9:30am -10:30am


The New Critical Edition of Il barbiere di Siviglia by Rossini and Ornamenting an Early Nineteenth-Century Opera

David and Amy Fulton Recital Hall, Goodspeed Hall, Fourth Floor, 1010 East 59th Street
In Works of Gioachino Rossini (Bärenreiter-Verlag, Kassel) a new critical edition of Il barbiere di Siviglia, edited by Patricia Brauner, has just been published. The volume is particularly interesting because it addresses the problem of how singers should think about ornamenting the music of Rossini (and it is obligatory for them to introduce ornamentation: singing the music "as written" is simply a mistake). It does so not only by making available for the first time Rossini's own ornamentation for the opera (five manuscripts of which the contents of only one have ever been printed before), but also includes a large selection of singer ornamentation performed before 1850. From this material it is possible to know not only what Rossini himself may have thought was appropriate to introduce, but also what singers of his time actually performed.


Colonization and the Expansion of European Languages: Winners and Losers

Social Science Research Building, Room 122, 1126 East 59th Street
The gradual colonization of the world by Europe since the 15th century had entailed not only the spread of their languages outside Europe but also competition among them. We will retrace a brief history of this particular venture, highlighting variation in colonization styles and particular events that account for the geographical and social distribution of European languages today, why some languages are no longer spoken where one might expect them to be, and how English has now prevailed in various ways around the world.


“Pandering to the Vicious Tendencies” – Print, Censorship, and Forbidden Pleasure in Colonial India

Harold Leonard Stuart Hall, Room 101, 5835 South Greenwood Avenue
The mechanization of print and commercialization of the regional-language book trade in 19th-century India made books accessible to large numbers of Indians. It also led to the wide diffusion of works deemed ‘erotic’, ‘immoral’, ‘filthy’ or ‘obscene’ by alarmed British and Indian observers. This talk explores the reaction of the colonial state to the perceived obscenity threat generated by print. It looks at the practice of moral censorship and asks how Victorian notions of literary obscenity intersected with and reshaped Indian ones in what has been described as a climate of ‘moral panic.'


Adventure in the Caucasus: Capturing and Creating Video Materials for Teaching about Georgia

Harold Leonard Stuart Hall, Room 104, 5835 South Greenwood Avenue
In this session I will discuss how my recent research trip to the Republic of Georgia has provided innovative materials for teaching a wide audience about Georgian history, culture, and language in the classroom and online. My presentation includes a selection of video clips, photographs, and other materials, with a focus on Georgian monasteries, churches, and iconography.


From Italian Small-Town Boy to International Star: Valentino’s Vicissitudes of Identity

Harold Leonard Stuart Hall, Room 105, 5835 South Greenwood Avenue
Rudolph Valentino came from Castellaneta, a small town in Southern Italy. His early life was marked by a lack of direction and success, either as a student or as an aspiring soldier. When he embarked for New York as a young man, he had no definite goals or plans. Yet, through his talent as a dancer, his charisma, and his ambition, plus a large dose of good luck and support from the right people (mostly women), he became an international star of the silent screen during his short life, and an enduring myth to this very day. I will talk about aspects of the life of this "Latin Lover" that are little known: his love of poetry, which led him to publish a book of verse; his first return to Europe a few years before his premature death, which resulted in yet another book - a travel diary; his serious dedication to the art of acting and his aspirations to do weighty roles that would show his abilities beyond his sensual appeal. Valentino's vicissitudes of identity are among the earliest and most poignant examples of what extraordinary fame means, and of how destinies are constructed.


Colorful News: Japanese Woodblock "Newspaper Prints" in the Late 19th Century

William Rainey Harper Memorial Library, Room 130, 1116 East 59th Street
The Japanese government forbade the reporting of current events until the 1860s, but after the shogun’s overthrow newspapers were encouraged as symbols of enlightenment and progress. This presentation examines the color woodblock “newspaper prints” that flourished in Tokyo and Osaka during the 1870s. Executed by popular artists like Yoshitoshi and narrated by well-known writers, these commercial prints focused on “colorful” news about murders, ghosts, and female criminals. Far from simple tabloids, however, they were often subtly critical of government policies, expressing the irony, humor, and nostalgia behind Japan’s westernization.


A Lost Icon: Rediscovering the Protector-Spirit Baize (White Marsh) in Medieval Chinese Manuscripts and Paintings from Dunhuang

Harold Leonard Stuart Hall, Room 102, 5835 South Greenwood Avenue
The protector-spirit Baize, or White Marsh, was well known in medieval Chinese popular religion; and the /Baize tu/ (/Diagrams of White Marsh/) was a guide to the spirits, demons, and marvels encountered in everyday life. A manuscript of the /Diagrams /was among the thousands of medieval manuscripts rediscovered at the Buddhist Caves at Dunhuang in 1900. However, a famous Dunhuang painting of a fantastic creature dictating to a scribe was not recognized as White Marsh dictating the /Diagrams/. The painting represents the other /Baize tu/: the “diagram” or “portrait” of White Marsh displayed in homes as magical protection from harm.


Two University of Chicago Humanists and a Landmark Edition of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales

Special Collections Research Center, Joseph Regenstein Library, 1100 East 57th Street
In 1940 Professor John Manly, who long headed the University of Chicago’s Department of English (d. 1940), and his colleague, Professor Edith Rickert (d. 1938), published their eight-volume edition of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Partly thanks to their experience as code-breakers in World War I, theirs was the first edition to take account of all eighty-three medieval witnesses to parts or the whole of the Tales. Yet it is only recently that this edition has begun to come properly into its own. Working with the extensive Manly-Rickert archive housed in Regenstein Library, I will consider the nature and importance of the edition, as well as the very considerable financial and personal challenges experienced by its editors. The work marks a distinguished humanistic moment in the history of the University of Chicago.


The Caliph’s Favorite: New Light on Hasdai iben Shaprut of Cordova

Breasted Hall, Oriental Institute,1155 East 58th Street
Tenth-century Islamic Spain was a fervent cauldron of new ideas in the realms of science and culture, and Caliph Abd-al-Rahman III of Cordova intensively cultivated diplomacy in pursuit of trade and societal development. Documentary records of his reign and beyond show that the caliph assigned the most challenging tasks of international outreach, cultural interchange and military negotiations to the Jewish courtier and physician Hasdai ibn Shaprut. Fragmentary texts of the famous Cairo Genizah have already revealed various activities of Hasdai in those realms. A newly-found description by the 11th-century Muslim chronologist Ibn Hayyan now sheds remarkable new light on Hasdai's diplomatic activities while in the caliph's service.