October 6, 2005
Vol. 25 No. 2

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    Humanities Open House provides opportunity to investigate achievements of the human mind

    By Jennifer Carnig
    News Office

    Norma Field, the Robert S. Ingersoll Professor of Japanese Studies in East Asian Languages & Civilizations, will deliver the Humanities Open House keynote address on the 60th anniversary of the atomic bomb and the end of the Asia-Pacific War.

    If you’ve ever wanted to take a tour of residential architecture in Hyde Park, learn about Abraham in the Islamic tradition or catch a crash course on The Nicomachean Ethics, you are in luck. The 26th annual Humanities Open House is offering the community at large a chance to investigate all the various achievements of the human mind at the city’s oldest festival of humanities and the arts. “We’re experimenting with some new presentation formats,” says David Thompson, Associate Dean for Planning and Programs in the Humanities Division. “Our goal is to communicate a bit more of the collaborative spirit that characterizes so much of humanities scholarship today.”

    Presented Saturday, Oct. 22 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. by the University’s Division of the Humanities, this year’s program features more than 30 tours, seminars and readings by faculty from across the Humanities spectrum, from art and language to philosophy and music. The free event provides the occasion for nearly 900 visitors to spend the day on the University campus and hear about the exciting work being done by many of its most distinguished scholars.

    Norma Field, the Robert S. Ingersoll Professor of Japanese Studies in East Asian Languages & Civilizations, will deliver the keynote address on the topic, “How Long do We Need to Remember? Reflections on the 60th Anniversary of the Bomb and the End of the Asia-Pacific War.” On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Field will examine the scars of Japan’s involvement in World War II and the wounds still open decades later.

    The following are some of the other notable presentations this year:

    Eric Slauter, Assistant Professor in English Language & Literature, will present “How to Read the Declaration,” a look at how the Declaration of Independence was understood by early readers. What did the text mean to contemporaries? When did readers begin to focus on the Declaration as primarily a charter of rights, rather than an assertion of national sovereignty?

    Wadad Kadi, the Avalon Foundation Distinguished Service Professor in Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations, will present “Abraham in the Islamic Tradition,” a study of the image of Abraham in the Qur’an and in the “Tales of the Prophets” genre of exegetical writing in the medieval Islamic tradition.

    David Bevington, the Phyllis Fay Horton Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in the Humanities, will give a talk titled “King Lear: Act IV, Scene vi,” in which he will explore the philosophical challenges in Shakespeare’s play, especially those challenges posed by the attempt of the Earl of Gloucester to commit suicide, and the role his son Edgar played in preventing the suicide and inventing a cosmos for the old man to help him cope with his despair.

    Salikoko Mufwene, the Frank J. McLoraine Distinguished Service Professor in Linguistics, will present “Globalization and Language: Human Rights vs. Language Rights.” In this talk, Mufwene will explore what globalization is, how recent it is and if it has a negative impact on indigenous languages.

    Gabriel Richardson Lear, Assistant Professor in Philosophy, will give a talk on “Aristotle on Happiness and the Goods of Fortune: Nicomachean Ethics I.10.” Richardson Lear will lead a discussion on how Aristotle reconciled his belief that happiness is found in virtuous action.

    Some of the interactive events on the schedule include a chance to tour the Smart Museum with Anthony Hirschel, the new Dana Feitler Director of the Smart Museum of Art; a docent-led tour of the Oriental Institute’s “Empires in the Fertile Crescent” exhibition; walking tours of modern architecture on campus; and walking tours of modern residential architecture in Hyde Park.

    The Humanities Open House is free and open to the public. For more information and complete programming, visit http://humanities.uchicago.edu/openhouse/, call (773) 702-3175 or e-mail hdevents@uchicago.edu.

    Participants are encouraged to visit the Web site and register in advance or call for mail-in registration materials. Limited on-site registration will be available the day of the event in the lobby of the Walker Museum, 1115 E. 58th St.