Calendar

Nov
15
Fri
Andrei Pop: A Forest of Symbols @ Literati
Nov 15 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

We welcome art historian Andrei Pop in support of his latest, A Forest of Symbols: Art, Science, and Truth in the Long Nineteenth Century. A book signing will follow. The event is free and open to the public. 

About the book: A groundbreaking reassessment of Symbolist artists and writers that investigates the concerns they shared with scientists of the period–the problem of subjectivity in particular.

In A Forest of Symbols, Andrei Pop presents a groundbreaking reassessment of those writers and artists in the late nineteenth century associated with the Symbolist movement. For Pop, “symbolist” denotes an art that is self-conscious about its modes of making meaning, and he argues that these symbolist practices, which sought to provide more direct access to viewers and readers by constant revision of its material means of meaning-making (brushstrokes on a canvas, words on a page), are crucial to understanding the genesis of modern art. The symbolists saw art not as a social revolution, but as a revolution in sense and how to conceptualize the world. The concerns of symbolist painters and poets were shared to a remarkable degree by theoretical scientists of the period, who were dissatisfied with the strict empiricism dominant in their disciplines, which made shared knowledge seem unattainable.

The problem of subjectivity in particular, of what in one’s experience can and cannot be shared, was crucial to the possibility of collaboration within science and to the communication of artistic innovation. Pop offers close readings of the literary and visual practices of Manet and Mallarmé, of drawings by Ernst Mach, William James and Wittgenstein, of experiments with color by Bracquemond and Van Gogh, and of the philosophical systems of Frege and Russell–filling in a startling but coherent picture of the symbolist heritage of modernity and its consequences.

Andrei Pop is a member of the Committee on Social Thought and the Department of Art History at the University of Chicago.

Webster Reading Series: Charlotte Ruddy and Jennifer Huang @ UMMA Auditorium
Nov 15 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

One MFA student of fiction and one of poetry, each introduced by a peer, will read their work. The Mark Webster Reading Series presents emerging writers in a warm and relaxed setting. We encourage you to bring your friends – a Webster reading makes for an enjoyable and enlightening Friday evening.

 

Nov
17
Sun
Mickey Lyons: City on a Still: Detroit During Prohibition @ AADL Malletts Creek
Nov 17 @ 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Rumrunners and bootleggers and speakeasies, oh my! Mickey Lyons of DetroitProhibition.com takes us through Detroit’s intoxicating history during the prohibition years, from sloshing the stuff across the Detroit River to raiding the liquor cabinets and speakeasies with a whole lot of intemperance.

Mickey is a Detroit-based author and researcher on Detroit Prohibition history. Her upcoming book, City on a Still: Detroit During Prohibition, is in the works. In the meantime, she spends her days trudging through old bars and buildings and sifting through old newspapers.

This event is in partnership with the Culinary Historians of Ann Arbor (CHAA), an organization of scholars, cooks, food writers, nutritionists, collectors, students, and others interested in the study of culinary history and gastronomy. Their mission is to promote the study of culinary history through regular programs open to members and guests, through the quarterly newsletter Repast, and through exchanges of information with other such organizations.

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.

Poetry at Literati: Malcom Tariq with Jonah Mixon-Webster @ Literati
Nov 18 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

We welcome Cave Canem Poetry Prize winner Malcom Tariq in support of his collection, Heed the Hollow, as part of our ongoing Poetry at Literati Series, reading with Jonah Mixon-Webster. A Book signing will follow. The event is free and open to the public. 

Malcolm Tariq is from Savannah, Georgia, and is the author of Extended Play, winner of the 2017 Gertrude Press Poetry Chapbook Contest. A graduate of Emory University, he has a PhD in English from the University of Michigan. He lives in New York.

Jonah Mixon-Webster is a poet and conceptual/sound artist from Flint, MI. His debut poetry collection, Stereo(TYPE), received the 2017 Sawtooth Poetry Prize from Ahsahta Press, the 2019 PEN America/Joyce Osterweil Award, and was a finalist for the 2019 Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry. He is the recipient of fellowships from Vermont Studio Center, Center for African American Poetry and Poetics, The Conversation Literary Festival, ivoh, and Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop. His poetry and hybrid works are featured in various publications including PEN America Poetry SeriesBest New Poets 2017PennSound, and Best American Experimental Writing 2018.

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.

Sweetland Writer to Writer: Jennifer Proctor @ Literati
Nov 19 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

Sweetland’s Writer to Writer series lets you hear directly from University of Michigan professors about their challenges, processes, and expectations as writers and also as readers of student writing. Each semester, Writer to Writer pairs one esteemed University professor with a Sweetland faculty member for a conversation about writing. For this installment, host Shelley Manis will speak with Professor Jennifer Proctor.

Writer to Writer sessions take place at the Literati bookstore and are broadcast live on WCBN radio. These conversations offer students a rare glimpse into the writing that professors do outside the classroom. You can hear instructors from various disciplines describe how they handle the same challenges student writers face, from finding a thesis to managing deadlines. Professors will also discuss what they want from student writers in their courses, and will take questions put forth by students and by other members of the University community. If there’s anything you’ve ever wanted to ask a professor about writing, Writer to Writer gives you the chance.

Jennifer Proctor is an Associate Professor of Journalism and Screen Studies at the University of Michigan-Dearborn and co-founder and director of the inclusive teaching initiative EDIT Media (Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Teaching Media). She is a filmmaker and media artist whose internationally recognized, award-winning found footage work examines the history of experimental film, Hollywood tropes, and the representation of women in cinema. Her recent work, in particular, seeks to blur boundaries between avant-garde film practices and the scholarly video essay. Her 2018 film “Nothing a Little Soap and Water Can’t Fix,” which examines the bathtub as a feminized domestic space, won the Cutters Archival Film Award at the Ann Arbor Film Festival, Top Grit at the Indie Grits Film Festival, and Best Experimental Film at the St. Francis College Women’s Film Festival, in addition to screening at more than forty film festivals around the world. Her recent video, “Am I Pretty?” appropriates the voices of tween girls from YouTube videos to explore the development of self-image and self-esteem in the modern era. In addition to screening at film festivals, including the Ann Arbor Film Festival, “Am I Pretty?” appears in a special issue on audiography in [in]Transition: The Journal of Videographic Film and Moving Image Studies.

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.