A Look Behind the Scenes

Henry Adams, Chris Pekoc, Bernie Sokolowski

Sep 1 2008

The Beauty of Damage, by the Cleveland film-maker Tom Ball, was made to accompany a forthcoming national traveling exhibition of the work of Christopher Pekoc, who has taught for some twenty years at Case Western Reserve University, and has achieved national acclaim for his provocative assemblages. Funding for the project was generously provided by Toby Lewis. The noted American poet Dana Gioia has written:”The first time I saw Christophr Pekoc’s work I knew I was in the presence of a powerful and original artist. Over the years my admiration has only grown. Visually stunning and sensual, his work is in equal parts beautiful and unsettling, which is to say that it transforms our usual sense of the beautiful to include the strange the disturbing, and the mysterious. We hope this showing will be of interest for two reasons: as a celebration of the work of Chris Pekoc and as an invitation to think more broadly about film as a viable and compelling medium of communication.”In the new age of computers and digital imagery, the movie has become a more versatile and more powerful tool of communication than ever before. For one thing, the ways in which movies can be shown have multiplied. Whereas once movies required a screening in a theater or a classroom, now they can also be displayed through television, through DVD, and through websites, and can not only be shown entire but in short clips. In addition, with the shift from film to digital imagery, it has become easier to produce movies of high quality at much less expense than even a decade ago. One person with a powerful computer can produce effects that a few years ago would have required hundreds of technicians and a large, well-equipped studio. As a consequence, a movie made in Cleveland no longer needs to be technically inferior to one made in Hollywood.A showing of the film (eighteen minutes) will be followed by an open discussion with Chris Pekoc, the artist portrayed, Bernie Sokolowski, who did the animation, and Henry Adams, who worked on the project with Tom Ball as co-producer and co-scriptwriter. They’ll discuss the peculiar, fluid process of creating a movie, from its first inception through the various stages of fundraising, script-writing, research, filming, crafting the sound track, and editing.

From Sozaboy to Beasts of No Nation: The Poetics of War in Nigeria

Gilbert Doho

Sep 4 2008

A discussion with Gilbert Doho.

Know Your Part of the Story: Reporting, Writing, and Loyalty to One’s Self

Adrian Nicole LeBlanc

Sep 12 2008

This program is made possible through the generosity of the Cleveland Foundation and Case Western Reserve University Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities and SAGES, in conjunction with the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards. The Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards recognizes recent books that have made important contributions to our understanding of racism and appreciation of the rich diversity of human cultures.

What is the Museum For?: Humanities Week Keynote

Adam Gopnik

Oct 2 2008

A discussion with Adam Gopnik.

Watch a video for this event

Pocket Films 2008: Reception, Film Viewing, and Awards Ceremony

Oct 3 2008

The 2008 Pocket Film Festival awards talented creators of short and cell-phone films.

2008 Pocket Film Festival Award Recipients
Grand Prize
Susan Greenspan: “Screencleaner”

Tony Hilal: “Bathtub Treasure Trawlers”
James Jou: “Doggie Do”
Jon Backmann: “Break”
Eric Neuman
Michael Suglio

2007 Cell Phone Festival Award Recipients
Grand Prize
Eric Neuman: “Life of a Drain, Sneaker, and Snowball”

Best Faculty/Staff
Heidi Adams Cool: “The Best Things in Life”

Best Graduate Student Film
Sophia Sushailo: “no title”

Best Undergraduate Films
Zachary Kunkel: “Scissors”

1st Runner-Up, Undergraduate Film
Stephanie Limjoco: “Gentleman Caller”

2nd Runner-Up, Undergraduate Film
Matthew Bates: “A Brief Case”

With support from:


The Mummy

Robert Spadoni

Oct 5 2008

An unwitting archaeologist murmurs aloud as he reads the hieroglyphs on a recently excavated scroll, bringing the 3,700 year old mummy found alongside it to life. Boris Karloff stars in one of his greatest roles.


Daniel Goldmark

Oct 6 2008

Alfred Hitchcock, 1958

A retired San Francisco detective (Jimmy Stewart) is hired to shadow a woman (Kim Novak) who may be possessed by the ghost of someone long dead. Themes of obsession and death merge in this piercing exploration of desire, loss and art.

War Children: Adolescents in Postcolonial Badjoko, Dongola, Kourouma and Monenembo Novels

Koffi Anyinefa

Oct 7 2008

A discussion with Koffi Anyinefa.

The Production of Meaning in the Narratives of Child Soldiers:

Cilas Kemedjio

Oct 7 2008

A discussion with Cilas Kemedjio.

Double Feature: La Ville Louvere (Louvre City) & La Jet&Atilde (The Pier)

Ray Watkins

Oct 7 2008

La Ville Louvre – Nicholas Philbert, 1990


La Jeté – Chris Marker, 1962

Two French classics (both subtitled) set partly or wholly in museums.

Documentary Louvre City takes an unprecedented behind-the-scenes look at the Paris’ Louvre. 35mm. 84 min.

La Jeté, a haunting, post-apocalyptic fantasy about memory, time travel, and destiny, was the inspiration for Terry Gilliam’s “Twelve Monkeys.” Film critic Pauline Kael called La Jeté “the greatest science-fiction movie I’ve ever seen.” 35mm. 28 min.

Out of the Ashes: The Persian Wars and Greek Culture

Stephen Tracy

Oct 8 2008

Visiting scholar at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. This talk will examine the factors that enabled Athens, a city devastated by the Persian invasion of 480, to become the leading force in Greek Culture and, in a sense, museum of the world.

The Ethics of Historiography, or How We Think About What We Read: The Case of Freidrich Schiller

Mary Beth Wetli

Oct 9 2008

In his lectures on universal history, delivered at the University of Jena (1789-1792), German dramatist, aesthetician, physician, and historian Friedrich Schiller embraced the common Enlightenment notion that the telos of human history is happiness and autonomy, and offered his own speculative account of this development. Schiller turns to the universal historical significance of the Hebrew nation and its legacy for the Enlightenment in “Die Sendung Moses” (The Legation of Moses). His account of the Jews’ contribution to the advancement of reason often pushes the twenty-first century reader to the limit: it elides suffering–in the form of plagues, mistreatment, and enslavement–in service of a narrative of progress. At the same time, Schiller attempts to free himself from contemporary prejudice in order to acknowledge Jewish contributions to reason. Together with his lecture on Die Gesetzgebung des Lykurgus und Solon (The Legislation of Lycurgus and Solon), he articulates, but does not consistently practice, a practical ethics of historiography according to which human beings must be treated as ends in themselves, never as means. My research provides evidence that Schiller proposed not only a fully developed concept of historical study as well as philosophy of history, but also an ethics of historiography. This project lays the foundation for future considerations of Schiller’s evolving philosophy of history in his aesthetic treatises and later historical dramas.

Musical Instruments and the Instrumentality of Painting:

Lydia Goehr

Oct 16 2008

Co-sponsored by the Cleveland Orchestra, and the Music and Culture Lecture Series of the Department of Music of Case Western Reserve University.

With support from:

Cleveland Orchestra, Department of Music

Somewhere Between Chad and Congo: Lost Childhood in the Central African Republic

Cheryl Toman

Oct 16 2008

A discussion with Cheryl Toman.

Inventing Lima: Baroque Modernity in Peru’s South Sea Metropolis

Alejandra B. Osorio

Oct 23 2008

A discussion with Alejandra B. Osorio.

Taking Folklore Seriously: John Henry, Steel-Drivin’ Man, and a Story of Unmarked Graves

Scott Reynolds Nelson

Oct 30 2008

Was John Henry a real man or folk legend? Using a peculiar mix of sources – folklore, penitentiary records, court documents, and engineering notes in Cleveland’s own Western Reserve Historical Society – Professor Nelson recounts the story of a nineteen-year-old black man arrested under the infamous Black Codes of Virginia who died hammering his way through the Lewis Tunnel on the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway. The song “John Henry” both mourns such shameful and unrecognized deaths and remains a depiction of black strength and pride. By looking beneath the song’s surface, we find that one of America’s most enduring legends rests on a tragic real life story of unmarked graves.

With support from:

Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, Western Reserve Historical Society

From Basic Research to Digital Archive, The Tibet Oral History Project

Melvyn Goldstein

Oct 31 2008

A discussion with Melvyn Goldstein.

With support from:

Kelvin Smith Library

Watch a video for this event

The Distributed Production and Dissemination of Local Histories in the Digital Era, A Case Study Based upon the Tibetan and Himalayan Library

Daniel Germano

Oct 31 2008

A discussion with Daniel Germano.

With support from:

Kelvin Smith Library

The Wizard of Waukesha: The Life and Legacy of Les Paul

Nov 10 2008

This week long program honors Les Paul, the 93 year-old legendary performer, musical innovator, and inventor of the solid body electric guitar. Festivities include performances, panel discussions, films, and a daylong program entitled, “Rock and Roll Retrospective: The Les Paul Phenomenon.”

CWRU’s signature collaboration with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, the annual American Music Masters (AMM) Series each year honors a major figure in the field of American popular music. In symposia, public programs, masterclasses, a day-long conference on the CWRU campus and a major tribute concert at Playhouse Square, the AMM project showcases the contributions and cultural legacy of a pioneering figure in American music. Now in its 15th year, the unique series has honored Woody Guthrie, Robert Johnson, Jimmie Rodgers, Louis Jordan, Bessie Smith, Muddy Waters, Hank Williams, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Les Paul, among others.

“A co-production of the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities at Case Western Reserve University and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. With special thanks for the generous support of the Ohio Humanities Council, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.”

With support from:

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

New Directions in Digital History

Dan Cohen

Nov 21 2008

Dr. Cohen will examine the research practice of the historian in light of these new developments in digitization, highlighting several of the most important trends, including social and semantic computing, text mining, and visualization.

With support from:

Kelvin Smith Library

Watch a video for this event

Turnaround in Northeastern Ohio: Using the Media to Change a Region’s Perception of Itself

Charles Michener

Dec 4 2008

A discussion with Charles Michener

Mending Broken Lives: Child Soldiers and the St. Monica’s Girls Tailoring Center

Sr. Rosemary Nyirumbe

Dec 4 2008

What is the impact of psychological and physical trauma to young girls abducted into slavery as child soldiers? Sr. Rosemary Nyirumbe has received international recognition for her extensive and courageous work with young girls victimized by violence and civil war in Uganda. Guerillas from the Lord’s Resistance Army abducted many young girls and forced them to be soldiers and sex slaves. These young women found themselves largely outcast from society, many with young babies, and with very few practical skills to provide for themselves and their children. Sr. Monica’s Tailoring Center offers the young women a refuge, in addition to counseling, education and vocational skills to help rebuild their lives and work toward self-sufficiency.

Part of the Research working Group Series, The Subaltern and the Poetics of War in Africa, led by Gilbert Doho.

Cool Fusion: Contemporary Arts & the Digital Humanities

Jan 24 2009

A collaborative invitational conference co-hosted by the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities and the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland.

With support from:

Museum of Contemporary Arts

The International Market in Ancient Art and Artifacts

Patty Gerstenblith

Jan 29 2009

Professor of Law at DePaul University and Director of the Program in Cultural Heritage Law, will speak on the topic of museums, the international art market, and cultural repatriation.

Watch a video for this event

Capturing the African-American Experience: The Sepia Magazine Photo Archive

Carole Anthony

Feb 4 2009

As part of its 2009 Black History Month celebration, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, in conjunction with the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities at Case Western Reserve University, presents an exciting evening journeying into the history and significance of Sepia magazine. First published in Fort Worth, Texas in 1947 by George Levitan, Sepia magazine often exposed the obstacles facing African-Americans but more importantly, it celebrated their accomplishments. By way of its popular photojournalistic style, the magazine closely focused on various aspects of the culture including politics, lifestyle and music. Especially during the civil rights era, Sepia was a clear and steady outlet for the African-American community to express its views and highlight its accomplishments.

Ms. Anthony’s presentation will include an overview of the Sepia Magazine Photo Archive collection, where she will talk about the history of this project. She will also lead a discussion about several of the significant photos in the collection, providing a historical retrospective of African-American musicians, entertainers, composers and producers in all genres of music.

With support from:

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

Russell Wyland Workshop

Russell Wyland

Feb 5 2009

A limited number of individual appointments are available on February 5th and 6th with Mr. Wyland. Those seeking individual appointments will be required to prepare materials for submission; further details are available upon inquiry.

Strange Botany in “Werewolf of London”

Robert Spadoni

Feb 9 2009

The presentation considers the 1935 film Werewolf of London, which has a strong gay subtext that few have examined, probably because it is in many ways so obvious. Once we get past the overt queerness of the text, it becomes possible to see how, less obviously, the film resonates with certain theories concerning the causes and nature of homosexuality that were circulating at the time.

Literature, Pakistan, Islam, and ‘The West’

Mohsin Hamid

Feb 24 2009

On Tuesday, February 24 at 6:00 p.m., the Idea Center at PlayhouseSquare will host a public lecture entitled “Literature, Pakistan, Islam and ‘The West'” by Mohsin Hamid, author of “Moth Smoke” and “The Reluctant Fundamentalist”. Mohsin Hamid will make his appearance as part of the Baker-Nord Center/Cleveland Foundation Lecture Series in partnership with the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, Cuyahoga County Public Library, ideastream and PlayhouseSquare, with support from Continental Airlines.

With support from:

Idea Center at PlayhouseSquare

Where Have All the Grown Ups Gone?: Audiences and Science Museums

Steven Conn

Feb 26 2009

A discussion with Steven Conn.

Watch a video for this event

Fang Culture in the Francophone Writings of Justine Mintsa (Gabon)

Cheryl Toman

Mar 3 2009

Gabonese author Justine Mintsa writes in French but infuses her text with elements of her native Fang culture and language. While it is common in western feminist literature to equate tradition with oppression, Mintsa defies this notion. Her use of Fang culture can be read as manifestations of a local culture written in a so-called global language.

New Museums/New Ideas

Kathy Coakley Barrie, Dennis Barrie

Mar 5 2009

The concept of the museum has been broadened recently to include the for-profit, unusual themes, emphasis on visitor experience, and different learning modes. Many museums have adapted or led the way; others are threatened by change. This lecture presents the view from the trenches.

Watch a video for this event

Learning & Teaching with Objects

Mar 19 2009

This interdisciplinary program, co-sponsored by the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities and the Cleveland Museum of Art, explores the use of the museum as a learning and teaching laboratory. Experts in such fields as pedagogy, cognitive science, conservation, and museology will present lectures. Break-out discussion sessions, led by area specialists, will be scheduled at CMA and other area museums. Certificates of attendance will be available for teachers.

Break-Out Sessions.

The following break-out sessions will be offered for a hands-on discussion and application of learning and teaching issues in-situ. When registering, please select your desired session.
Cleveland Botanic Garden

Tour of the collections and hands-on exercise, led by Geri Unger, Director of Education, Cleveland Botanical Garden.

Cleveland Museum of Art

Tour of the retrospective of photographer Lee Friedlander, led by Dr. Michael Weil, Case Western Reserve University.

Cleveland Museum of Art

Tour of the Art and Power in the Central African Savanna exhibition, led by curator Dr. Constantine Petridis, Cleveland Museum of Art and Marjorie Williams, Director of Education, Cleveland Museum of Art.

Cleveland Museum of Natural History

Learn about how the Cleveland Museum of Natural History enhances the visitor experience through object based, docent-interpreted Please Touch carts in the galleries. Visit the Science Resource Center and examine the variety of materials and objects available for educators to borrow to enhance their curriculum.

The Western Reserve Historical Society

First-hand examination of historic photographic processes, led by Dr. Debra Norris, Chair and Professor of Photograph Conservation, University of Delaware; Dr. John Grabowski, Professor of History, Case Western Reserve University, and Interim VP for Collections, The Western Reserve Historical Society; and Ann Sindelar, Reference Supervisor, The Western Reserve Historical Society.

With support from:

Cleveland Museum of Art

Representations of Jewishness and Atrocity in the Imperial War Museum London and the Jewish Museum Berlin

Dr. K. Hannah Holtschneider

Mar 19 2009

Dr. Holtschneider, University of Edinburgh, UK, reflects on the interpretation of the Holocaust by museums and the championing of such exhibitions as educational opportunities for schools and the wider public. The two case studies focus on the question of how Holocaust exhibitions communicate the Jewishness of the majority of victims of the genocide.

The Intellectual Wealth of Digital Networks:

Kathleen Woodward

Mar 20 2009

Part of Digital Library Lecture Series

With support from:

Kelvin Smith Library

Brook. Kitchen. Brook.

John Orlock

Apr 2 2009

To set the scene: Central France, Autumn 1945. An Italian refugee — who identifies himself as the last of the great classical clowns — lost, deep in the forest, encounters an older country gentleman of leisure: a regional judge, with a hook where his right hand once was. When the judge extends hospitality, shelter, and the company of his wife — a cellist, long separated from her orchestra — erotic tension fuels a simmering struggle, as the three strive to maintain honor and order. A comic drama of love, lust, and coming to terms with the loss of a sustaining future.

Form to Finish, Strategies in Outdoor Sculpture Preservation

Apr 25 2009

A Symposium

With support from:

Department of Art History and Art, Sculpture Center, Intermuseum Conservation Association, Cleveland State University Art Department, Cleveland Museum of Art