Fall 2017

September 10 Build your own Origins 2:00 pm-5:00 pm, Miller Library New year, new bricks! The Center for the Arts and Humanities and Colby Libraries are proud to bring you another day of LEGO excitement, now with more bricks and prizes than ever before! Get in the spirit of the Humanities and join in a friendly LEGO building competition as you partake in nostalgic creativity and light refreshments in Miller. In this latest installment of the Build Your Humanity series, we kick off a new year for the Center for the Arts & Humanities with their latest theme – Origins: Order & Chaos. The most exceptional creators will earn a range of awesome LEGO sets to take home, so bring your inspiration, ingenuity, and imagination! You can create entries during the event for as many of the Challenges as you want – your only restriction is time! Entries will be judged on their aesthetics, accuracy, creativity, and originality. The judging will take place in the last 15-20 minutes of the event, so the quicker you arrive, the more time you will have to build the coolest entry (or entries!) possible. The Challenges are detailed below so you can brainstorm LEGO ideas in advance, drawing from history, fiction, or the present day. Let the building begin!
September 19 ST132: Origins: Order vs Chaos Dale Kocevski 7 pm, Lovejoy 100 Does our Universe have a finite origin or has it existed unchanged for all eternity? Either answer has profound implications about the nature of our reality. I will discuss how astronomers came to the conclusion that the Universe, and time itself, had a beginning in the Big Bang, about 14 billion years ago. I will describe the physics behind the Big Bang and what modern observations tell us about the structure and evolution of the Universe over cosmic time and how the contents of the Universe will dictate its ultimate fate. Dale Kocevski is an assistant professor in the Physics and Astronomy Department at Colby College. Dale attended the University of Michigan as an undergraduate and later obtained a PhD in Astrophysics at the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu. He performed his postdoctoral work at the University of California in both Davis and Santa Cruz. Dale’s research focuses on the study of supermassive black holes and how they affect the growth and evolution of distant galaxies.
September 26 ST132: Origins: Order vs Chaos David Bercovici 7pm, Lovejoy 100 Although our existence on a habitable planet can largely be taken for granted, how Earth arrived at this state of ‘habitability’ is far from obvious. How the planets even formed is still not well understood. There are not only numerous hurdles to forming a solar system let alone a planet, but their formation must all be done extremely quickly (on a cosmological/geological time scale) before the Sun ignites its fusion furnace. Once a terrestrial planet is created, its evolution is controlled by how it slowly cools to space, which drives its internal motion by convection, much like any fluid, such as soup or coffee, cools. On Earth, convection led to plate tectonics, which in turn led to the formation of continents and ocean basins, and set the geological carbon cycle that keeps our oceans liquid and makes our atmosphere and climate habitable. But only Earth has plate tectonics amongst all the terrestrial planets we know, and why that so also remains a major scientific mystery. David Bercovici received his BS in Physics from Harvey Mudd College (1982) and his Ph.D. in Geophysics and Space Physics from UCLA (1989). After a postdoctoral fellowship at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (1989-1990), he joined the faculty at the University of Hawaii (1990-2000). He moved to Yale in 2001 and has been there ever since as Professor and even Chair (2006-2012).
October 6 “Somehow a Past”: New England Regionalism, 1900 to 1960 9 am, Ostrove Auditorium Marsden Hartley, City Point, Vinalhaven, 1937–38. Oil on commercially prepared paperboard (academy board), 181/4 x 243/8 in. (46.4 x 61.9 cm). Colby College Museum of Art, Gift of the Alex Katz Foundation. A symposium presented in conjunction with the exhibition Marsden Hartley’s Maine at the Colby College Museum of Art and the Colby College 2017–18 Humanities theme “Origins.” On the occasion of Marsden Hartley’s Maine, an exhibition organized by the Colby College Museum of Art and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Colby College will present the symposium, “Somehow a Past”: New England Regionalism, 1900 to 1960. Taking its title from the autobiography of Marsden Hartley, an artist closely associated with Maine, this gathering of leading scholars will explore the interest in regional, New England subjects among American artists who contributed to the development and maturation of modernism. For more information please visit:
October 9 Till We Have Built Jerusalem: Architects of a New City Adina Hoffman 5:30 pm, Robins Room, Roberts Building Please join us for a talk by award-winning essayist and biographer Adina Hoffman about her book. Till We Have Built Jerusalem is a gripping and intimate journey into the lives of three very different architects who helped shape modern Jerusalem. A powerfully written rumination on memory and forgetting, place and displacement, the book uncovers multiple layers of one great city’s buried history as it asks what it means, in Jerusalem and everywhere, to be foreign and to belong. The Los Angeles Times called the book “brave and often beautiful,” and Haaretz described it as “a passionate, lyrical defense of a Jerusalem that could still be.” All are welcome and dinner will be served: please RSVP by Oct. 4 to Sherry Berard, Co-sponsored by the Jewish studies program, religious studies department, and Center for the Arts and Humanities.
October 9 Sacred Trash: The Lost and Found World of the Cairo Geniza Peter Cole and Adina Hoffman 7 pm, Lovejoy 208 One May day in 1896, a meeting took place between a Romanian-born maverick Jewish intellectual and twin learned Presbyterian Scotswomen who had assembled to inspect several pieces of rag-paper and parchment. It was the unlikely start to what would prove a remarkable saga, and one that has revolutionized our sense of what it means to lead a Jewish life. Based on their Sacred Trash: The Lost and Found World of the Cairo Geniza, which was named the best Jewish book of the year by the American Library Association, this talk by Peter Cole and Adina Hoffman will bring us inside the story of one of the greatest discovery of Jewish manuscripts ever made. Harold Bloom described Sacred Trash as “a small masterpiece,” and David Nirenberg, writing in the Nation, called it “a literary jewel whose pages turn like those of a well-paced thriller, but with all the chiseled elegance and flashes of linguistic surprise that we associate with poetry . . . Sacred Trash has made history beautiful and exciting.” Co-sponsored by the Jewish studies program, religious studies department, and Center for the Arts and Humanities.
October 10 ST132: Origins: Order vs Chaos Origins at the Colby Museum Shalini Le Gall 4pm, Colby College Museum of Art This session will provide an overview of the Origins theme as it relates to the collection of the Colby Museum and will include works of art by Ai Weiwei, Tim Rollins and K.O.S., Marsden Hartley, and John James Audubon. Shalini Le Gall is an art historian and museum educator with extensive experience in object-based teaching and learning. In her current position as the curator of academic programs at the Colby College Museum of Art, she works with faculty across the College to integrate the museum’s collection into their teaching, assignments, and research, through installations and exhibitions. Le Gall received her Ph.D. in art history from Northwestern University, specializing in 19th-century European art.
October 23 Monday Night Movies: Origins High and Low 7 pm, Maine Film Center The series opener, High and Low, is a departure from the period settings of director Akira Kurosawa’s best known films (RASHOMON, SEVEN SAMURAI, RAN) and instead points the way to the kind of present-set societal investigation—in the guise of a police procedural—later adopted by the likes of Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino. Toshiro Mifune is unforgettable as Kingo Gondo, a wealthy industrialist whose family becomes the target of a cold-blooded kidnapper in High and Low, the highly influential domestic drama and police procedural from director Akira Kurosawa. Adapting Ed McBain’s detective novel King’s Ransom, Kurosawa’s film moves effortlessly from compelling race-against-time thriller to exacting social commentary, creating an unforgettable, widescreen black-and-white thriller that’s much more—in fact, some consider it the Japanese master’s greatest film. 1963. Unrated. In Japanese with English subtitles. 143 Min.
October 24 ST132: Origins: Order vs Chaos Professor Vittorio Loreto 7pm, Lovejoy 100 Creativity and innovation are key elements in many different areas and disciplines since they represent the primary motor to explore new solutions in ever-changing and unpredictable environments. New biological traits and functions, new technological artifacts, new social, linguistic and cultural structures, new meanings, are very often triggered by the mutated external conditions. Unfortunately, the detailed mechanisms through which humans, societies, and nature express their creativity and innovate are largely unknown. The common intuition that one new thing often leads to another is captured, mathematically, by the notion of adjacent possible, introduced by Stuart Kauffman. Originally introduced in the framework of biology, the adjacent possible metaphor already expanded its scope to include all those things (ideas, linguistic structures, concepts, molecules, genomes, technological artefacts, etc.) that are one step away from what actually exists, and hence can arise from incremental modifications and recombination of existing material. Vittorio Loreto is Full Professor of Physics of Complex Systems at Sapienza University and Research Leader at the ISI Foundation in Turin where he coordinates the Information Dynamics group. He recently joined the Faculty of the Complexity Science Hub Vienna. His scientific activity is mainly focused on the statistical physics of complex systems. In the last few years he has been active in the fields of granular media, complexity and information theory, complex networks theory, communication and language evolution, social dynamics.
October 31 ST132: Origins: Order vs Chaos Voice and Verse Professor Stefano Colangelo 7pm, Lovejoy 100 Since the early 20th Century, the theory of poetry in Italy has been accustomed to a set of authoritative statements and categories shaped by Benedetto Croce’s general aesthetics: poetry as the individual intuition of a spiritual state of mind; poetry as the result of a strict selection among the possible ways of expressing that intuition. Thus, poetic inspiration has been often identified with this entirely individual creative process, an idea that is still widely accepted today, especially in the context of higher education. Stefano Colangelo is Associate Professor of Contemporary Italian Literature at the University of Bologna. He graduated cum laude in Italian Literature, and obtained a Ph.D in Italian Studies at the University of Bologna, under the tutorship of Ezio Raimondi, who designated him as a teaching assistant in rhetoric, metrics, and theories of literary style in 1994. He has also taught Greek and Latin Literature, Italian Literature, and History in Italian high schools, and developed a primary interest in the theory and analysis of poetry, especially related to music and the performing arts.  
November 13 Monday Night Movies: Origins Red Desert 7 pm, Maine Film Center Michelangelo Antonioni’s RED DESERT helped coin the term “Antoniennui,” reflecting the philosophical origins of German romanticism and of Kant and Schopenhauer. But in fact, his alienated characters and landscapes, bathed in colors both rich and washed out, full of what Thelonious Monk called “Ugly Beauty” in one of his compositions, proved not just an accurate indicator of its era, but also the mother of the slow-paced, long-take-based style that was to mark so many cutting edge international films of the succeeding decades. 1964. Unrated. In Italian with English subtitles. 117 Min.
November 14 ST132: Origins: Order vs Chaos Origins of the Origins of species Janet Browne 7 pm, Lovejoy 100 This lecture takes readers inside Charles Darwin’s Origin of the Species and shows why it can fairly claim to be the greatest science book ever published. An immediate and influential sensation in 1859, the book sold its first print run in one day and profoundly shocked Victorian readers with its description of evolution through natural selection. Janet Browne, widely acclaimed as “Darwin’s biographer,” explains Darwin’s readings as a university student, his five-year voyage on the Beagle, his experiments in his home and garden, his correspondence and debates with other naturalists, and his urgency to publish his theory of evolution.Janet Browne is Aramont Professor of the History of Science at Harvard University where she teaches the history of natural history and biology. In 2002 she published a two-volume biography of Charles Darwin, and in 2006 Darwin’s Origin of Species: A Biography. Her interest in Darwin stems from her time as an editor on the Darwin Correspondence Project, Cambridge, England.
November 21 ST132: Origins: Order vs Chaos Origins of Superheros Chris Gavaler 7 pm, Lovejoy 100 This lecture traces the conceptual etymology of “Superman,” drawing connections to eugenics, Darwin, 19th-century hero philosophy, the American revolution, and contemporary politics. Chris Gavaler is an assistant professor of English at Washington and Lee University, where he teaches fiction, creative writing, and comics. He has published two non-fiction studies, On the Origin of Superheroes: from the Big Bang to Action Comics No. 1 (Iowa 2015) and Superhero Comics (Bloomsbury 2017), and two novels, Pretend I’m Not Here (HarperCollins 2002) and School for Tricksters (Southern Methodist 2011).
November 28 ST132: Origins: Order vs Chaos The Origins of Science and the History of Science Elena Aronova 7 pm, Lovejoy 100 This lecture examines the role of the 17th C Scientific Revolution (as well as generic scientific revolutions) as a master narrative in the history of science (from George Sarton to Thomas Kuhn) focusing on an approach that called for the use of quantitative methods. The protagonists of this approach, such as J.D. Bernal, sought to apply the methods of science to the study of science itself, linking their drive for quantification to their claims of objectivity. This practice, called scientometrics, has evolved from a marginal technique to become a respected academic specialty with both political and intellectual appeal. The lecture further examines the theme of the seminar — “origins” — and compares it to that of “revolution.” Elena Aronova is a historian of science working on the history of environmental and evolutionary sciences in the twentieth century. Elena received a Ph.D. in History and Science Studies from the University of California at San Diego in 2012, after earning a doctorate in Biology and History of Science from the Russian Academy of Science.
December 18 Monday Night Movies: Origins Mulholland Drive 7 pm, Maine Film Center David Lynch’s MULHOLLAND DRIVE is a singular masterpiece, harnessing the director’s deepest emotions in an inimitable way, and narratively playing with multiple diegetic levels in a mise-en-abyme structure, continuously deferring the story’s origin within another origin. This masterwork has spawned cinematic stepchildren in topsy-turvy American independent films of the next two decades. 2001. R. 146 Min.