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Listen Up: April 2016

April brings with it a range of academic lectures, film screenings, and events on topics ranging from insects to Haitian literature. Here are a dozen academic events to keep your eye on this month.

WHAT: WorldFest 2016

WHEN: April 2 at 12:30 p.m.

WHERE: Spurlock Museum

ABOUTDuring WorldFest, the Museum celebrates the wonderful variety of performance arts practiced around the world and offers hands-on activities for everyone. This year’s event features music and dance of India, multicultural storytelling, and a Congalese ensemble that is new to the area. Visit Spurlock’s website for a time schedule and a list of performances.


WHAT: Lecture: “Urban Hunters: Hustling and Gathering in Postsocialist Ulaanbaatar”

WHEN: April 4 at 4 p.m.

WHERE: 101 ISB (910 S. Fifth Street, Champaign)

ABOUTThe aim of this lecture is to analyze postsocialist transition as a distinct social and existential predicament imbued with unique temporal dynamics. More precisely, by chronicling the hopes and the hardships of Ulaanbaatar’s so called “lost generation” of men and women who turned thirty around the turn of the millennium, the lecture explores what happens when postsocialist transition becomes permanent and acquires a logic of its own, across different arenas of economic and religious life. Presenter Morten Pedersen is Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Copenhagen, where he has worked since completing his PhD at the University of Cambridge in 2002.


WHAT: Film Screening and Discussion: “India’s Daughter”

WHEN: April 5 at 7 p.m.

WHERE: Spurlock Museum, Knight Auditorium

ABOUTThis documentary film chronicles the life and death of Jyoti Singh, an Indian medical student whose violation and murder by gang rapists exposed the violent misogyny of Indian society.


WHAT: Traditional Arabic Fashion Fair

WHEN: April 6 at 4 p.m.

WHERE: Lucy Ellis Lounge, 1080 Foreign Languages Building

ABOUTThis fashion fair is sponsored by the Less Commonly Taught Languages Program.


WHAT: Lecture: “Why is the European Union an important actor affecting farmers in Central Illinois?”

WHEN: April 7 at 1 p.m.

WHERE: Parkland College

ABOUTThis lecture will be delivered by Mr. Damien Levie, Head of the Trade and Agriculture Section at the EU Delegation to the United States.


WHAT: Lecture: “Utopian Songwriting. Music, Nation, Modernity and Censorship in 1960s Brazil”

WHEN: April 8 at 8 p.m.

WHERE: Iron Post, 120 S. Race Street, Urbana

ABOUTThis concert/discussion explores multidisciplinary connections between music and political activism during the early years of the military dictatorship in Brazil as part of the on-going program on Global Utopias of the Center for Historical Interpretation. Held at a local club, the event presents music from Brazilian songwriters including Milton Nascimento, Chico Buarque, Gilberto Gil, Geraldo Vandre, Toninho Horta and Egberto Gismonti, who became prominent through music festivals organized by TV networks during the 1960s.


WHAT: Lecture: “Insect Immigrants: Bio-Nativism and Racial Formations in a Regional Perspective”

WHEN: April 11 at 12 p.m.

WHERE: IPRH Lecture Hall, Levis Faculty Center

ABOUTThis presentation comes from Dr. Shinozuka’s current book project, American Biotic Borders: Constituting Race through Transnational Public Health and Agriculture, 1880-1950, whhich argues that beginning in the late nineteenth century, the constellation American reponses to immigrating Japanese plant, insect, and human bodies constitute a powerful historical instance of the entrality of biology and biota (i.e., all biological forms) to race making and racial meanings.


WHAT: Lecture: “‘Say, Man, What Do You Love?’ Persian Poetry and the Varieties of Amorous Experience”

WHEN: April 12 at 4 p.m.

WHERE: Knight Auditorium, Spurlock Museum

ABOUTAn anonymous scholar once remarked: “Greek literature is about freedom, Persian literature is about love.” One interpretation of this comment is that Greek literature is about the autonomous individual, whereas Persian literature is about the individual in relation to something or someone outside of the self, without which that individual is incomplete. This something or someone can take myriad forms, and we will look at some of them, ranging from the divine to the romantic and even the obscene.


WHAT: Haitian author Kettly Mars (lecture in English): “Savage Seasons: the impact of politics on Haitian Literature Today”

WHEN: April 13 at 3 p.m.

WHERE: Lucy Ellis Lounge, 1080 Foreign Languages Building

ABOUTThrough her poems, short stories, novels, and essays, the Haitian writer Kettly Mars has put into words all of those intangible aspects of life in Haïti.  She narrates the daily lives and history of her fellow countrywomen and men in extraordinary manner. The depth of her work extends from writing a popular series in the most read section of the local newspaper to penning a historical novel that depicts Haïti’s decades-long dictatorship.


WHAT: Lecture: “Greenland, Global Warming, and Contemporary Film and Media Production in the Circumpolar North”

WHEN: April 20 at 4 p.m.

WHERE: Spurlock Museum

ABOUTAnna Westerståhl Stenport, Professor of Scandinavian Studies and of Germanic Languages and Literatures at the University of Illinois, presents a lecture in support of the current “North of the Northern Lights” exhibit at the Spurlock Museum.


WHAT: Lecture: “Putin’s Russia: The past and future of Kleptocracy”

WHEN: April 21 at 4 p.m.

WHERE: Spurlock Museum

ABOUT: Karen Dawisha will discuss how Putin got to power, the cabal he brought with him, the billions they have looted, and his plan to restore the Greater Russia.


WHAT: Reading by U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Filipe Herrera

WHEN: April 28 at 7:30 p.m.

WHERE: Alice Campbell Alumni Center Ballroom

ABOUTThe son of migrant farm workers, Herrera was educated at UCLA and Stanford University, and he earned his MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His numerous poetry collections include 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can’t Cross the Border: Undocuments 1971-2007, Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems (2008), and Border-Crosser with a Lamborghini Dream (1999). In addition to publishing more than a dozen collections of poetry, Herrera has written short stories, young adult novels, and children’s literature. In 2015 he was named U.S. poet laureate.


We live near a major university and a community college. There are smart people that come here every week to talk to the general public about interesting topics. Here’s a sampling of the talks and events you can find in the not-so-ivy-covered buildings near you. These events are free and will fill your brain with yummy knowledge (and sometimes will fill your stomach with free eats).

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