Session II


Hard Hat Tour, Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts

Set to open for classes in Spring 2012, the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts will soon be a hub for the robust arts scene on campus. Join us for a behind-the-scenes look at the construction site and learn more about the University’s arts initiatives. Tour begins at the corner of 60th and Ingleside in front of Midway Studios. (Note: The Logan Center is an active construction site; guests will need to wear closed-toed shoes.)

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.

Recording Persian Antiquities in Crisis: The Persepolis Fortification Archive Project

In 1933, Oriental Institute archaeologists made a startling discovery at Persepolis, near the palaces that Darius and Xerxes built in the heartland of the Achaemenid Empire (near the Fars Province of modern Iran): tens of thousands of clay tablets, with texts in several ancient languages and the impressions of thousands of seals. Oriental Institute researchers have been studying them ever since, with results that have transformed our understanding of the Persian Empire at its zenith.

The Most Beautiful Story in the World

The philosopher Ernst Bloch called the brief story Unverhofftes Wiedersehen (Unexpected Reunion) the "most beautiful story in the world." In fact, since its publication in 1811, this "calendar story" by the Alemmanic writer Johann Peter Hebel, who is hardly known outside the German-speaking world, has come to occupy a crucial place in the lives of generations of readers. Walter Benjamin made it the centerpiece of his essay "The Storyteller" and Martin Heidegger discovered in it the essence of poetry.

Is "The Divine Comedy" Supposed to be Funny?

Dante refers to his poem twice as a comedy within the Commedia itself (the modifier Divina is the legacy of a 16th-century publisher) and once more in a semi-private letter. Yet this characterization has long frustrated readers, from his contemporaries to today. It fails to cover the range of the poem’s subject matter and does not correspond to its tone. This talk will examine what is comic in Dante’s Comedy, both in his explicit theory of the genre and in his immanent poetics, and what the author meant with his title.

Opera Alive and Well in the Twenty-First Century

Over the last decade, several new operas have been written and premiered all over the world. This talk will look at several of these new operas from around the world, including the most recent European works as well as American operas.

Celluloid India: The Many Worlds of Satyajit Ray

Satyajit Ray (1921-92) is one of India’s best-known film directors. His work has been exhibited, discussed, and celebrated all over the world. Ray ranks among the finest auteurs of the second half of the twentieth century. Audiences in the West are perhaps most familiar with the Apu trilogy (1955, 1956, 1959). But Ray’s oeuvre also includes children’s films, detective cinema, films based on Calcutta during the stormy sixties, and his adaptations of important works of Indian literature.

Security and the Charismatic Leader in Rome

The idea of a close connection between the safety of the leader and that of the state characterizes autocratic regimes. As power became more concentrated in a single person during the transition in ancient Rome from Republic to Empire, contemporary literature shows a parallel progression in the ways leaders embodied group safety. During the time of Caesar and Cicero, multiple leaders stood for the safety of the state; by the time of Horace and Ovid, Augustus not only stood for security at all levels, but was the only one to do so. Modern parallels abound.

Why Learn a Foreign Language?

Recent studies suggest that speaking more than one language can help us to stay mentally young and prevent early dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. But learning a second language, in fact, has many benefits. This lecture draws upon recent findings in a number of fields (e.g., linguistics, literary studies, cognitive science, and philosophy) in order to explore what actually happens to us when we learn a foreign language.

Metaphor and Ambiguity: Two for the Price of One

When language presents more than one meaning, sometimes the rules of the language determine both meanings—but sometimes not. When the rules are of no use, imagination is required to make and to understand these linguistic wonders. This session will introduce the topic and invite extended discussion.


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