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Grinnell Oratorio Society Presents Songs of Remembrance


On Sunday, Dec. 8 at 2 p.m. the Grinnell Oratorio Society will join the Grinnell Singers in performing a concert titled “As We Remember Them,” a selection of choral works accompanied by string orchestra.

The program, which will take place in the Bucksbaum Center's Sebring-Lewis Hall, is free and open to the public.

The concert will open with Mozart’s exuberant work, “Venite populi” for double choir and strings, and “Wer nur den lieben Gott,” a finely crafted cantata by Felix Mendelssohn.

The concert’s centerpiece consists of selections from former Grinnell professor Edward Scheve's Requiem. Born in 1865, Scheve was a noted composer and Grinnell professor from 1906 until his death in 1924. Upon his arrival in Grinnell, Scheve was moved by a memorial plaque in Herrick Chapel listing the Civil War dead; he composed a concert-length Requiem for choir, soloists, full orchestra and organ in their memory. The December 8 concert represents the modern premiere of this work, which was performed by the Grinnell Oratorio Society and the touring New York Symphony in Herrick Chapel in 1915. The concert also includes two selections from Scheve’s other celebrated oratorio, Death and Resurrection of Christ.

Continuing the theme of remembrance, the finale of the concert is the British composer Tarik O’Regan’s recent cantata, Triptych. In this work, O’Regan weaves together fragments of poetry on the themes of memory, loss and eternity by a wide array of authors: William Penn, William Blake, Milton, Rumi, Wordsworth, Hardy, Al-Bayoumi, and Gittelson.

John Rommereim, a composer and professor of music, will conduct the combined choir.

Students Provide Expertise in Wunderkammer Exhibit


Students in Museum Studies (Art 260) will explore works in "From Wunderkammer to the Modern Museum, 1606-1884" as significant examples from a past age, and as precursors to museum practices as we know them today.

Each student will be stationed by her display case and audience members can move from one to another, learning more and asking questions at 4:15 Tuesday, Dec. 3 in the Faulconer Gallery.

The student presenters are:

  • Elizabeth Allen ’16 (art history),
  • Sarah Burnell ’14 (anthropology),
  • Elle Duncombe-Mills ’16 (gender, women's, and sexuality studies),
  • Hanna Feldman ’14 (political science),
  • Ellie Garza ’14 (psychology),
  • Sarah Henderson ’16 (undeclared),
  • Elli Jung ’16 (undeclared),
  • Courtney Martin ’15 (anthropology/theatre),
  • Adriyel Mondloch ’14 (anthropology),
  • Pauline Poon ’14 (English),
  • Becca Rea-Holloway ’15 (religious studies),
  • Emma Vale ’16 (art), and 
  • Anya Vanecek ’15 (anthropology).

The class is under the direction of Lesley Wright, director of the Faulconer Gallery and lecturer in art.


In honor of the upcoming 450th celebration of Shakespeare’s birth in 1564, Grinnell’s Theatre and Dance Department presents Hamlet. In its time, the play was the most popular of the revenge tragedies or “tragedies of blood,” in vogue from the 1590s through 1620.

Evening: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22, Bucksbaum Center Roberts Theatre
Evening: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23, Bucksbaum Center Roberts Theatre
Matinee: 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 24, Bucksbaum Center Roberts Theatre

This production is based on the 1623 Folio edition of Hamlet, newly co-edited by Eric Rasmussen ’82 and Jonathan Bate as part of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Complete Works of Shakespeare series, with some elements from the Second Quarto version.

Many in the ensemble of sixteen are doubling roles as Shakespeare’s troupe would have done at the Globe Theatre in London.

The production features Matt Steege ’17 as Hamlet.  Steege, a first-year from Racine, Wis., has performed Hal in Henry IV Part I and Posthumus Leonatus in Cymbeline and has trained at the Utah Shakespeare Festival.

Other players include students in Renaissance Hamlet, a dramaturgy seminar with Ellen Mease, the director. Economics professor Mark Montgomery plays the Ghost, Hamlet’s father.

Professional guest artists include scenic designer Erica Zaffarano and composer/sound designer Michael Croswell from the Twin Cities, fight director Casey Kaleba from Washington D.C., and Chicago-based lighting designer Carolyn Voss ’07. Erin Howell-Gritsch designed the costumes. 

Tickets are required for this free public performance. You can pick up tickets at the Bucksbaum Center box office beginning Monday, Nov. 18, noon to 5 p.m., or call the box office (641-269-4444) during business hours. Tickets will also be available at the door. A limited number of tickets are also available at the Pioneer Bookshop in downtown Grinnell.

No tickets are required for open dress rehearsal at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21.

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

Panel Book Talk: noon Friday, Nov. 15, Bucksbaum Center Faulconer Gallery

In The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Thomas S. Kuhn argues against the view that science continually progresses throughout time. Instead, he asserts that science undergoes revolutions in which a dramatic shift takes place. He contends that the old and new paradigms are incommensurable and therefore likens the change to religious conversion.

This book changed the landscape of the history, philosophy and sociology of scientific knowledge and practice. One of the most influential books of the 20th century, many of its ideas, such as that of "paradigm", spread to many other disciplines as well.

Learn more about this important book at a talk by:

The free public talk, sponsored by the Center for the Humanities, is at noon, Friday, Nov. 15 in the Faulconer Gallery. Lunch will be provided after the event.

Superheroes, Religion, and the Paranormal

Jeffrey Kripal — a prominent religious scholar who also has written about mutants, mystics, comic book superheroes and the paranormal — will deliver two lectures on Wednesday, Dec. 4.

  • Scholars’ Convocation: “Authors of the Impossible: How to Think About the Paranormal”
    Noon, Wednesday, Dec. 4, Rosenfield Center Room 101
  • Religious Studies' annual  Gates Lecture: “Mutants and Mystics: Science Fiction, Superhero Comics and the Paranormal”
    7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4, Rosenfield Center Room 101

No tickets are required for these free public performances.

One of the few in his field who advocate including the paranormal in religious studies, Kripal holds the J. Newton Rayzor Chair in Philosophy and Religious Thought in the Department of Religious Studies at Rice University. He is chiefly interested in the comparative erotics of mystical literature, the history of American metaphysical religion, the history of western esotericism, and the interface between the paranormal and American pop culture.

Kripal is the author of six books, the first of which, Kali’s Child: The Mystical and the Erotic in the Life and Teachings of Ramakrishna, won the American Academy of Religion’s History of Religions Prize for Best First Book in 1995. It also garnered controversy in the western world and India, where activists have attempted to have the book banned.

Two of Kripal’s books — Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion and Authors of the Impossible: The Paranormal and the Sacred — are being made into documentary films.

Grinnell welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. If you need accommodations, please contact Conference Operations at 641-269-3235.   

A Secret for a Secret

Theatre professor Craig Quintero directed four Grinnell students in Taiwan this summer. For this Mentored Advanced Project (MAP), Teddy Hoffman ’14, Alex Hsieh ’14, Quinnita Bellows ’15, and Emma Sinai-Yunker ’15 helped develop “A Secret for a Secret: Performing the Poetry of Hsia Yu” and performed it at Taiwan’s National Experimental Theatre.

The four Grinnellians and several professional Taiwanese actors came to the first rehearsal at Quintero’s Riverbed Theatre Company with no script and not much of a set. This devised performance grew out of an interaction between the performers and the poetry of Hsia Yu, one of Taiwan’s most renowned contemporary poets. Initially, the Grinnell students constructed their own performances in response to the poems, and the Taiwanese performers discussed their first exposure to Yu’s poems and set some of them to music.

Over the next five weeks, the students contributed to every part of the production, from set construction to performance. They were encouraged to collaborate and offer suggestions on how to improve the production. Having prominent roles in constructing the set and creating the performances allowed the students a sense of ownership and authorship. Although Quintero was the director, the show belonged to all of them.

Hsia Yu attended two of the performances and praised both the overall production and the student actors. The performance was also favorably reviewed in the Taipei Times.

The four Grinnellians took much more away from the experience than a good review, though. “One of the most significant things I walked away with was experiencing the universality of theatrical expression,” said Hoffman. Though most of the Taiwanese cast members could speak English, at times language seemed superfluous. Said Hoffman: “The idea that we could connect, create, and communicate together despite any language barrier was remarkable and moving.”

Based on feedback from the students, the Taiwanese actors, and the community, Quintero said he would like to offer this opportunity to other students. “It was great to see them grow up as artists,” he said. Quintero also stressed the importance of taking performance out of an academic setting and providing the students with an international experience. In addition to introducing these four students to Taiwan, this experience showed them the universality of performance that can transcend language and culture.


Wit Comes to Flanagan Theatre

Performances: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 10–12 &  2 p.m. Oct. 13, Flanagan Theatre

Wit, the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Margaret Edson, explores the manner in which a professor of English, Vivian Bearing, faces her losing battle with ovarian cancer.

“In the play,” says director Craig Quintero, assistant professor of theatre, “we witness Vivian as she battles to retain her intellectual rigor, grace, humor, and humanity, while painfully shifting roles from scholar to the subject of study in an experimental chemotherapy program. This is a play about the poetic beauty of life and the manner in which we face death.”

We invite audience members to participate in a short post-performance discussion with the cast and medical professionals.

Performances are open to the public, and free tickets are available from the box office.

On Climate Change & Disaster Movies


Connelly Lecture: 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 9, Rosenfield Center Room 101

Srinivas Aravamudan is a distinguished scholar of 18th-century English literature with wide-ranging interests and an unusual approach to contemporary issues.

On Oct. 9, Aravamudan is presenting this year’s Connelly Lecture, “On Climate Change and Contemporary Disaster Movies.”

“Aravamudan's eminence is not restricted only to English studies.,” says Shuchi Kapila, professor of English.  “This is clear in his choice of topic for the Connelly Lecture. In talking about climate change, he brings together his interest in ethics, philosophy, literature, film, and conceptions of the human in our 'Anthropocene' age.”

During his visit, Aravamudan also is discussing "East-West Fiction as World Literature: Reconfiguring Hayy ibn Yaqzan" with English majors and visiting Kapila’s Introduction to Post-Colonial Literature class.

The Connelly Lecture is free and open to the public. The series is named for Peter Connelly, a popular English professor who passed away in 2000.

About Srinivas Aravamudan

Aravamudan is a professor of English and dean of the humanities at Duke University, and has served as president of the CHCI (Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes). He earned his Ph.D. at Cornell University and has taught at the University of Utah and the University of Washington. He joined the Duke English department in 2000.

Aravamudan specializes in 18th century British and French literature and in postcolonial literature and theory.

He is the author of essays in diacritics, ELH, Social Text, Novel, Eighteenth-Century Studies, Anthropological Forum, South Atlantic Quarterly and other venues. His study, Tropicopolitans: Colonialism and Agency, 1688-1804 won the outstanding first book prize of the Modern Language Association in 2000. He has also edited Slavery, Abolition and Emancipation: Writings of the British Romantic Period: Volume VI Fiction. His book Guru English: South Asian Religion in A Cosmopolitan Language was published by Princeton University Press in January 2006, and republished by Penguin India in 2007. The University of Chicago Press recently published his book-length study on the 18th-century French and British oriental tale, Enlightenment Orientalism: Resisting the Rise of the Novel; and he has another on sovereignty and anachronism forthcoming. His edition of William Earle's antislavery romance, entitled Obi: or, The History of Three-Fingered Jack appeared in 2005 with Broadview Press.

His specialties include British literature, 18th-century literature, postcolonial literature, critical theory, modern to contemporary, and novels. His research summary includes British literature, critical theory, and postcolonial literature.