2–3 P.M.

The Flesh of the Image’s Flesh, or History in the Image

In a famous sequence from Jean Vigo’s L’Atalante (1934), Michel Simon’s character, le Père Jules, disrobes before Juliette (Dita Parlo), and in effect makes his tattoos perform for her when he inserts a cigarette into his navel which itself is surrounded by a tattooed face. In this moment, the image of Simon’s body becomes a double inscription of the body, whereby Vigo’s cinema, “reveals itself under the sign of the flesh.”

Jennifer Wild

Jennifer Wild is a scholar of experimental film, modernism and the avant-garde, French cinema, and cinema’s relation to the other arts. Wild is currently researching a history of the arrival of the moving image into galleries as art works. She is the author of The Parisian Avant-Garde in the Age of Cinema, 1900–1923 (2015).

Virginio Ferrari: Full Circle, 1957–2017

Join acclaimed sculptor and former UChicago faculty member Virginio Ferrari for the official release of Virginio Ferrari: Full Circle, 1957–2017, a limited-edition art book on Ferrari’s life’s work. Virginio Ferrari covers all of his major artworks from the last 60 years, including Dialogo (1971), perhaps his most well-known sculpture on UChicago’s Hyde Park campus.

The Black Skyscraper: Architecture and the Perception of Race

This talk recovers the skyscraper’s drastic effects not only on the shape of the city but the racial sensorium of its residents at the turn of the 20th century. The widened scale, fragmented sightlines, increasing density, and multiplying vantage points engendered by this new architectural form were understood by writers, painters, architects, planners, and journalists in the period to alter how race was seen, felt, and experienced in growing American cities.

Literature and Media Censorship in China, July 2017

In China as elsewhere, censorship does not simply mean the regulations and bans imposed by an authoritarian government. Rather, it is a collaborative activity involving individuals and groups with diverse agendas, in which self-censorship plays a central role. This talk will focus on three cases I learned about during my stay in Beijing this past July: a novel that was banned, a novel that was not banned, and social media reactions to the death of the dissident Liu Xiaobo. 

The Royal Game of Ur from Ancient Mesopotamia

Mesopotamia’s “Royal Game of Ur” and similar game boards have been discovered from Iran to Crete over millennia of antiquity. Within Mesopotamia, the game’s title, board design, movable tokens, knucklebone-die, and use of recited verses as part of game rules evolved over time. From the fixed forms of artifacts and cuneiform texts, this talk imagines the dynamic event of game play, and explores how ancient thinkers adopted its imagery to express meanings in divination and astronomy. 

Research and the Literary Imagination: Poetry, Fiction, and Nonfiction

This panel will focus on the role of research in literary production, featuring faculty writers working in the genres of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. We will discuss questions of historical documentation and creative freedom, poetic experimentation with archives, and the problem of making research material come to life through narrative techniques such as plot and characterization.

Spreading the Mystery: The Fall and International Revival of the Basque Language

Straddling the border of southern France and northern Spain, the land of the Basques has long been home to a people who had no country of their own but have always viewed themselves as a nation. Their roots remain mysterious, and their peculiar language is not related to any other in the world, but Basques have managed to keep their identity alive, even as other civilizations tried to blot it out.

Buddhist Wisdom Stories

It is often said that Buddhist stories are simply ways to present Buddhist doctrine in a simple, popular form. This is wrong. Narratives can do things that systematic thought cannot: for example, explore moral problems rather than try to resolve them, and entertain rather than proselytize. Educated people like to read stories too, and not all Buddhist texts have something to sell. If systematic thought tries to solve problems, stores often like to state them.

Conflicting Signs: Ethnic and Gender Representations in the Musical South Pacific

South Pacific (1949) has often been lauded as one of the most progressive musicals of Rodgers and Hammerstein, particularly for its frank treatment of ethnic prejudice in a genre that typically eschewed such sensitive social topics. But a close analysis of some musical scenes in the score (particularly in the 1958 film version) reveals a strong undertow to this received picture.

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