2018 Cleveland Humanities Festival Events

Health written over artwork of a skeleton with muscles

March-April 2018

Institutions participating in the 2018 Cleveland Humanities Festival on the theme of “Health” offered public programming which considered the role of the humanities in deepening our understanding of the complex ethical and personal questions that arise when the subject is health.

Discerning the University: Affective Entanglements in Ideology and Pathology

March 1, 2018
Rodman Hall Meeting A, John Carroll University
Studies show that men and women who haven’t attend college live shorter and less healthy lives. With that in mind, this symposium, organized by the Discerning the University Working Group at John Carroll University, examines the health of the contemporary university. The symposium will feature the following presentations: “Scholé: Cultivating the Culture of Liberal Education,” by Dr. Josh Michael Hayes (Alvernia University), “Writing Through Writer’s Block: Race, Gender and Knowledge Cultures in the American Academy,” by Dr. Naomi Greyser (University of Iowa), “Tools of the Trade: Professors and the Pedagogy of the Professions in the Era of the Great Circadian Disruption,” by Dr. Samuel Talcott (University of the Sciences), and “WHOSE UNIVERSITY?,” by Dr. Jason Wirth (Seattle University).

This event was sponsored by John Carroll University.

Cooking Vegetarian

March 15, 22 & 29, 2018
Cuyahoga County Public Library, Fairview Park Branch
As a practical complement to Marion Nestle’s keynote address on food politics and the humanities, in this three-part workshop you will learn how to prepare vegetarian meals. And expert from the Western Reserve School of Cooking will lead a basic introductory course covering knife skills, organizational skills, multitasking, and simple methods and techniques in the kitchen. Food samples will be provided.

This event was sponsored by Cuyahoga County Public Library.

A Reading by David Giffels

March 15, 2018
Rodman Hall Meeting Room A, John Carroll University
David Giffels, the acclaimed author of The Hard Way on Purpose, will be reading from his new book, Furnishing Eternity, a vibrant, heartfelt memoir about confronting mortality, surviving loss, finding resilience in one’s Midwest roots and seeking a father’s wisdom through an unusual woodworking project—constructing his own coffin.

This event was sponsored by John Carroll University.

Healing our Health Care System: Novel Ideas for Reclaiming Care

March 16, 2018
Cleveland Museum of Natural History
In her lecture, clinical nurse and bestselling author Theresa Brown proposed that to heal our health care system we must return to our roots in the human: our patients’ humanity and our own. Drawing on clinical examples and works of literature, we’ll learn that to heal patients, clinicians must first heal themselves. Book signing to follow the lecture.

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

I Will Sing for You: Humanities Fest Staged Reading

March 17 & 18, 2018
Student Center Ballroom, Cleveland State University
Literary ClevelandJoin Lit Cleveland for a free staged reading! Professional actors will perform original work by Cleveland writers and residents on the theme of “health”.  Featuring work by Nicholas Cohen, Diane Ferri, Aubrey Hirsch, Ray McNiece, Philip Metres, Darlene Montonaro, Robin Pease, Mimi Plevin-Foust, Susan Rakow, Jane Richmond, Elaine Schleiffer, Karen Schubert, Jill Sell, Mary Weems and Joe Kapitan. Directed by Dale Heinen,Performed by Davis Aguila, Andrea Belser, David Bugher, Anne McEvoy and Kimberly Silas

This event was co-sponsored by Literary Cleveland, George Gund Foundation, Baker Nord Center for the Humanities, Cleveland State University, and Margaret Wong and Associates.

Cleveland Clinic Art Tour

March 20, 2018
Cleveland Clinic
Created in 2006, the Cleveland Clinic Art Program has been actively collecting and installing contemporary fine art throughout the growing Cleveland Clinic Health System, continuing a long commitment of including fine art to enhance the hospital environment. The Art Program, part of the Arts & Medicine Institute, was created in order to enrich, inspire and enliven our patients, visitors, employees and community. The collection embodies the core values of Cleveland Clinic: collaboration, quality, integrity, compassion and commitment, and reflects the innovative nature of the Clinic. The Art Program is dedicated to supporting local, national and international contemporary visual artists by exhibiting and collecting their artworks. Tour of Cleveland Clinic Art Collection of the Sydell & Arnold Miller Family Pavilion & the Heart & Vascular Institute and the Glickman Urological & Kidney Institute. This tour will be led by a Curator from the Art Program and will include the Art Exhibition Area and site-specific works. Will require a good deal of walking to ensure viewing of many great works of art. Please wear comfortable shoes.

This event was sponsored by the Cleveland Clinic.

The Ethics of Hospitality and the Question of the Refugee

March 21, 2018
Dolan Science Center, John Carroll University
This event explores how the idea of health extends to the well-being (or lack thereof) of the environment, and extends the meaning of environment to include social institutions and forms of thinking. It features presentations and readings by Drs. Alfonso Lingis (Penn State University), Phil Metres (John Carroll University), and Nahida Halaby Gordon (Case Western University).

This event was sponsored by John Carroll University.

No Más Bebés: Film & Conversation with Producer/Researcher Virginia Espino

March 21, 2018
Tinkham Veale University Center, 1CWR
No Mas BebesThey came to have their babies. They went home sterilized. So begins the incredibly moving tales of the women chronicled in No Más Bebés (No More Babies), a heartbreaking documentary film based on the research of Latinx historian Virginia Espino. This is the story of Mexican immigrant mothers who sued Los Angeles county doctors, the state and the federal government after they were sterilized while giving birth in the 1970s. Led by an intrepid young Chicana lawyer, the mothers faced public exposure and stood up to powerful institutions in the name of justice. A discussion with Espino will follow the film. Light refreshments provided.

This event was co-sponsored by the Social Justice Institute, the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities, the Flora Stone Mather Center for Women, the Schubert Center for Child Studies, the Alianza Latina/Latino Alliance, SAVE (Sexual Assault and Violence Educators), Latino Medical Student Association, the CWRU Office of Multicultural Affairs, the President’s Advisory Council on Minorities, and the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities.

Abstinence-Only-Until Marriage: The Politics of Contraception and Sex Education

March 22, 2018
Allen Memorial Medical Library, CWRU
Iris HarveyIn her talk, Iris Harvey, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio and Board Member of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, will demonstrate that public policy regarding how sex education is taught in our schools is driven more by the desire to promote conservative values rather than making evidence-based decisions. Sex education in Ohio, and in many other states, is based on abstinence-only-until marriage beliefs. Such instruction largely excludes sexual and reproductive health topics such as birth control and safe sex, relationship development and consent, gender identity, body image, and prevention of sexually transmitted infections. Lawmakers in statehouses and city halls are the ones making decisions about what is (and is not) taught in school-based sex education. Nationally only 13 states require classroom sex education to be factual and medically accurate.

This event was sponsored by the Dittrick Medical History Center and Museum.

Therapeutic Theatre: An Introduction to The Rainbow of Desire

March 23, 2018
Crawford Hall, CWRU
In the mid-20th century, Brazilian activist, politician, and theatre artist Augusto Boal created The Theatre of the Oppressed (TO) as a way to examine and overturn sociopolitical oppressions – colonialism, poverty, sexism, racism, etc. TO uses theatre exercises, games, and performances to democratically and communally tell stories of oppression and search for ways to bring about justice, equity, and liberation for all. Rainbow of Desire applies TO techniques to identify, analyze, and respond to “internalized oppressions;” it is often seen as the “therapeutic” branch of TO; participants can uncover the origins of their internal conflicts, break down their responses to oppressions, and create paths forward. This session will introduce participants to Rainbow techniques and theories.

This event was co-sponsored by the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine and the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities.

Food Politics in 2018: A Humanities Perspective

March 23, 2018
Tinkham Veale University Center, CWRU
In this lecture Marion Nestle, Paulette Goddard Professor, of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health, Emerita, at New York University, discusses the idea that the paradox of today’s globalized food system is that food insecurity or obesity threaten the health and welfare of half the world’s population. Underlying these problems is an overabundant but inequitably distributed food system in which corporations are forced to expand markets to meet growth targets. The contradiction between business and public health goals has led to a large and growing movement to promote more healthful, environmentally sound, and ethical food choices and to identify a more equitable balance between individual and societal responsibility for those choices.

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

The Hospital – USA, 1971, Arthur Hiller

March 24, 2018
Cinematheque at the Cleveland Institute of Art
Right before he wrote Network, Paddy Chayefsky penned this savagely funny black comedy about modern health care. Like that subsequent TV satire, it won Chayefsky an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. George C. Scott stars as the beleaguered Chief of Medicine at a metropolitan hospital beset with problems ranging from ineptitude to murder. Though the doctor himself suffers from impotence and depression, he carries on in the face of disaster. This rarely revived classic has a 100% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Diana Rigg co-stars. 103 min.

This event was sponsored by Cinematheque at the Cleveland Institute of Art.

Symposium – Beyond Empathy: Critical Perspectives on Medicine, Society and Culture

March 24, 2018
Lecture Hall, Cleveland Museum of Art
This day-long symposium will feature presentations on the vibrant field of medical humanities, addressing a variety of unsettled questions, such as: How can humanistic and social science disciplines take account of one another’s insights for the study of health and medicine? How should these fields best inform clinical practice? And what, ultimately, is medical humanities for? Participants will include faculty and students from the humanities and social sciences, the School of Medicine, and the Cleveland Clinic. The program will include a demonstration in the Cleveland Museum of Art on the critical study of visual arts to train medical students in the skill of clinical observation.

This event was co-sponsored by the Program in Medicine, Society, and Culture, Department of Bioethics, Cleveland Museum of Art and the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities.

Stratigraphic Dating and Other Horrors

March 26, 2018
Kelvin Smith Library, CWRU
What happens after putrefaction?—our bones take their place in a great geological layering process whose strata can be analyzed and dated. These 2 horrors propelled Martin Kohn, PhD, director of the Program in Medical Humanities and Associate Professor of Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University, to seek solace in an embrace not of his “inner child”, but of his “inner-geezer”. This awakening to impermanence, that has taken shape during his nearly 40 years of involvement in the medical humanities, will be shared through poems, his own and those of others, that focus on aging and death. His hope is that any angst you may have experienced about aging, death–and poetry– will be lessened a bit.

This event was sponsored by the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine.

Therapeutic Process Using Narrative: A Vulnerable Reading of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”

March 26, 2018
Tinkham Veale University Center, CWRU
Life’s problems are often best approached in companionship with a story that offers guidance, and what guidance that is can vary considerably. The Hamlet in the Hospital project involves small groups performing readers’ theatre and then talking about how the play might be a companion in their work and lives. In this talk, Arthur Frank, Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Calgary, Professor at VID Specialized University, Bergen, Norway, and core faculty at the Center for Narrative Practice in Boston, will discuss how in these discussions, they practice what he calls “vulnerable reading”; that is, reading to discover how a literary work can be a companion during times of suffering.

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

Death and Dying in Early America to 1776

March 27, 2018
Drinko Recital Hall, Cleveland State University
Tisquantum embodies nearly all aspects of life and death in the British North American mainland colonies before 1776. As an indigenous person, he and his kinfolk suffered high, sometimes catastrophic, death rates from European diseases. As an inhabitant of what became New England, he and other New Englanders were more likely to live longer than their cohorts in other regions. As a man, he stood a greater chance of living longer than a woman because he avoided the life-threatening cycle of pregnancy, birth, and lactation that nearly every woman endured. And as a person who was at one time enslaved, he faced the likelihood of early death from hard work, exposure, malnourishment, and violence against a body he no longer owned. In that way, Tisquantum represents two demographic histories – of native Americans and of English colonists. Using Tisquantum as a starting point, this talk brings together those themes to describe how people lived and died in that portion of North America that became, later, the United States.

This event was sponsored by Cleveland State University.

“Resilience” Film Screening and Community Conversation

March 27, 2018
Louis Stokes Wing, Cleveland Public Library
The child may not remember, but their body does. Adverse experiences such as violence, neglect, abuse, or the loss of a parent through death, divorce or incarceration have been proven to change the brain and cause physical and mental illness later in life. Resilience explains the link and chronicles the beginning of a national movement to prevent childhood trauma and treat the toxic stress it causes. Following the film, Cat Davis, a therapist featured in the documentary, and Shanta Rishi Dube, a childhood trauma researcher, lead a conversation focused on breaking the cycles of adversity, trauma and disease to help individuals, families and communities recover.

This event was sponsored by Cleveland Public Library through a partnership with the St. Luke’s Foundation.

Quacks, Charlatans, and Geniuses: Medicine in Ancient Greece

March 27, 2018
Allen Memorial Medical Library, CWRU
The Greeks laid the foundation for Western medicine, but much of what we know about their medical practices seems rather unpromising. Did eating a boiled mouse cure infant teething? Why should a doctor consult a patient’s horoscope? What did a surgery competition entail? Why was dissection forbidden? James C. McKeown, Professor of Classics at the University of Wisconsin – Madison and author of A Cabinet of Ancient Medical Curiosities: Strange Tales and Surprising Facts From the Healing Arts of Greece and Rome (2017), introduces us to some of the more curious realities of what happened when Socrates needed a doctor.

This event was co-sponsored by the Dittrick Medical History Center and the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities.

A Good Place to Get Sick: Images of Urban Cleveland at the Turn of the Twentieth Century

March 28, 2018
Cleveland History Center
Between 1890 and 1910, Cleveland’s population grew from 261,353 to 560,353, a 115 percent increase. While some growth came from annexations, the bulk represented an influx of immigrants and migrants who came to work in the city’s industries. Crowded into polluted urban neighborhoods, conditions were often appalling and unhealthy. George Bellamy, head of Hiram House Social Settlement, photographically documented the situation and used the images to raise support for his settlement house. His images form the core of this presentation by John Grabowski, CWRU’s Krueger-Mueller Joint Professor in History and Senior Historian at the Western Reserve Historical Society. Like those of Jacob Riis in New York they tell a story of urban America at the turn of the twentieth century, one that speaks clearly to the connection between environment and personal health.

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

Infant Mortality and Lead Poisoning

March 28, 2018
Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage
This program will be a panel discussion that begins with the issue of lead poisoning and infant mortality in Cleveland and Ohio and moves into a deeper discussion of these issues as they pertain specifically to the Glenville neighborhood.  Panelists include: Erica Chamber, Director of Health Equity, First Year Cleveland; Neil Hodges, Project Manager, Greater University Circle Community Health initiative; and Dr Jackie Maltoub, Co-chair Greater University Circle Community Health initiative.

This event was sponsored by the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage.

The Arts of Dying

March 28, 2018
Kelvin Smith Library, CWRU
In this talk, Maggie Vinter, Assistant Professor in the English Department of Case Western Reserve University, discusses the “arts of dying” – a genre of medieval and renaissance conduct manuals advising their readers on how to die well. What does it mean to teach death, and what relevance could these ideas have today for writers and artists looking to represent mortality, or medical professionals and patients confronting terminal illness?There will be an exhibit in the Hatch Reading Room of Special Collections on the topic following the talk and a reception.

This event was sponsored by the Kelvin Smith Library.

CONVERSATIONS! at Dittrick Museum – The Babes were Silent: Infant Mortality and Public Health

March 29, 2018
Allen Memorial Medical Library, CWRU
Brandy Schillace, PhD, Senior research associate at the Dittrick Museum, will give a short TED-style talk on the rapid industrialization and immigration boom of the early 20th century in Cleveland. She will take a look at how a stressed water and sewage system, poor housing, and the exploitation of the poorest workers with the least social mobility led to outbreaks of cholera, rampant lead poisoning, and high rates of infant mortality in urban centers. The Social Justice Institute will provide a panel discussion, and the public is invited to take part in the conversation. The geography of these neighborhoods still matters, and Cleveland still faces high infant mortality rates. The historical presentation will end with a panel discussion about problems of race, class, and health today. The presentation will end with a public roundtable and Q and A.

The event was co-sponsored by the Dittrick Medical History Museum and the CWRU Social Justice Institute.

Honoring the Story of Care

April 2, 2018
Tinkham Veale University Center, CWRU
In this talk, Craig Irvine, Ph.D., Director of the Master’s Program in Narrative Medicine and founder and Academic Director of the Program in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University, proposes that the care of the sick unfolds in stories. The effective practice of healthcare requires the ability to recognize, absorb, interpret, and act on the stories and plights of others. Narrative Medicine addresses the need of patients and caregivers to voice their experience, to be heard and to be valued, and it acknowledges the power of narrative to change the way care is given and received.

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

Fashioning Maternity: Pregnancy, Breastfeeding, and Fashion in the Nineteenth Century

April 3, 2018
Cleveland History Center
Join Patty Edmonson, Museum Advisory Council Curator of Costume and Textiles, to explore the impact of pregnancy and breastfeeding on clothing. Period garments from the collection Western Reserve Historical Society’s collection illustrate the ways that women transformed their clothing and bodies in the 19th century.

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

A Journey Through Chronic Illness

April 4, 2018
Rodman Hall, John Carroll University
Meghan O’Rourke’s essays, criticism, and poems have appeared in Slate, The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, The Nation, Redbook, Vogue, Poetry, The Kenyon Review, and Best American Poetry. O’Rourke is also the author of the poetry collections “Once” (2011) and “Halflife” (2007), which was a finalist for both the Patterson Poetry Prize and Britain’s Forward First Book Prize. She was awarded the inaugural May Sarton Poetry Prize, the Union League Prize for Poetry from the Poetry Foundation, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Radcliffe Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, two Pushcart Prizes, and a Front Page Award for her cultural criticism. She is currently working on a book about chronic illness. She lives in Brooklyn, where she grew up, and Marfa, TX.

This event was sponsored by the Peace, Justice, and Human Rights Program and the English Department of John Carroll University.

Ask the Sexpert (USA, 2017, 75 min)

April 5, 6, & 8, 2018
Tower City Cinemas
The Cleveland Humanities Festival has partnered with the Cleveland International Film Festival Screening to sponsor this informative, loveable documentary about a long time sex advice columnist in India who gains popularity against the backdrop of a ban on sex education across the country.  Dr. Mahinder Watsa is India’s most unassuming and compassionate celebrity. For years, the 93-year-old former gynecologist has written a daily sex advice column in The Mumbai Mirror called “Ask The Sexpert.” This touching, humorous documentary follows Dr. Watsa through his day-to-day life, which revolves around helping people understand their own bodies and sexuality. With no trace of judgment and endless patience, he answers readers’ intimate, sex-related questions—no query is too naive or risqué—and holds private counseling sessions for people with physical and emotional concerns. Nothing fazes Dr. Watsa—not his newspaper facing an obscenity lawsuit because of the column, not the strangers who approach him on the street for photos, not sex education being banned in many Indian schools, and not family members who worry about him working too hard. ASK THE SEXPERT is a testament to the ways passionate advocates can make a difference despite seemingly insurmountable odds. (In English and Hindi with subtitles)

This event was sponsored by the 42nd Cleveland International Film Festival.

A Tour Through Disease

April 7, 2018
Lake View Cemetery
Brandy Schillace, PhD, Public Engagement Fellow from the Dittrick Medical History Center, will address some of the infamous diseases of the past. From polio to smallpox, cholera to diphtheria, we will learn about epidemics and pandemics that have “plagued” our city and region. Following the discussion at Daffodil Hall, guests will board Lolly the Trolley and tour through the Cemetery to further explore the types of illnesses and calamities that befell Clevelanders throughout history.

This event was co-sponsored by the Lake View Cemetery Foundation, the Dittrick Medical History Center, and the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities.

By Any Other Name: How Medical Humanities (Narrative Medicine, Medical Humanism, etc.) and Bioethics Are Reshaping Medical School Curricula in Cleveland and Beyond: A Panel Discussion

April 12, 2018
Allen Memorial Medical Library, CWRU
The Cleveland Medical Library Association’s 2018 Annual Lecture explores how Medical Humanities (under a variety of names) and Bioethics are being integrated into medical education nationwide, and transforming educational objectives. Following a panel discussion of medical students from CWRU’s School of Medicine and the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, a reception will be held in the Allen Memorial Library’s 2nd floor Reading Room.

This event was sponsored by the Cleveland Medical Library Association.

Film Screening and Discussion – They Shall Not Perish: The Story of Near East Relief

April 13, 2018
Tinkham Veale University Center, CWRU
This documentary details the unprecedented humanitarian efforts of thousands of Americans who saved a generation of orphans and refugees during the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and in the aftermath of the crisis that came to be known as the Armenian Genocide. The screening will be followed by a discussion led by Kenneth Ledford, Associate Professor in the Department of History and will include the film’s Executive Producer, Shant Mardirossian.

This event was co-sponsored by the Armenian Cultural Organization, the Near East Foundation, and the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities.

Loss and Found

May 5, 2018
Larchmere Arts
Dr. Mary Weems, winner of the 2015 Cleveland Arts Prize Emerging Artist Award for Literature, presents this one-woman performance and workshop designed to help others on their journey between grief and healing.Loss and Found is directed by Ashley Aquilla with original music, “Lifted in the Light” by Marcia Houston and voiceover actor Ebani Edwards.