CHICAGO — This spring, many of the DePaul University Humanities Center’s lineup
of events will incorporate Native American art and culture. Topics include the
scientific and artistic pull of the moon in literature and music; art as a
means to overcome dominant power structures and transform identity; and the
role of the trickster and comedy in liberating humanity.
Free and open to the public, these
community-focused events will bring together musicians, artists, comedians and scholars.
In May, the center will present its annual laureate award to the Natives at Standing
Rock during an evening with activists Bobbi
Jean Three Legs, LaDonna Brave Bull Allard and Dallas Goldtooth. The season will
conclude in June with a 50th anniversary celebration of the Beatles’ album
“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”
“We feature serious, careful and scholarly
work, but also maintain that serious is not the opposite of fun,” said H. Peter Steeves, director of the
center and a professor of philosophy. “Work in the humanities creates joy and
meaning. We will have several events that focus on both. And we are especially
happy to be honoring the Natives at Standing Rock for physically putting their bodies on the line for what they believe.”
Humanities in Spaaaace!: The Moon
April 11, DePaul
Student Center, 2250 N. Sheffield Ave., Room 120
Film screening of “A Trip to the Moon” 6:15-6:30 p.m.
and lectures 6:30-8:30 p.m.
of the full moon (and the moons of Jupiter) with telescopes 8:30-9 p.m.
11 is a full moon, and on this night the center will conclude its space-themed
series by investigating the moon, the Earth’s precious natural satellite. Live
musical performances include Beethoven's “Moonlight Sonata,"
Bellini's “Vaga luna, che inargenti,” and the aria “O Luna Lucent” by Joseph
Haydn. Traditional Native stories, including vocal and flute musical
performances, will look at Nokomis — our grandmother, the moon — from the
perspective of the American Indian tribal nations of the Northeast. An investigation
of “The Moon and the Western Imagination” turns up the forms of cultural projection
that scientists, artists and others have given to the lunar body. And a NASA
scientist will discuss ways in which science fiction has influenced
understanding and exploration of the moon. Weather permitting, the evening will
conclude with a guided tour via telescopes that will be set up for a public
viewing. Free moon-themed snacks for the first 100 guests in attendance. Scheduled
speakers and musical performers include:
- The Bach & Beethoven Ensemble’s
Catherine Spitzer, soprano, and Charles Metz, an historical keyboardist.
- Scott Montgomery, lecturer in geology,
University of Washington, Seattle.
- Joseph Bruchac, author of “Thirteen Moons on Turtle's Back” and “Code Talker.”
- Geoffrey A. Landis, scientist and
science fiction writer, NASA John Glenn Research Center.
Art, Identity, Ideology
April 20, DePaul Student Center, 2250 N. Sheffield Ave., Room 120
Performances and lecture 7-9 p.m.
When the dominant structures
of cultural power overwhelm and allow full subjectivity only for some, the
expression of one’s identity — including race, gender, ethnicity and class — is
often possible only through art. By appropriating and re-purposing dominant markers
and ideologies, art can remind us that nothing is as fixed as we might like to
This evening will explore ways in which Native and tribal identities emerge by
confronting and usurping corporate logos. Speakers will also explore how racial
identity and history prove amorphous through music, including a live
performance of Abbey Lincoln's music by famed Chicago artist Maggie Brown.
Finally a creative hacking of IKEA furniture will encourage the audience to question
modernist philosophy, economics and globalism. Scheduled guests include:
- LaShonda Katrice
Barnett, author of “Jam on
the Vine” and DePaul University Humanities Center 2016-2017 visiting
- Jeff Carter, professor of art, media,
and design, DePaul University.
- Sonny Assu, Interdisciplinary
Ligwilda'xw Kwakwaka'wakw contemporary artist.
- Maggie Brown, singer.
Jesters, and Tricksters: Laughing from Inside the Outside
May 8, DePaul
Student Center, 2250 N. Sheffield Ave., Room 120
Performances and lectures 7-9 p.m.
Enlightenment, many have believed that tragedy founds the human experience. Yet
comedy also has a liberating and central role in the human experience. Comedy that
laughs at the dominant power structures and challenges what it means to be
outside those structures can be especially telling. From a performance and talk
by a professional clown, to an investigation of the role of tricksters in
Anishinaabe narratives, to an analysis of the precarious role of the court
jester by the world’s leading expert on the topic, this event will look at what
it means to laugh “from the outside.” The audience will watch as this inside/outside
dichotomy is hilariously and shockingly deconstructed. Scheduled guests include:
The Annual Humanities
- Rik “Bonzo Crunch” Gern, former
Ringling Brothers Circus clown.
- Margaret Noodin, associate professor
of English and American Indian Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
- Beatrice Otto, author of “Fools Are Everywhere: The Court Jester
Around the World.”
May 17, DePaul Student Center, 2250 N. Sheffield Ave., Room 120
Award Ceremony 7-8:30 p.m.
DePaul Humanities Center will present its annual Humanities Laureate Award to
the Natives at Standing Rock. This is the first time that the award has been
given to a community. In recognition of the ethical, political and cultural
importance of that community's ongoing struggle, and in celebration of the role
that the arts and humanities play in establishing such a strong and important
culture and people, the award will be given to all of the Natives at Standing
Rock, with three activists and members of that community accepting on behalf of
the group. Additionally, there will be a discussion of the Dakota Access
Pipeline, the history of the land in question, and the spirit of the Sioux
Nation and the countless groups that have joined in solidarity to examine the
possible futures that lie ahead for us all. Scheduled guests include:
- Bobbi Jean Three Legs, Standing Rock
Native American and activist.
- LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, Standing
Rock Native American and tribal historian.
- Dallas Goldtooth, Standing Rock Native American and
The Golden Anniversary of The Beatles' “Sgt. Pepper”
June 1, DePaul Student Center, 2250 N.
Sheffield Ave., Room 120
On June 1, 1967, the Beatles released “Sgt.
Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” an album that irrevocably changed music, art
and culture. The center will celebrate “Sgt. Pepper’s” golden anniversary with
an event featuring scholarly lectures and live performances. Ranging from talks
that cover the way in which “Pepperism” influenced other bands and albums, to
the meaning of the album from a feminist, historical and musicological
perspective, the lectures will be accompanied by six live performances of
award-winning musicians offering their contemporary interpretations of songs
from the album. Scheduled speakers and performers include:
DePaul University Humanities Center aims to create visibility for the most
cutting-edge, excellent work in the arts and humanities and foster discussion
among the greater community. Learn more about the center and upcoming events at
Kimsey, associate professor, DePaul’s School for New Learning.
Martin, professor of philosophy, DePaul University.
T. May, professor of history and American studies, University of Minnesota.
local bands/musicians with live performances of their own versions of “Sgt.