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Don Solomon
Director of Communications
(919) 549-0661

National Humanities Center
Slate of Public Events Features Literary Giants,
Contemporary Art, and Twentieth-Century Politics

News Release Date: January 7, 2008

Research Triangle Park, N.C.  The National Humanities Center today announced its schedule of public lectures, exhibitions, and events for winter and spring, 2008. Featured events include public lectures from Center Fellows on Milton and Shakespeare, contemporary art, Henry James, and the central role of women in the birth of democracy in Nigeria.

The Center will also host two art exhibitions, one by local painter Nathaniel Quinn, the other by New York photographer Todd Weinstein. In April, the Center will host a symposium on "Art—Before and After Ideology" that will include talks by Center Fellows and art history faculty from Duke University.


Public Lecture Series
"Is Milton Better Than Shakespeare?"
Nigel Smith, Princeton University
Thurs., Jan. 17 — 5:00 PM

A Guggenheim Fellow this year as well as a Fellow at the National Humanities Center, Nigel Smith is an expert in early modern literature and has written extensively on Shakespeare, Jonson, Donne, Herbert, Milton, Hobbes, Margaret Cavendish, Katherine Philips, and Marvell. While at the Center, he is working on a project comparing European literary cultures in the context of the remarkable political and scientific transformations between 1500 and 1800.

"What Is 'Contemporary' About
Contemporary Art?"

Terence Smith, University of Pittsburgh
Thurs., Feb. 7 — 5:00 PM

In addition to his prodigious work as a scholar of art history, Terry Smith serves on the boards of major museums on two continents, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney and the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. His many publications include What Is Contemporary Art? (Chicago, forthcoming); The Architecture of Aftermath (Chicago, 2006); and Making the Modern: Industry, Art and Design in America (Chicago, 1993). While at the Center, Smith is working on a project tracing the rise of "contemporary" art from its relative rarity within the larger project of modern art to its current, seemingly natural ubiquity.

"Henry James and the Rat Man"
Maud Ellmann, Notre Dame University
Thurs., March 6 — 5:00 PM

Author of The Poetics of Impersonality: T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound (1987); The Hunger Artists: Starving, Writing and Imprisonment (1993); Psychoanalytic Literary Criticism (1994), and her latest, Elizabeth Bowen: The Shadow Across the Page (2003), Maud Ellmann is a distinguished scholar whose work has focused on the intersections of psychoanalysis and modernism in the works of some of the twentieth centuries most illustrious literary figures. While at the Center, she is working on a book titled The Nets of Modernism that examines themes of circulation and exchange in Woolf, James, Joyce, and Freud.

"From Ladies to Women: Engendering"
Democracy in Post-World War II
Abeokuta (Nigeria)

Judith Byfield, Cornell University
Thurs., April 3 — 5:00 PM

A leading scholar of women's social and economic history in Nigeria, Judith Byfield's first book The Bluest Hands: A Social and Economic History of Women Indigo Dyers in Western Nigeria, 1890-1940 (Heinemann, 2002), examined the indigo dyeing industry in Abeokuta, a Yoruba town in western Nigeria. Her current project also examines the history of the women of Abeokuta and the important role they played in bringing democracy to Nigeria in the 1960s.

"Art: Before and After Ideology" Thurs., April 24

Speakers:Mark Antliff, Duke University
Nina Gourianova, Northwestern University
Pamela Kachurin, Duke University
Terry Smith, University of Pittsburgh
Isabel Wünsche, Jacobs University (Bremen, Germany)

"Patterned Surface Excavation Emerging"
Oil and Acrylic Paintings
Nathaniel Quinn, Chapel Hill, NC
Dec. 1 — Feb. 29

This show of local artist Nathaniel Quinn's vibrant work is both visually stimulating and intriguing as his intricate brush technique and complex use of color create compositions that draw viewers into his expansive canvases, spurring them into deeper and deeper exploration of fluctuating, complex spaces.

"The Thirty-Six Unknown"
Todd Weinstein, New York, NY
March 1 — June 30

Shot at locations like Dachau, Auschwitz, Berlin, and Jerusalem, the images in "The Thirty-Six Unknown" are a meditation by photographer Todd Weinstein on the Talmudic notion of the thirty-six righteous people that are required for the world to exist. Exhibited in galleries around the world, "The Thirty-Six Unknown" makes its first appearance in the Southeast with this show at the National Humanities Center.

For further details about events at the National Humanities Center, please visit the Center's Web site (, or contact Don Solomon by phone (919) 549-0661 or e-mail

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Revised: February 2008