Paul Ortiz: The Making of an African American and Latinx History of the United States

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Contact person: Christy Waldkirch

An African American and Latinx History of the United States is a new interpretation of US history that builds on earlier generations of ethnic studies scholarship. An intersectional history of the shared struggle for human rights from 1776 to present, the book is an accessible narrative history arguing that Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa were integral to the development of democracy in the United States. From this grassroots perspective, ordinary people sought to build bridges of solidarity between the nations—not walls. Ortiz will discuss how the book is being integrated into college and high school social studies curricula seeking inclusiveness and historical accuracy.

An Evening with Claudia Rankine

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Rhodes College is thrilled to welcome acclaimed author, Yale
    University professor, and 2016 MacArthur Fellowship recipient
    Claudia Rankine to campus. Rankine’s most recent book, 2014’s
    bestselling Citizen: An American Lyric, won the National Book
    Critics Circle Award for Poetry, the NAACP Image Award, and
    numerous other prizes. This book – which will form the basis of
    her remarks – engages America’s painful and complex history
    of race, citizenship, and policing in ways that invoke the past
    and speak profoundly to the #BlackLivesMatter moment. In this
    necessary and provocative conversation, Rankine will demand a
    reckoning with our past and a reimagining of our future.

An opening reception will be held at 4:30 in the lobby of McNeill Concert Hall, with books available to purchase. A closing reception and booksigning will follow the event in the lobby of the bookstore.

This event is free and open to the public.

An Evening with Werner Herzog

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Contact person: test

The Film and Media Studies program at Rhodes College presents a public screening of Werner Herzog’s THE WILD BLUE YONDER (2005), followed by a Q&A session with the legendary filmmaker himself. 

THE WILD BLUE YONDER tells the story of an alien species seeking refuge on earth while humans are looking for other worlds to colonize. Though the film announces itself as a “science fiction fantasy,” its combination of mesmerizing footage from NASA missions and underwater exploration in Antarctica with originally produced material defies easy categorization. It offers a haunting meditation on eco-conservation, on longing for home, and on what being an alien really means. It won the FIPRESCI Award at the Venice Film Festival in 2005.

Werner Herzog is among the most daring, influential, and prolific contemporary filmmakers. He emerged as a creative force from the New German Cinema and has earned international critical acclaim with epics like AGUIRRE, THE WRATH OF GOD (1972) and FITZCARRALDO (1982) as well as documentaries like FATA MORGANA (1971), LITTLE DIETER NEEDS TO FLY (1997), and GRIZZLY MAN (2005). Spectacular and perplexing, Herzog’s films are set in unique landscapes that become reflections of emotional states; they blur distinctions between reality and fiction and are often populated by mad men and women at psychological extremes. As Roger Ebert once put it, Herzog is among a handful of directors who “keep the movies vibrating.”

This event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required. Tickets are available to the Rhodes community at Rhodes Express and to the public at Novel bookstore, located at 387 Perkins Extd. 

Film and Media Studies

Phi Beta Kappa Lecture: Shakespeare, Race and Performance: What We Still Don't Know

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Nontraditional casting — the practice of casting actors of color in roles that were originally imagined as white characters to be performed by white actors — is a common phenomenon in British and American theatre and film. Yet very little research has been conducted on the effects of perceptions of race on the reception of classical performances. Scholars interested in audience reception have mostly been limited to anecdotal sources: theatre reviews, interviews with artists, and overheard conversations. Thompson aims to challenge our scholarly understandings of audience responses to nontraditional casting.

Ayanna Thompson is professor of English at George Washington, specializing in Renaissance drama and issues of race in/as performance. She is the author of "Teaching Shakespeare with Purpose: A Student-Centered Approach"; "Passing Strange: Shakespeare, Race, and Contemporary America"; and "Performing Race and Torture on the Early Modern Stage." She wrote the new introduction for the revised Arden 3 "Othello," and is the co-editor (with Scott Newstok) of "Weyward Macbeth: Intersections of Race and Performance" and editor of "Colorblind Shakespeare: New Perspectives on Race and Performance." Currently on the editorial boards of "Shakespeare Quarterly," "Renaissance Drama," and "Shakespeare Bulletin," she is a member of the board of directors for the Association of Marshall Scholars and was recently elected President of the Shakespeare Association of America.

Baldwin Now Symposium: Keynote Lecture

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This two-day symposium celebrates the life and legacy of James Baldwin. Baldwin’s work has become a touchstone in our present cultural moment. Baldwin is an intellectual forbearer of Ta-Nehisi Coates, Jesmyn Ward, and the #BlackLivesMatter movement, and a key reference for post-civil rights discussions of race in America. As such, Baldwin continues to be a cultural catalyst for American society.

Keynote lecture by Dwight McBride, author of Impossible Witness, Why I Hate Abercrombie and Fitch, and editor of James Baldwin Now.

The Symposium continues March 30 @ 6:00 p.m. in Ellington 100 at the University of Memphis with a roundtable discussion with leading Baldwin scholars Quentin Miller, Soyica Colbert, and Magdalena Zaborowska. Moderated by Ernest Gibson.


CANCELLED: Prof. Sharon Kinoshita: Marco Polo and the Global Middle Ages

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*Prof. Kinoshita has had to cancel her visit to Rhodes due to severe flooding and mudslides in Santa Cruz, CA.*

Sharon Kinoshita, Professor and Chair of Literature at UC-Santa Cruz, will speak on "Marco Polo and the Global Middle Ages."

Prof. Kinoshita's current work is primarily focused in Medieval Mediterranean Studies. With Brian Catlos (Religious Studies, Colorado-Boulder and History, UCSC), she co-directs the UCSC Center for Mediterranean Studies as well as the University of California Multicampus Research Project Initiative in Mediterranean Studies ( Her work in this area includes two book manuscripts in progress. Paying Tribute: Old French Literature and the Medieval Culture of Empire studies vernacular French representations of and interactions with an imperial culture, distinct from that of post-Carolingian Europe, shared by Latin Christian, Byzantine, and Muslim courts. Medieval Mediterranean Literature explores new approaches to canonical and non-canonical medieval texts in the historical context of the high and late medieval Mediterranean, c. 1100-1400. In the field of Old French Literature, Prof. Kinoshita has recently co-authored books on Chretien de Troyes and Marie de France. She is currently working on a translation of and monograph on Marco Polo.


Jack D. Farris Visiting Writers Series Presents Jess Walter

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Jess Walter is the author of eight books. He's been a #1 New York Times bestseller, finalist for the 2006 National Book Award and the PEN/​USA Literary prize in both fiction and nonfiction, and won the 2005 Edgar Allan Poe award. His work has been published in 30 languages and his short fiction has appeared in Best American Short Stories, Harpers, McSweeney's, Esquire and more.
Department of English