Humanities Day 2019

Join us on Saturday, October 19, 2019, for over 30 presentations by some of the leading scholars in art, literature, cinema and media studies, language, philosophy, music, and linguistics. Please note that registration for Humanities Day will close on Friday, October 18, at 3:30 p.m.

Professor William Nickell will be giving a talk titled, "The Fall of Communism: 30 Years On," hosted at Fulton Recital Hall in Goodspeed from 3:30-4:30. In 1989 the reforms initiated under Mikhail Gorbachev reached a climax as, one by one, members of the Soviet bloc broke off their former relations with the USSR. Two years later, the Soviet Union would itself crumble. This session takes a systematic look at how Russia today compares to the Soviet Union of 1989. The presenter compares measurable factors, such as income distribution, economic development, and life expectancy, alongside more complicated metrics like the environment, freedom of expression, cultural life, politics, and the building of civil society. William Nickell is a cultural historian specializing in mid-nineteenth to mid-twentieth century Russia, with particular interest in the 1840s, turn-of-the century, and 1930s-40s.

Professor Matthew Jesse Jackson will be giving a talk on "Art in the 21st Century," hosted at Breasted Hall in the Oriental Institute Museum from 3:30-4:30. It could be argued that the most compelling visual art is no longer defined primarily by particular media (painting, sculpture, photography, video), or by particular subject matter (portraiture, landscape, still life, devotional image), or by particular strategies of representation (Cubism, Surrealism, Pop Art, Appropriation). Instead, it might be most accurate to say that the crucial art of the 21st century imagines everything to be its medium, subject matter, and means of realization. This talk will consider what this development means for artists and art viewers. Currently chair of the Department of Visual Arts, Matthew Jesse Jackson teaches courses grounded primarily in the contemplation of cultural experience since 1945.