Location: Bowdoin / McKeen Center / Activity / 2010 / Literature as a Lens

Seeking the Common Good Series: Spring 2010

Story posted March 10, 2010

Literature as a Lens on the Common Good

Literature as a Lens on the Common Good takes a multi-disciplinary look at the impact of writers and literature on shaping visions of and working for the common good, and explores how literature can provide both inspiration for and reflection on effecting change.

Public Talks

Imagining Place: Public lecture
Wednesday, April 7
7:30 p.m., Shannon Room, Hubbard Hall

What places in your life have most defined you? Join Coastal Studies Scholar and writer Jane Brox as she explores the ways in which memory and imagination contribute to our sense of place, and the personal and political implications of our commitments to significant places in our lives. Jane Brox is author of four books: Here and Nowhere Else, Five Thousand Days Like This One, Clearing Land: Legacies of the American Farm, and most recently, Brilliant: The Evolution of Artificial Light. She has received grants from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Co-sponsored by the Department of English, the Coastal Studies Center, the Environmental Studies Program and the McKeen Center.

Establishing the Past: Problems in 19th Century African American Literary Studies: Symposium
Friday, April 9
9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Nixon Lounge, Hawthorne-Longfellow Library

Explore how the recent recovery of texts by early African American writers is changing the scope and definition of African American Literature. Leading figures in early African American literature come together in this symposium to discuss the changing contours of tradition as they confront editing works of early African American literature today.
A.M. Session: African American Writers and the Challenge of History
P.M. Session: The Politics of Recovering and Editing Early African American Writers
Co-sponsored by the Africana Studies Program, the Department of English, the Office of the Dean for Academic Affairs and the McKeen Center.

The Poetry of Healing: A Doctor's Education in Identity and Empathy: Common Hour Talk
Friday, April 23
12:30 p.m., Kresge Auditorium, VAC

Poet, physician, and director of the Harvard Program in the Medical Humanities, Dr. Rafael Campo teaches and practices internal medicine at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. His medical practice serves mostly Latinos, gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered people, and people with HIV infection, who teach and inspire him, as he cares for them. Dr. Campos is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including a Guggenheim fellowship, an honorary Doctor of Literature degree from Amherst College, a National Poetry Series award, and a Lambda Literary Award for his poetry.

The Early Modern Library as a Window to Modernity: Gallery Talk Wednesday, April 28
4:30-5:30 p.m. Zuckert Seminar Room, Bowdoin College Museum of Art
Learn about James Bowdoin’s pioneering and controversial library collection from Kenneth Carpenter ‘58, former Director of Research Resources at Harvard University Library. This talk complements the student-curated exhbition in the Becker Gallery, "Banned in France: The Enlightenment Foundation of the James Bowdoin Collection."
Co-sponsored by the Department of Romance Languages, Bowdoin College Library, the Bowdoin College Museum of Art and the McKeen Center for the Common Good.

Exhibitions

Words that Rocked My World: Campus Installation
April 12-18
Smith Union and Hawthorne-Longfellow Library

What written texts have most influenced the way you look at the world, inspired you to action, or informed your academic or professional path? This campus installation, including favorite texts selected by students, faculty, staff and alumni, offers inspiration and fosters dialogue by highlighting the ways that literature can help shape and reflect visions of the common good.

Banned in France: Recovering the Enlightenment Foundations of the James Bowdoin Collection: Opening
Tuesday, April 13
Becker Gallery, Museum of Art

This exhibition, curated by students in conjunction with the community-based course, French 310: Censorship and Enlightenment, tells the stories behind the controversial French Enlightenment books in James Bowdoin III's collection. Bequeathed to Bowdoin in 1802, these books reflected a commitment to propagating the principles of French Enlightenment thought in a small college in New England. Co-sponsored by the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, the Hawthorne-Longfellow Library Special Collections, the Department of Romance Languages and the McKeen Center.

Conversations

Words at the Heart of Healing
Tuesday, April 20
4:15 p.m., McKeen Center Common Room, Banister Hall

Physician Rafael Campo gives us a model for using poetry to heal. Join Professors Susan Bell and Ann Kibbie, long-time leaders of “Literature and Medicine” groups, as they lead a discussion of texts by physician and poet Rafael Campo, in anticipation of Campo’s Common Hour talk. Maine Humanities Council’s award-winning “Literature and Medicine” program promotes this goal by bringing health care professionals together to discuss and reflect on what they have read and what it has meant to them personally and in their work.

Literature and Community
Tuesday, April 27
4:00 p.m., McKeen Center Common Room, Banister Hall

Discover some of the many ways in which students, faculty and staff mentor, inspire and connect with members of the community of all ages through literature.

Readings

The Hero, the Giant, and the Case of Einstein’s Missing Brain: The Writer’s Search for Truth and Meaning in an Upside-down World
Monday, April 12
4:30 p.m., Lancaster Lounge, Moulton Union

We are all natural storytellers and we all have stories to tell. Journey with Michael Paterniti, a Portland-based fiction and non-fiction author, as he reads and reflects on individuals’ stories of: food aid workers in Africa; the long aftermath of Columbine; an encounter with the tallest man in the world in Ukraine; and, a strange cross-country journey he took transporting Einstein’s brain back to Princeton--with Thomas Harvey, the pathologist who had had custody of the brain since Einstein’s death. You’ll learn how to tell your own stories. You will come away with ideas of how to weave your own stories. Co-sponsored by the Department of English and the McKeen Center.

Loose Leaves: Special Edition
Tuesday, April 13
4:00 - 5:00 p.m., Osher Gallery, Museum of Art

Join in a group read-aloud of texts that have influenced the way you see the world, inspired you to action or informed your academic or career path. For more information, contact Janice Jaffe or Tricia Welsch.

The yearlong series Seeking the Common Good encourages and supports learning and reflection about the meaning of the common good through multiple events connected by a common theme to help promote the exploration and understanding of public issues.

The McKeen Center would like to thank event sponsors as well as sponsors who agreed to have their events listed in this series as indicated above. This series is also funded in part through the generous support the Morgan Family Foundation.

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