In advance of the award ceremony at the 2018 Oscars on March 4, we will hold a roundtable discussion centered of the film Get Out (nominated for multiple awards), Director Jordan Peele’s difficult to classify (horror, comedy, meditation on race in America) best picture nominee. We will consider the film in the context of an ongoing debate (#OscarsSoWhite, #MeToo) about awards, politics, and social justice.
Noisy, Wild, and Extremely Troublesome: Lectures in the Arts and Humanities presents a roundtable discussion on “Get Out and the Politics of Awards Season,” on Friday, March 2, beginning at 11:45 a.m. in Lincoln Auditorium, Roberts Learning Center. The discussion will be led by UMF professors Michael Johnson, Ann Kennedy, Sarah Maline, and Dawn Nye.
October 26, 2015
Taco Talk: Two People. Eleven States. Over 900 Tacos.
UMF Professors Gaelyn and Gustavo Aguilar reflect on their journey along the National Lewis and Clark Memorial Trail making tacos and talking with people and asking the question: what is going to take for us to truly live inter-culturally?
This past summer, Gaelyn and Gustavo Aguilar (aka Tug) spent two months on the National Historic Lewis and Clark Trail in support of Who Eats at Taco Bell?, a platform for thinking about how the interlocking dynamics of immigration, social race, and colonialism in U.S.-American history continue to resonate with a range of critical themes: socio-economic mobility, movement and borders, assimilation and appropriation, and Cultural Citizenship, which Renato Rosaldo defines as the right to be who one is “and still belong, as a first-class citizen, in a participatory democratic sense.” Making various stops at venues along this 11-state journey, Tug made tacos with people, exhibited a participatory portrait gallery, performed, prompted dialogue, and invited various forms of engagement around the question: What is it going to take for us to truly live inter-culturally? Gaelyn and Gustavo will be reflecting on their expedition and their process of collective re/search.
October 28, 2015
Professor Daniel Gunn, “Noisy, Wild, and Extremely Troublesome: Children in Jane Austen’s Novels.”
“Noisy, Wild, and Extremely Troublesome: Children in Jane Austen’s Novels” is a discussion of the representation of children in the interstices of Jane Austen’s novels. Children are generally presented in a manner consistent with Austen’s moral thematics but may also serve as a site onto which sexual feeling and other repressed desires and impulses are displaced.
Daniel Gunn is Professor of English at UMF, where he has taught since 1980. He has published scholarly essays on the history and theory of the novel in Nineteenth-Century Literature, Narrative, Studies in the Novel, Eighteenth-Century Fiction, James Joyce Quarterly, the Georgia Review, and other journals.
February 4, 2015.
Professor Kristen Case, “Walden, the Humanities, and the Classroom as Public Space.”
Defenses of the humanities against charges of irrelevance and elitism usually come in one of two forms: a practical argument on behalf of the in-demand skill-set afforded by a broad humanistic education, or an idealistic one about the intrinsic value of literature and philosophy “for their own sake.” This lecture will question the dualism upheld by both types of response by examining the ethical and political stakes of the continued existence of physical humanities classrooms in the public university. As recent attacks on humanities programs at public universities and the growing prevalence of online courses have made clear, such classrooms are more and more seen as luxuries that public universities and their students can’t afford. Using a discussion of Thoreau’s Walden as her point of departure, Case will argue for both the practical and ethical (though not always quantifiable) value of humanities classrooms and of the critical questions asked within them.
Kristen Case teaches courses in American Literature, environmental writing, and the intersection of 20th- and 21st-century American literature and philosophy at the University of Maine Farmington. She has published articles on Henry David Thoreau, Robert Frost and Ezra Pound and is the author of American Pragmatism and Poetic Practice: Crosscurrents from Emerson to Susan Howe (Camden House, 2011). Her poems have appeared in Chelsea, The Brooklyn Review, Pleiades, Saint Ann’s Review, The Iowa Review, Wave Composition, and Eleven Eleven. Her chapbook, Temple, is forthcoming from Miel Books. She is the editor of The Concord Saunterer: A Journal of Thoreau Studies. Her essay, “The Other Public Humanities” recently appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education.
November 12, 2014
Dr. Steven Pane, “The Opus 111 Project, Merleau-Ponty, Beethoven and Intermedia”
Using Merleau-Ponty’s ideas about art, memory, and history–“a past which has never been present”–this discussion assesses an intermedia performative project that took place in April 2014 where artists, writers, sound technologists, and others within a rural Maine community responded to a theme from the last piano sonata of Beethoven (Opus 111).
Dr. Steven Pane’s career as a pianist, teacher, and writer emerges out of his life-long interest in the interdisciplinary study and performance of music. Whether it be a joint performance-paper (Charles Ives’ Concord Sonata and Mikhail Bakhtin’s idea of dialogic with Tiane Donahue); historical investigation of history (One Hundred Years Ago (1905) Sonatas by Scriabin, Ives, and Jancek); or re-conceiving classical work with written text (Integrating Bach’s Goldberg Variations with writing by Pat O’Donnell), Pane’s work and collaborations invite audiences to experience music in different settings. Most recently he curated the Opus 111 Project where philosophers, artists, composers, and others created intermedia variations on Beethoven’s last piano sonata. Pane is currently Professor of Music at the University of Maine at Farmington where he teaches courses in music history, writing, sound studies, and travel courses to Italy.
October 29, 2014
Dr. Karen Hellekson, “Affirmational and Transformational Doctor Who Fan Videos”
This lecture examines videos created by fans of the British television series, Doctor Who. The lecture focuses on two types of fan video, the reconstruction and the transformation. The “recon” attempts to recreate or replace episodes of the original Doctor Who series that are lost or missing. Transformative videos, rather than reconstructing, alter, critique, and reimagine the source material. However, because complete faithfulness to the lost original is not technologically possible, recons also creatively transform and alter surviving material, thus rendering recons a form of artwork rather than a literal reconstruction.
Dr. Karen Hellekson is an independent scholar based in Maine. She is the author of The Science Fiction of Cordwainer Smith and The Alternate History: Reconfiguring Time. She co-edits the journal Transformative Works and Cultures, and she has also co-edited several critical anthologies, including Practicing Science Fiction, Fan Fiction and Fan Communities in the Internet Age, and The Fan Fiction Studies Reader.
October 1, 2014
Dr. Michael Johnson, “Django Unchained and the African American West”
Although director Quentin Tarantino has described his controversial film Django Unchained as belonging to a “new, virgin-snow kind of genre,” the African American western is not new at all. African American writers and filmmakers have been creatively inventing and reinventing the genre western for centuries. This lectures places Django Unchained in the context of the history of the African American West in literature and film. Only against the backdrop of that representational history can we fairly judge what Tarantino’s film does and does not accomplish.
Dr. Michael Johnson is the author of Black Masculinity and the Frontier in American Literature and Hoo-Doo Cowboys and Bronze Buckaroos: Conceptions of the African American West. He is a Professor of American Literature in the Division of Humanities at the University of Maine at Farmington.