MLA Prize Awarded to Larry Norman

Larry Norman, Professor in Romance Languages and Literatures, Theater and Performance Studies, and the College, recently received the Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for French and Francophone Literary Studies from the Modern Language Association for his book The Shock of the Ancient: Literature and History in Early Modern France. According to the selection committee’s citation for the book, “Probing early modern reactions to the classical age, Norman’s compelling analysis highlights the value of art in bridging distance in human consciousness in any era.” Norman currently serves as Deputy Provost for the Arts at the University, and has curated exhibitions at the Smart Museum of Art and the Special Collections Research Center. The Scaglione Prize is “awarded annually for an outstanding scholarly work in its field—a literary or linguistic study, a critical edition of an important work, or a critical biography—written by a member of the association.”

More information is available about the MLA 2012 prizewinners.

Patrick Jagoda Discusses Time Travel, Video Games During Interdisciplinary Panel

On November 7 at the Field Museum, a multidisciplinary panel composed of University of Chicago faculty together with Argonne National Laboratory and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory researchers and engineers convened to discuss the topic of time. “Playing with Time” was the sixth in a Joint Speaker Event series organized by the Office of the Vice President for Research and for National Laboratories. Questions discussed by the panel included, “Did humans invent time to help explain everything around us? Was there time before the origin of the universe?” and “How does a virus experience time?”

Patrick Jagoda, Assistant Professor of English, noted the ways humanities fields like literature and new media grapple with the notion of time, such as in the novel Einstein’s Dreams. “Clock time makes ordered schedules possible, but bodily time is shaped by moods, desires and whims,” he said. “Another scheme imagines time as a current of water occasionally displaced by passing breezes.” Video games, he noted, have developed ways to allow users to manipulate time.

The question of time travel fascinated the panel. Joseph Lykken, a particle theorist at Fermilab, explained that travel to the future has been observed with particle accelerators. “Muons (subatomic particles), for example, usually survive for a microsecond, but when we speed them up they can survive a thousand times as long. They have traveled to the future.” For the humanities, time travel may involve fewer subatomic particles and more creativity. Jagoda noted that reading an old book or playing a video game can be an imaginative way to put oneself in another time.

Anthony Elms, MFA'95, to Co-Curate Whitney Museum's 2014 Biennial

Anthony Elms, associate curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, has been selected to curate one floor of the Whitney Museum of American Art for its 2014 Biennial. The Biennial acts as a platform to present shows that illustrate the state of contemporary art in the country. He joins two additional curators who will also have creative control over their own floors. Elms, a 1995 MFA graduate, was selected by the museum's director and staff members to participate in what Donna DeSalvo, the Whitney's chief curator, calls an experiment: "By slicing the museum up like a layer cake and seeing how it will look collectively, it gives the curators the opportunity to express their own points of view, each on a different floor.” The 2014 Biennial will be a historic one for the museum, as it is the last time the event will take place in the Whitney's Marcel Breuer building before the museum moves to its new location in the meatpacking district.

Elms recently contributed to "Wall Text", an exhibit that was on display throughout the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts.

Steven Rings Wins Emerging Scholar Award

Steven Rings, Associate Professor in Music, was recently awarded the Emerging Scholar Award from the Society for Music Theory for his book Tonality and Transformation. The Emerging Scholar Award is given to books or articles published within five years of the author's receipt of their PhD. Rings, who received his PhD from Yale in 2006, focuses his scholarship on transformational theory, phenomenology, popular music, and questions of music and meaning. Tonality and Transformation uses transformational music theory to examine diverse aspects of tonal hearing, focusing on the listener's experience. For more information on the Society for Music Theory, please visit their site.

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