Encounters: UMF Libra Scholar Annette Kolodny

April 10, 2014

Q&A with English (and other Humanities) majors:

In an intimate setting, Annette Kolodny had a discussion with students and faculty about the opportunities available to English majors. Kolodny believes that lacking complexity is what holds people back. English majors, on the other hand, are capable of the higher order thinking necessary to succeed. She beautifully described the English major as an opening of new doors in communications, and within each is a different reality that facilitates higher thinking. She said that having an aptitude for empathy and analysis renders the English major versatile. 

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Libra Scholar Annette Kolodny

“Papal Bulls, Wishful Wonder, and the Many Fictions of the Doctrine of Discovery”:

Later the same day, students and faculty reconvened for Kolodny’s lecture “Papal Bulls, Wishful Wonder, and the Many Fictions of the Doctrine of Discovery.” 

“This lecture examines the language of the original papal bulls that set out the legal parameters for what became known as the ‘doctrine of discovery.’ I argue that the bulls effectively constructed the language and tropes by which early explorers claimed to have ‘discovered’ lands previously unknown (and unclaimed by) any Christian. In keeping with the linguistic constructions demanded by the language of the bulls, early explorers claimed firstness by asserting that they had been greeted with wonder and awe by the Native peoples. But in fact, a number of Eastern Algonquian stories of first contact with Europeans wholly undercut these descriptions of “wonder” and thoroughly undermine European assertions of first contact and so-called discovery. My remarks will concentrate on texts from the Penobscot Nation in Maine, including Joseph Nicolar’s Life and Traditions of the Red Man and a story that had previously remained only in oral tradition but was told to me by former Penobscot Nation chief James Sappier.” 

This riveting lecture covered a time span from A.D. 1000, Leif Eiriksson’s exploration of Vinland, to 1534, when European fisheries established from southeastern Labrador to Nova Scotia and Gulf of Saint Lawrence.

Afterwards, students and faculty joined the conversation. Kolodny, an articulate and entertaining speaker, graciously answered each and every question. She ended her presentation by bringing her visitation full-circle; she said, “This is where an English degree can take you.”

As always we want to take the time to say how much we appreciate our guests: Annette Kolodny, thank you so much for your eye-opening presentations!

Miss the event? Download a copy of the handout below:

 Page 1: Kolodny Handout pg1

Page 2: Kolodny Handout pg2

Page 3: Kolodny Handout pg3

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