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Chapel Hill, NC United States

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September 2015

Religious Beliefs and Religious Violence

September 12 @ 9:00 am - 5:30 pm

All world religions encourage deep respect for human life and benevolent, ethical ideals, but religious beliefs have also been used to justify brutal, violent repressions in every part of the world. This seminar will explore this complex paradox by analyzing both the diverse critiques of violence and the justifications for religious violence in different historical eras. Brett Whalen will examine recurring patterns of premodern Christian violence, and Charles Kurzman will discuss recent arguments about revolutionary religious violence among opposing Muslim…

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American Muslims and Immigrant Identities

September 19 @ 11:00 am - 5:30 pm

We are pleased to offer a fall seminar in conjunction with the PlayMakers Repertory Company’s production of Disgraced. This award-winning play by Ayad Akhtar offers an imaginative, controversial portrayal of the challenges that emerge in the cross-cultural relationships of even the most assimilated professional immigrants within contemporary American society. The seminar will begin with an analysis of the play’s themes and production by Jacqueline Lawton, the dramaturg for the PlayMakers’ production. Julianne Hammer will then analyze the multiple identities, politics,…

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After “Modernism:” Three Poets Respond to a Movement

September 26 @ 9:00 am - 4:30 pm

A Distinguished Scholar Seminar featuring George Lensing, Mann Family Distinguished Professor of English The publication of Robert Frost’s second volume, North of Boston (1914), T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” (1915), and Wallace Stevens’ “Sunday Morning” (1915) marked the triumph of Modernism in English-language poetry. Modernism radically changed the nature of the arts throughout the English-speaking world, but in poetry, one might ask what was so fundamentally different? This “active learning” seminar featuring George Lensing will introduce…

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October 2015

New Perspectives on the Ancient World

October 3 @ 9:15 am - 5:30 pm

What keeps us returning to the past, especially the deep past? What new insights can be gleaned from millennia-old events, ideas, and people? Four scholars will demonstrate how new information, theories, methodologies, and technology are reshaping the study of the Ancient World. Historian Richard Talbert will review historiographical trends of the last decades. Latin scholar Sharon James will make the case for the study of women in the Ancient world. Political scientist Susan Bickford will return to Greek political ideas…

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Public Universities, the Humanities, and Education in North Carolina

October 10 @ 9:00 am - 2:00 pm

North Carolinians are debating how our public schools and universities should best prepare students for future work in a changing global economy. In this evolving social context, some argue (as in other states) that public universities must focus on technical skills, which could mean that the UNC system’s teaching and research mission can no longer “afford the luxury” of giving equal emphasis to the humanities, the arts, and the social sciences. We will address the ongoing debate about education and…

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Gerhard L. Weinber Lecture: Germany during World War II

October 31 @ 9:15 am - 4:30 pm

A Distinguished Scholar Seminar featuring Gerhard L. Weinberg, William Rand Kenan, Jr., Professor of History, Emeritus This fall we bring to its conclusion Gerhard Weinberg’s popular series on individual nations during World War II. It’s fitting that we end with an in-depth look at Germany during World War II as that nation was the prime instigator of the conflict and Dr. Weinberg’s particular area of expertise. Participants will hear why another even more costly war followed so closely on the…

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November 2015
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Environmental Drama, Social Conflicts, and the Meaning of Water

November 7 @ 9:00 am - 5:30 pm

The PlayMakers Repertory Company recently offered an excellent production of An Enemy of the People, an 1882 play by Henrik Ibsen that was later adapted by Arthur Miller. This social drama portrays conflicts that erupt when a doctor discovers contaminations in “health baths” that are essential for a small town’s economy. Drawing on these themes, our seminar explores how environmental issues continue to flow into public conflicts, modern media, and conceptions of human rights. Drama historian Gregory Kable will explain…

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How Illness Changes our Lives and How the Humanities Change our Illnesses

November 14 @ 1:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Everyone confronts the challenges of major illnesses in their own lives and/or in the lives of their close friends and family members. This seminar will draw on the arts and humanities to explore an inescapable question: how are you and your family transformed when you face major illnesses? Our speakers include faculty members Steven Reznick, who is currently dealing with the life-altering effects of ALS, or “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” and Jennifer Ho, who has recently undergone extensive treatment for cancer.…

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Lecture: Modern Families in Transition

November 21 @ 9:00 am - 5:30 pm

Modern families in transition. The family is often considered the cornerstone of society, but in truth neither is stable—both are constantly undergoing changes. This seminar explores this relationship and challenge us to consider how the American family is undergoing radical transformations in response to social changes, and how our notion of society will be impacted in turn by new forms of family and inter-family dynamics.  We’ll learn how economic inequality, income and labor pressures, and falling marriage/rising divorce rates and…

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