Lectures in the Arts and Humanities (Fall 2014 Series)

The Lectures in the Arts and Humanities Series, a new forum for research and scholarship at the University of Maine at Farmington, announces a slate of three lectures for the fall 2014 series. This series touches on a variety of topics, ranging from filmmaker Quentin Tarantino to the British television series Doctor Who to the music of Beethoven.

Dr. Michael Johnson will present “Django Unchained and the African American West” on October 1 (in 23 Roberts Learning Center). Dr. Karen Hellekson will speak on “Affirmational and Transformational Doctor Who Fan Videos” on October 29 (in Emery Community Arts Center). Dr. Steven Pane will present “The Opus 111 Project, Merleau-Ponty, Beethoven and Intermedia” on November 12 (in Emery Community Arts Center). All lectures will take place during the Wednesday Common Ground time (11:45-1:00). All events are free and open to the public.

The Lectures in the Arts and Humanities Series at the University of Maine at Farmington is sponsored by the Division of Humanities, the Department of Sound, Performance, and Visual Inquiry, and the UMF Honors Program.

October 1, 11:45-1:00, 23 Roberts Learning Center

Dr. Michael Johnson, “Django Unchained and the African American West”

Although director Quentin Tarantino has described his controversial film Django Unchained as belonging to a “new, virgin-snow kind of genre,” the African American western is not new at all. African American writers and filmmakers have been creatively inventing and reinventing the genre western for centuries. This lectures places Django Unchained in the context of the history of the African American West in literature and film. Only against the backdrop of that representational history can we fairly judge what Tarantino’s film does and does not accomplish. Please be aware that this lecture will include clips from films that have been rated R for language and violence.

Dr. Michael Johnson is the author of Black Masculinity and the Frontier in American Literature and Hoo-Doo Cowboys and Bronze Buckaroos: Conceptions of the African American West. He is a Professor of American Literature in the Division of Humanities at the University of Maine at Farmington.

October 29, 11:45-1:00, Emery Community Arts Center, Performance Space

Dr. Karen Hellekson, “Affirmational and Transformational Doctor Who Fan Videos”

This lecture examines videos created by fans of the British television series, Doctor Who. The lecture focuses on two types of fan video, the reconstruction and the transformation. The “recon” attempts to recreate or replace episodes of the original Doctor Who series that are lost or missing. Transformative videos, rather than reconstructing, alter, critique, and reimagine the source material. However, because complete faithfulness to the lost original is not technologically possible, recons also creatively transform and alter surviving material, thus rendering recons a form of artwork rather than a literal reconstruction. This lecture will include several examples of each type of fan video.

Dr. Karen Hellekson is an independent scholar based in Maine. She is the author of The Science Fiction of Cordwainer Smith and The Alternate History: Reconfiguring Time. She co-edits the journal Transformative Works and Cultures, and she has also co-edited several critical anthologies, including Practicing Science Fiction, Fan Fiction and Fan Communities in the Internet Age, and The Fan Fiction Studies Reader.

November 12, 11:45-1:00, Emery Community Arts Center, Performance Space

Dr. Steven Pane, “The Opus 111 Project, Merleau-Ponty, Beethoven and Intermedia”

Using Merleau-Ponty’s ideas about art, memory, and history–“a past which has never been present”–this discussion assesses an intermedia performative project that took place in April 2014 where artists, writers, sound technologists, and others within a rural Maine community responded to a theme from the last piano sonata of Beethoven (Opus 111).

Dr. Steven Pane’s career as a pianist, teacher, and writer emerges out of his life-long interest in the interdisciplinary study and performance of music. Whether it be a joint performance-paper (Charles Ives’ Concord Sonata and Mikhail  Bakhtin’s idea of dialogic with Tiane Donahue); historical investigation of history (One Hundred Years Ago (1905) Sonatas by Scriabin, Ives, and Jancek); or re-conceiving classical work with written text (Integrating Bach’s Goldberg Variations with writing by Pat O’Donnell), Pane’s work and collaborations invite audiences to experience music in different settings. Most recently he curated the Opus 111 Project where philosophers, artists, composers, and others created intermedia variations on Beethoven’s last piano sonata. Pane is currently Professor of Music at the University of Maine at Farmington where he teaches courses in music history, writing, sound studies, and travel courses to Italy.

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