Calendar

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.

Nov
26
Tue
Skazat! Poetry Series: David Hornibrook @ Sweetwaters
Nov 26 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

Skazat! is back, and have we got a season lined up for you! Join us at Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea Washington St. to celebrate with fabulous poetry and tasty treats. Whether you’re a page poet, slammer, performance artist or refuse a label, we want to hear your new stuff on our open mic. We look forward to sharing great poetry (and great coffee) with you and invite you to join this free open mic and monthly reading series!

Sign up! 7:00 p.m.
7:15 p.m. – Open mic
8:00 p.m. – Featured Reader
This month’s feature: David Hornibrook

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)

Jan
15
Wed
Charles R. Eisendrath: Downstream from Here @ Literati
Jan 15 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

We welcome former TIME correspondent, founder of the Knight-Wallace Fellowships and Livingston Awards at the University of Michigan, Charles R. Eisendrath, in support of his collection Downstream from Here: A Big Life in a Small Place. Book signing to follow. Free and open to the public. 

About the book: 

“Why not learn how to learn by doing? Why not go backwards and forwards at the same time, intro-prospecting what’s gone into our gene pool by letting it come out as the future unfolded? Each of us is a family album that few of us take the time to reference. The trick is learning how to read the pages while making new ones at the same time. The turning part happens by itself — you just need to pay attention.”

Charles R. Eisendrath, in this series of essays spanning four decades, explores the things that grow lives of their own when left undisturbed at a second home — things like an “ancestor room,” a storm-struck forest, a player piano and a childhood fear of wild dogs. These essays are about the loves of a place inhabited temporarily, but which shape a person permanently.

These essays range from Anatolia to Argentina, from FDR’s secret wartime fishing trip to a plane crash in Costa Rica. The margin notes of academic articles lead to a grill admired by James Beard and a Saudi prince. Tenure at the University of Michigan inspires a cherry orchard and bulldozers invite ghosts. Serious, hilarious, inquisitive, spontaneous, Eisendrath introduces us to the people and places, the life, death and afterlife that goes on nonstop, all around us, all by itself.

Jan
16
Thu
Poetry at Literati: Carmen Bugan: Lilies from America @ Literati
Jan 16 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

RC Creative Writing alumna Carmen Bugan is a poet and author of the critically acclaimed memoir Burying the Typewriter. She visits in support of her collection of new and selected poems, Lilies from America. Book signing to follow. Free and open to the public. 

About the collection: This selection of Carmen Bugan’s poems offers readers an experience with all the surprise and continuity of a long, complex novel. Childhood, youth, the move from a traditional rural world, dominated by lovingly described grandparents, to exile, urban life, parents aging, children growing – all the private normalities which are so often the material of poetry are here. But, from the striking opening, where the poet’s parents work secretly on a typewriter, buried and dug up after the children are in bed, on Samizdat protests against the government of Romania, normality collides with history. A reality of state surveillance, abuse and incarceration fills the poems with urgency, even as memories are revisited and sometimes revised.

Carmen Bugan’s books include the memoir Burying the Typewriter: Childhood Under the Eye of the Secret Police (Picador), which has received international critical praise, the Bread Loaf Conference Bakeless Prize for Nonfiction, and was a finalist in the George Orwell Prize for Political Writing, and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. Her collections of poems are Releasing the Porcelain Birds and The House of Straw (both with Shearsman Books), and Crossing the Carpathians(Carcanet Press). She is also the author of a critical study on Seamus Heaney and East European Poetry in Translation: Poetics of Exile. Her work has been translated into several languages and she is a regular reviewer for Harvard Review Online. Bugan was awarded a large grant from the Arts Council of England, was a Creative Arts Fellow in Literature at Wolfson College, Oxford University, was a Hawthornden Fellow, the 2018 Helen DeRoy Professor in Honors at the University of Michigan, and is a George Orwell Prize Fellow. She has a doctorate in English literature from Balliol College, Oxford University. She now lives in the USA with her husband and children.

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.