2011-12 Brooks Lecture Series Unveiled


2011-12 Brooks Lecture Series Unveiled

The 2011-12 Rozanne M. Brooks Lecture Series at SUNY Cortland will encompass the theme of “Culture and the Written Word.”

The series, which is free and open to the public, features a reception and two guest speakers during the fall semester and two guest speakers and a poster session during the spring semester.

The events all take place on Wednesdays and begin at 4:30 p.m. in Moffett Center, Room 2125, unless otherwise noted. A reception to welcome each speaker starts at 4 p.m. at the Rozanne M. Brooks Museum in Moffett Center, Room 2126.

The following guests will speak during the fall semester:

Jennifer C. Ross, an associate professor in the Art Department at Hood College in Frederick, Md., will discuss “Cultural Transformation in Mesopotamia: The Invention of Writing and Writers” on Sept. 21. The invention of cuneiform in Mesopotamia — the ancient name for Iraq — produced the earliest writing system in the world around 3,500 B.C. As such, it has had a profound effect on communication throughout the millennia that have followed. This lecture will explore the reasons for writing’s invention, the people behind its creation and its impact on Mesopotamian society.

Gouri Bhat of Austin, Texas, will present “We the People: The Constitution and the Culture of Civil Rights” on Oct. 12. Due to interest in this 4:30 p.m. lecture, the event location has been moved to Sperry Center, Room 105. The reception remains at 4 p.m. in the Brooks Museum, Moffett Center, Room 2126. Bhat, the sister of SUNY Cortland Associate Professor of History Girish Bhat, left private practice in 2004 to become a national public interest lawyer at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in Washington, D.C. From then until 2008, she served as a staff attorney at the ACLU National Prison Project, where she worked extensively on litigation related to prison and immigration detention conditions around the country, focusing on issues such as inadequate medical and mental health care, overcrowding, punitive isolation, excessive force and sexual assault. From 2009 until she joined Berk Law earlier this year, she served as a senior staff attorney with the ACLU of Texas in Austin. She developed and litigated racial justice cases as well as systemic challenges to government practices that disproportionately impact minority communities.

The spring semester will feature the following events:

SUNY Cortland students will present a poster session on “Books That Changed the World” during a reception from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 15 in Room 2126. At 4:30 p.m., SUNY Cortland students will present a Poetry Slam in Room 2125.

Victoria Boynton, a SUNY Cortland associate professor of English, will discuss “Does a Text Have a Sex?” on March 14.

“We have Chick Flicks, Chick Lit, Gender Benders and Sexting,” Boynton said. “Is writing gendered? You bet.”

Students peruse a glass display case.
 Students and faculty members peruse a glass display case full of anthropological artifacts at the Rozanne M. Brooks Museum in Moffett Center, Room 2126.

Boynton, who received the College’s 2005 Rozanne Brooks Dedicated Teacher Award and the 2004 Cortland Faculty Development Committee Excellence in Teaching Award for Incorporation of Multicultural and Diversity Perspectives in Teaching, will explore a spectrum of gender-inscription in writing and discuss this array of “writerly” identities.

Emil Homerin, a professor of religion in the University of Rochester’s Department of Religion and Classics will address “The Word of Islam: Language, Religion and Culture in the Muslim World” on April 11.

Homerin, a specialist in Arabic literature and Islam who has lived and worked in Egypt and Turkey for a number of years, will highlight the importance of language and writing in Islam. His talk will feature the Qur’an, the prophetic traditions of the prophet Muhammad, legal edicts and poetry. He also will focus on the power of words in both classical and recent times, and their impact of life and culture. Homerin was awarded grants from the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation, the Fulbright Foundation, the American Research Center in Egypt and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The lecture series honors the late Rozanne Marie Brooks, a SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor and SUNY Cortland professor emerita of sociology and anthropology. A SUNY Cortland faculty member for 36 years, Brooks died in 1997.

The 2011-12 Brooks Lecture Series is sponsored by a grant from Auxiliary Services Corporation (ASC) and the Cortland College Foundation. For more information, contact the lecture series organizer and Brooks Museum director, Sharon R. Steadman at (607) 753-2308.