Fall 2018

September 12
Syrian People: A Battle for Life
6:30 p.m., Ostrove Auditorium, Diamond Building

2018 Oak Human Rights Fellow, Syrian photojournalist Bassam Khabieh’s photographs will be featured in the Diamond Atrium with a reception beginning at 6:30 p.m. The opening will be followed by a public talk at 7 p.m. Khabieh has powerfully documented war crimes and other ongoing human rights violations in the Syrian conflict. His stunning photographs, “one of the largest bodies of work on the Syrian conflict, bring this unspeakable war out of the shadows,” according to a board member for the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. In 2015, Khabieh was awarded the Robert Capa Gold Medal for “photographic reporting from abroad requiring exceptional courage and enterprise.”

An introduction will be provided by assistant professor of sociology at the Institute for Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies at Emerson College, Dr. Yasser Munif. Munif is currently working on a book project about participatory democracy and grassroots politics during the uprising in Syria.

September 14
Approaching Poems: Historical Poetics 1895/2018
Readings from Pauline Johnson (Tekahionwake)
3:30 p.m., The Robinson Room, Miller Library

Born and raised on Six Nations Reserve near Brantford, Ontario, poet and performer Emily Pauline Johnson was the daughter of a Mohawk chief and his English wife. She was educated mainly at home, studying both English literature and Mohawk oral history and legend. In 1892 she was invited to give a poetry reading for the Young Men’s Liberal Club of Toronto. Based on the success of that reading, she began a series of performances across Canada. Johnson developed a dual persona for her performances, wearing the costume of a Native princess for the first half and an English drawing-room gown for the second. She toured widely for 17 years, gaining international recognition with primarily non-Native audiences.

Johnson’s poetry often uses the tone and structure of English poetry to convey Native legends and beliefs, with a dramatic intensity well-matched to the stage. Her first collection of poetry, The White Wampum (1895), includes both poems and tales. Two more collections of poetry followed, as well as three fiction collections.

September 19
Shooting Ghosts: A Combat Photographer and His Journey Back From War
7:00 p.m., Ostrove Auditorium, Diamond Building

Finbarr O’Reilly is the co-author of Shooting Ghosts, a unique joint memoir with retired U.S. Marine Sgt. Thomas James Brennan. Their story about the unpredictability of war and its aftermath explores the things they’ve seen and done, the ways they have been affected, and how they have navigated the psychological aftershocks of war and wrestled with reforming their own identities and moral centers. O’Reilly covered Africa as a Reuters correspondent and staff photographer for 10 years. He won the World Press Photo of the Year in 2006 and has since won numerous industry awards for his multimedia work and photography. Cosponsored by the Oak Center for Human Rights and the Center for the Arts and Humanities.

September 20-21
The Prague Spring Fifty Years On: Meaning, Legacy, Future Prospects
Colby College

In early 1968, after two decades of totalitarian dictatorship under Soviet domination, the Czechoslovak state and society experienced a remarkable period of political and economic liberalization that became known as the Prague Spring. Under public pressure, control of the ruling Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSČ) passed to reformist members led by Alexander Dubček, who began partially decentralizing the economy and administrative authority and relaxing restrictions on the media, speech, and travel. This process took place in the broader context of an extraordinary flowering of the arts, including film, music, literature, and theatre, all of which acted as its catalysts. The Prague Spring abruptly ended in August 1968, when Czechoslovakia was invaded by its Warsaw Pact allies led by the Soviet Union, its reformist leaders were deposed, and pro-Soviet hardliners were reinstalled. The processes of political and economic liberalization and cultural renaissance were reversed, ushering in a period of “normalization” and stasis under Soviet military occupation that would last until the fall of Communism in Europe in 1989.

For more information, or conference schedule please click here.

September 26
Poor People’s Campaign/Maine at Colby
5:00 p.m., Brewster Reading Room, Miller Library

In late 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. launched his nonviolent Poor People’s Campaign to bring awareness about poverty and economic injustice in America and to initiate substantial change. Months later, he was assassinated. But in recent years activists across America have revived his campaign, which seeks to address the interrelated crises of “systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, ecological devastation, and the nation’s distorted morality.” Come learn about the Poor People’s Campaign, meet two of its key leaders in Maine, and find out how you can be involved in one of the most important social justice movements of our time.

This event is co-sponsored by African American Studies, the Center for the Arts and Humanities, the Center for Small Town Jewish Life, Colby Libraries Special Collections, the Multi-Faith Council, the Oak Institute for Human Rights, the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, the Office of the President, the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, and the Pugh Center.

September 26
The Home that was our Country
7:00 p.m., Ostrove Auditorium, Diamond Building

Journalist and former civil rights lawyer Alia Malek will provide a personal narrative of the Syrian conflict and a reading from her book The Home That Was Our Country: A Memoir of Syria. Born in Baltimore to Syrian immigrant parents, Malek worked in the legal field in the U.S., Lebanon, and the West Bank. In April 2011, she moved to Damascus, Syria, and wrote anonymously for several outlets in the country as it began to disintegrate. Her reporting from Syria earned her the Marie Colvin Award in November 2013. Malek served as senior writer at Al Jazeerza America until 2015. In November 2016, she was honored with the 12th annual Hiett Prize in the Humanities. The New York Foundation for the Arts named her a fellow in nonfiction literature in the summer of 2017. She is currently collaborating with 2018 Oak Fellow Bassam Khabieh on a book of photography, vignettes, and essays titled Witnesses to War: The Children of Syria. Sponsored by the Oak Institute for Human Rights and the Center for the Arts and Humanities.

September 28-30
Liberal Arts and the Humanities:
Case Studies from Liberal Arts Colleges and Small Universities
Ostrove Auditorium, Diamond Building

This conference is structured around four plenary case studies that address the particularity of humanities concepts and questions forged in a liberal arts environment. Each case study will consist of a presentation by a team of faculty, or faculty and students, from a liberal arts college or small university. On Saturday at 9 a.m., the conference will present a conversation with noted scholar and humanities advocate, Dianne Harris, who is a Senior Program Officer at the Mellon Foundation. For the full schedule of events click here. 

October 4
Two Cent Talks: Kate Christensen and Julia Bouwsma
Chace Community Forum, 150 Main Street, Waterville
5:30—7:00 pm.

Kate Christensen is the author of seven novels, including The Great Man, which won the 2008 PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction, and The Last Cruise, forthcoming from Doubleday in the summer of 2018. She is also the author of two food-centric memoirs, Blue Plate Special and How to Cook a Moose, which won the 2016 Maine Literary Award for Memoir. Her essays and articles have been published in various magazines, including Vogue, Elle, Bookforum, O, the Oprah Magazine, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Food and Wine, as well as many anthologies, most recently Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed, edited by Meghan Daum, and The Bitch is Back, edited by Cathi Hanauer. She lives in Portland, Maine and the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her husband and dog.

Julia Bouwsma lives off-the-grid in the mountains of western Maine, where she is a poet, farmer, freelance editor, critic, and small-town librarian. She is the author of MIDDEN (Fordham University Press, forthcoming 2018) and Work by Bloodlight (Cider Press Review, 2017). Her poems and book reviews appear in Bellingham Review, Colorado Review, Muzzle, Salamander, RHINO, River Styx, and other journals. She is the recipient of the 2016-17 Poets Out Loud Prize, the 2015 Cider Press Review Book Award, and residencies from the Virginia Center for Creative Arts and the Vermont Studio Center. A former Managing Editor for Alice James Books, Bouwsma currently serves as Book Review Editor for Connotation Press: An Online Artifact and as Library Director for Webster Library in Kingfield, Maine.

October 8
Presence of the Past Film Series
Making Migration Visible: Traces, Tracks and Pathways
6:00 p.m. Opening reception for Titi de Baccarat: With the heart and the reason
7:15 Screening of ‘Black Girl’ with post-screening discussion, Railroad Square Cinema

On October 8, the Maine Film Center will take part in the statewide initiative Making Migration Visible: Traces, Tracks and Pathways. Events include companion exhibitions, lectures, films, performances, poetry readings, and community conversations. At Railroad Square Cinema, we will host Portland artist Titi de Baccarat‘s work as our “Art in the Lobby” show for the month of October. On October 8 at 6:00 we will hold an opening for his show With the heart and the reason. At 7:15 we will screen the powerful 1966 film Black Girl, and follow that with a community discussion hosted by Mouhamedoul Niang, Associate Professor of French at Colby. ‘Black Girl’ is about a young Senegalese woman who moves to France to work for a wealthy white couple and finds that life in their small apartment becomes a figurative and literal prison—into a complex, layered critique on the lingering colonialist mindset of a supposedly postcolonial world. Featuring a moving central performance by Mbissine Thérèse Diop, Black Girl is a harrowing human drama as well as a radical political statement—and one of the essential films of the 1960s. Unrated. 59 Min.

October 10
The American Shakespeare Company Presents: Sophocles’ Antigone
Directed by Doreen Bechtol, Sponsored by Richard B. Smith
7:30 p.m., Strider Theater

Antigone, the ASC’s first foray into Greek tragedy, reaches across 2,500 years to speak to us today with surprising relevancy. Our young heroine, Antigone, intentionally breaks a newly imposed law when she buries her brother’s corpse; a divine ritual that honors the dead, ushers them into the underworld, and is a woman’s domain to perform.

This act earns a death sentence from the recently throned king, yet she faces this terror with a pragmatic resolve to do what she knows is right for her beloved kin and, thus, tells her uncle-king, “And if by chance I seem to you to act in foolishness, it may just be it is a fool himself condemns my foolishness.”

In her unflinching dedication to do what is right rather than buckling under the pressure of what is easy, Antigone reaches across time to invite us to challenge injustice, honor the memories of those we love, and continue speaking up for others even (and especially) when our words are unpopular. -Doreen Bechtol, Director

Presented by American Shakespeare Company with support from the Center for the Arts and Humanities, the Classics Department, Government Department, and the Cultural Events Committee.

October 11
Luc Sante
5:00 p.m., Olin 1

Luc Sante will present “The Genius of the System,” a lecture and slide talk concerning the vernacular tradition in American photography. It proposes that regional photographers in the twentieth century, far outside the discussions occurring in major cities, were experimenting with the medium in often radical ways. Many of these photographers were little documented–we may not even know their names–and we can have little idea of what they were thinking. Did they comprise a hidden avant-garde? Or was photography itself the disruptive force?

Luc Sante’s books include Low Life, Evidence, The Factory of Facts, Kill All Your Darlings and The Other Paris. He began writing for the New York Review of Books in 1981 and has contributed to hundreds of periodicals over the years. His honors include a Whiting Writers Award, an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Grammy (for album notes), an Infinity Award for Writing from the International Center of Photography, and Guggenheim and Cullman Fellowships. He teaches writing and the history of photography at Bard College.

October 11
Freeing the Captive Art Opening
Kifah Abdulla
6:30 p.m., Beth Israel Congregation

Join us at Beth Israel Congregation for an evening of art, food, and community as we host an opening reception for artist, poet, and activist Kifah Abdulla. “Freeing the Captive” depicts Abdulla’s experience as a prisoner of war in Iran, where he was jailed for eight years. Using bold colors, Cubist-inspired human forms, and modern applications of Arabic calligraphy, Abdulla draws inspiration from a myriad of sources and experiments with different styles as vehicles for storytelling.

Free and open to the public, the evening will feature Iraqi food and a talk by the artist. The exhibit will remain up through Thursday, Oct. 25 and can be seen by appointment or at synagogue events. Visit https://www.bethisraelwaterville.org/events for more information or email sjrockfo@colby.edu.

October 17
Miles and Katharine Culbertson Prentice Lecture: Jaune Quick-to-See Smith
6:00 p.m., Given Auditorium, Bixler Art and Music Center

The Colby Museum is pleased to welcome artist, curator, and educator Jaune Quick-to-See Smith to deliver the 2018 Prentice Lecture. One of the most acclaimed Native American artists working today, Smith considers herself a cultural art worker, underscoring her social activism and her commitment to the preservation of Native American culture.

Smith, a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Nation of Montana, is based in New Mexico and creates paintings and prints that combine appropriated imagery from commercial slogans and signage, art history, and personal narratives. Her multifaceted work addresses today’s politics, human rights, and environmental issues with humor, and is grounded in themes of identity.

Cosponsored by the Colby Museum, and the Center for the Arts and Humanities.

October 17
Dr. Barbara Bertolani
South Asian Immigrants in Italy: Integration and Conflict
4:00 p.m., Lovejoy 205

Dr. Barbara Bertolani studies the role of ethnic and kin-networks of first generation South Asians in the processes of migration and economic integration in Italy. Her doctoral dissertation in Sociology for the University of Parma, investigated how these networks among South Asians in Italy are rebuilt, how they work for the in-members and the outsiders distributing useful resources to find jobs. Dr. Bertolani has also conducted research on inter-marriages and inter-ethnic couples in Italy. She is currently working on transnational South Asian families, on South Asian women, and on the second-generation Sikh youth in Italy, particularly on the transmission of cultural, religious and caste identity.

In her talk at Colby about the Punjabi Sikh youth in Italy, Dr. Bertolani will focus on issues of gender equality, castes, arranged marriages. Dr. Berolani will also screen her documentary film on young Sikhs in Italy. In this film, she interviews them on their religious identity, visibility in the public space as Sikhs and life expectations. Her documentary explores the dynamics of integration in the local social context and of intergenerational confrontation.

October 19
PK! Volume 29
6:00 p.m., Waterville Opera House

PechaKucha Waterville is a creative networking event centered on storytelling in 20×20. Every event is well attended and provides its own distinctive journey. PechaKucha Night was started in 2003 by Klein Dytham Architects and has turned into an international phenomenon with events happening in over 1000 cities around the world. It is a format that makes presentations concise, keeps the evening moving at a rapid pace, and allows for plenty of chit-chat among participants and attendees. PechaKucha Night Waterville is presented by a volunteer Team PK, Waterville Creates!, and the Waterville Public Library. The Colby Center for the Arts and Humanities is the PK Waterville 2017-2018 season sponsor.

This event is free and open to the public.

November 1
Dawnland Screening
7:00 p.m., Maine Film Center, Waterville

For most of the 20th century, government agents systematically forced Native American children from their homes and placed them with white families. As recently as the 1970’s, one in four Native children nationwide were living in non-Native foster care, adoptive homes, or boarding schools. Many children experienced devastating emotional and physical harm by adults who mistreated them and tried to erase their cultural identity. Now, for the first time, they are being asked to share their stories. In Maine, a historic investigation—the first government-sanctioned truth and reconciliation commission (TRC) in the United States—begins a bold journey. For over two years, Native and non-Native commissioners travel across Maine. They gather testimony and bear witness to the devastating impact of the state’s child welfare practices on families in Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy and Penobscot tribal communities. Collectively, these tribes make up the Wabanaki people.

November 8
An Evening w/ Mo Asumang
Screening of “The Aryans” (2014), Q&A with Mo Asumang
7:00 p.m., Ostrove Auditorium

Join us for a screening of the award-winning documentary Die Arier/The Aryans (2014), followed by a conversation and Q&A with acclaimed Afro-German filmmaker Mo Asumang. Following a death threat, Mo Asumang sets out to confront racists face to face. In her documentary about right-wing movements worldwide, Asumang embarks on a journey into the madness of racism and meets German neo-Nazis, America’s most notorious racist Tom Metzger, and members of the KKK in the Midwest.

Cosponsored with the Pugh Center, Jewish Studies, History, Global Studies, Cinema Studies, German and Russian, and the Cultural Events Committee.

November 11
Community Conversations
Thought leaders: Bethashley Cajuste ’20  and Rabbi Erica Asch
6:30 p.m., Bill & Joan Alfond Main Street Commons, Waterville

Bethashley Cajuste ’20 has been working intimately with the Pugh Administration for two years and has been serving as a domestic violence advocate for five years. She is an Independent Global Health major at Colby with a focus on Women’s Health. Bethashley is also a QuestBridge scholar and mentor.


Rabbi Erica Asch is the spiritual leader of Congregation Beth El in Augusta, and the Hillel advisor and Jewish chaplain at Colby. She received her rabbinic ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 2008 and then took a position as a community organizer with the Industrial Areas Foundation, the first rabbi to do so directly out of rabbinical school. After three years with IAF, she served as an assistant rabbi at Temple Sinai in Washington, D.C., before moving to Augusta in 2013.

Cosponsored with the Center for Small Town Jewish Life

November 12
Giovanna Faleschini Lerner
Ghost of the Past, Fears of the Present in Italian Migration Cinema
7:00 p.m., Wormser Room, Miller Library

Since the early 1990s, Italian cinema has grappled with questions of migration, integration, and identity, both reflecting and shaping the broader preoccupations of Italian society at large. In this talk, Giovanna Faleschini Lerner, Associate Professor of Italian and Chair of the Program in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Franklin & Marshall College, focuses on two tropes that Italian filmmakers have used to connect current migration flows to past history, and on the ways in which these tropes have helped shape what she calls an aesthetic and ethics of hospitality in their films. This hospitality is not unproblematic, and the work of foreign-born or second-generation filmmakers has helped de-center it as the main theoretical framework in which to situate stories of migration.

November 14
Lecture: Artist Talk: Sammy Baloji
7:00 p.m., Ostrove Auditorium, Diamond Building

Sammy Baloji was born in 1978 in Lubumbashi, in the mineral-rich Katanga province of Democratic Republic of Congo. He studied Computer and Information Sciences and Communication at the University of Lubumbashi. With a borrowed camera, he began photographing scenes as sources for his cartoons. He soon enrolled in photography courses in DRC, and continued with photography and video at Ecole Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, in Strasbourg, France. Baloji juxtaposes photographic realities, combining past and present, the real and the ideal, to illicit glaring cultural and historical tensions. He explores architecture and the human body as traces of social history, sites of memory, and witnesses to operations of power.

Sponsored with the Oak Institute for Human Rights, and the Colby College Museum of Art.

November 14
Presence of the Past Film Series
Jonah who will be 25 in the year 2000
7:15 p.m., Railroad Square Cinema

A sweet, smart, hopeful and funny visionary film from our past imagines a future very different than the one we now know has happened. Alain Tanner’s beloved film follows eight casually utopian veterans of the consciousness of the ‘60s as they navigate a new world they themselves are trying to create through their eccentric but very deep idealism. The European equivalent of The Return of the Secaucus 7 (though Jonah came first!), looking at the lives of a group of men and women in their 30s as they confront the slim gains of the “revolutionary” sixties. Max, a dissatisfied copy editor; Myriam, a redhead into tantric sex; and Marie, a supermarket checker who gives unauthorized discounts to the elderly, search for renewed meaning on a communal farm. Director Alain Tanner collaborated with John Berger on a nonpareil screenplay, and a cast of great French actors take flight with their somewhat disillusioned but still very real hopes. In French with English subtitles. Unrated. 116 Min. 1976.

November 20
Dr.Loïc Bourdeau
Strategies of (un)Mothering: Womanhood in the Cinema of Xavier Dolan
4:00 p.m., Olin 1

Loïc Bourdeau received his PhD in French with a Designated Emphasis in Feminist Theory and Research from the University of California, Davis in 2015. While completing his dissertation, titled: “Sons, Mothers, and Lovers: ‘Queer Quebec’ in the Works of Michel Tremblay and Xavier Dolan,” Loic was Visiting Assistant Professor of French and Francophone Studies at the College of William and Mary. As of Fall 2015, Loic is Assistant Professor of French and Francophone studies at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where his research and teaching focus on the Quebecois context. More specific interests lie in representations of masculinity, transgression, (homo)sexuality, and motherhood in Quebec’s contemporary, cinematographic, and literary productions. Recent publications on such topics include: “F.O.L.L.E société…” (NEF, 2012) and “Troubles dans la sexualité…” (Cahiers Anne Hébert, 2015).

November 29
The Wonder of the World: Merleau-Ponty, Cézanne, and the Meaning of Painting
William “Bro” Adams
5:00 p.m., Parker-Reed Room, Schair-Swenson-Watson Alumni Center

Throughout his brief but brilliant career, the French phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty maintained an intense interest in painting, and especially in the painting of Paul Cézanne. Merleau-Ponty saw Cézanne as a fellow explorer in the primordial land of perception, a pioneer in the archaeology of the visible world. This talk explores Merleau-Ponty’s philosophical interest in the “mute thinking” of painting against the background of the contemporary explosion of scientific and technical knowledge and the steady erosion of the place of the arts and humanities in the education landscape in the United States and beyond.

Educator William Drea “Bro” Adams, tenth Chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities and nineteenth President of Colby College, will return to campus to present his scholarship.

This lecture is cosponsored by Colby’s Center for the Arts and Humanities, the Colby Museum, and the Art. Department.

December 1
Colby Symphony Orchestra
Presence of the Past Humanities Theme event
Minji-Ko, violin, 2018 Concerto Competition Winner
Jinwook Park, director
7:30 p.m., Lorimer Chapel

In its second concert of the season, the orchestra explores The Presence of the Past as it performs Mozart’s timeless Jupiter symphony, and, in celebration of the Leonard Bernstein’s 100th birthday, the Symphonic Dances from West Side Story. Minji Ko ‘21 will also be featured in the first movement of William Walton’s Violin Concerto.




December 5
Presence of the Past Film Series
The Great Dictator
7:15p.m., Railroad Square Cinema

Charlie Chaplin sees the present in 1940…and turns Adolph Hitler into a deeply satirized figure before the full force of World War 2 even happens in this astonishing comedy, forever memorable for the image of Chaplin’s Hitler clone, here named Adenoid Hynkel, literally playing with a world globe, which he bounces off his butt and head. Chaplin plays the part of both Hynkel, dictator of Tomania, and of a humble Jewish barber in this one-of-a-kind classic…with echoes that reverberate still…An Oscar nominee in its day for both Chaplin and Best Picture, it’s now simply seen as among the greatest films ever made, simultaneously funny and chilling. Unrated. 125 min. 1940.