Smile Politely

Listen Up: Mar. 26 – Apr. 1

WHAT: Four or Five Myths About Brazil and Latin America,” Prof. Joao Ubaldo Osorio Pimentel Ribeiro

WHEN: Tuesday, March 27 @ 4 p.m.

WHERE: 101 International Studies Building, 910 S. Fifth Street, Champaign

Also, on Wednesday, Prof. Ribeiro will be speaking at a lunch colloquium with his translater Cliff Landers titled “The Writer as Translator, the Translator as Writer“. It will be held at 12 noon in room 404 of the Illini Union. Sandwiches will be served!

From the event announcement: “Jo[a]o Ubaldo Osrio Pimentel Ribeiro is one of the most acclaimed contemporary Brazilian authors. A member of the prestigious Academia Brasileira de Letras, he has won prizes such as the Prmio Cames, the highest award that can be given to a Portuguese language author. His many works include Sargento Getlio, Viva o Povo Brasileiro, O Sorriso do Lagarto and A Casa dos Budas Ditosos. Several of his works have been adapted to TV and cinema in Brazil. Riberio, who is also a lawyer, has also distinguished himself as a journalist and screenwriter. Joo Ubaldo Ribeiro is a well-known Brazilian journalist and novelist from Salvador, Bahia, whose interests in Brazilian social and political concerns are imbued with an avant-garde approach to style. He has written a number of novels, some of which have been translated to the screen in Brazil. His novel House of the Fortunate Buddhas was translated into English by Cliff Landers and published by Dalkey Archive Press in 2011.”


WHAT: Water Quality Benefits of Riparian Buffers in Southern Illinois Agricultural Watersheds,” Dr. Karl Williard, SIU-Carbondale

WHEN: Wednesday, March 28 @ 12 noon

WHERE: Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, One E. Hazelwood Dr., Champaign

It’s important to have grass or other buffers between farm fields and streams in order to remove pesticides, fertilizers, and even soil particles, and Dr. Williard and his team have collected a lot of data confirming that fact. It may not be the sexiest topic, but if you’re concerned about water quality and you’re already on campus, this will be a useful way to spend your lunch hour.


WHAT: Whither Syria?Joshua Landis, University of Oklahoma

WHEN: Thursday, March 29 @ 4 p.m.

WHERE: Knight Auditorium, Spurlock Museum; 600 South Gregory Street, Urbana

From the event announcement: “Syria was the last country to experience pro-democracy ferment during the ‘Arab Spring’ of 2011, and the violent response of the Asad regime — forty years in power — has produced thousands of deaths and countless more wounded, imprisoned and displaced. The regime is at war with its citizens but the outcome is not clear. Joshua Landis, a leading expert on Syria, will address the current state of the struggle, the forces involved in it, and its impact on regional politics.”

According to his bio page on OU’s website, Landis “writes ‘Syria Comment,’ a daily newsletter on Syrian politics that attracts some 3,000 readers a day. It is widely read by officials in Washington, Europe and Syria. Dr. Landis regularly travels to Washington DC to consult with the State Department and other government agencies.”


WHAT: The Environmental Backlash: Useful Opponents? Destructive Force?

WHEN: Thursday, March 29 @ 4 p.m.

WHERE: 100 Noyes Lab, 505 South Mathews Ave., Urbana

I can never glean much information from these Noyes Lab environmental presentation announcements, but they sound interesting nonetheless. However, if you want any knowledge about who’s speaking and what their qualifications are, I’m afraid you’re on your own.

From the event announcement: “In the United States, the golden age of environmental control occurred from the late 1960s until around 1980, when nearly all of our laws and major policies were put into place. By 1980, a strong resistance force had arisen, slowing if not halting nearly all environmental progress.  That backlash effort, now seemingly stronger than ever, has allowed significant environmental problems to linger and is poised to undercut much environmental progress to date.  This session will probe the backlash movement, noting its common methods and linking the movement to core American liberal values and neo-classical economic thought.”


WHAT: Can Globalization Promote Human Rights?Rhoda Howard-Hassman, Professor, Wilfrid Laurier University

WHEN: Friday, March 30 @ 12 noon

WHERE: University YMCA, Latzer Hall, 1001 S. Wright Street, Champaign

Another excellent installment in the Campus Y’s Friday Forum series brings a Canadian human rights scholar to town.


WHAT: Justice, Self-Respect and the Culture of Poverty,” Tommie Shelby, Professor, Harvard University

WHEN: Friday, March 30 @ 4 p.m.

WHERE: Knight Auditorium, Spurlock Museum; 600 South Gregory Street, Urbana

From the event announcement: “Ghettos in the U.S. are predominantly black metropolitan neighborhoods with high concentrations of poverty. Tommie Shelby will examine the limitations of technocratic and paternalistic solutions to the problem of ghetto poverty and look for ways to engage the ghetto poor as potential allies in the fight against injustice rather than seeing them solely as the passive beneficiaries of liberal reform efforts.”


You 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. Perhaps you were not aware of this fact, or were overwhelmed by the sheer number of opportunities for possible enlightenment. If that’s the case, Smile Politely understands and is here to help. Here are several events going on in town this week. Check out one or more of them if you have time. Get your learn on, as they say, and join the cognoscenti. It’s free, you know. Plus, sometimes there’s free food, too!

If you have a community event, speaker, or film event that you’d like to see featured on Listen Up!, send the event information to joelgillespie [at] smilepolitely [dot] com by Friday the week prior to the event. Listen Up! runs on Mondays when classes are in session.

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