The banjo links disparate musical and cultural traditions — from Africa to the Caribbean to the United States — and its history is deeply interwoven with the history of those places. Recently, NHC Fellow Laurent Dubois and musician Joe Newberry participated in a “musical conversation” exploring this fascinating history and performed songs for NHC trustees, Fellows and special guests.
Among all the classic Broadway shows of the 1930s, a fair number stand out by engaging directly with the New Deal politics of a turbulent decade. Why did the likes of George and Ira Gershwin, Irving Berlin, and Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart take this leftist turn, and how should one read the great American songs that emerged?
On Tuesday, February 9, NHC president and director Robert Newman joined Lloyd Kramer from UNC-Chapel Hill and Victoria Gallagher from NC State University to discuss the humanities’ future as part of a town hall meeting. The event, held at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, NC, and moderated by retired philosophy professor Clay Stalnaker, drew an engaged crowd who challenged the participants about role of the humanities in an environment that has become increasingly concerned with financial outcomes from academic activities, technologically-focused, and oriented toward the concerns of the individual rather than the common good.
Janice Radway, “From the Underground to the Archive in Ten Years: Girl Zines, the 1990s, and the Challenge of Historical Narration”
In the early nineties, a certain cohort of dissident, non-conforming girls turned to self-publishing to express their deep dissatisfaction with conservative reaffirmations of normative femininity. Calling themselves “Riot Grrrls” after several influential all-girl punk bands, they crafted handmade publications known as “zines” in order to voice their disaffection and to think through alternative ways of being in the world. These young women quickly caught the attention of the mainstream media and a range of academics and librarians alike. Within ten years, at least three major collections of girl zines had been collected at places like Smith College, Barnard College, and Duke University. This lecture explores the significance of girls’ self-publishing efforts, the complex reasons for their zines’ quick assimilation into legitimate cultural institutions, and the political benefits and drawbacks to this kind of memorialization.
The soldier monuments that began to proliferate across northern and southern communities during the 1860s differed sharply from antebellum American commemorations. The emergence of this cultural form partly reflected patterns of recruitment and death in the Civil War. Local memorial initiatives also expressed competing ideas about the legacies of the war and the extent to which military service constituted a model of citizenship.
At a celebration October 22, 2015, Robert D. Newman was installed as the sixth president and director of the National Humanities Center. In his inaugural remarks, titled “Humanities Moments and the Heroic,” Newman shared his vision for the Center as the premier destination for humanities scholars, a national leader in the effort to strengthen teaching, and a vital resource for all who seek greater understanding of themselves and the world in which they live.
China has a distinguished modern history of supporting its national heritage of traditional medical knowledge. In recent years, research has focused on traditional medicine of the minority nationalities of China. This “multicultural” process expresses particular features of Chinese state power as it engages and manages local variation. And it reveals many forms of life that escape nation-state projects. This discussion considers the relations in practice between grassroots medical institution-building and the healing powers that both inform it and evade it.
Ordinarily, the two cerebral hemispheres of the brain are joined by a large fiber pathway. In a “split-brain” surgery, this pathway is cut. Afterwards a split-brain subject may behave as if she had two conscious minds, one in each hemisphere. Many philosophers and neuropsychologists have argued that in fact she does. If that’s right, however, then why doesn’t anyone view a split-brain subject as containing or consisting of two persons, each with her own rights and responsibilities? In her talk, Elizabeth Schechter argues that self-consciousness provides the answer.