April 30, 2009
Vol. 28 No. 15

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    Spring counterpart to fall Humanities Day in full bloom

    By Josh Schonwald
    News Office

    The cultural impact of the Book of Revelation, the tyranny of Athenian democracy, the existential split between an artist’s self and her “author function,” the writing process of one of Chicago’s best-known authors.

    The spring counterpart to the fall Humanities Day is in full bloom.

    During its first month, the Humanities Spring Lecture series (co-sponsored by the Committee on Jewish Studies) spotlighted the work of Princeton’s Elaine Pagels, best-selling author of Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas, and Bo?ena Shallcross, Associate Professor of Slavic Languages & Literatures, whose research has examined the Nazi practice of commodification and recycling of the body.

    The May leg of the series will begin Wednesday, May 6, with a lecture by classicist Jonathan Hall, titled “The Tyranny of the Athenian Democracy.” Hall will speak at 5:15 p.m. at the Gleacher Center (450 N. Cityfront Plaza Drive), Room 621.

    Hall, the Phyllis Fay Horton Professor in the Humanities and Professor and Chairman of Classics, is the youngest scholar to win the Charles J. Goodwin Award for Merit from the American Philological Association for best book in the field for “Ethnic Identity in Greek Antiquity.”

    A faculty member at Chicago since 1996, Hall’s research focuses on the cultural and social history of ancient Greece. He is the author of Hellenicity: Between Ethnicity and Culture, which received the University Press’s prestigious Gordon J. Laing Prize, and the recently completed The Blackwell History of the Archaic Greek World, 1200-479 BCE.

    Stuart Dybek, a Chicago native and renowned writer of fiction—much of which focuses on Chicago—will read from his work and answer questions during a presentation at 5 p.m., Tuesday, May 19 in Swift Lecture Hall, Third Floor.

    A MacArthur Foundation fellow, Dybek is the author of three critically acclaimed books, I Sailed with Magellan, The Coast of Chicago, and Childhood and Other Neighborhoods. His work has been compared to Hemingway’s novels, Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio, and James Joyce’s Dubliners. Though he’s best known for his short stories, Dybek is also an accomplished poet. His work regularly appears in the New Yorker, the Atlantic, Harper’s Magazine and the Paris Review.

    Dybek’s visit is part of the Kestenbaum Family Writer in Residence program, presented by the Committee on Creative Writing. The program brings writers of national and international prominence to the University. It also showcases the University’s newly formed programs in creative writing, while providing a workshop for individuals currently working on projects. Previous writers have included Lydia Davis, Zadie Smith, Art Spiegelman and George Saunders.

    Art historian Maria Loh will explore what Foucault has described as “the author function.” In Past Perfect: On the Construction of Old Master Narratives, Loh, a lecturer in the department of history of art at University College, London, will examine the discursive consequences of the process of existential doubling. The presentation will include the close analysis of a specific set of visual and textual representations of the Italian Old Masters. Loh’s lecture, part of the Smart Museum’s lecture series in Art History, will begin at 4:30 p.m. in Room 157 of the Cochrane-Woods Art Center.

    For more information on upcoming lectures in the humanities, visit http://humanities.uchicago.edu/.