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Hall Center to host 14th annual Celebration of Books

Monday, March 07, 2016

LAWRENCE – The Hall Center for the Humanities is pleased to host the 14th annual Celebration of Books published by humanities, social sciences and arts faculty in 2015. The event will take place 4-6 p.m. Thursday, March 10, in the Hall Center Conference Hall. 

The Celebration will recognize the 40 faculty members who published 46 books in the humanities, social sciences and arts last year.  Their works explore such varied topics as W.E.B. Du Bois, grammatical gender & biological sex in ancient Rome, the civil rights movements and neoliberalism, the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and native American women and the land, representing the depth and breadth of humanities research at the University of Kansas. The celebration will feature a reception and a display of books.

Three featured faculty authors will make brief presentations on their work and take questions from the audience.

Henry Bial, professor of theatre, director of the School of Arts and associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, will discuss "Playing God: The Bible on the Broadway Stage" (University of Michigan Press). Biblical texts have inspired more than 100 Broadway plays and musicals, ranging from early spectacles like "Ben-Hur" (1899) to more familiar works such as "Godspell" and "Jesus Christ Superstar." What happens when a culture’s most sacred text enters its most commercial performance venue? "Playing God" focuses on 11 successful productions as well as a few notable flops that highlight the difficulties in adapting the Old and New Testaments for the stage.

Giselle Anatol, associate professor of English, will discuss "The Things That Fly in the Night: Female Vampires in Literature of the Circum-Caribbean & African Diaspora" (Rutgers University Press). "The Things That Fly in the Night" explores images of vampirism in Caribbean and African diasporic folk traditions and in contemporary fiction. Anatol focuses on the figure of the soucouyant, or Old Hag — an aged woman by day who sheds her skin during night’s darkest hours in order to fly about her community and suck the blood of her unwitting victims.

Andrew Denning, assistant professor of history, will discuss "Skiing into Modernity: A Cultural and Environmental History" (University of California Press). "Skiing into Modernity" is the story of how skiing moved from Europe’s Scandinavian periphery to the mountains of central Europe, where it came to define the modern Alps and set the standard for skiing across the world. Denning probes the modernist self-definition of Alpine skiers and the sport’s historical appeal for individuals who sought to escape city strictures while achieving mastery of mountain environments through technology and speed — two central features distinguishing early 20th-century culture.

It is free and open to the public, but space is limited and RSVP is required. Contact the Hall Center at hallcenter@ku.edu or at 785-864-4798 as soon as possible. This event is supported by the Friends of the Hall Center.