Orange Alert

2016-17 Syracuse Symposium Addresses Questions of 'Place'

Intellectual, artistic festival will officially span entire academic year

Sept. 6, 2016, by Robert M Enslin


The Syracuse University Humanities Center announces its lineup for the 2016-17 Syracuse Symposium, whose theme is “Place.” The popular series highlights innovative, interdisciplinary work in the humanities by renowned scholars, artists, authors and performers. Fall headliners include youth activist Shawn Ginwright (Sept. 22), visual artist Todd Gray (Oct. 7), Mohawk installation artist Alan Michelson (Nov. 1) and Stanford neurobiologist Carla Shatz (Dec. 8).

For the first time in its 15-year history, Syracuse Symposium will officially span the entire academic year. Humanities Center Director Vivian May is positive the expanded format, along with the center’s new website and branding campaign, will appeal to a wide audience.

“Questions of ‘place’ are at the heart of a wide range of endeavors,” says May, also a professor of women’s and gender studies. “Our range of events examine ‘place’—its meaning and impact—from diverse perspectives and genres, across a range of locations, locally and globally. This year’s lineup combines theory and practice to engage wider publics with the humanities, broadly conceived.”

All events are free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Humanities Center at 315.443.7192 or visit

Mande Strings

The fall schedule is as follows:

Tuesday, Sept. 20
Concert: “Mande Strings: Music and Place Around the Black Atlantic”
The world-renowned Mande Strings, a trio from Mali, presents an evening of traditional Western African folk music.
8 p.m., Setnor Auditorium

Thursday, Sept. 22
Lecture: “Radical Healing in Schools and Communities”
Shawn Ginwright, associate professor of education in the Africana Studies Department at San Francisco State University, explores how social change can counteract poverty, violence and hopelessness; presented by the Douglas P. Biklen Landscape of Urban Education Series in the School of Education
5:30 p.m., Maxwell Auditorium

Stanley William Hayter

Friday-Sunday, Sept. 23-25
Print Fair and Symposium: “About Prints: The Legacy of Stanley William Hayter and Atelier 17”
Artists, scholars and curators (including Joann Moser of the Smithsonian American Art Museum) pay homage to one of the 20th century’s most influential printmakers; presented in conjunction with the SU Art Galleries exhibition by the same name.
Times and activities vary, Shaffer Art Building

Thursday-Saturday, Sept. 29-Oct. 1
Screenings: Syracuse University Human Rights Film Festival
Schedule includes screenings of films from North and South America, Europe and Africa, with appearances by directors Trisha Ziff (“The Man Who Saw Too Much”) and Alanis Obomsawin (“Trick or Treaty?”); presented in partnership with the Newhouse School.
Times and locations vary; for a complete schedule, visit

Tuesday, Oct. 4
Workshop: Finding Their Place: Social Change and Merasi Identity
Musicians from North India's desert region join representatives from two nongovernmental organizations for a discussion about music and social justice within a rigid caste system.
12:30 p.m., Eggers Hall (Room 341)

Tuesday, Oct. 4
Concert: “Finding Their Place: Merasi Musicians from Desert Rajasthan”
A program of North Indian folk music, steeped in Islamic and Hindu traditions.
8 p.m., Slocum Auditorium

Robert Brooke

Thursday, Oct. 6
Workshop: “Designing Place-Conscious Courses”
Robert Brooke, the John E. Weaver Professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, leads a three-hour discussion, drawing on his book "Writing Suburban Citizenship" (Syracuse University Press, 2015).
9 a.m., Tolley Humanities Building (Room 304)
Contact or 315.443.1091 by Monday, Sept. 29, to RSVP or request any accessibility accommodations.

Thursday, Oct. 6
Lecture: “Writing Suburban Citizenship: Place-Conscious Education and the Conundrum of Suburbia”
Brooke continues his visit with a public lecture about suburban classroom projects that help foster a sense of community.
4:30 p.m., Schine Student Center (room 304ABC)

Todd Gray

Friday, Oct. 7
Lecture and Reception: “A Place That Looks Like Home”
Visual artist Todd Gray, who splits time between California and Ghana, examines conjugations of black and male identity; presented in conjunction with his Light Work exhibition by the same name.
6 p.m., Watson Theater (316 Waverly Ave.)

Monday, Oct. 10
Workshop: “Using the Visual History Archive Database: Streaming Video of Thousands of Genocide Witness Testimonies”
Emilie Garrigou-Kempton, academic relations and outreach officer of the University of California Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research, provides an overview of the foundation’s Visual History Archive (VHA). A repository of more than 50,000 video testimonies from survivors and witnesses of the Holocaust and other genocides, the VHA encompasses over 60 countries and 40 languages, and is a resource for students and scholars alike.
9 a.m., Peter Graham Scholarly Commons (Room 114), Bird Library

Thursday, Oct. 13
Readings: “The Poetry of Place”
The acclaimed husband-and-wife team of Adrian Matejka (“The Big Smoke”) and Stacey Lynn Brown (“Cradle Song”) read original poetry; presented in conjunction with the YMCA's Downtown Writers Center.
7 p.m., Downtown YMCA (340 Montgomery St.)

Friday, Oct. 14
Workshop: “The Poetry of Place”
Matejka and Brown co-lead a three-hour writing workshop.
9 a.m., Tolley Humanities Building (Room 304)
Contact or 315.474.6851, ext. 328, by Friday, Oct. 7, to RSVP or request any accessibility accommodations

Tuesday, Nov. 1
Lecture: “Seeing Place Through Indigenous History”
Alan Michelson, a Mohawk installation artist, lecturer and writer, discusses how his notion of history and place is shaped by Haudenosaunee concepts and perspectives.
4:30 p.m., Peter Graham Scholarly Commons (Room 114), Bird Library

Wednesday, Nov. 2
Workshop: "Site-Specific Art and Native History"
Michelson will lead a three-hour workshop focusing on the challenges and opportunities associated with his public art projects.
9 a.m., Tolley Humanities Building (Room 304)
Contact by Monday, Oct. 24, to RSVP or request accessibility accommodations

Carla Shatz

Thursday, Dec. 8
Lecture: “Inside the Brain: Synapses Lost and Found in Development and Alzheimer’s Disease”
Stanford neurobiologist Carla Shatz delivers the annual Kameshwar C. Wali Lecture in the Sciences and Humanities, exploring the link between brain wiring and developmental disorders.
4 p.m., Lyman Hall (Room 132)

Organized and presented by the Humanities Center, Syracuse Symposium is a public humanities series that revolves around an annual theme. Programs include lectures, workshops, performances, exhibits, films and readings. Located in the Tolley Humanities Building, the Humanities Center serves the campus community by cultivating diverse forms of scholarship, sponsoring a broad range of programming and partnerships and addressing enduring questions and pressing social issues.

Media Contact

Robert M Enslin