Theaster Gates: "Liverpool Has the Complexity of Race In Its DNA"

Theaster Gates

A work by Theaster Gates might be a performance, or a film, or a sculpture, or a song. It might also be a housing development, or a cinema or a library; in the South Side of Chicago where Gates lives (he’s a professor of visual arts at the University of Chicago), he has pulled off a remarkable transformation, taking over old buildings near his studio – including a former crack house – and transforming them into cultural hubs that celebrate and preserve black culture and its history. It breathed new life into his block, then his neighbourhood, then his city. “We brought some heat,” as Gates put it in his 2015 TEDTalk (for which he received a standing ovation).

Jacqueline Stewart Helps to Add More Diversity to Films in the National Film Registry

Jacqueline Stewart by Joe Mazza brave-lux

The National Film Registry board strove to make the list of 25 new films added annually more representative of a wider spectrum of American life, and two years ago formed a task force on diversity, equity and inclusion.

“The board has been asking, ‘How many more John Ford or Albert Hitchcock films do we put on the registry?,” said Jacqueline Stewart, University of Chicago Professor in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies, who was tapped to chair the task force, told TIME. “It seems like we’ve covered a lot of those bases—and because of the sheer number of films on the registry, we absolutely have to broaden our horizons, and engage with archives and film critics and scholars and the American public to help us bring a wider variety of films into view.”

Humanities Scholar Edgar Garcia to Receive MLA's William Riley Parker Prize Honorable Mention

Edgar Garcia

Edgar Garcia’s scholarship focuses on cultural practices and literatures of indigenous people in the Americas, which historically have not been considered literature. For his article “Pictography, Law, and Earth: Gerald Vizenor, John Borrows, and Louise Erdrich” published in the March 2019 issue of PMLA, the Modern Language Association’s literary journal, he will receive the William Riley Parker Prize Honorable Mention at the MLA Conference in Seattle on January 11, 2020.

Humanities Scholar Lauren Berlant to Receive 2019 Hubbell Medal for Lifetime Achievement in American Literature

Lauren Berlant photographed by Whitten Sabbatini for The New Yorker

Driven by an immense pedagogical curiosity, Lauren Berlant has spent more than three decades studying, analyzing, and writing about what sentimentality means in American culture for gender, sexuality, and politics. For her perceptive interpretations of American literature, politics, and culture, Berlant will receive the 2019 Hubbell Medal for Lifetime Achievement from the American Literature Section of the Modern Language Association at the MLA Conference in Seattle on January 11, 2020.