August 2, 2011
Speaking at this year's Wooster Forum are (clockwise from top left) Charles Mann, Edwidge Danticat, John Wingfield, and Nell Irvin Painter.
WOOSTER, Ohio — The 2011 Wooster Forum will feature an impressive lineup of speakers, a wide range of associated events, several art exhibitions, and a unique musical presentation. The multi-disciplinary series, titled “The Americas: Contact and Consequences,” will include four lectures and an eclectic musical performance — all of which will be held in The College of Wooster’s McGaw Chapel (340 E. University St.) beginning at 7:30 p.m. — as well as six associated events and three art exhibitions.
“We want the Forum to be the premier intellectual event on campus in the fall,” said Henry Kreuzman, dean for curriculum and academic engagement at Wooster. “Our objective is to illustrate the economic, political, environmental, and cultural connections between the American hemisphere and other parts of the world.”
The first lecture will be Tuesday, Sept. 20, when Charles Mann, an American journalist and author, discusses historical findings of the pre-Columbus Americas, with a special focus on the indigenous peoples of the New World. Mann’s 2005 book 1491: New Revelations of the America’s Before Columbus, which received the U.S. National Academy of Sciences’ Keck Best Book of the Year award, delves deeper into these more recent discoveries. Mann also writes for The Atlantic Monthly, Science, and Wired, and has contributed to numerous other magazines.
The series continues on Tuesday, Oct. 4, when Edwidge Danticat, a Haitian-American author, addresses race, gender, and family values in relation to Haitian culture. Her career began in 1994 with her novel Breath, Eyes, Memory, which resulted from her creative writing thesis at Brown University. Her second novel, Krik? Krak! was nominated for the National Book Award in 2005, making her the youngest author to have been nominated for the award. Her non-fiction work, Brother I’m Dying, is the summer reading for all incoming students. This work provides insight into Haitian politics, culture, and history from the perspectives of her father who emigrated to the U.S. and her uncle, a Baptist minister, who stayed in Haiti. She has also been a creative writing instructor at both New York University and the University of Miami.
The third speaker will be John Wingfield, who will talk about American birds and wildlife, and the ways they are dealing with global climate changes and endocrine disruption on Tuesday, Oct. 11. Wingfield’s research centers on environmental control of reproduction and those related behavioral processes of migration, molting, and wintering in birds. He earned his Ph.D. in zoology and comparative endocrinology from the University of North Wales and received an honorary doctorate from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. He is currently a professor of neurobiology, physiology, and behavior at the University of California Davis.
The fourth lecturer will be Nell Irvin Painter, the Edwards Professor of American History Emeriti at Princeton University, who will explore the origins of American identity on Tuesday, Nov. 8. The author of two recent books: The History of White People and Creating Black Americans, Painter received her Ph.D. in American history from Harvard University and has honorary doctorates from Wesleyan, Dartmouth, SUNY-New Paltz, and Yale. She received her M.F.A. from Rhode Island School of Design after having received a B.A. in painting from the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers.
There will also be a special event on Tuesday, Nov. 1, titled “Music of the Americas: A Panorama,” which will feature The Wooster Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Jeffrey Lindberg, performing a piece by a Native American composer, and The College of Wooster Jazz Ensemble, also under Lindberg’s direction, presenting African and Cuban Jazz. In addition, Carrie Culver from the department of music will offer a medley of Latin Songs; Lisa Yozviak will direct the Wooster Chorus in a series of African American spirituals; and Thomas Roblee, director of the Scot Marching Band, will lead the Percussion Ensemble as they play Mexican marimbas.
The opening art exhibitions will be held in The College of Wooster Art Museum (1220 Beall Ave.) Aug. 30 through Oct. 9. The first will spotlight Mexican-born artist Alejandro Almanza Pereda presenting more than 10 of his works, including an installation, in “Realm of Possibility.” The second will highlight nine artists from North and South America presenting a global perspective of the Americas through video in “Project 35.” The third, which runs Oct. 28 through Dec. 1, is titled “Nipirasait: Many Voices Inuit Prints from Cape Dorset.” It consists of prints from the Kinngait Studios, an innovative arts community of Inuit printmakers and stone carvers, which is part of the West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative located in Canada.
Associated events include a cricket match on Friday, Sept. 9; a Latin Lunch on the Lawn featuring items from the Puerto Rican restaurant Rincon Criolo on Wednesday, Sept. 14; and a postmodern Socratic examination of culture, race, and politics by philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah on Thursday, Oct. 6. There will also be an exploration of Columbus’s impact on the Americas by Wooster’s Center for Diversity and Global Engagement on Monday, Oct. 10; a look at America’s fascination with gambling and games of chance from the perspective of mathematician Ivars Peterson on Tuesday, Oct. 25; and a first-hand account by Georgina Lightning of her experience as a Native American in the American film industry on Thursday, Nov. 3.
“The Forum is a very important part of the College’s efforts to cultivate a community of learners,” said Kreuzman. “It is designed to engage students and to encourage them to expand their focus.”
Additional information about the Wooster Forum is available by phone (330-263-2132) or e-mail.
1189 Beall Avenue, Wooster, Ohio 44691. (330) 263-2000
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