Spring Fisher Center Series Announced – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Spring Fisher Center Series Announced

The 2009-10 Fisher Center Lecture Series continues in January, with four renowned scholars who will come to campus to lend their expertise on this year’s theme, “Engendering Crisis.”

Cedric Johnson, associate professor of political science and this year’s director of the Fisher Center, says that while the theme this year deals “with the economic crisis in this region, and more broadly as a national phenomenon,” it will also “explore crisis beyond that of macroeconomics. There are many scholars who are writing in different disciplines about the topic: it applies to gender studies and to the lives of ordinary people,” says Johnson.

Lester Spence, assistant professor of political science at Johns Hopkins University, will begin the spring section of the series with a lecture, titled “Constructing Pookie:  The Neoliberal Politics of the Black Male Crisis,” on Wednesday, Jan. 27.

Spence’s research interests include studying the impact of black power on black political behavior, developing models that predict the effect of media narratives on black public opinion, and examining the interplay between dominant mainstream political ideologies such as conservatism, liberalism, and neoliberalism, on black political action and thought.

The series will continue on Wednesday, Feb. 17, when Israeli film theorist and documentary filmmaker Dorit Naaman comes to HWS to give a talk, titled “From Mr. Baum to Waltz with Bashir: New Masculinity in Contemporary Israeli Cinema.”

In her research, Namaan, who teaches at Queen’s University, Canada, focuses on Palestinian and Israeli cinemas and media, primarily from postcolonialist and feminist perspectives.  She is currently working on a book on the visual representation of Palestinian and Israeli women fighters.  Her documentary work is about identity politics and the politics of representation; her format of short videos is titled DiaDocuMEntaRY.  Naaman is also an activist for a just solution to the Palestinian/Israeli conflict.

Naaman’s lecture and related screenings are part of an Israeli Film Festival co-sponsored by the Colleges’ Religious Studies, Media and Society and International Relations departments.

Andrea Tone, who was scheduled as a Fisher Center speaker in the fall, will travel to campus, supported in part by a grant from the New York Council for the Humanities, on Wednesday, March 24 to deliver a lecture titled  “Elusive Elysium: Women, Men and Anxiety Over Time.”

Tone is the Canada Research Chair in the Social History of Medicine.  A professor of history, she holds joint appointments in the Department of Social Studies of Medicine and the Department of History at McGill University. Her scholarship explores women and health, medical technology, sexuality, psychiatry, and industry, particularly the intersection between patient experience, cultural contexts, and technological and economic change in 19th and 20th-century America.

To finish out this year’s Fisher Center lectures, experimental filmmaker Johan Grimonprez will give a talked titled “Maybe the Sky Is Really Green and We’re Just Colorblind” on Wednesday, April 14.

Born in Roeselare, Belgium in 1962, Grimonprez studied at the School of Visual Arts and attended the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program in New York.  He is currently a faculty member at the School of Visual Arts, and his productions have traveled the main festival circuit from Telluride, Los Angeles, Rio de Janeiro, to Tokyo and Berlin. Curatorial projects were hosted at major exhibitions and museums worldwide such as the Whitney Museum in New York, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich and the Tate Modern in London. 

He achieved international acclaim with his film essay, Dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y, which will be screened on Wednesday, April 7 in the Sanford Room in anticipation of his lecture.  Two films, “Walk on Water” and “Waltz with Bashir,” will be screened in the Sanford Room on Monday, Feb. 15, and Tuesday, Feb. 16, respectively, in anticipation of Naaman’s Feb. 17 lecture.

As always, morning roundtable discussions will be held from 9 to 10 a.m. in Room 212, Demarest Hall, the Fisher Center, the day following the lectures.

The Fisher Center was endowed with a $1 million gift from Emily and the late Richard Fisher, whose son Alexander graduated from Hobart College in 1993. Creation of the Fisher Center for the Study of Women and Men reflects a perfect intersection of the Colleges’ history and trends in the study of gender throughout academe.