December 21, 1995 Contact: Barbara McKenna (408/459-2495)
UC SANTA CRUZ'S HUMANITIES DIVISION AND COUNTY ART MUSEUM COLLABORATE TO PRESENT DOWNTOWN LECTURE SERIES
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SANTA CRUZ, CA--Six faculty members from the University of California, Santa Cruz, will be featured in a downtown lecture series presented jointly by the Humanities Division at UCSC and the Art Museum of Santa Cruz County at the McPherson Center for Art and History. The series will offer a range of lively topics of interest to the general public--from the state of politics in Eastern Europe, to great moments in opera, to snow vocabulary in Eskimo languages.
The talks are free and open to the public and take place the second Wednesday of each month at the McPherson Center, 705 Front St., Santa Cruz. Talks run from 7 to 8 p.m. with a reception following each presentation. A schedule follows. For more information, call the Humanities Division at (408) 459-2696 or the Art Museum at (408) 429-1964.
January 10: "Great Moments in American Opera," presented by professor of American studies John Dizikes.
What makes for a memorable night at the opera? Dizikes will look at three notable episodes in American operatic history to answer that question. One story is of remarkable vocal achievement, another depicts an event of historical and political significance, and one is a tale of personal tragedy. Dizikes's talk will include slides and opera music.
Dizikes is the author of Opera in America: A Cultural History (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993), a richly detailed and engaging account of opera's performers, conductors, composers, audiences, and impresarios, and memorable performances from 1735 to present. The book received a 1993 National Book Critics Circle award and the 1993 gold medal for nonfiction from the Commonwealth Club of California. February 14: "Never Too Late: Re-weaving the Threads of a Filmmaker's Improbable Career," presented by professor of literature Julianne Burton-Carvajal.
When she died last May at the age of 73, Maria Luisa Bemberg was considered the most important Latin American filmmaker of her generation. However, the famed Argentinean's career was a brief one, confined to the later part of her life. It wasn't until the age of 60 that Bemberg broke into the film industry--overcoming her society's prejudices against women and her family's traditional views. Bemberg went on to produce such acclaimed works as Camila (1984), Miss Mary (1986), I, the Worst of All (1990), and I Don't Want to Talk About It (1992). In her talk, Burton-Carvajal will discuss Bemberg's life and career, which is detailed in her book-in- progress, "Three Lives in Film." Burton-Carvajal is chair of the Latin American and Latino Studies Program and founding director of the CineMedia Project, both at UCSC. She is author of Cinema and Social Change in Latin America: Conversations with Filmmakers (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1986) and Social Documentary in Latin America (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1990).
March 13: "Language, World View, and Reality," presented by linguistics professor Geoffrey Pullum.
Does the language we speak influence our view of the world? Frequently, when that question comes up, so does the oft-cited (but ill-founded) example of the Eskimo languages, reputed to have a vast vocabulary of words for snow. In his talk, subtitled "How many words do Eskimos really have for snow, and what implications could that possibly have?," Pullum will survey the history of the legend of Eskimo snow vocabulary, consider what the psychological implications would be if Eskimos really did use 50 (or 19 or 103) words for snow, and take a brief look at the actual facts.
Pullum is the author of a dozen books, including The Great Eskimo Vocabulary Hoax (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991), which, he explains, "contains discussions of the crazed linguistics of libel laws, the folly of the "English Only" enthusiasts, and an imagined conversation between Noam Chomsky and Commander Spock."
April 10: "Why Do Communists Win Elections in Eastern Europe?," presented by history professor Peter Kenez.
In Lithuania, Hungary, and Slovakia, former communists are stepping into top-ranking government posts, and in Russia, the faction enjoying the highest approval rating is the Communist Party. Kenez will explore the forces at play across Eastern Europe that are bringing into power representatives of the party that was once so reviled.
Kenez, who was born in Hungary, has studied the history of Russia and the former Soviet Union. His books include The Birth of the Propaganda State: Soviet Methods of Mass Mobilization, 1917-1929 (Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1985); Cinema and Soviet Society, 1917-1953 (Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992); and the autobiography Varieties of Fear: Growing Up Jewish Under Nazism and Communism (Washington, D.C.: American University Press, 1995).
May 8: "Abundant Righteousness: Moralism in Contemporary Political Life," presented by professor of women's studies and legal studies Wendy Brown.
We live in a polarized society, poorly trained in the art of compromise and acceptance. One need only look at campaign literature from recent elections to see the proof. Brown has tracked the history of the polarization, which she sees as a migration in both personal and public politics away from constructive dialogue toward extremist moralizing. Such behavior isn't confined to the right wing, Brown notes, citing the left-wing agenda of political correctness as an example. Another example she offers is the current debate around hate speech--both those defending freedom of speech and those anxious to control hateful expressions tend to gravitate towards the most extreme positions.
Brown is the author of States of Injury: Power and Freedom in Late Modernity (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995). She serves as codirector of UCSC's Center for Cultural Studies and is chair of the advisory board to the UC Humanities Research Institute in Irvine.
June 12: "Is Chivalry Dead?: Love Poetry in the Modern Age," presented by assistant professor of literature Peter Gizzi.
Peter Gizzi will read twentieth-century poems of love, from Ezra Pound's translations from ancient China and Rome to Bernadette Mayer's contemporary sonnets of urban New York.
Gizzi's poetry has been published in chapbooks and in his first book, Periplum, or, I the Blaze. He is editor of the 1995 Exact Change Yearbook and former editor and publisher of o*blek--an internationally acclaimed poetry magazine. He is currently editing the papers of the late San Francisco Bay Area poet Jack Spicer and completing his second collection of poems, "A Textbook of Chivalry."
Editor's note: Photos of all speakers are available on request. For interviews with speakers, contact Barbara McKenna (408) 459-2495 or firstname.lastname@example.org.