2016 Cleveland Humanities Festival Events

Remembering War April 1-10, 2016

With the theme, “Remembering War,” insitutions participating in the first annual Cleveland Humanities Festival explored the impact of war on society and culture. A series of coordinated events considered from a humanistic perspective our capacity for brutality and the possibility of transcending it through the power of art.

Hiding in the Spotlight: The Power of Music and the Human Spirit

March 30, 2016
East Campus, Cuyahoga Community College
The project is based on the book by Greg Dawson Hiding in the Spotlight: A Musical Prodigy’s Story of Survival, 1941-1946 (Pegasus, 2009) and is the story of a Russian/Ukrainian Jewish girl named Zhanna Arshanskaya who performed for Nazis during WWII in order to avoid execution. Ms. Arshanskaya later immigrated to the U.S. and became a prized pianist and professor of music at Indiana University. Her story was later made into a short documentary by Candy Dawson. The Panel will include the author (Greg Dawson), filmmaker (Ms. Dawson), Dr. Hovanec (Tri-C professor and WWII scholar) and possibly Ms. Arshanskaya, if she’s in good health. The documentary will be screened and pianist Emanuela Friscioni will perform.

This event was sponsored by Cuyahoga Community College.

Moral Injury and War

April 1, 2016
Tinkham Veale University Center, Case Western Reserve University
What is it about the experience of war that can ruin the lives of the men and women whom we send off to fight? The standard definition of post-traumatic stress disorder is too narrow to account for the psychological wounds inflicted in combat. In his keynote address Jonathan Shay discusses how culture, social systems, mind and body are all implicated when moral injury is the consequence of war. Shay is a doctor and clinical psychiatrist, who is best known for his books, Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character and Odysseus in America: Combat Trauma and the Trials of Homecoming, which compare the experiences of Vietnam veterans with the descriptions of war and homecoming in the works of Homer. Shay is the recipient of a MacArthur “Genius Grant” fellowship and the Salem Award for Human Rights and Social Justice.

This event was sponsored by the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities.

Heroes Past and Present: Veterans at Lake View Cemetery

April 2, 2016
Lake View Cemetery
From the 1770s to the new millennium, generations of Lake View Cemetery’s residents have risen to defend their nation in time of war. On this tour, you’ll learn about some of the famous and unsung Clevelanders who served in the American Revolution, War of 1812, Mexican War, Civil War, Spanish-American War, First World War, Second World War, Vietnam Conflict, and the Global War on Terror.

This event was sponsored by the Lake View Cemetery Foundation.

The Monuments Tour

April 2nd, 2016
Cleveland Museum of Natural History
Join us on a tour of the many war memorials erected in Cleveland and vicinity beginning with the Civil War and continuing up to the Iraq War. Some of the major memorials we will visit include the Soldiers and Sailors monument in Public Square and the Freedom Fountain on Veterans Memorial Plaza; lesser known are smaller monuments such as the humble grave of Major Mortimer Leggett who commanded regiments at Shiloh, Vicksburg and Sherman’s March to the Sea, and the Smoky War Dog Memorial in the Metroparks, which commemorates the “tiniest hero of WW II”.

This event was sponsored by the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and the Cleveland Archaeological Society.

May 4th Voices: Kent State, 1970

April 3, 2016
Main Branch, Cuyahoga County Public Library
Screening of the award-winning documentary film May 4th Voices: Kent State, 1970. The film is based on the play May 4th Voices, which comes from the Kent State Shootings Oral History Project, a project that collects and provides access to personal accounts of the May 4, 1970, shootings at Kent State and their aftermath. A panel discussion will immediately follow the screening. Participants will include the playwright David Hassler, Jonathan Shay, and Shannon French of CWRU.

This events was sponsored by Cuyahoga County Public Library and the Wick Poetry Center at Kent State University.

Under Cover of War: The Armenian Genocide and Its Continuing Ramifications

April 4, 2016
Tinkham Veale University Center, Case Western Reserve University
World War I provided the cover for the ultranationalist “Young Turk” dictatorship of the Ottoman Empire to take brutal measures to eliminate the native Armenian population. Not only did more than half of the Armenian inhabitants, 1.5 million perish, but the Armenian people was dispossessed of its homeland of several thousand years. Richard Hovannisian, Professor Emeritus at UCLA and Adjunct Professor at USC working with the Shoah Foundation, discusses the reasons for, and the continuing consequences of the Armenian Genocide, including its direct relationship to the Holocaust and other genocides.  Dr. Hovannisian serves on the board of 9 scholarly and civic organizations including Facing Ourselves Foundation and the International Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide. He is the author of thirty-five books and numerous scholarly articles, including 5 volumes on the Armenian Genocide and thirteen volumes on historic Armenian cities and provinces in the Ottoman Empire.

This event was co-sponsored by the Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee of Ohio and the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities.

James Garfield and the Civil War: For Ohio and the Union

April 5, 2016
Western Reserve Historical Society,
While James A. Garfield is best known for his tragic assassination and short-lived presidency, his role as a Civil War general and veteran have been largely forgotten. Garfield’s Civil War service was a defining part of his life, as it was for so many veterans. The war changed him as well as the nation he would one day lead. Join historian Daniel J. Vermilya to learn about the Civil War experiences of President James Garfield and how his wartime service stayed with him for the rest of his life.

This event was sponsored by the Cleveland History Center of the Western Reserve Historical Society.

Mourning for Lost Art

April 5, 2016
Harkness Chapel, Case Western Reserve University
In times of war, why do armies destroy cultural artifacts? And what does it mean when we, far away onlookers, mourn that destruction even as lives are being lost? This lecture looks at the role of culture, the threat it poses to those who are fighting for an ideology, and the ethics of our reaction to that destruction.  It also asks what the word ‘lost’ means in relation to art, a subject that is also explored in Kamila Shamsie’s most recent novel, A God in Every Stone.

This event was sponsored by the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities.

Remembering War: Cleveland Institute of Music Orchestra

April 6, 2016
Cleveland Institute of Music
Jahja Ling, conductor
Distinguished Principal Guest Artist
Shih-Hsien (Victor) Yeh, piano, CIM student artist
Michael Harper, trumpet, CIM student artist
PROKOFIEV Lieutenant Kijé Suite, Op. 60
PROKOFIEV Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Major, Op. 26
ARUTIUNIAN Trumpet Concerto in A-flat Major (1950)
RAVEL La valse, poème chorégraphique, M. 72
Live broadcast on WCLV 104.9 FM and wclv.org with support from Audio-Technica.

This event was sponsored by the Cleveland Institute of Music.

Declarations of Survival: Representations of Motherhood in Women’s Holocaust Art and Narrative

April 6, 2016
The Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage
Reflecting on narrative and visual art produced by women artists during the Holocaust, this discussion-based seminar will explore memory, image, and the sustaining power of hope. The conversation will include work by by Judith Weinshall Liberman, an artist with extensive holdings in the Maltz collections, and will be led by Alexis Baker, a rhetoric scholar from Kent State University.

This event was co-sponsored by Books@Work and the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage.

American Art and War

April 6, 2016
Cleveland Museum of Art
Mark Cole, Curator of American Painting and Sculpture, discusses the influence of World War II and the Cold War on artists working in the mid-twentieth century.  The tour will meet in the museum’s Ames Family Atrium at the information desk, before proceeding to the galleries.

This event was sponsored by the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Student Film Screening: Portraits of Patriotism

April 7, 2016
Cuyahoga Community College
This event is the premiere of the student video production Portraits of Patriotism, which features veterans of WW II.  At the conclusion of the film there will be a book signing, featuring both authors, Brian Albrecht and James Banks, and their book, Cleveland in World War II. Books will also be available for purchase.

This event was sponsored by the Crile Archive Center for History Education at Cuyahoga Community College.

Feeding War: Gender, Health, and the Mobilized Kitchen in WWI Germany

April 7, 2016
Dittrick Medical History Center, Case Western Reserve University
Heather R. Perry, Associate Professor of History at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, will share her research on World War 1’s impact on the homefront in Germany. Perry’s work provides an overview on medicine, population health, and public policies in wartime, with more in-depth scrutiny of how women and their families coped with privations that impacted their health and well-being.

This event was co-sponsored by the Case Western Reserve University Dittrick Medical History Center.

The Art of Armor

April 8, 2016
Cleveland Museum of Art
Join Stephen Fliegel, Curator of Medieval Art, for an exploration of the techniques and styles used in the decoration of armor and weapons. The tour will meet in the museum’s Ames Family Atrium at the information desk, before proceeding to the galleries.

The event was sponsored by the Cleveland Museum of Art. 

Thirty Four Miles from Kent State: CWRU and the Vietnam War

April 8, 2016
Wolstein Building Auditorium, Case Western Reserve University
While not Berkeley or Columbia, Case Western Reserve University became a visible part of American campus unrest in May 1970 when students blocked traffic on Euclid Avenue in the wake of the shootings at nearby Kent State University.  This incident and the student strike that followed serve as the center points of what some remember as a brief campus flirtation with radical protest.   Yet, the story of change and protest at CWRU is much deeper.   In his presentation John Grabowski, Krieger-Mueller Joint Professor of History at Case Western Reserve University and Senior Vice President for Research and Publication at Western Reserve Historical Society, examines what happened at CWRU in the 1960s and early 1970s during the time of an unpopular war, a recent federation of two academic traditions, and unrest, violence, and poverty in the neighborhoods adjacent to the campus.

This event was sponsored by the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities, CWRU.

The Wades in Wartime – 1830-1945

April 9, 2016
Western Reserve Historical Society
The name Wade is familiar to many in northeast Ohio who enjoy Wade Park, the area surrounding Wade Lagoon, or those who attend Wade Oval Wednesdays.  University Circle is a nationally and internationally respected cultural center thanks, in part, to the generosity and influence of the Wade family.  The 9000+ pages of the Jeptha Homer Wade Family Papers, 1771-1957 in the archives of the Cleveland History Center at WRHS consist of correspondence, diaries, travel journals, autobiographical sketches, deeds, drawings, financial records, and scrapbooks that can be mined shed light on a wide range of topics.  In her presentation, Holly Witchey, Director of The Wade Project at Western Reserve Historical Society, will focus on the service-related and wartime experiences of five generations of Wades.

This event was co-sponsored by the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities and the Cleveland History Center at the Western Reserve Historical Society. 

Warrior Chorus

April 10, 2016
MOCA Cleveland, 11400 Euclid Avenue
Warrior Chorus is a major new national humanities program by New York’s Aquila Theatre Company, training 100 veterans in four regional centers to present scholar-led public programming based on classical literature.  The programming performed by veterans focuses on critical social issues including war, conflict, comradeship, home, and family and includes veteran-led readings, discussions and the innovative use of New Media. This event will feature a performance by the New York Warrior Chorus, followed by a discussion moderated by Cleveland native and MacArthur Fellow, Professor Thomas Palaima of the University of Texas.  Other participants include Stacey Peebles (Center College), John M. Meyer (University of Texas), James Sheeler (Case Western Reserve University), and James Dawes (Macalester College).

This event is co-sponsored by MOCA Cleveland and the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities.

Book Reading – Viet Thanh Nguyen

April 12, 2016
South Euclid Branch, Cuyahoga County Public Library
Author Viet Thanh Nguyen, whose award-winning novel The Sympathizer examines the legacy of the Vietnam War in literature, film, and the wars we fight today. The book has already garnered considerable critical acclaim as winner of the 2015 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize.

This event was sponsored by Cuyahoga County Public Library. 

Men in War (1957)

April 21, 2016
Cleveland Insitute of Art Cinematheque
This Korean War drama from an acclaimed director best known for his psychological Westerns and films noir tells of an American platoon commander (Robert Ryan) whose weary soldiers are cut off behind enemy lines. Ordered to rejoin the main division to take Hill 465, this lieutenant tries to commandeer a truck to transport his men’s weapons, but meets resistance from a sergeant (Aldo Ray) who is using the vehicle to drive his revered, shell-shocked CO to a field hospital. After a tense stand-off, they slowly make their way together through hostile territory peppered with enemy snipers and land mines.

This event was sponsored by the Cleveland Insitute of Art Cinematheque.

Easter 1916 – The Poets’ Rebellion

April 27, 2016
Parma-Snow Branch, Cuyahoga County Public Library
Frank Delaney, the award-winning broadcaster and NYT best-selling author (“Ireland”, “Shannon” etc.) will provide a special lecture: Easter 1916 – the Poets’ Rebellion. Frank has interviewed survivors, tracked the story all his life, and observed how history has changed it. Now, passionate to tell the story, he offers this lecture on the centennial of this complex event to educate, inform and entertain across all age levels and ethnic origins.

This event was sponsored by Cuyahoga County Public Library.

Vietnam: 35 Years after the Fall of Saigon – A Photographic Narrative

April 30, 2016
Southeast Branch, Cuyahoga County Public Library
April 30, 1975 marks the date of the official end of Vietnam War. Yet, its legacy continues to shape the future of both Vietnam and the United States. What have we learned? How have we changed? Author Mark Zannoni examines these questions in his book, Vietnam: 35 Years after the Fall of Saigon. From the Mekong Delta to Hai Phong, poignant photographs are visual testimony of lasting impact of the war and the decades’ long struggle for reconciliation.

This event was sponsored by Cuyahoga County Public Library.