Wed 7.13.11| Early Walter Benjamin

Howard Eiland, ed., Walter Benjamin's Early Writings (1910-1917) Harvard U. Press, 2011




Human consciousness, creativity, development, and organization: So many facets of the human condition interested Walter Benjamin (1892-1940), whose insights into the big questions of modern existence continue to resonate. A new volume of Benjamin's early writings, in which the German philosopher-critic holds forth on topics like education, creativity, history, and the search for truth, is edited by Howard Eiland.

Tues 7.12.11| New Words, Big Ideas

Jonathon Keats, Virtual Words: Language on the Edge of Science and Technology Oxford U. Press, 2010



In the world of science and technology, new words are coined, and some of them stick, and the words themselves lead interesting lives and have surprising effects -- technical, social, even political. In his book Virtual Words Jonathon Keats explores the origins, uses, and impact of terms like microbiome, copyleft, Panglish, and singularity.

Mon 7.11.11| Race and Gender in Hemingway

Does black feminist literary study have any business examining the canonical works of dead white male authors? Ann duCille thinks it does. A short story by Ernest Hemingway, although set in Africa, is dominated by the actions and thoughts of three white characters. DuCille offers a critique of that story, "The Short, Happy Life of Francis Macomber," bringing to the fore considerations of race, gender, and class.

Wed 7.06.11| Kafka and The Metamorphosis

Franz Kafka, The MetamorphosisBantam Classics, 1972

Kafka's Metamorphosis at Aurora Theatre Company, directed by Mark Jackson



Why is Franz Kafka's fiction like no one else's? What accounts for what's been called the startling, mysterious, even galvanizing force of Kafka's texts? And if his novella The Metamorphosis is not about a giant cockroach who used to be Gregor Samsa, then what's the real story? Jeff Fort has studied and written about Kafka for years; Mark Jackson directs a current stage adaptation of Kafka's novella.

Tues 7.05.11| Is Overpopulation the Culprit?

Too few resources, too many people. That's the received wisdom in most of the environmental movement, mainstream or radical. But can that assumption withstand close scrutiny? Not according to population scholar Betsy Hartmann, who interrogates whether overpopulation is a main -- or the main -- cause of our ecological woes. She also discusses the far Right's courting of liberal environmentalism. (Encore presentation.)

Mon 7.04.11| The Supermax Phenomenon

Keramet Reiter calls supermax prisons "the black hole" in this nation's system of incarceration: So little is known about them, and yet inmates in those facilities endure the most extreme form of punishment short of the death penalty. Reiter has investigated the rise of supermaxes, the conditions and terms of confinement, and the impact of such confinement on prisoners and society. (Encore presentation.)

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