On October 23, the Division of the Humanities once again will showcase a wealth of artistic and intellectual talent at the 32nd annual Humanities Day. Alumni, students, parents, and community members can feast on the breadth of scholarship at the University by participating in a day of lectures, exhibits, performances, and tours.

Highlighting this year’s event is a lecture by Professor Martha Feldman, an eminent music historian. Her talk,“Castrato De Luxe: Blood, Gifts, and Goods in the Making of Early Modern Singing Stars,” will be followed by University organist Tom Weisflog’s kaleidoscopic presentation of masterworks on the newly restored E. M. Skinner organ in Rockefeller Memorial Chapel.

Faculty presentations will include a celebration of Mexican independence by Robert Kendrick (Music), who will explore different retellings of the story of Cortez and Montezuma in baroque operas by Purcell, Vivaldi, and others.

Literary discussions will range from poetry to joke telling. David Wellbery (Germanic Studies) will discuss how poets employ lyric form to deepen our understanding of time. Ted Cohen (Philosophy) will explore “Metaphors and Jokes: Instruments of Freedom.” Françoise Meltzer (Comparative Literature) will read a poem by Baudelaire, and Alison James (Romance Languages and Literatures) will speak on “Fact and Fiction in Recent French Literature.” Sascha Ebeling (South Asian Languages and Civilizations) will examine “War, Trauma, and Humanism in Literature from Sri Lanka.”

 Literary discussions will range from poetry to joke telling.

Several scholars will look at archaeology and its relationship to history. Jonathan Hall (Classics) will consider the arguments supporting literary traditions around Romulus and the foundation of Rome as well as the apostle Peter’s execution and burial. Edward Shaughnessy (East Asian Languages and Civilizations) will preview an upcoming exhibition of ancient Chinese bronzes opening at the Art Institute of Chicago in November.

Steven Collins (SALC) will lecture on “Women in Modern South and Southeast Asian Buddhism.” Mark Payne (Classics) will reflect on “How Young People Should Listen to Animals,” looking at accounts from ancient Greece and the American Plains.

Other speakers include W. J. T. Mitchell (English and Art History) and Rochona Majumdar (SALC), as well as Katherine Fischer Taylor (Art History), who will lead a panel on the place of Robie House in modern architecture.

A detailed schedule of Humanities Day 2010 events is available at http://humanitiesday.uchicago.edu.

The 2009 Humanities Day keynote address by David Wellbery is available to watch online.

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