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Scholars' Convocation

Dutch Global Horizons and Phi Beta Kappa

Larry SilverLarry Silver, Farquhar Professor of Art History at the University of Pennsylvania, will present a Scholars' Convocation, "Dutch Global Horizons," at 11 a.m. Thursday, April 28, in Joe Rosenfield '25 Center, Room 101. The event is free and open to the public.

Silver's presentation is part of Grinnell's Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Program. New members of Phi Beta Kappa will be announced at the beginning of the convocation.

Silver describes his presentation as an exploration of the imagery of the seaborne empire of the Netherlands during the Golden Age of the 17th century, when Dutch ships plied the oceans and established commercial and political links with bold Old World Asia and New World Latin America. He also notes that images of India and East Asia, as well as the short-lived Dutch colony in Brazil, permitted armchair travelers in Amsterdam to experience the globe as never before.

Silver, who received his bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago and his master's and doctoral degrees from Harvard University, is a specialist in painting and graphics of Northern Europe. He focuses primarily on works produced in Germany and the Netherlands during the era of Renaissance and Reformation. He has served as president of the College Art Association and the Historians of Netherlandish Art. He recently was honored with the University of Pennsylvania’s Lindback Award for Teaching Excellence. 

His publications include Rubens, Velázquez, and the King of Spain, Rembrandt’s Faith, Peasant Scenes and Landscapes, Hieronymus Bosch and a general survey, Art in History. He has organized a number of print exhibitions, among them Grand Scale: Monumental Prints in the Age of Dürer and Titian and Graven Images, dealing with professional engravers of the 16th-century Netherlands.

Grinnell College welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. Room 101 in the Rosenfield Center is equipped with an induction hearing loop system, which enables individuals with hearing aids set to T-Coil to hear the program. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations and Events.

Scholars' Convo: Bestselling Author Roxane Gay

Roxane GayRoxane Gay, a 2014 New York Times bestselling author and feminist scholar, will give a free public reading at  11 a.m. Thursday, April 7 in Joe Rosenfield '25 Center, Room 101.. Her novels and essays have attracted international acclaim for their treatment of complex issues such as gender inequality, sexual violence, institutional racism and body image.

An accomplished scholar, Gay is an associate professor of English at Purdue University in Indiana. Her research interests include the intersections between race, gender, and popular culture, contemporary fiction, and the political novel.

Gay uses her personal experience with race, gender identity and sexuality to inform her analyses and deconstruction of feminist and racial issues in her work. In addition to her more serious scholarly and creative work, she is a well-known figure on social media, with tens of thousands of Twitter followers, many of whom are drawn to her often irreverent and humorous "instant" commentaries on major news events, politics, pop culture, and reality television.

Bad Feminist, her bestselling essay collection, is a personal manifesto that takes readers through the journey of Gay's evolution as a woman of color and describes how feminism affects Gay's own life — for better or worse. The essays cover a wide a range of topics, from competitive Scrabble to novels written by women to advice on acknowledging privilege.

Gay's writings on gender and racial inequality have won numerous awards in recent years and have appeared in Tin House, Oxford American, The New York Times Book Review, Bookforum, Time, The Los Angeles Times, The Nation, The Rumpus, Salon, and many other media outlets.

Gay's debut novel, Untamed State, explores the privilege that made Haitian-American Mireille Duval Jameson a target for kidnapping and the strength she must draw on to survive the kidnapping and reclaim her life. Deadline.com recently reported that the novel will be adapted for film by Beyond the Lights director Gina Prince-Bythewood. Gay is co-writing the script with Prince-Bythewood. Gugu Mbatha-Raw has been selected to portray Jameson.

Gay's latest book, Hunger, is scheduled to be released in June. Hunger focuses on Gay's experience with weight, body image, and building a positive relationship with food.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Rosenfield Center has accessible parking in the lot to the east. Room 101 is equipped with an induction hearing loop system.  You can request accommodations from Conference Operations and Events.

 

CANCELLED: Writers@Grinnell: Roxane Gay

Roxane Gay's visit to Grinnell on April 7, 2016 has been cancelled. 

Bestselling author and feminist scholar Roxane Gay will read from her work and discuss writing on Thursday, April 7, as part of the Writers@Grinnell series and Scholars’ Convocation at Grinnell College.

Roxane Gay ImageThe Scholars’ Convocation lecture will start at 11 a.m. in the Joe Rosenfield '25 Center, Room 101.  

In addition, Gay will lead a free, puplic roundtable discussion at 4:15 p.m. April 7, in Rosenfield Center, Room 101.

An accomplished scholar, Gay is an associate professor of English at Purdue University in Indiana. Her research interests include the intersections between race, gender, and popular culture; contemporary fiction; and the political novel.

Gay uses her personal experience with race, gender identity, and sexuality to inform her analyses and deconstruction of feminist and racial issues in her work. In addition to her more serious scholarly and creative work, she is a well-known figure on social media, with tens of thousands of Twitter followers, many of whom are drawn to her often irreverent and humorous “instant” commentaries on major news events, politics, pop culture, and reality television.

"Bad Feminist," her bestselling essay collection, is a personal manifesto that takes readers through the journey of Gay's evolution as a woman of color and describes how feminism affects Gay's own life — for better or worse. The essays cover a wide a range of topics, from competitive Scrabble to novels written by women to advice on acknowledging privilege.

Gay's writings on gender and racial inequality have won numerous awards in recent years and have appeared in Tin House, Oxford American, The New York Times Book Review, Bookforum, Time, The Los Angeles Times, The Nation, The Rumpus, Salon, and many other media outlets.

Gay's debut novel, Untamed State, explores the privilege that made Haitian-American Mireille Duval Jameson a target for kidnapping and the strength she must draw on to survive the kidnapping and reclaim her life. Deadline.com recently reported that the novel will be adapted for film by Beyond the Lights director Gina Prince-Bythewood. Gay is co-writing the script with Prince-Bythewood. Gugu Mbatha-Raw has been selected to portray Jameson.

Gay's latest book, Hunger, is scheduled to be released in June. Hunger focuses on Gay's experience with weight, body image, and building a positive relationship with food.

Campaign Finance Symposium

Grinnell College will hold a Campaign Finance Symposium on Feb. 9-11 to investigate the role of money in politics and propose potential solutions from different perspectives, including campaign finance scholars, journalists, professors, lawyers, and activists.

The symposium, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by Grinnell College’s Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations, and Human Rights.

“In the aftermath of the 2010 Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United case, the U.S. campaign finance system has changed rapidly with the rise of Super PACs and other new funding instruments,” said Sarah Purcell ’92, director of the Rosenfield Program. “Our symposium speakers will address the current finance system from many different points of view to help our community understand the current state of campaign finance to and debate the merits of several proposed reforms to the system.”

Key speakers will be Michael Malbin, professor, scholar and co-founder and executive director of the Campaign Finance Institute in Washington, D.C., and Michael Beckel, investigative reporter covering the influence of money on elections for the Center for Public Integrity.

Big Dollars, Small Dollars – What's Going On

Michael MalbinMalbin, a professor of political science at the State University of New York at Albany, will deliver the keynote address at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 9, Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, Room 101. He has co-authored several books, including his most recent works, Independent Spending in Congressional Primaries and Citizen Funding for Elections: What do we know? What are the effects? What are the options?

His talk, titled "Big Dollars, Small Dollars – What's Going On," will focus on the differences between Ronald Reagan’s campaign in the 1980s, when he raised nearly half of his presidential campaign money from hundreds of thousands of donors in amounts of $200 or less, and the 2016 cycle, when half of the money raised in the first six months of the campaign came from 158 families.

Super PACs, ‘Dark Money’ and the 2016 White House Race

Michael BeckelBeckel will deliver his lecture “Super PACs, ‘Dark Money’ and the 2016 White House Race” at 11 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 11, Rosenfield Center, Room 101. In addition to the symposium, this lecture is part of the Scholars’ Convocation series.

 As a reporter for the Center for Public Integrity, Beckel has covered Super PACs, politically active nonprofits, and the influence of money on elections for the past four years. His reports have taken him inside oral arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court for the landmark decision Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. His work has been published in numerous media outlets, including the Des Moines Register, Huffington Post, Politico Magazine, Slate, and Time.

Other Symposium Events

Other symposium events include:

  • Barry Anderson“Judicial Elections and Campaign Finance: The Unhappy Marriage” lecture by Barry Anderson, associate justice on the Minnesota Supreme Court, at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 10, in Rosenfield Center, Room 101.
  • Nicole Austin“Money in Politics: The Next Civil Rights Agenda” lecture by Nicole Austin-Hillery, director and counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice, at 4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 11, in Rosenfield Center, Room 101.
  • Buffet dinner with symposium speakers, at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 11, Rosenfield Center, Room 101.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Rosenfield Center has accessible parking in the lot to the east. Room 101 is equipped with an induction hearing loop system. You can request accommodations from the event sponsor or Conference Operations and Events.

Scholars' Convo: Katherine Verdery

Katherine VerderyLeading anthropology scholar Katherine Verdery, who studied her own surveillance file from Romania’s secret police force, will discuss the anthropology of the Romanian secret police during the first Scholars’ Convocation of the spring semester on Thursday, Jan. 28.

The free, public event, “Surveillance Techniques of the Romanian Secret Police” begins at 11 a.m. in Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, Room 101.

Verdery is the Julien J. Studley Faculty Scholar and Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. In addition to CUNY, she has taught at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Michigan.

A past president of the American Association of Slavic Studies, Verdery is considered one of the world’s leading anthropologists of Eastern Europe and has been doing fieldwork in Romania since 1973. Her work, emphasizing themes of inequality, nationalism, and political economy, has earned seven book prizes, including the 2013 Society for Romanian Studies Biennial Book Prize.

Her research on the secret police began in 2008 when she obtained a copy of her own surveillance file from the Securitate, Romania’s secret police force. She read the files as if they were field notes of an anthropologist, seeking to reproduce the attitudes, worldview, and goals of the officers and informers who spied on her.

Verdery noted that the Romanian secret police always assumed she was a spy, not a scholar, because her research methods closely resembled their own tactics. She concluded that the methods of the police in tracking suspects and seeking dissidents often closely resembled the modern technique of social network analysis, since the police force was extremely interested in disrupting the social networks of potential dissidents and reincorporating them into the more politically acceptable sphere of Romanian life.

Verdery has published a book on her findings, Secrets and Truth: Ethnography in the Archives of Romania's Secret Police, and is working on a second, My Life as a Spy: Memoirs of a Cold War Anthropologist.

Churchill: The Politician as Playwright

Jonathan Rose will deliver a Scholars' Convocation on "Churchill: The Politician as Playwright" at 11 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 1, in the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, Room 101.

Although he was known chiefly as a politician and wartime leader, Churchill was also a best-selling author, winning the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953. In Rose's latest book, The Literary Churchill: Writer, Reader, Actor, he introduces readers to "a Winston Churchill we have not known before." The Washington Post's review of the book states "In this sometimes speculative but immensely enjoyable biography, Jonathan Rose shows that Churchill’s authorial and political careers were entwined and inseparable."

Rose is William R. Kenan Professor of History at Drew University.

He was the founding president of the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing, and he is coeditor of that organization’s journal, Book History.  His book The Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes (2nd ed., 2010) won the Longman-History Today Historical Book of the Year Prize, the American Philosophical Society Jacques Barzun Prize in Cultural History, the British Council Prize of the North American Conference on British Studies, the SHARP Book History Prize, and the New Jersey Council for the Humanities Book Prize. 

His other publications include The Edwardian Temperament, The Holocaust and the Book: Destruction and Preservation, and A Companion to the History of the Book (with Simon Eliot). 

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Rosenfield Center has accessible parking in the lot to the east. Room 101 is equipped with an induction hearing loop system. You can request accommodations from the event sponsor or Conference Operations and Events.

 

Global Public Health

Dr. Paul Farmer, physician, humanitarian and founding director of Partners in Health, will close the College's Global Public Health Symposium.

Farmer will participate in two events:

4 p.m. Question and Answer Session

7 p.m. “Global Public Health" Presentation (followed by book signing)

Both events take place in Harris Center Auditorium and  are free and open to the public.

Farmer, chair of the Department of Global Health and Social 

Medicine at Harvard Medical School, has written extensively about health, human rights and the consequences of social inequality. He also is the subject of a best-selling book by Tracey Kidder, "Mountains beyond Mountains," which details his work in Haiti.

Farmer's presentation wraps up the symposium. He will sign several books: "Reimagining Global Public Health," "To Repair the World" and "Mountains to Mountains."

Farmer's talk is co-sponsored by the John Chrystal Endowment for Distinguished Foreign Visitors.

The Symposium

Red and white globe with red and white stethescope

The symposium was designed to inform the campus community and the general public about some of the most important issues in global public health today from different standpoints: policy, medicine, international relations, personal health, etc.

"Health is a fundamental human right, but many global issues present challenges to public health and well-being," said Sarah Purcell, professor of history and director of the Rosenfield Program. "From Ebola to obesity, the Global Public Health symposium examines some of the most pressing issues in world health today."  

Grinnell's Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations and Human Rights is sponsoring the symposium. Co-sponsors are President Raynard S. Kington, a physician and former deputy director of the National Institutes of Health; the Grinnell Wellness program; and the Henry R. Luce Program in Nations and the Global Environment.

 

Scholars' Convo: David Schmidtz and Phi Beta Kappa

David Schmidtz, one of the nation’s foremost experts on political philosophy, will be the keynote speaker at the Scholars’ Convocation at noon Wednesday, April 29, 2015, in the Joe Rosenfield ‘25 Center, Room 101. Schmidtz has been named the National Phi Beta Kappa Scholar in Philosophy for 2014-15.

His address, “On the Pretense of Consent,” is part of the Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholars program. The event is free and open to the public with a free pizza lunch provided.

Newly elected members of Grinnell’s Phi Beta Kappa chapter, Beta of Iowa, will be recognized at the Convocation, as well as the winners of the annual Joseph F. Wall ’41 Phi Beta Kappa Scholar’s Award and the Neal Klausner Sophomore Book Awards.

In his address Schmidtz will explore how many political theories that represent justified political authority are grounded in the consent of the people. But if we start from there, according to Schmidtz, we end up spending our time defining consent in abstract ways in service of a lame pretense that we live under justified consent-based authority.

In contrast, Schmidtz will contend that, “If we start with actual politics, that is, from the idea that disagreement is an inevitably central feature of our lives together, then the objective becomes to make it safe to disagree, and at very least not ensure that politics is war by other means.

“The point of politics,” he will conclude, “is to create realms where the operative virtue is nonthreatening diplomacy — realms in which people are not a threat to each other. In practice, seeking consent is our most important way of keeping the peace and of treating each other with respect, but it is not the moral foundation of keeping the peace or of mutual respect. Its importance is derivative, not foundational. When we do not acknowledge the actual role of consent, we fail to take it seriously.”

Currently the Kendrick Professor of Philosophy at the University of Arizona, Schmidtz is founding director of Arizona’s Center for the Philosophy of Freedom. He has published extensively on ethics, environmental philosophy, and rational choice. He is author of Person, Polis, Planet and editor-in-chief of the journal Social Philosophy and Policy, which has the largest circulation among philosophy journals in the English-speaking world.

Phi Beta Kappa is an academic honor society with more than a half million members in chapters at nearly 300 American colleges and universities.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. The Joe Rosenfield ‘25 Center has accessible parking in the lot on the east side of the building. Room 101 is equipped with an induction hearing loop system. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations.

Public/Personal Scholarship

Socio‑cultural anthropologist Erica Lehrer ’92 will present a free public Scholars’ Convocation, “Public Scholarship, Personal Scholarship: the Work of Memory in Poland Today,” at noon, Wednesday, April 22, 2015, in Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, Room 101. Lunch will be provided.

Much of Lehrer's research focuses on cultural practices that attempt to come to terms with mass violence and its aftermath. She has extensively studied Polish-Jewish relations in the years following the Holocaust, and her most recent book, Jewish Poland Revisited: Heritage Tourism in Unquiet Places, further explores those themes.

Originally from Lexington, Mass., Lehrer graduated from Grinnell with a bachelor’s in anthropology. She earned degrees from the University of Michigan and is now associate professor and Canada Research Chair in Post-Conflict Memory at Concordia University in Montreal. In 2013 she curated the exhibit Souvenir, Talisman, Toy at the Seweryn Udziela Ethnographic Museum in Krakow, and in 2014 published the accompanying book Lucky Jews and the Lucky Jews online exhibit.

Lehrer's talk is sponsored by Peace and Conflict Studies.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Rosenfield Center has accessible parking in the lot to the east. Room 101 is equipped with an induction hearing loop system. You can request accommodations from the event sponsor or Conference Operations.

MacArthur 'Genius Grant' Winner to Speak

Alison Bechdel, a noted cartoonist and graphic memoirist, will deliver the Scholars' Convocation at noon Wednesday, April 8, in Joe Rosenfield '25 Center, Room 101. The lecture is free and open to the public with a free pizza lunch provided.

Bechdel is best known for her long-running comic strip, "Dykes to Watch Out For," which realistically captured lives of women in the lesbian community. Her comic strip is the origin of the well-known "Bechdel test," which asks if a film featuring two female characters has those characters talk to each other about something other than a man.​​

In recent years, Bechdel has penned several graphic memoirs, including "Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic" and "Are You My Mother? A Comic Drama." Her work, which is striking for its conceptual depth and incisive use of allusion, has earned her a devoted and varied following. In 2014, Bechdel earned a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship, also known as a "Genius Grant." Bechdel's visit is sponsored in large part by Writers@Grinnell, who is also sponsoring a round table with Bechdel at 4:15 p.m. the same day in Rosenfield Center Room 209.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. The Joe Rosenfield '25 Center has accessible parking in the lot on the east side of the building. Room 101 is equipped with an induction hearing loop system. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations.