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Reclaiming an Untouchable Drum

Zoe Sherinian, associate professor and chair of ethnomusicology, University of Oklahoma, will present two free public events about the reclamation of an untouchable drum, the parai.

Sherinian has conducted extensive research on the Dalit, a class of people in South India who were once called "untouchables." When conducting Hindu and Christian rituals, the Dalit use a frame drum, the parai. Sherinian's most recent research focuses on this drum and how its status in South India has changed over time.

This is music! Reclaiming an Untouchable Drum: An Ethnomusicological Documentary by Zoe Sherinian, poster of three drummers around fire, forest in background

The events are:

Film screening: This Is a Music: Reclaiming an Untouchable Drum
7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Alumni Recitation Hall, Room 302
Sherinian will show her feature length film "This is A Music: Reclaiming an Untouchable Drum." The 74-minute film follows the story of a group of Dalit drummers who form a professional drum ensemble, and shows how they reconstruct their performance for urban audiences
Meaning And Performance of the Dalit Drum: A Lecture Demonstration
4:15 p.m. Thursday, April 9, 2015
Alumni Recitation Hall, Room 302
Sherinian will give a lecture on the meaning and performance of the parai drum. Sherinian will discuss the musical meaning derived from performance of the drum, and the ethnomusicology techniques she uses in her fieldwork.

The events are co-sponsored by Grinnell College’s Center for the Humanities, Center for International Studies, and the English, music, and religious studies departments.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Alumni Recitation Hall is wheelchair accessible and has an elevator at the south end of the building and accessible restrooms on the third floor. Outside entrances with automatic door operators are located on the southeast and southwest sides of ARH. Several accessible parking spaces are available along Park Street. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations.

Artists@Grinnell: Stelios Manousakis

Artists@Grinnell welcomes artist-in-residence Stelios Manousakis for a two-week residency February 15–28, 2015.

Stelios Manousakis (Crete, Greece, 1980) is a composer, performer, sound artist, and researcher. He operates across the convergence zones of art, science, and engineering / composition, performance, and installation / the rich tradition of western sonic art and ‘digital-folk’ idioms. He studied music and linguistics in Greece, Sonology in the Netherlands, and is currently finishing a PhD in Visual and Performing Arts at the Center for Digital Arts and Experimental Media (DXARTS, University of Washington). You can view Manousakis’ portfolio online.

Manousakis will be visiting campus to share his process, produce work, and connect with students, faculty, and staff.

Please come to the following events in Bucksbaum Center for the Arts. Email Artists@Grinnell Residency for more information.

Scheduled Events

Student Lunch

Noon Wednesday, Feb. 18, in Bucksbaum Room 152

Artists@Grinnell and the Music Student Educational Policy Committee invites you to learn more about Stelios over an informal pizza lunch open to all majors and interested students.

Installation Tours

4:15 p.m. Wednesday, February 18, & Friday, February 20, in Faulconer Gallery

Manousakis’ sound installation titled "Act so there is no use in a centre" (2014) can be experienced in the Faulconer Gallery throughout his residency. The installation tours will be informal to give viewers a chance to ask the artist a few questions. The piece is an interactive radio-transmitted spatial play using text from Gertrude Stein’s “Rooms” (1914) and Manousakis’ audio archive.

Works in Progress Talk: Creating with Systems

4:15 p.m. Monday, February 23, in Faulconer Gallery

Stelios Manousakis will talk about feedback, musical cybernetics, and working with systems, processes, and texts. He will present some of his recent artworks and will discuss the creative processes involved while keeping an eye on a wider historical, scientific, and artistic context.

This talk is the first of a series called "Works in Progress Talks" where visiting artists are asked to speak about their processes.

Artists@Grinnell is an Innovation Fund project and a collaborative effort by Faulconer Gallery; the art and art history, music, and theatre and dance departments; and Writers@Grinnell. Manousakis’ residency is co-sponsored by the music department and Center for International Studies.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Bucksbaum Center for the Arts and Faulconer Gallery are accessible. You can request accommodations from the event sponsor or Conference Operations.

Sharing the Stage

Two different productions of Eugene O’Neill’s 1921 play Anna Christie will be performed Oct. 9–12, offering an opportunity to juxtapose the musical and theatrical traditions of China and the United States.

The award-winning Ningbo Yong Opera Troupe from Ningbo, China, will visit the College to perform Andi. Andi is a Chinese operatic adaptation of Eugene O’Neill’s play about an estranged daughter with a dark past. Grinnell student actors will also present an English-language production; Sandy Moffett, professor emeritus of theatre and dance, directs the English production.

Both productions of Anna Christie will share the same set in Roberts Theatre in the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts. “It will be fascinating to compare and contrast these two productions of the same drama in different languages and art forms, as both versions are performed in alteration,” Moffett says. “The style of traditional Chinese opera and dance is quite different from the Western style, and should interest anyone interested in the history of opera, dance or China.” The Chinese troupe consists of nine actors and about 15 musicians who play traditional Chinese instruments. Grinnell music students will join them, playing Western string instruments required by the score.

About the Production

With a wide repertoire featuring traditional Chinese opera and interpretations of modern works, the Ningbo Yong Opera Troupe of the Ningbo Performance and Arts Group has performed in France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, and the United States, among other countries. The group’s recent performance of The Red Dress at New York City’s Lincoln Center won the 11th National Spiritual Civilization Five Top Project Prize and the Excellent Repertoire Award of the Seventh China Dance Lotus Award. Playing the lead role of the daughter will be Wang Jinwen, who received the top national award for a Chinese opera performer in 2012 for her performance in the opera Wife in Pawn.

Members of the Chinese troupe will conduct an open workshop with Grinnell students interested in music and theatre. The weekend also will feature a lecture by a Chinese literary scholar about Eugene O’Neill in China.

The troupe’s visit is made possible by Grinnell’s Center for International Studies and the Department of Theatre and Dance.

Schedule of Performances

Unless otherwise noted, all events are held in Roberts Theatre, Bucksbaum Center for the Arts. All events, with the exception of The Ningbo Yong Opera Troupe’s Saturday evening performance are open to the public at no charge, although tickets are required.

Tickets may be obtained at the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts box office beginning at noon Monday, Oct. 6. A limited number of tickets also will be available at the Pioneer Bookshop in downtown Grinnell. For more information about tickets, call the box office at 641-269-4444.

Thursday, Oct. 9

4:15 p.m. – Haiping Liu, professor of foreign language at Nanjing University, and Sandy Moffett, professor emeritus of theatre and dance at Grinnell College, will give a lecture titled “A Strange Combination: Eugene O’Neill in China.” Room 152, Bucksbaum Center for the Arts. No tickets are required for this event.

7:30 p.m. – Grinnell College Department of Theatre and Dance presents Eugene O’Neill’s Anna Christie in its original form.

Friday, Oct. 10

7:30 p.m. – Ningbo Yong Opera Troupe presents Andi. Performed in Mandarin; English supertitles available.

Saturday, Oct. 11

2 p.m. – Ningbo Yong Opera Troupe presents Andi. Performed in Mandarin; English supertitles available.

7:30 p.m. – Grinnell College Department of Theatre and Dance presents Anna Christie.

7:30 p.m. – Ningbo Yong Opera Troupe presents a selection of Chinese songs and scenes in the Loft Theatre of the Grinnell Area Arts Center, 926 Broad St. Tickets cost $5 and are available by calling the Grinnell Area Arts Council Box Office at 641-236-3203.

Sunday, Oct. 12

2 p.m. – Grinnell College Department of Theatre and Dance presents Anna Christie.

Grinnellians Abroad: Engagement & Learning

Life-changing experiences await Grinnellians who study abroad or off-campus—made possible through a wealth of fellowships, internships, and programs.  

So what is it like to study abroad? How does what you learn — in diverse cultures thousands of miles away — affect you and others once you return to Grinnell?

A panel of students and an alumnus who studied in China, Austria, and Guatemala will discuss their experiences during the presentation “Grinnellians Abroad: Engagement and Learning.” The event will be held at 7:30 p.m., April 21 in the Burling Library lounge.

“We can all have trouble projecting ourselves into an experience we haven’t had yet,” says Caleb Neubauer ’13, a post-baccalaureate fellow who traveled to China. “So hearing someone talk about their actual experiences can help other students see themselves doing something similar, too — and then act on that ambition.”

Other panelists include Lea Greenberg ’14 who will discuss her trip to Vienna, Austria. Amy Flores ’15, Enrique Romero ’15, and Jason Camey ’16, of the Student Organization of Latinas and Latinos (SOL) will discuss Guatemala.

Neubauer and Andy Delany ’13 spent six weeks in Shanghai and Beijing exploring art galleries as part of a Mentored Advanced Project (MAP) that culminated in an art show upon their return. They stayed in hostels and with alumni.

“I had never traveled abroad to that capacity,” Neubauer says. “So we both learned the many lessons of international, prolonged travel.”

Neubauer’s presentation will include how to plan a trip to China, and he plans to encourage students to seek out the Lan-Chang Fellowship.

The event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

The discussion is co-sponsored by the Center for International Studies, Off-Campus Study, and the Grinnell College Libraries

German Guest Writers Give Public Reading

Reading: 4:15 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 31 Burling Library Lounge


Thomas Pletzinger and Simon Urban will read from their works in English and German. This public is invited to this free event. Refreshments will be served.

In addition to the public reading, both writers will share their insight on the German contemporary writing scene with students and faculty, learn about local farms, and visit the Conard Environmental Research Area.

Thomas Pletzinger's critically acclaimed novel Funeral for a Dog won several awards, including fellowships and teaching positions at the University of Iowa, New York University, and Grinnell College. Pletzinger is currently working on a novel titled Biography of My Left Leg, the story of a man waiting for the amputation of his left leg in a Berlin hospital room. Having already done extensive research in all cities this novel is set in—Prague, Berlin, New York, Hagen, and Paris, the author is in Iowa doing location scouting. He is searching for locations and impressions that will make his story authentic and real. His interest in Iowa stems from a previous stay as the Department of German's 2010 Writer-in-Residence and as a member of the University of Iowa's International Writing Program.

Simon Urban turned to full-time fiction writing after a career in advertising. He is the author of the novel Plan D, which has been translated into eleven languages, and his award-winning short stories have been published in several literary journals. He is currently in residence at the University of Iowa's International Writing Program.

The German Department, the Center for International Studies, the Academic Speakers Fund, and the Center for Prairie Studies are sponsoring Pletzinger and Urban’s visit.

Grinnell’s Gilman Scholars


Two Grinnell College students are pursuing long-standing passions while studying abroad, thanks to scholarships from the Gilman Foundation.

Rachel Van Court ’15

… has been active in sustainability issues, volunteering for Oxfam, coordinating the College’s Food House and the local food co-op, and managing the Food House garden. She’ll spend the 2013–14 academic year studying Human Evolution and the Ecology of the Serengeti in Tanzania. “And I get to do anthropological or biological research!” she says.

After graduation, Van Court is “thinking of medical school and permaculture farming, but I’m also very committed to helping the world food and agricultural system. So we will see where that goes!”

Jordan Meyers ’15

… is studying Mandarin at Beijing Foreign Studies University this summer and fall. A pre-med student, English major, and East Asian Studies concentrator, Meyers volunteers with Grinnell Regional Medical Center and will intern at Beijing United Family Hospital.

After graduation, Meyers, who founded a tutoring program at Grinnell High School, hopes to teach English through the Peace Corps and then attend medical school.





Macy House

The Jesse Macy House at 1205 Park Street opened in spring 2008— a newly renovated home for many of the College's distinguished programs. The house brings together programs that regularly enrich the lives of Grinnellians by bringing special speakers and performers to campus, providing new and unusual research opportunities, and bridging the boundaries between academic disciplines.


International Visiting Fellows

The Center for International Studies brings prominent international scholars and artists to campus to teach a short course or a semester-length course within an existing academic department and to offer a public presentation. Each fellow receives a College apartment, an office, a Grinnell email account, a generous stipend, and a welcoming banquet. The Center’s advisory board typically reviews applications a year in advance of the proposed visit.

Spring 2012 Seminar: Gender and Identity in the Contemporary Middle East and North Africa

Grinnell faculty from a variety of disciplines are spending the academic year 2010-11 studying the complex issues of gender and identity in the contemporary Middle East and North Africa. Under the guidance of Professors Susan Ireland (French), Kathy Kamp (Anthropology), and Mervat Youssef (Arabic), these faculty members are reading and discussing a detailed bibliography of scholarly works to prepare for a two-week trip to Egypt, where they will meet with scholars and NGO leaders. Upon return to Grinnell, the faculty members will prepare a series of short courses and a film series for 2011-12, to share their knowledge with the members of the Grinnell College community. The seminar builds upon interest at Grinnell in Middle Eastern Studies, Islamic history, and Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies.