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Wednesday, November 11
Lecture: “A Talk on Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time” by Terry Dean, ISU Assistant Professor of Musicology and Gender Studies (Performance will be held on Friday at 7:30 p.m. in Landini Center for Performing and Fine Arts Recital Hall, with Erik Rohde, violin; Kelley Rogers Niiyama, clarinet; Kurt Fowler, cello; Martha Krasnican, piano )
Wednesday, November 11 at 11:00 a.m. in the Landini Center for Performing and Fine Arts Recital Hall, Indiana State University
Olivier Messiaen's Quatuor Pour la Fin du Temps (“Quartet For the End of Time”) for cello, piano, clarinet, and violin was composed in a POW camp in Nazi-controlled Silesia. The composer recalled its premiere in early 1941 this way: “The Stalag was buried in snow. We were 30,000 prisoners (French for the most part, with a few Poles and Belgians). The four musicians played on broken instruments … the keys on my upright piano remained lowered when depressed … it’s on this piano, with my three fellow musicians, dressed in the oddest way … completely tattered, and wooden clogs large enough for the blood to circulate despite the snow underfoot … that I played my quartet.” This recollection has been challenged, even by members of the quartet itself: while Messiaen remembers thousands in the audience, the camp hall could hold at most 500; his piano was not as imperfect as he describes; and his insistence that the cellist only perform with three strings has been repeatedly denied by the cellist himself. Nonetheless, few dispute the significance of the work itself, one of the most important to be produced in the 20th century.
Lecture: “Arno Breker: The Afterlife of Fascist Aesthetics” by Brett Ashley Kaplan, Professor and Conrad Humanities Scholar in the Department of Comparative and World Literature at the University of Illinois
Wednesday, November 11 at 12 noon-1:00 p.m. in the Whitaker Room at ISU’s Bayh College of Education. Reception will follow.
Brett Ashley Kaplan is the director of the Program in Jewish Culture and Society and holds affiliation with the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory. Professor Kaplan is the author of Jewish Anxiety and the Novels of Philip Roth (Bloomsbury Press, 2015); Landscapes of Holocaust Postmemory (Routledge 2010); Unwanted Beauty: Aesthetic Pleasure in Holocaust Representation (Univ. of Illinois Press, 2006). Arno Breker (1900 - 1991), German sculptor, gained notoriety as “Hitler’s favorite sculptor.” His public sculptures were prized during the Third Reich as representations of Nazi eugenic ideology. A reexamination of his work has been ongoing since a 2006 exhibit in Germany.
Lecture: “Genocide: New Questions, Fresh Perspectives” a two-part lecture by Isaac Land, ISU Associate Professor of History, and Brendan Corcoran, ISU Associate Professor of English
Wednesday, November 11 at 3:30-5:00 p.m. in Cunningham Library events room, Indiana State University
Dr. Land’s talk, “What is the opposite of genocide?” considers genocide from an unfamiliar angle: What can we learn from communities where diverse groups seem to coexist for centuries without many problems? What qualities do they cultivate that make this possible? Is there such a thing as a genocide-proof society? Dr. Land will draw on theories about this subject, including cosmopolitanism, super-diversity, and Saskia Sassen’s “global city.” He will also discuss specific examples and anecdotes of tolerant port towns around the world, as well as many “formerly tolerant port towns” where coexistence ended in violence.
Though coined as term during the Holocaust, genocide has become one of the defining features of our modern world. In “Remembering to Remember—The Holocaust and a Century of Genocides” Dr. Corcoran will begin with the Holocaust and move backward and forward in time from this signature horror of the 20th century to look at how genocide is a governing fact of our moral and political lives. Rwanda becomes the object lesson for lessons never learned—or lessons refused to have been learned. When students are presented with the history of the Rwandan genocide in combination with a rough sketch of the media’s and political leaders’ responses to it in real time and shortly thereafter, they are dumbstruck with horror. They are moved deeply and in many ways galvanized even as they bemoan a certain loss of their own innocence, since too many students learn about the Holocaust and then figure that this genocide was more or less an isolated historical event. The fact that the Holocaust exists alongside other genocides raises the uncomfortable question of how these horrors shape us—our expectations for the present and future in the context of our understanding of the past. This talk will introduce the question of what it means to really remember to remember. Framing texts will include: Wilfred Owen’s World War I poem “Insensibility,” passages from Primo Levi’s Survival in Auschwitz, Michael Longley’s poems remembering the Holocaust, recollections of my own experiences in the Peace Corps living in Guatemala five years after its genocide was officially over, passages from Philip Gourevitch’s book on Rwanda, We Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow We Will be Killed with our Families, as well as parts of Samantha Powers’ A Problem from Hell.
Event: "Letters from Camp," a staged reading of family correspondences of Laura Bates, ISU Professor of English, and directed by Arthur Feinsod, ISU Professor of Theater
Wednesday November 11 at 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. in the Landini Center for Performing and Fine Arts Recital Hall, Indiana State University
Fifty million people became refugees during World War Two, having fled their homelands seeking safety from Nazi and Soviet atrocities. English Department Professor Laura Bates’ mother spent five years in refugee camps, searching for relatives, finding none, and facing post-war hardships alone. This play is based on the letters and journal writings from those years. It offers a glimpse into the kind of trauma that is being endured by more than fifty million refugees around the world today.