khurr is played.

The Center for World Performance Studies Faculty Lecture Series features our Faculty Fellows and visiting scholars and practitioners in the fields of ethnography and performance. Designed to create an informal and intimate setting for intellectual exchange among students, scholars, and the community, faculty are invited to present their work in an interactive and performative fashion.

Nov
18
Mon
Frankel Lecture: Rachel Rubinstein: The Yiddish Columbus @ 202 S. Thayer Bldg
Nov 18 @ 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm

This talk introduces Jacobo Glantz’s 1939 Mexican Yiddish epic poem Kristobal Kolon, arguing that Glantz’s poem is a point of origin for his daughter, historian and writer Margo Glantz’s later feminist reexaminations of the colonial histories of Mexico. Jacobo Glantz’s counter-canonical retelling of the Americas’ most iconic foundational myth relied on Columbus’s journals and the new, more critical histories of Columbus emerging in the 1930s.  But Luis de Torres, not Columbus, is at the center of Glantz’s retelling. De Torres was the only Jew on Columbus’s crew, hired by Columbus to serve as an interpreter.  Written in a deliberately multilingual Yiddish with Spanish, Taino, Latin and Hebrew borrowings, Glantz’s epic functions as critical counter-history, a wild re-imagining of a history he knew so well. This lecture explores the ways in which the myth of Columbus can be mobilized to unearth “underground” indigenous, African, Muslim and Jewish histories in the New World, and suggests a new geography for American Jewish literature that exceeds the boundaries of English and the United States.

Supported by the Louis and Helen Padnos Fund

Rachel Rubinstein: The Yiddish Columbus @ Thayer Bldg (Room 2022)
Nov 18 @ 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm

The Yiddish Columbus: Critical Counter-History and the Remapping of American Jewish Literature

This talk introduces Jacobo Glantz’s 1939 Mexican Yiddish epic poem Kristobal Kolon, arguing that Glantz’s poem is a point of origin for his daughter, historian and writer Margo Glantz’s later feminist reexaminations of the colonial histories of Mexico. Jacobo Glantz’s counter-canonical retelling of the Americas’ most iconic foundational myth relied on Columbus’s journals and the new, more critical histories of Columbus emerging in the 1930s.  But Luis de Torres, not Columbus, is at the center of Glantz’s retelling. De Torres was the only Jew on Columbus’s crew, hired by Columbus to serve as an interpreter.  Written in a deliberately multilingual Yiddish with Spanish, Taino, Latin and Hebrew borrowings, Glantz’s epic functions as critical counter-history, a wild re-imagining of a history he knew so well. This lecture explores the ways in which the myth of Columbus can be mobilized to unearth “underground” indigenous, African, Muslim and Jewish histories in the New World, and suggests a new geography for American Jewish literature that exceeds the boundaries of English and the United States.

Supported by the Louis and Helen Padnos Fund

Jesse Hoffnung-Garskof: Racial Migrations: New York City and the Revolutionary Politics of the Spanish Caribbean @ Room 1022 (Osterman Common Room)
Nov 18 @ 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm

Jesse Hoffnung-Garskof (American culture) and Felix Contreras (host of NPR’s Alt.Latino, https://www.npr.org/people/4607354/felix-contreras) discuss Hoffnung-Garskof’s new book “Racial Migrations New York City and the Revolutionary Politics of the Spanish Caribbean.” Q & A follows the conversation.

In the late nineteenth century, a small group of Cubans and Puerto Ricans of African descent settled in the segregated tenements of New York City. At an immigrant educational society in Greenwich Village, these early Afro-Latino New Yorkers taught themselves to be poets, journalists, and revolutionaries. At the same time, these individuals—including Rafael Serra, a cigar maker, writer, and politician; Sotero Figueroa, a typesetter, editor, and publisher; and Gertrudis Heredia, one of the first women of African descent to study midwifery at the University of Havana—built a political network and articulated an ideal of revolutionary nationalism centered on the projects of racial and social justice. These efforts were critical to the poet and diplomat José Martí’s writings about race and his bid for leadership among Cuban exiles, and to the later struggle to create space for black political participation in the Cuban Republic.

In Racial Migrations, Jesse Hoffnung-Garskof presents a vivid portrait of these largely forgotten migrant revolutionaries, weaving together their experiences of migrating while black, their relationships with African American civil rights leaders, and their evolving participation in nationalist political movements. By placing Afro-Latino New Yorkers at the center of the story, Hoffnung-Garskof offers a new interpretation of the revolutionary politics of the Spanish Caribbean, including the idea that Cuba could become a nation without racial divisions.

A model of transnational and comparative research, Racial Migrations reveals the complexities of race-making within migrant communities and the power of small groups of immigrants to transform their home societies.

Nov
19
Tue
Guest Lecture: Jugo Kapetanovic: About Zlata’s Diary @ Room 1506, East Quad
Nov 19 @ 2:30 pm – 4:00 pm

Professor Hottman-Wei, Director of the U-M Residential College’s Chinese Music Ensemble, presents a rare opportunity to hear the bowed stringed instrument considered a symbol of the Mongolian nation. She will also discuss the numerous cultural contexts in which the Morin Khurr is played.

The Center for World Performance Studies Faculty Lecture Series features our Faculty Fellows and visiting scholars and practitioners in the fields of ethnography and performance. Designed to create an informal and intimate setting for intellectual exchange among students, scholars, and the community, faculty are invited to present their work in an interactive and performative fashion.

Wallenberg Lecture: Safa Al Ahmad @ Rackham Auditorium
Nov 19 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm

Safa Al Ahmad, a Saudi Arabian journalist and documentary filmmaker, will receive the 2019 Wallenberg Medal from the University of Michigan. She has produced documentaries for the BBC and PBS about uprisings in the Middle East, particularly in Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Her 2014 BBC documentary, Saudi’s Secret Uprising, brought attention to government suppression of unreported popular demonstrations in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province. At great personal risk, she has been one of the few journalists to report from the ground on the crisis and conflict between Houthi rebels, militant groups, and the Yemeni government and its Saudi allies. Her documentaries for PBS’s Frontline, including “The Fight for Yemen” (2015), “Yemen Under Siege” (2016), and “Targeting Yemen” (2019), reveal the human cost and the underlying contending interests that are engaged in a deadly and complex regional conflict. As an Arab woman, she has won precious access to communities and human beings suffering in this war. Her courageous reporting has provided essential and intimate perspectives that challenge assumptions that often shape conventional journalistic narratives.

The medal will be awarded on November 19 at 7:30 p.m. in the Rackham Auditorium on the U-M campus, where Al Ahmad will give the Wallenberg Lecture.

The Wallenberg Medal and Lecture program honors the legacy of U-M graduate Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat who saved the lives of tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews near the end of World War II.

“Safa Al Ahmad shows how journalism can give a voice to persons who are voiceless and give witness to events that escape the world’s notice,” said John Godfrey, chair of the Wallenberg Committee. “She embodies the courage and commitment to human rights and human dignity that the Wallenberg Medal recognizes.”

The Wallenberg Medal and Lecture program honors Raoul Wallenberg who graduated from U-M’s College of Architecture in 1935. In 1944, at the request of Jewish organizations and the American War Refugee Board, the Swedish Foreign Ministry sent Wallenberg on a rescue mission to Budapest. Over the course of six months, Wallenberg issued thousands of protective passports and placed many thousands of Jews in safe houses throughout the besieged city. He confronted Hungarian and German forces to secure the release of Jews, whom he claimed were under Swedish protection, and saved more than 80,000 lives.

U-M awards the Wallenberg Medal annually to those who, through actions and personal commitment, perpetuate Wallenberg’s own extraordinary accomplishments and human values, and demonstrate the capacity of the human spirit to stand up for the helpless, to defend the integrity of the powerless, and to speak out on behalf of the voiceless. Safa Al Ahmad, through her courageous and outspoken work as a journalist and documentarian, demonstrates that one person, individually or collectively, can make a difference in the struggle for a better world.

Last year was historic in that the Wallenberg Medal was awarded to two youth-led organizations committed to ending gun violence, March For Our Lives of Parkland, Florida and The B.RA.V.E. Youth Leaders of Chicago. Recent recipients of the Wallenberg Medal include Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative; Masha Gessen, Russian-American author and activist; and Maria Gunnoe, environmentalist and social justice activist from rural West Virginia. A complete list of the twenty-six past recipients, along with video or transcripts of their lectures, can be found at the Wallenberg website (wallenberg.umich.edu).

The November 19 medal presentation and lecture is open to the public at no charge and will not be ticketed.

Jan
20
Mon
MLK Symposium Memorial Lecture: Angela Davis @ Hill Auditorium
Jan 20 @ 10:00 am – 11:30 am

Angela Davis has been deeply involved in movements for social justice around the world, through her activism and scholarship over many decades. Her work as an educator – both at the university level and in the larger public sphere – has always emphasized the importance of building communities of struggle for economic, racial, and gender justice.

Professor Davis’ teaching career has taken her to San Francisco State University, Mills College, and UC Berkeley. She also has taught at UCLA, Vassar, Syracuse University the Claremont Colleges, and Stanford University. Most recently she spent fifteen years at the University of California Santa Cruz where she is now Distinguished Professor Emerita of History of Consciousness – an interdisciplinary Ph.D program – and of Feminist Studies.

Angela Davis is the author of ten books and has lectured throughout the United States as well as in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and South America. In recent years a persistent theme of her work has been the range of social problems associated with incarceration and the generalized criminalization of those communities that are most affected by poverty and racial discrimination. She draws upon her own experiences in the early seventies as a person who spent eighteen months in jail and on trial, after being placed on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted List.” She also has conducted extensive research on numerous issues related to race, gender and imprisonment. Her recent books include Abolition Democracy and Are Prisons Obsolete? about the abolition of the prison industrial complex, a new edition of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, and a collection of essays entitled The Meaning of Freedom. Her most recent book of essays, called Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement, was published in February 2016.

Angela Davis is a founding member of Critical Resistance, a national organization dedicated to the dismantling of the prison industrial complex. Internationally, she is affiliated with Sisters Inside, an abolitionist organization based in Queensland, Australia that works in solidarity with women in prison.

Like many educators, Professor Davis is especially concerned with the general tendency to devote more resources and attention to the prison system than to educational institutions. Having helped to popularize the notion of a “prison industrial complex,” she now urges her audiences to think seriously about the future possibility of a world without prisons and to help forge a 21st century abolitionist movement.

Co-sponsored by the University of Michigan Annual Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Symposium; the Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives, a unit in the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; Michigan Athletics; and the Stephen M. Ross School of Business with support from the William K. McInally Memorial Lecture Fund.

Susan Rice: Tough Love: My Story of The Things Worth Fighting For @ Weill Hall (Annenberg Auditorium)
Jan 20 @ 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm

Free and open to the public. Lunch will be provided beginning at 11:30 am: Click here(link is external) to provide lunch dietary restrictions. RSVP does not guarantee a seat– first come first seated until room is full. (Overflow seating available to watch livestream.)

Dessert reception to follow.

This event will be livestreamed. Please check back here just before the event for viewing details.

Join us for an arm-chair conversation between Ambassador Susan Rice and Michael Barr, Dean of the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, as they discuss Ambassador Rice’s distinguished career and her book, Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For. Recalling pivotal moments from her dynamic career on the front lines of American diplomacy and foreign policy—as National Security Advisor to President Barack Obama and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations—Ambassador Rice’s memoir delivers an inspiring account of a life in service to family and country.

From the speaker’s bio:

Ambassador Susan E. Rice served as U.S. National Security Advisor and U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations under President Barack Obama. In her role as National Security Advisor from 2013 to 2017, Ambassador Rice led the National Security Council staff of approximately 400 defense, diplomatic, intelligence, and development experts. As U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations and a member of President Obama’s cabinet from 2009 to 2013, Ambassador Rice worked to advance U.S. interests, defend universal values, strengthen the world’s security and prosperity, and promote respect for human rights.

Prior to these roles, Ambassador Rice also served as the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs at the National Security Council, and as Director for International Organizations and Peacekeeping on the National Security Council staff. Currently she is a Distinguished Visiting Research Fellow at American University’s School of International Service and a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

Ambassador Rice received her master’s degree and PhD in international relations from New College of Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes Scholar. She received her BA in history with honors and distinction from Stanford University, where she was junior Phi Beta Kappa and a Truman Scholar.  In 2017, French president Francois Hollande presented Ambassador Rice with the Award of Commander, the Legion of Honor of France, for her contributions to Franco-American relations. She is also a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times and the author of the best-selling memoir, Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For.