Spring 2021

February 18
The Provenance Trap: Understanding the Modus Operandi of Art Forgers
Noah Charney ’02
4:00 p.m., Live Zoom Webinar

Charney is the founder and president of the Association for Research into Crimes against Art (ARCA). His articles have appeared in the Guardian, the Washington Post, Salon, the Art Newspaper, the Observer, Tendencias del Mercado del Arte. He is the Pulitzer-nominated author of twelve books, including The Art of Forgery: The Minds, Motives and Methods of Master Forgers (Phaidon, 2015).

The talk is sponsored by the Art Department, the Center for the Arts and Humanities, and the Colby College Museum of Art.

Zoom meeting ID: 923 5704 4545; click here to join.


February 23
Toward an Unfractured Future: Fracking, Health, Human Rights, and Climate Justice
Dr. Sandra Steingraber
7:00 p.m., Live Zoom Webinar

Using fresh drinking water as a club, fracking shatters our nation’s bedrock to bring bubbles of oil and gas out of the dark heart of our planet and up to the sunlit surface. It’s a technique of fossil-fuel extraction that is banned in many parts of the world but which has allowed the United States to become the world’s leading producer of oil and gas—in the midst of a climate emergency. In this new political moment, and with fracking in the daily headlines, this talk examines the climate, health, racial justice, and human rights implications of fracking and charts a path forward to an unfractured future. For the past decade, biologist Sandra Steingraber has made the health and climate harms of fracking the focus of her research and writing as a co-founder of New Yorkers Against Fracking and Concerned Health Professionals of New York. She’ll bring this evidence forward in her talk and also describe her experience as a civil disobedient within the anti-fracking movement, willing to go to jail for climate justice when science is ignored.

To register for this talk, please click here.


March 11
Gary Vikan
7:00 p.m., Live Zoom Webinar

Former director of the Walters Art Museum, Mr. Vikan will be talking about his recent book, The Holy Shroud: A Brilliant Hoax in the Time of the Black Death (Pegasus Books, 2020) in which he shows that the world’s most controversial relic, the Shroud of Turin is not the burial cloth of Jesus, but rather a photograph-like body print of a medieval Frenchman created by a brilliant artist serving the royal court in the time of the Black Death. While other scholars, and even the Catholic Church itself, have never confirmed the authenticity of the Shroud, the question always remained—how did that image get there? Combining copious research and decades of art world experience with an accessible, wry voice, Gary Vikan shows how one of the greatest hoaxes in the history of Christian relics came into being.

The talk is sponsored by the Art Department, the Center for the Arts and Humanities, the Colby College Museum of Art, and the Department of Religious Studies.

Meeting ID: 981 9433 4633; click here to join.


March 17
Immigration Revisited: Reimagining the Dream
Laura Wides-Muñoz
7:00 p.m., Live Zoom Webinar

Laura Wides-Muñoz is a journalist and author. She currently serves as an Executive Editor for News Practices at ABC News in Washington DC. Her debut book, “The Making of a Dream: How a Group of Young Undocumented Immigrants Helped Change What it Means to be American” (Harper Books: 2018), was named a semifinalist for the 2018 PEN America/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for nonfiction literature. Previously, she was based in Miami as VP for Special Projects at Fusion Network, overseeing work by the investigative and digital teams. Laura began her career covering the end of the civil war in Guatemala and has reported throughout Central America and Cuba. She worked for more than a decade at The Associated Press and was a 2013 Nieman Foundation for Journalism fellow at Harvard University. Her writing has been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Miami Herald, The Guardian, and the Los Angeles Times, among other outlets.

Cosponsored with the Oak Institute for Human Rights, the Spanish department, and the Latin American Studies program.


April 8
Boundaries and Margins keynote speaker
Baratunde Thurston
7:00 p.m., Live Zoom Webinar

Like A Boss – Baratunde Thurston

We are delighted to announce that Baratunde Thurston will be the Spring 2021 keynote speaker for the humanities theme Boundaries and Margins. Thurston is an Emmy-nominated host who has worked for The Onion, produced for The Daily Show, advised the Obama White House, and wrote the New York Times bestseller How To Be Black. He’s the executive producer and host of two podcasts: How To Citizen with Baratunde and We’re Having A Moment which CNET called “the most important podcast of 2020.” He’s also the creator/host of the weekly pandemic show, Live On Lockdown. In 2019, he delivered what MSNBC’s Brian Williams called “one of the greatest TED talks of all time”. Right now, the writer, activist and comedian is using his powerful voice to help people understand this revolutionary moment with his unique blend of insight, humor, and empathy.

This event is free and open to Colby students, faculty, staff, parents, alum, and the broader community.

To submit a question for Baratunde, please fill out this form by Monday, March 29.

Registration will open on March 8, 2021.


April 20
Questions of Structural Change: The Human, Afropessimism, and Indignity
Frank B. Wilderson III and Ranjana Khanna
3:00 p.m., Live Zoom event

This panel brings two contemporary thinkers in the Humanities, Frank B. Wilderson III and Ranjana Khanna, into a conversation about questions of racism, colonialism, and sexual difference. Wilderson and Khanna both engage critically with notions of the human. Wilderson has argued that Humanist thought and its material implications are dependent on Black death; he suggests that within this configuration, “Human Life is dependent on Black death for its existence and for its conceptual coherence.” Wilderson offers Afropessimism as an analytic lens, arguing that it shows an irreconcilable difference between the violence of capitalism, gender oppression, White supremacy, and colonialism on the one hand, and the violence of anti-Blackness on the other. Khanna has argued for a radical reassessment of the use of dignity as the basis for understandings of the human. She proposes instead a consideration of the human in terms of disposability. Through psychoanalytic, feminist, Marxist, and literary analyses, Khanna offers an approach to questions of political change and justice through a focus on moments of dissolution that challenge rather than reinforce the rights-bearing liberal subject and humanist assumptions of “sameness and consistency as being the mark of signature, personhood, humanness, autonomy, or life itself.”

Cosponsored with College of the Atlantic and the Department of Philosophy, University of Maine.


April 27
Climate Stories Project
Jason Davis
7:00 p.m., Live Zoom event

On Tuesday, April 27th, at 7 pm, join the Center for the Arts and Humanities and the Colby Music department in welcoming musician and director of Climate Stories Project, Jason Davis, for a unique Climate Music performance. In partnership with the Environmental Humanities Initiative, Dr. Davis has taught climate storytelling workshops in five Colby classes. This live-streamed performance will include several original pieces for solo double bass which integrate recorded personal responses to the climate crisis. Dr. Davis will also give a brief presentation about his compositional process and about Climate Stories Project. To learn more about climate storytelling and climate music, please visit www.climatestoriesproject.org.