Music Drama of the Holocaust – Performance and Lecture

David and Amy Fulton Recital Hall, Goodspeed Hall, Fourth Floor, 1010 East 59th Street
With this performance and lecture we bring to the stage the final work from the concentration camps and the Holocaust, Viktor Ullmann’s melodrama for speaking role and piano, The Chronicle of Life and Death of the Flag-Bearer Christoph Rilke (1944). A setting of one of the great prose-poems by the Czech poet, Rainer Maria Rilke, The Chronicle is the story of the seductive glory of war and its ultimate collapse into a Liebestod, a love-death.


Screening of Jour de Fête

Film Studies Center, Cobb Lecture Hall, Room 307, 5811 South Ellis Avenue
In Jour de Fête (Holiday, France, 1949), director Jacques Tati stars in his first feature that he shot simultaneously in an experimental, obsolete color process and, as a precaution, black and white. Restored to full color in 1995, the film is Tati’s exploration of provincial French cultural traditions against post-WWII modernity, mechanization, and American “progress.” But it is also a highly self-reflexive text about the filmmaking process, daily life, the history of comic style, and the role vision plays in laughter.


What Goes Around…: Some Shtick from “Tricky Dick” and the Circulation of U.S. Presidential Image

Harold Leonard Stuart Hall, Room 101, 5835 South Greenwood Avenue
Modern U. S. presidential persona is based on “message,” that is, on creating a publicly imaginable “character” with biography and moral profile built around issues under current debate. In relation to President Richard M. Nixon’s own political “message,” we show how to analyze the point of a news article reporting one remarkable – and seemingly revealing – incident during his presidency. In this way, we can understand better how “message” depends on the success of directed circulation of signs and how, always dependent on such communication, U.S. electoral politics is uneasily – warily – joined to the institution of news reportage.


The “New Jerusalem” in the Literature of the Counter-Reformation

Harold Leonard Stuart Hall, Room 102, 5835 South Greenwood Avenue
My talk will focus on the concept of "New Jerusalem" from the book of Revelation in Counter-Reformation literature, with special emphasis on Torquato Tasso's epic poem “Gerusalemme Conquistata” (Jerusalem Conquered), his late rewriting of his previous “Gerusalemme liberata” (Jerusaleme Delivered) on the First Crusade. I will discuss other texts such as Cervantes's “Los trabajos de Persiles y Sigismunda” and some of Calderón de la Barca’s autos sacramentales.


How to Read a Hard Poem

Social Science Research Building, Room 122, 1126 East 59th Street
What does one do when confronted with a poem that seems, on first sight, unintelligible? This presentation will address that problem, and will show that, without any outside information, one can come to grasp the meaning of poems that seem hopelessly difficult. We will deal with a sample poem by the American poet, Hart Crane.


The Art of Writing: Three Readings form the Committee on Creative Writing

Harold Leonard Stuart Hall, Room 105, 5835 South Greenwood Avenue
The Committee on Creative Writing presents readings from faculty members Srikanth Reddy, Megan Stielstra, and Garin Cycholl, each representing one of the genres at the core of the program. Srikanth Reddy teaches poetry and poetics, and has a collection of poetry called Facts for Visitors: Poems from the University of California Press. In addition to teaching fiction at U of C and Columbia College, Megan Stiesltra is Director of Story Development for 2nd Story ( and a veteran of the Chicagoland literary scene. Garin Cycholl, a multifaceted teacher of all three genres, has a new collection of poetry called Rafetown Georgics available from Cracked Slab Books. Join us for an afternoon of uniquely Chicago writing from our accomplished teachers.


The Fall of Communism (Twenty Years On)

William Rainey Harper Memorial Library, Room 130, 1116 East 59th Street
The communist regimes of Eastern and Central Europe fell one after another in the autumn of 1989. The twentieth anniversary of this event provides us with an occasion to reflect on the nature of Soviet communism, the Cold War which it helped to engender, and the legacy of totalitarianism in contemporary European culture. Based in part on personal memories and impressions, I hope to propose guidelines for exploring these questions and discuss with participants the legacy of communism and the Cold War in their own perceptions of modern culture and in their own lives.


Mixing Musical Worlds for India’s Silver Screen

Harold Leonard Stuart Hall, Room 104, 5835 South Greenwood Avenue
This presentation offers an ethnomusicologist’s perspective on the creative musical work behind the scenes of India’s commercial film industries, from Bollywood in the north to Malluwood in the south. In addition to elucidating the extraordinary prominence given to music in South Asian cinematic culture, the talk aims to ground an appreciation of Indian film songs in the life experiences, stylistic encounters, and artistic collaborations of musicians who produce them.


Recording Persian Antiquities in Crisis: The Persepolis Fortification Archive Project

Breasted Hall, Oriental Institute,1155 East 58th Street
Since 1936, scholars at the Oriental Institute have been studying tens of thousands of tablets excavated at Persepolis, the complex of palaces that Kings Darius and Xerxes built in the heartland of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. Their results have transformed modern understanding of the languages, art, society, and institutions of the Persian Empire. But, since 2004, they have been working under a cloud of litigation that threatens the future of these tablets. This presentation discusses what the Persepolis Fortification Archive is, why it is important, and how the PFA Project is using digital tools and methods to record and publish it.