9:30–10:30 A.M.

Opera and Adaptation: About Writing a Libretto

This presentation will discuss the new opera that the presenter is writing with award-winning composer YAO Chen, supported by a Mellon Fellowship and the Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry at UChicago. Entitled Ghost Village, this English-language libretto is inspired by a ghost story in PU Songling’s 17th-century masterpiece, Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio. This was an actual historical event: the Qing dynasty’s bloody crackdown on a local revolt in 1662.

Two University Professors, the German Code, and Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales"

We will focus on John Manly (1865–1940), first chair of the University of Chicago’s Department of English Language and Literature, and Edith Rickert (1871–1938), a widely traveled and well-thought-of novelist, as well as the Department’s first woman full professor. Their landmark edition of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales appeared in 1940. In preparing it, they used techniques they had learned in the War Office during World War I when, working together, they “busted” what is remembered as “the most important part” of the German code.

Context Without Provenance? A New Reading of a Hittite Silver Vessel

The Metropolitan Museum in New York has one of the most elaborate objects of Hittite art. It is a silver vessel in the shape of a kneeling deer. Around its body, it carries a frieze with an adoration scene of two deities by three individuals. Because the object has no secure provenance, it has no context. Some information may be contained in two small gold medallions with hieroglyphic signs on the frieze. This lecture will propose a partial new reading and a new overall interpretation of the vessel.

The Hymn Style in the Music of Beethoven and His Contemporaries

Starting in the late 18th century, composers incorporated with increasing frequency the style of hymns into passages of instrumental music. This presentation provides examples of this phenomenon in works by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and Brahms. By situating this music in the cultural context and the musical landscape of their time, Olga Sánchez-Kisielewska offers interpretations of the expressive meanings that such passages might have communicated to historical listeners.

Monument Destruction in the Past and Present

The shifting role of monuments in our public spaces has recently consumed public debate across the country. What are we to do with hundreds of statues of slave-owning Confederate generals or native-conquering Christopher Columbus, for example? The answers are rarely clear-cut, and opinions are strong. What few people realize is that these debates are hardly new. Today’s headlines are merely the latest manifestation of a phenomenon that archaeologists have recognized in times and places the world over: the constantly contested nature of monuments and their violent destructions.

Does the Heart Beat? Rhythm, Bodies, and Time in Archaic Greek Poetry

Where does “rhythm” come from? The word derives from the ancient Greek word rhythmos. But is it continuity or difference that we find when we investigate ancient Greek conceptions of embodiment and poetry? How do our senses of measure and meter relate to heartbeat, breath, footfall, and dance? This talk seeks answers to these questions, while focusing on passages from ancient Greek poetry and modern writers on language and embodiment.

Putin's Puppets

Although Vladimir Putin is often described as a cunning puppet-master—pulling strings to control political players and determine political outcomes—when he first appeared on the political scene he himself suffered humiliating caricatures on the weekly Russian television show “Puppets.” The talk examines how Putin gained control over his own representation on this show and became a determined manipulator of the political stage in Russia and beyond.

The Second Life of the Oratorio

Although the musical genre of oratorio seems to have been typical of the Baroque, Classical, and Romantic eras, from Handel to Elgar, it has experienced a surprising rebirth since 1945. This presentation examines the ways in which the genre's sacred heritage has been used—or ignored—in several recent examples and their staging.

Transforming First-Year Orientation Through Alternate Reality Gaming

Alternate Reality Games (ARGs) are an art form that originated in early 21st-century information culture. Most games in this category, including Microsoft’s The Beast and 42 Entertainment’s I Love Bees, function as collaborative narrative experiences that use real-world urban spaces as a platform, blurring the lines between games and reality. To accomplish this fusion, these games incorporate a wide breadth of everyday media types including text, video, audio, print, phone calls, websites, email, social media, locative technologies, and live performance.

For Profit: Why the Humanities Are Essential for Business

An increasing number of studies show that classic management education, with its focus on quantitative analysis, and functional and technical skills, is no longer sufficient for the complexities of our 21st-century global world. Currently, business leaders face human-created problems from conflict and terrorism, to inequality and climate change, which affect their businesses and require new forms of leading and managing. This talk will explore how the humanities can bring value to business today.

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