Session I


Adventures in the Soviet Imaginary / Special Collections Research Center Tour

Adventures in the Soviet Imaginary is drawn entirely from the collections of the University of Chicago Library and was created by the collaborative efforts of eight graduate students, one former undergraduate and two faculty members at the University of Chicago. The participants represent a range of academic disciplines, from history to art history and Russian literature. This exhibit is part of the Soviet Arts Experience, a 16-month-long showcase of works by artists who created under (and in response to) Soviet communism.

Before the Pyramids: The Origins of Ancient Egyptian Civilization / Oriental Institute Tour

Join Oriental Institute docents for guided tours featuring our world-renowned collection of art and artifacts from the ancient Near East, as well as a guided viewing of Before the Pyramids: The Origins of Ancient Egyptian Civilization. This special exhibit reconstructs the lives of artisans, administrators, and kings from the dawn of Egyptian culture whose legacies gave lasting shape to the great civilization that arose on the banks of the Nile.

Mansueto Library Tour

The newest addition to the University of Chicago Libraries system, the Joe and Rika Mansueto Library opened to the public on May 16, 2011. Featuring a glass-domed reading room and a state-of-the-art underground storage and retrieval system for research materials, Mansueto promises to keep archived research materials within short walking distance of UChicago faculty and students. The Library was funded by a generous $25 million gift from Joe Mansueto and Rika Yoshida, both alumni of the University.

Creative Writing

Joined by other members of the Committee on Creative Writing, Daniel Raeburn will discuss How the Comic Book Faked Its Way into American Culture. According to almost every encyclopedia and reference book, including those of the Smithsonian, the first comic strip was "The Yellow Kid," by RF Outcault. This assertion has been repeated for so long by so many sources that it has acquired the mantle of fact. But it's a factoid: a false fact. The truth is that comics emigrated here from Europe in 1842.

“Beowulf” and the Haunting of Heorot

Although it is composed in Old English, Beowulf is nevertheless about Danes and Geats, inhabitants of South Sweden as well as modern Denmark. There are eerie parallels between this poem and a late saga, that of Grettir the Strong, who operated in Iceland and Norway. Both authors dealt with the same cultural problem: ghosts and alien species hostile to humans. The two authors presented them essentially in the same way, and they bear little resemblance to ghosts as we understand them.

The Vikings and a Turbulent Anglo-Scandinavian World

On August 14, 2007, Denmark apologized for her part in the ninth-century Viking invasions of Ireland. However, England may also be due for such an apology. This talk will track the Vikings’ impact on medieval England, an impact with effects that are still evident today.

The Freudian Unconscious

Although Sigmund Freud distanced psychoanalytic work from specific concern with ethics, in working from and against Freud, both Jacques Lacan and Melanie Klein developed accounts of mental life that turn on how the mind copes with anxiety triggered by negotiating the line between good and bad in human life. What drives unconscious activity, on these views, is precisely the need to wind up on the good-side of many shifting good/bad divides that we face in a day-to-day way and over various stretches of our lives.

What Did Herodotus Speak at Home?

For decades, the inscriptions from Caria in southwest Turkey—the birthplace of the Greek historian Herodotus—drove decipherers to despair. Recent developments have shed important new light on them and forced a breakthrough in our understanding of these texts from the days of Herodotus. This talk examines the new shoot in the branch of Anatolian languages.

The New Edition of Rossini's "Le Comte Ory"

A new edition of Le Comte Ory, Rossini's 1828 comedy, is about to be published in the series Works of Gioachino Rossini (Bärenreiter-Verlag). The new edition returns to Rossini’s original 1828 version, where he himself performed at the Paris Opéra. It has been performed already in Zurich, with Cecilia Bartoli as the Comtesse, and revivals are planned in Zürich and Paris. It differs substantially from the opera as previously known. This presentation will explore these differences and seek to demonstrate why it is essential to perform the opera from this new edition.

Between History and Revolution: Toussaint and Isaac Louverture's Memoirs

A series of events led by slaves transformed the French colony of Saint-Domingue into the independent nation of Haiti in 1804. One name stands out in history: Toussaint Louverture (1743-1803). This lecture explores the historical, political, and judicial impact of Toussaint’s memoirs, written by him while in captivity at Fort de Joux in September 1802, a few months before his death. It will compare these memoirs with the famous memoirs (1818) of his son Isaac, who considered himself the one and only legitimate heir to Toussaint’s heroic achievement in Saint-Domingue.


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