2022 Cleveland Humanities Festival: DISCOURSE Events

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The Inequity of Climate Change: Finance, Policy, Justice

March 1, 2022
Global Ethical Leaders Society (GELS) moderated a panel discussion on climate change through the lens of finance, public policy, and environmental justice. They were honored to be joined by three leaders in the Ohio area sustainability space: Andrew Watterson, Callia Téllez, and Councilwoman Stephanie Howse. Each brought a unique perspective; from Cleveland’s first Chief of Sustainability to a climate advocate and researcher on Ohio’s Environmental Council to an elected official tasked with implementing environmental policies.

GELS is a student organization that seeks to challenge our beliefs and understanding on particular topics through dialogue and discourse. They believe that discussing pressing issues such as climate change is essential for developing robust solutions. As the world looks to meet targets outlined in the Paris Agreement, challenges exist on a localized level in the greater Ohio area. The event covered a variety of topics including existing and developing climate solutions, climate financing, and what equity looks like in a green economy, followed by a question and answer period.

This event was co-sponsored by the Global Ethical Leaders Society and the Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence. 

What is Knowledge? (3-part series)

March 12, 19, & 28 and March 21, 28 & April 4, 2022

What is knowledge? Is knowledge something different, something more robust, than belief or opinion? This informative three-part series investigated these questions and more -- the nature of knowledge, how we come to know things, and how we might convince others we know things. Over the course of three sessions, participants looked at some of the most influential and enduring theories that philosophers have come up with about knowledge and its importance in our everyday lives.  Presented by Professor Adrian Rutt, Professor of Philosophy at CSU and Tri-C.

This event was sponsored by Cuyahoga County Public Library.

Is Caste Equal to Internalized Attitude? A Theoretical Discussion

March 14, 2022 
Adrianne M. Crawford Fletcher, PhD, LISW, LCSW, Assistant Dean for Diversity & Inclusion and Adjunct Professor at CWRU, hosted a discussion about Caste: the Origins of our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson from the lens of Relational Theory. This perspective allows us to think about 'caste' from the view of 'internalized attitudes', to consider how these attitudes are formed, and how they determine our approach to relationships.

This event was sponsored by Rocky River Public Library.

Age of Disinformation

March 16 and 23 and April 5, 2022
In the Age of Disinformation, Dr. Froehlich discussed the rise of polarization in American society through disinformation wars by domestic and foreign actors, in which rational or consensus decision-making, facts and expertise are often derailed by and into culture wars.  These wars are likely to continue and deepen, putting American democracy in peril. 

This event was sponsored by Cuyahoga County Public Library.

Music's Many Voices - Education Concert

March 16, 17 and 18, 2022
About the Music:
GIOACHINO ROSSINI Overture to Guillaume Tell (William Tell)
WILLIAM GRANT STILL Movement 3 from Symphony No.1 (“Afro-American”)
CARLOS CHAVEZ Symphony No.2 (Sinfonia India), excerpt
REENA ESMAIL Movement 3, “Testament,” from Vishwas
ALEJANDRO GARCIA CATURLA Movement 1, “Danza del Tambor,” from Tres Danzas Cubanas
HUANG RUO Flower Drum Song from Feng Yang
ALBERTO GINASTERA Malambo from Four Dances from Estancia Danza final (Malambo - Final Dance)
JOHN WILLIAMS "Harry's Wondrous World" from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Performing Artists:
The Cleveland Orchestra
Vinay Parameswaran, conductor
Cleveland Orchestra Education Concerts have introduced more than 4 million students to live orchestral music in the Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Concert Hall in historic Severance. This year’s concerts for students in Grades 3-5 feature and amplify classical music’s many voices, and include repertoire by composers of many cultures, races, and genders.

This event was sponsored by The Cleveland Orchestra.


Woori Sori (Our Voice) Responds to Who Was this Built to Protect

March 19, 2022 
Woori Sori (Our Voice) is a Chicago-based, all-women’s Korean percussion group that uses four of the traditional Korean percussion instruments involved in the folk music tradition of pungmul to create space for people to share a powerful connection through dance, singing, and drumming.  This performance was in response to group member and artist Aram Han Sifuentes’s solo exhibition at moCa, Who Was This Built to Protect? The exhibition centered around a set of six large-scale red silk curtains with white text that spans the museum’s Gund Commons. The curtains are modeled after Red Cards created by the Immigrant Legal Resource Center with language that outlines the rights and protections held by all people under the U.S. Constitution, regardless of immigration status.  Situated in front of these curtains, Woori Sori’s performance inspired conversations about the intellectual, physical, and emotional labor it takes to become a U.S. citizen, as well as the ways in which immigrant communities preserve their cultural identities and traditions even after renouncing citizenship to their home countries.   Following the performance, Woori Sori discussed their work and how it connects to creative histories of protest.

This event was co-sponsored by the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland and the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities, CWRU.

Virtual Panel Discussion: Writing the Region

March 24, 2021 
This roundtable considered the opportunities and challenges for presses, literary publications, and media groups attempting to promote writing about and within the region known as the American Midwest. It was co-moderated by Jacob Bruggeman (editor-in-chief, Cleveland Review of Books) and Mitch James (editor, Great Lakes Review), with panelists Logan Sander (co-founder, Midstory), Megan and Joe Neary (co-founders, Flyover Country literary Magazine), Kevin Latimer and Brendan Joyce (co-founders, Grieveland), and Curtis Deeter (editor, Of Rust and Glass). 

This event was sponsored by The Cleveland Review of Books.

Write-In with Literary Cleveland: Writing Inspired by Black Art 

March 26, 2022 
Visitors stopped by CMA and explored the works in Currents and Constellations: Black Art in Focus through a variety of writing prompts and activities with Literary Cleveland. CMA curator Key Jo Lee was on hand to answer questions about the works on view. 

This event was co-sponsored by Cleveland Museum of Art and Literary Cleveland.



March 27, 2022 
Infamously macho writer and “prisoner of sex” Norman Mailer debates the women’s liberation movement with Germaine Greer (The Female Eunuch) and three other pioneering feminist intellectuals during a raucous public forum at New York’s Town Hall on April 30, 1971. Celebrated documentary filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker (Don’t Look Back) attended this landmark event, capturing the lively back and forth for posterity. With Betty Friedan, Susan Sontag, and Cynthia Ozick. “Heady, heated, and hilarious…A dazzling display of feminist firepower courtesy of some of the most influential figures of the era, with Mailer relishing his role as the pugnacious provocateur at the center of it all.” –Janus Films. Cleveland revival premiere. 

This event was sponsored by Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque.

Island Hopping

March 28, 2022 
How do you craft an emotional story while translating very technical and abstract information? Drawing from raw tape of interviews with scientists, Jad Abumrad, composer, journalist, creator and host of Radiolab, focused on the inherent struggles in science communication (or interpreting any technical or difficult information) – what happens when you get it wrong, how to fix it, and how it’s useful to embrace error in the process.  

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


The Case Against the Pill?: The Controversy Over Birth Control Side Effects, 1965-1975

March 31, 2022 
This was the 2022 Annual Percy Skuy Lecture.
Approved by the FDA in 1960, the new birth control pill was instantly popular with women across the country. By the mid-1960s, however, with millions of prescriptions filled, rumors of side effects ranging from headaches to blood clots grew into serious reporting in the mass media. By the end of the decade, many were calling for the government to investigate and ensure the safety of oral contraceptives. This talk examined the role of investigative journalism–particularly the career of science writer Barbara Seaman–in broader debates over the safety and suitability of “the Pill” during the 1960s and 1970s.

This event was sponsored by the Dittrick Medical History Center.

We Want Everything: Opening Event

April 1, 2022 
This event was the public opening of We Want Everything, an exhibit that explored printmaking as a communal cultural practice that values copying and repurposing in place of individual authorship. Organized in collaboration with artist, designer and archivist Josh MacPhee and the Cleveland Institute of Art Printmaking Department, this exhibition transformed Reinberger Gallery into an active maker space that mines the history of print and its connection to political activism, posters, radical music and book publishing design. We Want Everything will encourage visitors to engage in the process, mixing and matching imagery and ideas throughout the history of art and organizing for a better world. The exhibit ran from April 1st through June 10th.

This event was sponsored by Cleveland Institute of Art.

Moral Grandstanding in American Discourse: Is It a Problem?

April 4, 2022 
Moral grandstanding has been defined as "the use and abuse of moral talk to seek status, to promote oneself, or to boost your own brand." Many people, including Dr. Brandon Warmke, co-author of Grandstanding: The Use and Abuse of Moral Talk (Oxford University Press, 2020) and a philosophy professor at Bowling Green State University, argued that it is a significant problem in contemporary discourse. Others, such as Dr. Justin Weinberg of the University of South Carolina, disagreed. 

This event was sponsored by the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Humanities Center at Cuyahoga Community College.

Universal Inclusivity in Japanese Pure Land Buddhism: LGBTQ+ and Jodo Shinshu

April 5, 2022 
The exclusion of marginalized groups within society via the endorsement of religious bodies has been a topic of much attention but little change. Doctrinal and Qualitative statements are often used to define the behavior and expectations of followers of many different faiths. The unwelcoming and exclusive environment and discourse has led to a generalized rejection of religion by many people in marginalized communities.  Within schools of Japanese Pure Land Buddhism, specifically Jodo Shinshu Schools, universal acceptance of all people through acknowledgement of human nature provides inclusivity as a hallmark of Shinshu faith structure since the 13th century.  Non-discrimination within Jodo Shinshu is applied to all those who are differently abled, members of the LGBTQ+ community and people of different socioeconomic, racial and ethnic backgrounds, providing universal acceptance.  This discussion explored doctrine and the practice of universal acceptance and how it is applied today, in everyday life.

This event was co-sponsored by Cleveland Buddhist Temple and Buddhist Temples of America.

Rhinestone Revolutionaries on the Flaming River: Untucking Cleveland’s Drag Past

April 6, 2022 
Though commonly displaced by more obvious locales like New York City and San Francisco in studies of the LGBTQ+ past, Cleveland has long been an unacknowledged center of drag history. From vaudeville’s biggest drag stars to the best celebrity impersonator of the famed Jewel Box Revue in the 1950s and 60s, Cleveland has continuously led the way in drag’s top echelons. In this panel, drag historian Dr. Lady J guided the audience through major moments in Cleveland drag history across the past 100+ years, running the gamut from a silent film star-in-drag who captivated the nation to the mafia-run nightclubs of midcentury. 
Lady J lead a panel discussion covering the last 50 years of Cleveland drag history with drag performers who made their names during those decades and paved the path for today’s surge of drag into every corner of the city. These performers also fought for their rights within the LGBTQ+ community itself, tearing down barriers within nightlife for transgender performers, performers of color, and drag kings. Today, Cleveland’s drag performers from all backgrounds are building shows and performances in art galleries, sports arenas, theaters, restaurants, libraries, and more. However, the panelists developed their careers and personae when drag was almost solely restricted to the city’s gay bars. This panel discussion explored why and how these drag artists were able to build their careers and how hard they fought to do so, enriching our understanding of Cleveland’s complex drag history and the battles fought for today’s drag domination in the scene.

The event was sponsored by the West 117 Foundation.

Film Screening: The First Step (USA, 2021)

April 6, 2022 
Depending where you fall on the political spectrum, political commentator Van Jones may evoke an array of different emotions. To some, he is seen as a truth teller and a changemaker. To others, he is a talking head for the Democrats’ “Communist agenda.” And to a group of former supporters, Van Jones is seen as an untrustworthy traitor. An outspoken progressive voice on CNN, Jones has taken an increasingly controversial approach to getting things done… by reaching across the aisle. During the Trump administration, Jones worked tirelessly to create criminal justice reform, joining with the former president and his supporters to do so. Although Jones ran the risk of losing the backing of both sides by trying to pass a bipartisan bill, he pushed forward, continuing to bring people together who normally would never find themselves in the same room. An inside look at Jones’ courageous efforts and dedication to criminal justice reform, THE FIRST STEP is an intimate documentary that reframes what it means to make a difference and highlights the importance of continuing to have conversations with people of differing opinions. 

Click HERE for link to a clip from the documentary.

This event was sponsored by the 46th Cleveland International Film Festival.

Isabel Wilkerson

April 7, 2022 
When Pulitzer Prize-winning author Isabel Wilkerson released her latest book, Caste: The Origins of our Discontents, it was an instant hit! Oprah Winfrey chose it for her monthly book club; The New York Times called it "an instant American classic," and TIME Magazine labeled it a 2020 must-read book. The book, which sheds light on the unseen hierarchies that divide our nation and posits ways to transcend them, was adapted into a Netflix film directed and produced by Ava DuVernay. Wilkerson's first book, The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration (2010), won the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for nonfiction, among other honors. This event was part of CCPL's WILLIAM N. SKIRBALL WRITERS CENTER STAGE SERIES which brings the literary world's best writers to Greater Cleveland. The 2021-2022 series was presented by the Cuyahoga County Public Library Foundation and Case Western Reserve University (CWRU). 

This event was sponsored by Cuyahoga County Public Library.

14th Annual Stop the Hate Youth Speak Out & Youth Sing Out Awards Ceremony

April 13, 2022 
The Annual Stop the Hate® Youth Speak Out & Youth Sing Out Awards Ceremony awards $100,000 in scholarships and prizes to middle and high schools, students, and teachers speaking out against bias and discrimination. Young people of different cultures, backgrounds, and identities raised their voices to effect change in their communities.  The event included:
·         Top 20 Youth Speak Out essay contest finalists from 6th – 12th grades
·         The essays of the 11th & 12th grade finalists 
·         Schools that wrote the winning Youth Sing Out song lyrics
·         The 2022 Stop the Hate Teachers of the Year
·         Winners were named at this online event 
This event was sponsored by the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage.

Sports Identity and Inclusivity On-&-Off the Court with the LGBTQ+ Youth Sports League

April 19, 2022 
Sports participation is one of the many areas where LGBTQ+ youth experience exclusion and discrimination resulting in decreased levels of participation, and increased negative impacts on a youth’s physical, mental, and behavioral health. The need to foster safe spaces where LGBTQ+ youth can participate in accessible, inclusive, and equitable sports platforms has never been more critical. Among the first of its kind in the country, the LGBTQ+ Youth Sports League affords LGBTQ+ youth the ability to participate in athletics as their authentic selves. The LGBTQ+ Youth Sports League is dedicated to helping LGBTQ+ youth utilize the program to address, influence, and embrace mental and behavioral health solutions to the challenges these youth face.

This event was sponsored by the West 117 Foundation.


The Chevalier: Music of Joseph Bologne - Education and Family Concerts

May 7, 2022
About the Music:
All Music by Joseph Bologne:
Symphony No.2 in D major
Violin Concerto No.1 in D major — II. Adagio
Symphony in G major No.1 — III. Allegro assai
  Violin Sonata No.2 in A major
String Quartet No.4 in C minor — I. Allegro moderato
L’amant anonyme: Ballet No.1
Violin Concerto in A major, No.2 —- I. Allegro moderato
Symphony Concertante in G major — II. Rondeau & cadenza
Violin Concerto No.9 in G major — III. Rondeau
Written and directed by Bill Barclay, artistic director of Concert Theatre Works
Son of a slave and French aristocrat, Joseph Bologne has reached the top of his game – music teacher to Marie Antoinette and Europe’s fencer to beat. But when a bedridden Mozart is carried into his kitchen, he attracts the attention of a secret police force returning people of color to slavery. As Paris hurtles toward Revolution, Bologne is forced to choose between his creative freedom and the crusade for equality. Can he sacrifice his bow for his sword?
Features the music and true story of 18th century Black composer Joseph Bologne, son of a slave and French aristocrat who fought prejudice during a time of revolution. Four actors and a violin soloist join The Cleveland Orchestra to tell Bologne’s incredible story alongside his finest works for orchestra.
Performing Artists:
The Cleveland Orchestra
Vinay Parameswaran, conductor
Brendon Elliott, violin
Instrument Discovery Zone
Every Cleveland Orchestra Family Concert features engaging pre-concert activities, including our Instrument Discovery zone, which offers hands-on opportunities for children to try playing various orchestral instruments. 

This event was sponsored by The Cleveland Orchestra.


Honoring Black Composers Prelude Concert

May 24, 27 and 28, 2022 
This event showcased music by African American Classical composers, past and present, including some Ohio natives. This prelude concert took place in Reinberger Chamber Hall in advance of the evening Cleveland Orchestra festival concert.

This event was sponsored by The Cleveland Orchestra.