Oct. 19, 2006
Vol. 26 No. 3

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    Humanities Day 2006 honoring Cronin will provide insights into informational connections between cultures

    By Julia Morse
    News Office

    For 26 years the Division of the Humanities has showcased the wide range of research interests and artistic pursuits among the faculty of the Humanities Division during a day of readings, lectures, tours and panel discussions. This year that tradition continues at Humanities Day 2006 on Saturday, Oct. 28, with three sessions of concurrent presentations and a keynote address at 11 a.m. by Michael Murrin, the Raymond W. and Martha Hilbert Gruner Distinguished Service Professor in English Language & Literature and the College.

    Entitled “The Marvelous Real: Marco Polo’s Legacy to European Romance,” Murrin’s address will highlight the connection between Asia and European romance writers by examining Marco Polo’s description of Asia. Murrin’s talk, along with several of the presentations being given at this year’s Humanities Day, was inspired in part by Silk Road Chicago, a yearlong series of events in the city of Chicago coordinated with the Silk Road Project, founded by world-renowned cellist Yo Yo Ma and based in Providence, R.I.

    “We wanted to pursue a theme throughout all three sessions; that is to discuss the ways in which ideas flow between cultures,” said David Thompson, Associate Dean of Planning and Programs in the Division of the Humanities. “Murrin’s talk and others throughout the Humanities Day will give greater insight into this informational connection between cultures and how it has manifested.”

    Formerly known as the Humanities Open House, Humanities Day ’06: A Day of Reading, Research and Response will include more than 30 lectures, readings, discussions, tours, exhibitions and performances throughout the day. In earlier years, the event has drawn nearly 900 guests to campus.

    This year’s Humanities Day is in honor of Annette Cronin, who as Director of Special Events in the late 1970s and early 1980s worked with faculty members and Karl Weintraub, former Dean of the Division of the Humanities, to make the day an annual event.

    “Anyone who skims our program would find a lecture or a reading or a discussion topic that ties in directly with something they’ve long been interested in or been passionate about,” said Thompson. “People won’t be able to help but connect with something.”

    In addition to the keynote address, other lectures include:

    “Song and Dance in Bollywood Cinema,” presented by Rochona Majumdar, Assistant Professor in South Asian Languages & Civilizations and the College. The lecture will demonstrate how song and dance featured in films have changed over time, while remaining standout elements of Bollywood cinema.

    Ilya Yakubovich, Lecturer in the College, will give a talk titled “Marriage on the Silk Road.” Yakubovich will discuss three types of marriage contracts from Pre-Islamic Central Asia that each highlighted different and atypical subjects.

    “Bodiless Voices in Classical Fairy-Tales” will be the subject of Armando Maggi’s talk. Maggi, Associate Professor in Romance Languages & Literatures and the College, will share thoughts and theories regarding Western European fairy-tale characters who often are depicted by a strong voice that speaks to a main character or warns of impending danger.

    As Maggi has described on the Humanities Day Web page: “To the usual list of imaginary characters (ogres, fairies, witches, etc.) we should add this fleeting presence that has no name and no body.” He will discuss several texts during this lecture.

    Chicago Review at 60” will celebrate the founding of the University’s 60-year-old literary arts publication. Speakers will include Joshua Kotin, Editor of the Chicago Review; Erik Steinhoff, Editor Emeritus of the Chicago Review; and David Pavelich, University Librarian.

    “The Art of Dying: Games and Gladiators in Ancient Rome” will be presented by Emanuel Mayer, Assistant Professor in Classics and the College. In his presentation, Mayer will introduce a conversation on how and why the Roman games were organized in amphitheaters and arenas, and how the modern world views these events and the people who attended them.

    “Humanities Day 2006 shows off all the wonderful things we have going on in our division,” said Stephen Lund, Director of Events in the Division of the Humanities. “There really is something for everyone and anyone. Each session suggests the breadth of the Division of the Humanities.”

    Another standout of this year’s Humanities Day is the combination of both senior and junior faculty speaking and leading discussions. “We have both new voices and familiar voices this year,” Lund said.

    “Guests at Humanities Day will learn the depth of the Division,” Thompson noted.

    Humanities Day 2006 is free and open to the public. For more information or to register online please visit: http://humanities.uchicago.edu/humanitiesday.