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.

Dec
7
Sat
Detroit Writing Room’s Inaugural Holiday Book Fair @ Detroit Writing Room
Dec 7 @ 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm

The Detroit Writing Room’s inaugural Holiday Book Fair will feature over a dozen local authors will be selling and signing their book, including RC creative writing alumni Laura Thomas, Elizabeth Schmuhl, and Anna Clark.

Come browse, shop and meet some of the best authors in Michigan!

Admission is free. Please register in advance.

Author Lineup:
– Rosemarie Aquilina, “Triple Cross Killer” (Bowker)

– Angela Berent, “List Your Life: A Modern-Day Memoir” and “Trace Your Travels: An Adventure Journal”

– Anna Clark, “The Poisoned City” and “A Detroit Anthology” (Metropolitan Books / Belt Publishing)

– Kelly Fordon, “Goodbye Toothless House” and “Garden for the Blind” (Kattywompus Press and Wayne State University Press)

– Sylvia Hubbard, “Daddy’s Girl,” “Beautiful” and “Author’s Guide to Writing, Publishing & Marketing” (HubBooks Literary)

– Shaun Manning, “Macbeth: The Red King,” “Hell, Nebraska,” “Interesting Drug” and “Star Wars Adventures” (Lucha Comics/Shooting Star Press)

– Keith Owens, “Detroit Stories Quarterly”

– Ben Pauli, “Flint Fights Back: Environmental Justice and Democracy in the Flint Water Crisis” (MIT Press)

– Craig Rush, “No Time to Hate” (Third Eye Pyramid Publishing)

– Elizabeth Schmuhl, “Premonitions” (Wayne State University Press)

– Syntell Smith, “Call Numbers” (Syntell Smith Publishing)

– Laura Thomas, “States of Motion” (Wayne State University Press)

– Bill Vlasic, “Once Upon A Car” (William Morrow)

Dec
8
Sun
Story Slam and Strolling Reception @ First Presbyterian Church
Dec 8 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

A StorySlam and Strolling Reception is Sunday, December 8, 6:00-8:00 p.m. Enjoy stories of the season and the singing of Christmas carols in this special holiday presentation, followed by a reception throughout the building. Listen to special musical performances and enjoy therapy dogs, nibbles, and other festivities.