Center for Humanities to sponsor symposium on relevance of place and memory

Wednesday, Apr. 14, 2010 11:30 am | Contact: For more information, contact Daniel Reynolds, reynolds@grinnell.edu, 641-269-3097.

GRINNELL, IA – The Grinnell College Center for the Humanities will sponsor a symposium, April 21-23, on the role that place and memory play in remembering historic events, configuring public spaces, and shaping private experiences.

“We hope that people will take away from the symposium the richness and relevance of place and memory, and appreciate the complexities of how we choose to remember and memorialize events and choices,” said Daniel Reynolds, director of the center and symposium organizer.

“Place and memory defines both the experience of the present and how we choose to represent the past. Scholars in anthropology, human geography, Judaic studies, and liturgical studies will explore the place of public memory in monuments, street names, roadside shrines, and remote locations.”

The schedule for the three-day symposium includes:

  • Wed., Apr. 21, 8 p.m., Rosenfield Center, Room 101: Margaret Critchlow Rodman, professor of anthropology at York University in Toronto, will open the symposium with “Charting Memory’s Course: Thoughts on Dynamics of Place in the South Pacific,” focusing on the legacy of colonialism in that region.
  •  Thurs., Apr. 22, 11 a.m., Rosenfield Center, Room 101: James E. Young, professor of English and Judaic Studies at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, will deliver the Scholars’ Convocation on “The Stages of Memory in Berlin and New York.” Young was a member of the committee to choose the design for Berlin’s Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.
  •  Thurs., Apr. 22, 4:15 p.m., Rosenfield Center, Room 101: Derek Alderman, associate professor of geography at East Carolina University, will discuss “Memory, Race, and the Politics of Place: Naming Streets for Martin Luther King Jr.,” with emphasis placed on the American South.
  •  Thurs., Apr. 22, 8 p.m., Bucksbaum Center for the Performing Arts, Room 131: Poet Terri Witek and artist Cyriaco Lopes will perform a collaborative work of poetry and video entitled “the day you left.” Witek, a member of the English faculty at Stetson University, and Lopes, a member of the art and music faculty at John Jay College, will be on the Grinnell campus for a week-long residency co-sponsored by Writers@Grinnell.
  •  Fri., Apr. 23, 12 noon, Alumni Recitation Hall 102: Lizette Larson-Miller, visiting scholar and lecturer in the humanities at Grinnell, will conclude with a discussion of the importance of memorials in “Public Places and Private Sorrows: Constructing Memory in Plain Sight.”

The “Place and Memory” symposium is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Daniel Reynolds, reynolds[at]grinnell[dot]edu, 641-269-3097.

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