Faculty Colloquium: “Composing a World”

Please join us this Friday, Friday, April 17th at 3:00 pm in Cone Chapel for the eighth and final Faculty Colloquium of this semester. It will be a musical treat and a lovely way to wrap up the semester. (Please note the change of location)

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Marva Duerksen, Associate Professor of Music, Women’s & Gender Studies

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Christine Welch Elder, Continuing Adjunct Professor of Music

Title: “Composing a World”: Ricky Ian Gordon sets Langston Hughes

Abstract:

The provocative opening to Langston Hughes’s poem, “Daybreak in Alabama,” claims a special power for music: “When I get to be a composer, I’m gonna write me some music about daybreak in Alabama.” In the poem, Hughes goes on to imagine a world in which hands of all colors touch each other “with kind fingers,” “naturally as dew”—a utopian vision of harmonious race relations the poet can “compose” into being.

American composer Ricky Ian Gordon (b. 1956) published musical settings of Hughes’s poems in 1993 and 1997, thereby composing a more contemporary reading of Hughes and, at the same time, an opportunity for audiences to enter into Hughes’s poetic and racial world via Gordon’s emotionally charged, well-crafted, and accessible music. The result is a brilliant amplification and expansion of Hughes’s meanings, and one that brings into the present our own possibilities for “composing a world.” Join us for a live performance and discussion of Gordon’s settings.

Please feel free to invite students to attend this talk.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Doreen Simonsen and James Miley
Faculty Colloquium Coordinator


Surrealism, Stenography and the Ouija Board

Please join us this Friday, April 10th at 3:00 pm in the Hatfield Room for the seventh Faculty Colloquium of this semester. Treats will be provided to accompany this talk.

Abigail Susik, Assistant Professor of Art Historysusik_sm

Title: “Surrealism, Stenography and the Ouija Board”

Abstract: “Automatism” was an aesthetic concept and practice that the French Surrealists famously borrowed from the new field of psychoanalysis just after World War I. Starting around 1919, artists and writers such as André Breton and Max Ernst systematically began to investigate the human mind as a source of unconscious and marvelous artistic material, an exploration which soon became the ideological foundation for the Modern Art movement called “Surrealism.”

Several of the Surrealists were veterans of the Great War, and some of them were also medical interns at the Front who had practiced Psychiatry on victims of war trauma. Following the war, these Surrealists often gathered together to play writing and drawing games meant to cultivate unconscious outpourings. Some of the participants even fell into deep trances and uttered fantastic thoughts which were transcribed by other members of the group into a strange kind of dream poetry.

My recent research attempts to extend beyond the now-familiar idea that Surrealism is primarily a product of psychoanalysis. This presentation questions whether there might be a productive comparison between Surrealism and the post-World War I Ouija Board craze in the United States and England, or that matter, between Surrealism and the rise of a secretarial trade for women at this time. Both of these phenomena, the Ouija Board and the influx of women as copyists or stenographers, are direct results of the Great War, and both focus on the same kind of passive “dictation” that so fascinated the Surrealists as the best means of accessing the unconscious. What is the significance of these broad contextual parallels?

Please feel free to invite students to attend this talk.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Doreen Simonsen and James Miley
Faculty Colloquium Coordinator


Friday: “Unexpected Writing” Talk by Bill Duvall

duvallPlease join us this Friday, March 13th at 3:00 pm in the Hatfield Room for the sixth Faculty Colloquium of this semester. Treats will be provided to accompany this talk.

Bill Duvall, Professor of History

“Unexpected Writing from an Engaged Intellectual: Ahmed Kalouaz and Adolescent Literature”

Abstract: Ahmed Kalouaz is a contemporary French writer of Algerian descent. He is part of the second generation coming out of the immigrant communities, a group that arrived on the French literary and political scene in the 1980s. I will shift my focus a bit in this presentation. Kalouaz has been writing adolescent literature over the past 8 years in an effort to help the third and fourth generations better understand their predicament in the face of the racism and social injustice they experience in the streets of France. Initially I was going to reflect on that literature and on Kalouaz’s continued role as engaged intellectual. But I received a manuscript from Kalouaz on 9 January in which he weaves a number of things together, including the search for his grandfather’s story which ended in his death just after World War II. I will talk about the novels Kalouaz has written in the effort to bring to life the life of his father and the generation of immigrants to France that surrounded him. Because of his father’s unlettered silence (so common to his generation), Kalouaz has had to invent a history and a social memory. What runs through the stories he tells about his family is the memory of the brutal French Algerian war. In Kalouaz’s mind, it cuts like a knife through contemporary French society as the French continue to live out the consequences of that war. The arrival of his manuscript on 9 January seems to bring an uncanny focus on the heritage of the war.

Please feel free to invite students to attend this talk.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Doreen Simonsen and James Miley
Faculty Colloquium Coordinators


Echoes of the Folkelig Tradition

Holland-PhillipsPlease join us this Friday, March 6th at 3:00 pm in the Hatfield Room for the fifth Faculty Colloquium of this semester.  Treats will be provided to accompany this talk.

Dr. Holland Phillips, Instructor of Violin & Viola, Department of Music

Echoes of the Folkelig Tradition in Carl Nielsen’s Præludium og Tema med Variationer, Op. 48″

Abstract: By the time Carl Nielsen composed the Præludium og Tema med Variationer, Op. 48in 1923, the composer had been heavily invested in creating Danish folkelige songs. Especially in the wake of the First World War and the recent reunification of northern Slesvig with Denmark, the folkelig song style had become emblematic of national Danish unity, and Nielsen was intimately tied to this heightened symbolism. The Danish folkelig song tradition is readily identifiable in the tema of the Op. 48, and I argue that the composer arranges the melody from his song Je så kun tilbage [I merely looked back]as the basis of the Op. 48’s theme. In stark stylistic contrast, the prelude that precedes this tema is among Nielsen’s most overtly modernist statements. Within the composition, Nielsen explores the virtuosic extremes of the violin and ventures beyond tonality, yet he presents a distinctively Danish folk character in the theme. Finding these two stylistic voices confined within a single opus helps us to more thoroughly explore the nature of Nielsen’s dual musical identity: a composer of international stature, versed in early twentieth-century notions of European musical modernism, and a composer of Danish traditional folkelige songs.

Please feel free to invite students to attend this talk.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Doreen Simonsen and James Miley
Faculty Colloquium Coordinators


Kelley Strawn Faculty Colloquium

strawnPlease join us Friday, February 27th at 3:00 pm in the Hatfield Room for the third Faculty Colloquium of this semester.  Treats will be provided to accompany this talk.

Kelley Strawn, Associate Professor of Sociology

What’s Behind All This ‘Nones’-Sense? – Examining Religious Non-Affiliation in the United States Over Time”

Abstract: In this talk, I will present the results of my recent research examining whether predictors – or “causes” – of religious non-affiliation in the United States have changed over the last forty years.  While the popular media and political “messagers” like to latch onto particular explanations for the rise of religious non-affiliation, evidence suggests that (a) it is very difficult  to characterize or predict who does or does not self-describe as “non-affiliated”; and (b) that those factors that do provide some degree of explanation have changed over time.

Please feel free to invite students to attend this talk.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Doreen Simonsen and James Miley
Faculty Colloquium Coordinators


Ecological Restoration at Willamette University’s Zena Forest

arabasFriday February 13th Hatfield Room, 3-4pm

Karen Arabas

Title:  Ecological Restoration at Willamette University’s Zena Forest

Abstract:

Willamette University’s Zena Forest is part of the largest remaining contiguous block of forested land in the Eola Hills of the central Willamette Valley, where Euro-American agriculture, urban and forestry activities have reduced the area of original oak habitat significantly.  The long-term restoration goal at the property is to enhance the fundamentally interrelated and collective function of upland oak habitat at the watershed scale within the context of our conservation easement as well as our educational mission. To that end we initiated habitat restoration activities on 130 acres of upland oak woodland and prairie habitat in 2009.  As an educational institution with rich agency and community partnerships (ODFW, BPA, USFWS, NRCS, TMF and IAE, Salem-Keizer School District, The Forest Guild) we are in a unique position to undertake long-term data collection and analysis in permanent monitoring plots in our restoration units, as well as investigate drivers of landscape and habitat change at a variety of temporal and spatial scales.  In this talk I will discuss preliminary impacts of our restoration treatments.

Additionally, I will summarize the work of a number of Willamette University students, whose research at broader scales has advanced our understanding of past climate and human impacts on the landscape. The synthesis of our monitoring work and broader scale research, in conjunction with the expertise of our community partners, has significantly enhanced our restoration efforts and will help to guide our decision making in the future.


“My Friends the Triangles”

Please join us this Friday, January 30th at 3:00 pm in the Hatfield Room for the first Faculty Colloquium of this semester.  Treats will be provided to accompany this talk.
josh-laison

Josh Laison, Associate Professor of Mathematics will be speaking about:

“My Friends the Triangles: The Study of Geometric Networks”

Mathematical networks have a wide variety of applications outside mathematics: components of an electric circuit connected by wires; genetic similarities among species in a phylogenetic tree; social networks among people; airline flights between cities; links between web pages.  My research deals with applications of these networks inside mathematics, to the study of geometric shapes.  This is an exciting new area of study, where the interesting problems outnumber the researchers working on them.  I’ll introduce this field, and then highlight a few problems I’ve worked on, including some projects with Willamette student co-authors.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Doreen Simonsen and James Miley
Faculty Colloquium Coordinators


Faculty Colloquia for Spring

Dear Colleagues,

The Faculty Colloquium presentations for this semester have come to an end.  Karen Arabas’ previously scheduled presentation on “Ecological Restoration Work at Zena Forest” has been moved from this coming Friday to February 13th.  Please mark your calendars and join us to hear the intriguing presentations of your colleagues work next Semester.

Time and place:  Friday afternoons at 3 p.m. in the Hatfield Room.

Refreshments will be served

Spring Semester:

Jan. 30:  Josh Laison: “My Friends the Triangles: The Study of Geometric Networks”

Feb. 6:  Marva Duerksen: “Prosody in Emily Dickinson, and in Musical Settings of her Poems”

Feb. 13:  Karen Arabas:  “Ecological Restoration Work at Zena Forest”

Feb. 27:  Kelley Strawn:  “What’s Behind All This ‘Nones’-Sense? – Examining Religious Non-Affiliation in the United States Over Time”

Mar. 6:  Holland Phillips:  “Echoes of the Danish Folkelig Tradition in Carl Nielsen’s Op. 48.”

Mar. 13:  Bill Duvall:  “Unexpected Writing from an Engaged Intellectual: Ahmed Kalouaz and Adolescent Literature.”

Apr. 3:  Bobby Brewer-Wallin:  “My Case Is Altered or Bodies of Elizabeth: Code-switching in Solo Performance”

Apr. 10:  Abigail Susik: “Surrealism, Stenography and the Ouija Board”

Apr. 24:  Panel on “How Your Research influences Your Teaching”  (Followed by a Reception to celebrate another year of research and excellent teaching)

Sincerely,
Faculty Colloquium Coordinators,

Doreen Simonsen

James Miley


Improvised Music and Dance: “Noru Ka Soru Ka”

Dear Colleagues,

Please join us this Friday, November 14th at 3:00 pm in FORD 122 for the seventh Faculty Colloquium of this year. (Please note the change of location).

Our speaker will be: Mike Nord, Associate Professor of Music Technology and Music Education

Title: Improvised Music and Dance: Noru Ka Soru Ka and Other New WorkNoru Ka Soru Ka

Abstract: Noru Ka Soru Ka is an international dance-theater and music ensemble featuring Japanese dancers Mao Arata and Makoto Matsushima (also voice), American Mike Nord on guitar and electronics, and Swiss percussionist Georg Hofmann. Friday’s colloquium will present the ensemble’s approach to collective improvisation and feature video recordings of recent performances in the US, Switzerland, and Hong Kong, along with material from a 2013 CD release.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Doreen Simonsen and James Miley
Faculty Colloquium Coordinators


An Analysis of “Savage Love” Advice Columns

Please join us this Friday, November 7th at 3:00 pm in the Hatfield Room for the fifth Faculty Colloquium of this year. Treats will be provided to accompany this talk.

Professor Jade Aguilar from Willamette University’s Department of Sociology will present

Title: An Analysis of “Savage Love” Advice Columns.
Jade Aguilar
This presentation examines how the popular advice column, Savage Love, gives its readers mixed messages about a particular sexual act performed by heterosexual couples. Broadly, this presentation will investigate the question “does [this] act (de) stabilize heterosexual identity or, more broadly, heteronormativity?” While much work has been done investigating how “queerness” serves as a destabilizing force, heterosexuality,…has been largely ignored.