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Humanities to the Rescue

Humanities to the Rescue is a Public Humanities project focused on illuminating how the Arts and Humanities can help us interpret our environment in this age of media saturation and informational silos. As we are inundated 24/7 with a barrage of fake news, demagoguery, and hate speech, it is more urgent than ever for the Arts and Humanities to reclaim a central position in public discourse; to bring evidence-based analysis, ethics, and creativity to bear on the big issues of our time. As humanists and artists, we can bring crucial skills to address the current resurgence of authoritarianism, fundamentalism, racism and misogyny, as well as the cynical denialism that continues to justify destructive economic and environmental policies. Democracy was born as a humanistic vision and we have the capacity to reinvigorate and restore it.

When we pay attention, the arts and humanities have the power to illuminate and inspire. Stories and their interpretation are as necessary to humanity as fire, water, earth, air.

An Evening with Molly Crabapple| Friday, March 8

Brothers of the Gun cover imageClick here for event details.

Based in New York, but a frequent world-traveller, Molly Crabapple was shortlisted for a 2013 Frontline Print Journalism Award for her internationally acclaimed reportage on Guantanamo Bay and her current work on the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico is just as gripping. She is a contributing editor at VICE, and has written for The New York Times, Vanity Fair, The Paris Review, CNN, and The Guardian. She has done illustrated journalism in Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, The United Arab Emirates, Spain and Greece. Her published books include Discordia (with Laurie Penny), on the Greek economic crisis, and the art books Devil in the Details and Week in Hell. Her illustrated memoir, Drawing Blood, received rave reviews in The New York TimesThe EconomistDie Welt, and in many other publications. Random House’s One World imprint released Brothers of the Gun: Marwan Hisham’s account of life under ISIS in Syria, co-written and illustrated by Crabapple.

“In a few short years, Molly Crabapple has proved to be one of the most determined and effective political artists working in these sorry times. I wish there were a hundred or even two or three like her.”

— Joe Sacco

Crabapple has been called “equal parts Hieronymus Bosch, William S. Burroughs and Cirque du Soleil,” by The Guardian, and “THE artist of our time” by comedian Margaret Cho. She spent four years as the staff artist of The Box, one of the world’s most lavish (and notorious) nightclubs. Crabapple has taken her sketchbook from burlesque halls to refugee camps, always with a skeptical eye for power.

Humanities to the Rescue: Sounds: Avant-Garde, Modernism, and Fascism| April 8

Click here for symposium details.

The Humanities Institute’s Modernisms Research Workshop will participate in a series of events at UB celebrating composer Kurt Weill with a one-day symposium, free and open to the public. The point of departure for this symposium is the intersection of political upheaval, cultural criticism, and aesthetic experimentation, one specific to the first decades of the twentieth century but with undeniable echoes in today’s world.

In the spirit of the Modernisms Research Workshop, the symposium will explore music and sound, performance and spectatorship, in a variety of different geographical and national contexts, while seeking to foster interdisciplinary conversations across several fields of intellectual endeavor: literature, visual arts, architecture, dance, theater and stage design, film, and – most of all – music.

The symposium will feature guest speakers Kim Kowalke (Professor of Musicology at the Eastman School of Music and Professor of Music and Chair of the College Music Department of the University of Rochester), Jacques Lezra (Professor and Chair in the Department of Hispanic Studies at University of California – Riverside) and Peter Szendy (David Herlihy Professor of Humanities and Comparative Literature at Brown University).

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