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February 2018

Art and Power: Patronage and Politics in Europe from the Old Regime to the Present

February 23 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Introduction: 9am (Dan Edelstein) Panel 1: Representations of Power in the Old Regime (9:15-10:45am) Sarah Grandin (Harvard University), “’To Preserve and Augment’: Printing the Cabinet du Roi, 1670” Chandra Mukerji (UCSD), “Meaning vs. Imagination in the Art of the Sun King: Sculpture, themes, and political possibility” Gerardo Tocchini (Università Ca’ Foscari, Venice), “The Aristocratic Romance: Greuze’s ‘Bourgeois’ Scenes” Panel 2: Patronage, Circulation, and Institutions (11am-12:30pm) Rahul Markovits (École Normale Supérieure), “Actors of soft power: French theatre and the paradoxes of…

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Lunchtime Conversation: Photography, Immigration Debates, and Surveillance Strategies

February 23 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm

Please join us for a lunchtime conversation with Amy Sara Carroll and Ricardo Dominguez touching on the intersection of photography, immigration debates, and surveillance strategies. Please bring your lunch; complimentary beverages will be provided.  Please join us for an additional program with Amy Sara Carroll and Ricardo Dominguez on February 24 at 11:30am, where they will lead a gallery talk in The Matter of Photography in the Americas.  These programs accompany the exhibition The Matter of Photography in the Americas (February 7-April 30,…

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Takács Quartet

February 23 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

Blessed with a nigh-otherworldly gift for chamber artistry, the Takács Quartet, in the latest of its highly anticipated visits to the Bing, partners with Canadian piano virtuoso MarcAndré Hamelin for the Dohnányi Piano Quintet No. 1. Beethoven’s Opus 131 Quartet and Schubert’s Quartettsatz are also on the program for this Boulder, Colorado–based quartet.

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Gallery Talk: The Matter of Photography in the Americas

February 24 11:30 am - 12:00 pm

Ricardo Dominguez, a co-founder of The Electronic Disturbance Theater (EDT), and Amy Sara Carroll, a 2017-2018 fellow at Cornell University’s Society, will lead a gallery talk in The Matter of Photography in the Americas.  The Matter of Photography in the Americas (February 7-April 30,2018) highlights groundbreaking works by artists from Latin America, the Caribbean, and Latino communities in the United States who cast a critical eye on photography as both an artistic medium and as a means of communication. Gallery talks in this series include:…

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Alex Ross on Leonard Bernstein, Subversive All American

February 26 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

From his electrifying 1943 debut with the New York Philharmonic onward, Bernstein was lionized as a home-grown hero of American music: composer, conductor, Broadway collaborator, radio, and television personality. His works symbolized mid-century America at its confident, casual peak. At the same time, Bernstein expressed sharply leftist views, which left him vulnerable to Cold War attacks and made an object of suspicion as late as the Nixon administration, as White House tapes show. Alex Ross, the music critic of The…

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Art Focus Lecture | Intimacy and the Art of Visual Storytelling

February 28 4:15 pm - 6:15 pm

In the digital age, we are deluged with visual information and an overabundance of images. What distinguishes Ed Kashi’s work is the intimacy and complexity of his storytelling. This lecture will span a range of stories, issues, and approaches that represent the frontiers of visual storytelling, from smartphone photography to short documentary films. The lecture will touch on such diverse issues as Syrian refugees and the impact of oil in the Niger Delta to stories closer to home about immigration and…

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March 2018

Author Julie Lythcott-Haims on Mixed Race Identity, Racism, and What it Takes to Thrive

March 1 5:15 pm - 7:15 pm

Come hear  New York Times best-selling author and Stanford American Studies Alum Julie Lythcott-Haims read from and discuss her critically acclaimed new book, Real American: A Memoir  “Real American is a courageous, achingly honest meditation on what it means to come to consciousness as a mixed race child and adult in a nation where Black lives weren’t meant to matter,” writes Michelle Alexander, New York Times best-selling author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness Caucasia author Danzy Senna calls the book “a cathartic…

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Barbara Rossetti Ambros: “On Talking Terms with Mihotokesama: Material and Bodily Practices of a Jōdo Shin Healer”

March 1 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Abstract:  The life story of Takumi Toyoko (b. 1929) illustrates the material and corporeal practices of popular Jōdo Shin in the Hokuriku region. At the intersection between a secret Jōdo Shin confraternity and a healer with an open clientele, Takumi and her devotees challenge stereotypical notions of Jōdo Shin as being opposed to magic and folk traditions. Rather than emphasizing scriptural authority, Takumi communicates directly with the Buddha Amida and wields her own body as a vehicle of salvation. Yet Amida…

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Talk: Yve-Alain Bois on Ellsworth Kelly

March 1 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Introduction by Nancy Troy, Victoria and Roger Sant Professor in Art, Department of Art & Art History. Yve-Alain Bois is Professor of Art History in the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He has written extensively on 20th century art, from Matisse and Picasso, Mondrian and Lissitzky to post-war American art. A collection of his essays, Painting as Model, has been published by M.I.T. Press in 1990. With Benjamin Buchloh, Hal Foster, and Rosalind…

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Intimacy and the Art of Visual Storytelling: An Evening with Photojournalist Ed Kashi

March 1 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

Ed Kashi is a photojournalist and filmmaker dedicated to documenting the social and political issues that define our times. In the digital age, we are deluged with visual information and an overabundance of images. What distinguishes Kashi’s work is the intimacy and complexity of his storytelling. This lecture will span a range of stories, issues, and approaches that represents the frontiers of visual storytelling, from smartphone photography to short documentary films. Kashi will discuss his work with Syrian refugees and…

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An Afternoon of Jewish Humor: The Jokes, the Comics, the Stories, and Their Interpretations

March 4 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Please note: this event previously listed a different location. It will now take place in CEMEX Auditorium at the GSB Knight Management Center. Join us for a lively afternoon with Michael Krasny, who (he admits) has been telling Jewish jokes since he could say “oy vey!” and (others claim) knows more of them than anyone else on the planet. He was finally persuaded to put hundreds of his favorites into his bestselling book, Let There Be Laughter, accompanied by his wise…

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Taming the Shamanic Impulse: The Emergence of the Hasidic Master with Rabbi Arthur Green

March 6 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

David S. Lobel Visiting Scholar Lecture Dr. Arthur Green was the founding dean and is currently rector of the Rabbinical School and Irving Brudnick Professor of Jewish Philosophy and Religion at Hebrew College. He is Professor Emeritus at Brandeis University, where he occupied the distinguished Philip W. Lown Professorship of Jewish Thought. He is both a historian of Jewish religion and a theologian; his work seeks to form a bridge between these two distinct fields of endeavor. Educated at Brandeis University and…

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Food, Memoir, and Narrative: The Story Only You Can Tell

March 6 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Veronica Chambers is a a four-time New York Times best-selling author who specializes in creativity and collaboration. In this talk, she’ll discuss her James Beard award-winning collaborations with chefs such as Marcus Samuelsson, Eric Ripert and her most recent cookbook project, Between Harlem and Heaven which she co-wrote with Harlem chefs JJ Johnson and Alexander Smalls. She’ll also talk about the Earth Systems class she is teaching at Stanford this quarter, “Environmental and Food System Journalism,” and how food writing can open…

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Art Focus Lecture | The Art of Oriental Rugs and Their Representation in Western Art

March 7 4:15 pm - 6:15 pm

Oriental rugs represent a cross between art and crafts. During the Renaissance, images of oriental rugs became prevalent in western paintings. In some instances, the name of the artist came to identify the rug. And long after these original rugs had disappeared, their images survived in the works of art. In the first part of the presentation, we will discuss rugs as an art form focusing mostly on Anatolian carpets, which usually appear in western art. The second half of…

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Stanford Colloquium on Dance Studies Lecture with Dr. Harmony Bench

March 7 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Stanford Colloquium on Dance Studies is excited to present: “Kinesthetic and Cinesthetic Affectivity: Moving and Being Moved by Dance Onscreen” A lecture by Dr. Harmony Bench, Associate Professor of Dance, Ohio State University Discussant: Jennifer DeVere Brody, Professor of Theater & Performance Studies and Chair of CCSRE, Stanford University In this presentation, Dr. Bench focuses on the short video Color of Reality (2016) directed by Jon Boogz with visual art by Alexa Meade and dancing by Boogz and Lil Buck. The video…

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Stanford Colloquium on Dance Studies | Kinesthetic and Cinesthetic Affectivity: Moving and Being Moved by Dance Onscreen

March 7 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

A lecture by Dr. Harmony Bench, Associate Professor of Dance, Ohio State University Discussant: Jennifer DeVere Brody, Professor of Theater and Performance Studies and Chair of CSSRE, Stanford University In this presentation, Dr. Bench focuses on the short video Color of Reality (2016) directed by Jon Boogz with visual art by Alexa Meade and dancing by Boogz and Lil Buck. The video follows a loose narrative structure, addressing anti-black violence without, however, flattening the dancers’ movements to fit a simple storyline…

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Navigating the Social Sector Job Search: Speed Advising Session

March 8 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

Still amid the search for a job or summer internship? It’s not too late to drop by the Haas Center for a speed advising session and productive study break. Advisors on the Cardinal Careers team, as well as other specialized staff at the Haas Center, will sit down with you to brainstorm organizations, positions, and connections to help you find, land, and prepare for a job/internship.

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Intimate Brushes: Manuscript Exchange between Korean and Chinese Intellectual Communities in the late 18th and Early 19th Centuries

March 8 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm

Free and open to the public.  Please RSVP here. About the talk: After the advent of the printing and publishing boom in early modern East Asia, intellectuals in late-18th and early-19th century Korea and China turned to enduring practices of producing and circulating handwritten and hand-drawn materials in ink-and-brush as a way of forming and maintaining bonds of friendship with one another. Initially occasioned by encounters during the Chosŏn diplomatic travels to China, the exchanges involved a range of scribal…

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Guest Speaker: Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief, The Lancet

March 8 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm

Join Stanford Medicine’s Office of the Dean and Rambam Health Care Campus in welcoming Richard Horton. Richard Horton is Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet, having previously served as North American Editor. He was the first President of the World Association of Medical Editors and he is a Past-President of the U.S. Council of Science Editors, and he is an honorary professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University College London, and the University of Oslo. He has received honorary…

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Rev. Shojun Ogi: “Re-Focusing Buddhism in Modern Japanese Society: New Dimensions in Contemporary Japanese Buddhism”

March 8 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Abstract: Historically, especially after World War II, Japanese Buddhist temples became focused mainly on conducting funeral rituals, various commemorative memorials, the selling of talismans, and conducting prayer rituals in the name of good fortune, happiness and safety. This led Japanese society, including both Buddhist priests and public at large to come to believe that Buddhism was only relevant regarding death or wishes. However, recognizing the declining position of Buddhism in contemporary Japan, some Buddhist priests have begun creating and implementing…

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A Reflection on My Last Novel: Ask the Mirror

March 8 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Chahla Chafiq is an author, researcher, and human rights activist.  Chahla’s writings both in Persian and French include essays, research articles, short stories, and novels. She discusses her newest book, Ask the Mirror (2015), and reflects on literature and exile. Part of the Stanford Festival of Iranian Arts

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Redemptive Hope in the Age of Trump with Akiba Lerner

March 9 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Akiba J. Lerner, Professor of Religious Studies at Santa Clara University Akiba received his B.A. from The University of California at Berkeley and his Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Stanford University in 2007. He taught at Stanford from 2007-2009 and joined the Santa Clara faculty in 2009. His research focuses on modern Jewish thought, theologies of hope, Jewish social ethics, political theology, American pragmatism and contemporary liberal thought. This will be a book talk and the Stanford Bookstore will be…

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Angles on Art: Wayne Thiebaud’s Lunch Table

March 9 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Stanford graduate students Caroline Culp (Art History), Sabrina Papazian (Anthropology), and Kathryn Winner (English) discuss the Cantor’s object through their unique disciplinary perspectives. IMAGE: Wayne Thiebaud (U.S.A., b. 1920), Lunch Table, 1964. Oil on canvas. Committee for Art Acquisitions Fund. Conservation supported by the Lois Clumeck Fund, 1964.119

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Dialogues in Art

March 10 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

An afternoon of focused gallery talks by Stanford students at the Anderson Collection. Art makers and art historians join together in pairs to present their views, observations, and thoughts on specific works in the collection. Come for one or for all! 

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A Conversation with Aimee Bender

March 12 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

The McCoy Center for Ethics and Society, in partnership with the Creative Writing Program, is pleased to present the explosive linguistic talent and boundary blurring short story writer and novelist, Aimee Bender. The author of three collections of short stories, a novel, and a novella, Bender is one of the most respected and anthologized fiction writers of her generation. From the groundbreaking debut Girl with Flammable Skirt to the emotive flavors of the Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, Bender’s prose is, in the words…

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The Power of Photography for Social Change

March 13 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

REZA is an acclaimed photojournalist whose work has been featured in National Geographic, Time Magazine, Stern, Newsweek, El País, Paris Match, as well as a series of books, exhibitions and documentaries made for the National Geographic Channel. He discusses the importance of using images to serve social change, by training younger generations to become the actors of the future. Part of the Stanford Festival of Iranian Arts

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Art Focus Lecture | The Art of Dante’s Divine Comedy

March 14 4:15 pm - 6:15 pm

The Divine Comedy is one of the greatest works of western literature, and its narrative and dramatic elements have lent themselves for pictorial representation. This is particularly true for the Purgatory, whose seven stages correspond to the Seven Cardinal Sins. The first part of the presentation will introduce The Divine Comedy as a literary work and discuss its three parts: Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise. In the second part, we will move on to the illustrations in the work of Hieronymus…

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Lecture: Working Metal in 20th-Century Sculpture

March 15 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm

5:30pm Lecture, Cantor Arts Center, Auditorium6:30pm Reception, Cantor Arts Center, 2nd Floor, Geballe Balcony Working Metal in 20th-Century Sculpture is an intimate look at the expressive potential of metal worked directly by the artist’s hand using techniques and tools developed for industrial use. The artists featured in this exhibition, including Ruth Asawa, Harry Bertoia, and Melvin Edwards, exploited metal’s deep material and cultural resonances to create forms with extraordinary visual, tactile, and even sonic appeal. Exhibition curator, Sydney Skelton Simon,…

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Art Focus Lecture | From Judy Chicago to Cindy Sherman and Beyond: Transformations in Art and Feminism from the 70’s to Now

March 21 4:15 pm - 6:15 pm

In the 1970s, Feminist Art garnered the attention of the art world and beyond. By the following generation, however, many young female artists had eschewed the imagery and strategies of their predecessors. For some viewers familiar with established practices, this new art appeared to possess little to no feminist content. But many of these young artists were simply shifting the terms by which an art by, for, and of women could be interpreted and understood. This lecture focuses on the…

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Intersections: Oscar Muñoz

March 22 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Oscar Muñoz in conversation with Natalia Brizuela, Associate Professor, Department of Spanish and Portuguese and Film and Media, University of California, Berkeley, and Elena Shtromberg, Associate Professor in the Department of Art & Art History at the University of Utah. Oscar Muñoz is a visual artist born in 1951 in Popayán, Colombia. He is known as one of the most significant contemporary visual artists in his country, and his work has also gained international recognition. Most of his art is concerned…

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The Life Art Science Technology (LAST) Festival

March 23 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

The Life Art Science Technology (LAST) Festival on March 23-24, in the  futuristic setting of SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, will combine a  program of science talks and art installations to discuss how technology is  changing the nature of humanity and what role Silicon Valley is playing: How far  can biomedicine extend life? Can a machine make art? Can we hack consciousness?  What will virtual worlds do to our real world? Speakers include: Michael Snyder, Genetics, Stanford University Ken Goldberg, Robotics, UC…

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The Life Art Science Technology (LAST) Festival

March 24 10:30 am - 9:00 pm

The Life Art Science Technology (LAST) Festival on March 23-24, in the  futuristic setting of SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, will combine a  program of science talks and art installations to discuss how technology is  changing the nature of humanity and what role Silicon Valley is playing: How far  can biomedicine extend life? Can a machine make art? Can we hack consciousness?  What will virtual worlds do to our real world? Speakers include: Michael Snyder, Genetics, Stanford University Ken Goldberg, Robotics, UC…

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Art Focus Lecture | The Advantages of Obscurity: San Francisco Women Abstract Expressionists

March 28 4:15 pm - 6:15 pm

Among the essential features of Abstract Expressionism in San Francisco was its lack of patronage—yet there were great advantages to this situation for women. Unlike their counterparts in the East, women artists in San Francisco never had to contend with what Alfonso Ossorio called the “doctrinaire powerhouses” that excluded them, leaving them free to pursue their own artistic inclinations. This presentation will discuss the women who benefited from working in a far less chauvinistic environment—artists like Jay DeFeo and Sonia…

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April 2018

Art Focus Lecture | Joan Mitchell: Painting as Cathedral

April 11 4:15 pm - 6:15 pm

Joan Mitchell (1925–1992) came of age as an artist in the 1950s New York of the Cedar Tavern and the Artists’ Club. The physicality of her mark making—her commitment to abstraction, and her love of oil paint itself, not to mention her toughness—identify Mitchell as a New York School artist. Yet she spent more years in France than New York. While she continued down the path laid out by Abstract Expressionism, her work kept evolving and was, in the end, unclassifiable.…

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Jewish Museums in Europe: Cabinets of Curiosities or Theatres of History with Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett

April 17 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

What comes first? The collection or the story? What is the story the collection tells, and can the story the museum wants to tell be told through the collection? Given the politics of history and historical policies in Europe today, Jewish museums have a special role to play. Prague, Budapest, London, Paris, Berlin, Warsaw, Moscow, Vienna – Jewish museums in these and other European cities have taken different approaches. Their strategies reflect not only the history of the institution and…

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Todd Lewis: “Reconfiguration and Revival: Newar Buddhist Traditions in the Kathmandu Valley (and Beyond)”

April 18 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Bio: Todd Lewis, College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA Abstract: Beginning with Sylvain Lévi, most scholars for the past century who have assessed the state of Newar Buddhism in the Kathmandu Valley have described the tradition as “decadent,” “corrupted by Hinduism,” and so in serious decline. Many predicted its withering away, most often due to competition from the reformist Theravādins, a movement that arrived in Nepal a century ago. The predations of the modern Nepalese state with its staunchly Hindu…

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A Reading with Ron Carlson, the Stein Visiting Writer

April 18 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Ron Carlson’s most recent novel is Return to Oakpine. His short stories have appeared in Esquire, Harpers, The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, and other journals, as well as The Best American Short Stories, The O’Henry Prize Series, The Pushcart Prize Anthology, The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction and other anthologies; they have been performed on National Public Radio’s “This American Life” and “Selected Shorts.” Ron Carlson Writes a Story, his book on writing is taught widely. He is the author of two books of poems, Room Service and The Blue Box. He has been awarded…

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James A. Benn: “Controversies in the Doctrine and Practice of Self-immolation in Medieval China”

April 21 12:00 am

Abstract: In this seminar we will read selected passages from the chapter on self-immolation (sheshen pian 捨身篇) in the seventh-century Chinese Buddhist compendium Fayuan zhulin 法苑珠林. We will see how the compiler of the work—Daoshi 道世 (596?–683) places a range of somatic practices including burning the body within the context of the propagation of Buddhism. We will note how he deploys key jātaka tales and Mahāyāna sutras as scriptural supports for the practice, and reflect on his choice of hagiographical material from China. Bio: James A. Benn…

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Hisham Matar Reading, part of the Lane Lecture Series

April 23 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Photo by Diana Matar Part of the Lane Lecture Series Hisham Matar was born in New York City to Libyan parents, spent his childhood in Tripoli and Cairo, and has lived most of his adult life in London. His critically acclaimed 2016 memoir The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between won the Pulitzer Prize for Autobiography and received the PEN America Book of the Year Award. In The Return, he recounts his search for his father, who was…

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Art Focus Lecture | The Art of Making Space Public

April 25 4:15 pm - 6:15 pm

Artists working in the public realm can accomplish far more than placing a beautiful artwork on a pedestal or in a plaza. Their work can transform space, stimulate human interaction, and help define community. This lecture will explore trends in public art over the last 30 years, from artists on the design team, to environmental art, new technologies, and art that promotes social justice. Barbara Goldstein is an independent consultant focusing on creative placemaking and public art planning. She is…

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“Denial”, History on Trial: My Day in Court with David Irving with Deborah Lipstadt

April 30 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Deborah E. Lipstadt, Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory College Deborah received her B.A. from City College of New York (1969) and her M.A. (1972) and Ph.D. (1976) from Brandeis University. Professor Lipstadt is frequently called upon by the media to comment on a variety of matters. She has appeared Good Morning America, NPR’s Fresh Air, the BBC, Charlie Rose Show, and is a frequent contributor to and is widely quoted in a variety of newspapers…

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May 2018

Tim H. Barrett: “A Possible Buddhist Influence on Chinese Political Thought”

May 3 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Abstract: Much work has been done in recent decades on the way in which Chinese rulers made use of Buddhism to bolster their power, but in fact some Buddhist ideas concerning kingship found in South Asian materials were quite negative. China was in imperial times an autocracy in which such negativity towards kingship generally did not flourish. But if we look carefully, is there really no trace at all of these Buddhist ideas entering the Chinese tradition of political thought? …

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The Polish Roots of Right-Wing Zionism with Daniel Heller

May 8 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm

Daniel K. Heller, Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies at McGill University How interwar Poland and its Jewish youth were instrumental in shaping the ideology of right-wing Zionism By the late 1930s, as many as fifty thousand Polish Jews belonged to Betar, a youth movement known for its support of Vladimir Jabotinsky, the founder of right-wing Zionism. Poland was not only home to Jabotinsky’s largest following. The country also served as an inspiration and incubator for the development of right-wing Zionist…

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The Ruined House with Ruby Namdar

May 10 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm

Ruby Namdar, author Ruby Namdar was born and raised in Jerusalem to a family of Iranian-Jewish heritage. His first book, Haviv (2000) won The Ministry of Culture’s Award for Best First Publication. His novel The Ruined House has won the Sapir Prize—Israel’s most prestigious literary award. In The Ruined House, an elegant NYU professor at the peak of his powers is reduced to a quivering puddle by a violent, unsought, yearlong spiritual awakening. Jumping between New York of 2000 and the Holy Temple…

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When Vilna was Young: Vilna’s Last Generation with Justin Cammy

May 14 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Justin Cammy is a literary and cultural historian with research and teaching interests in Yiddish and modern Jewish literatures, Eastern European Jewish history, and Zionism and contemporary Israel. He holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from Harvard University and a B.A. in Middle Eastern studies from McGill University. In addition to appointments in Jewish studies and comparative literature, he also is a member of Smith’s Programs in Middle East studies, Russian, Eastern European, and Eurasian studies, and American…

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What the Future Holds: In Conversation with Walter Mosley

May 15 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

What the Future Holds: In Conversation with Walter Mosley Novelist and social commentator Walter Mosley is best known for his crime fiction, and his indelible narrator, Easy Rawlins. But Mosley, a frequent social commentator and wide-ranging writer, is also a serious practitioner of Science Fiction. He employs the form not just to contemplate the culture as it was, but to envision the trends that might point to our future. These envisionings are rarely optimistic, but always prescient. Over the course…

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Rupert Gethin: “On Death and Rebirth, and What Happens in Between: Two Buddhist Accounts of Why it Matters”

May 17 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Abstract: Ancient Indian Buddhist thinkers for the most part took it as given that death was followed by rebirth, but they disagreed on whether death was followed immediately by rebirth or by an in between state (antarābhava). The lecture will consider two accounts of death and rebirth, both from the fourth to fifth centuries CE but representing the traditions of two different schools: (1) the account found in Vasubandhu’s Abhidharmakośa, which presents the traditions of the Sarvāstivāda school and advocates an in between state, and (2) the account found in the…

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Making Hungary Great Again: State Building, Mass Violence, and the Irony of Global Holocaust Memory in Twentieth-Century Europe with Raz Segal

May 21 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm

Raz Segal, Assistant Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Sara and Sam Schoffer Professor of Holocaust Studies at Stockton University Dr. Segal is engaged in his work with the challenges of exploring the Holocaust as an integral part of modern processes of imperial collapse, the formation and occasional deformation of nation-states, and their devastating impact on the societies they sought (and seek) to break and remake. Integrative and comparative, his research stands at the intersection of modern European history, Holocaust scholarship, Genocide Studies, and Jewish history, and links the Holocaust to…

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The Origin of the Jews: The Quest for Roots in a Rootless Age with Steven P. Weitzman

May 24 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm

Steven Weitzman, Abraham M. Ellis Professor of Hebrew and Semitic Languages and Literatures, Ella Darivoff Director of the Katz Center of Advanced Judaic Studies at Pennsylvania University Prof. Weitzman specializes in the Hebrew Bible and the origins of Jewish culture. Recent publications include Surviving Sacrilege: Cultural Persistence in Jewish Antiquity(Harvard University Press, 2005); Religion and the Self in Antiquity (Indiana University Press, 2005); The Jews: A History (Prentice Hall, 2009); and a biography of King Solomon, part of the new “Jewish Lives” series, published by Yale University Press in…

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Oliver Freiberger: “Lines in Water? On Drawing Buddhism’s Boundaries in Ancient India”

May 24 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Abstract: This talk explores the ways in which religious agents – and modern scholars – distinguish religions. Illustrated by examples from ancient India, it will problematize the popular notion of blurred boundaries and suggest a multilayered approach for analyzing religious boundary-making. The paper argues that scholars should be prepared to find, even within one religious community, numerous and possibly conflicting ways of drawing a boundary between “us” and “them.” Bio: Dr. Oliver Freiberger is associate professor of Asian Studies and…

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Robert Daniel DeCaroli: “Snakes and the Rain: Nāga Imagery, Water Management, and Buddhist Rainmaking Rituals in Early South Asia”

May 31 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Abstract: When considering the water-related challenges that confronted the monks and architects involved with rock-cut monasteries, it becomes apparent that the veneration of nāgas complimented methods of hydraulic engineering designed to regulate the flow of water at the sites. The highly visible nature of this arrangement helps to explain the emergence of ritual texts, primarily dating to after the fourth century CE, in which Buddhist ritualists adopt the role of rainmakers. The ritualists invariably invoke a special relationship with the…

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