Faculty Publications

What Words Cannot Express: Ian Bostridge on the Power of Music

Ian Bostridge by Sim Canetty-Clarke

What can music express that words cannot? This question intrigues esteemed tenor Ian Bostridge, whose “idiosyncratic vocalism, intense theatricality, and extreme musicianship” place him at the top of his field.

These queries make up the subject of a series of virtual lectures — and a virtual performance — that Bostridge will give at the University of Chicago this month. In a free, probing three-part lecture entitled “Musical Identities,” Bostridge examines the deeply communicative means of music to capture the otherwise indescribable phenomena of life: identity, existence, and death.

One Humanities Scholar Awarded 2021 Guggenheim Fellowship

Mitchell S. Jackson by John Ricard

Guggenheim Fellowships have been awarded this year to four University of Chicago scholars, chosen on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise. 

Prof. Ufuk Akcigit, Prof. Guanglei Hong, Asst. Prof. Mitchell S. Jackson and Prof. Tara Zahra are among the 184 fellows selected in this year’s class from nearly 3,000 applicants. Their fellowships will support research into the impacts of the Great Recession, a study of globalism and 20th-century Europe, and a work of historical fiction.

Vocalist Ian Bostridge to Deliver Lecture Series on Music and Identity

Acclaimed tenor Ian Bostridge

For acclaimed vocalist Ian Bostridge, classical music compositions count among the world’s most indispensable works of art—ones that should be as much a part of shared human experience as the poetry of Shakespeare, the paintings of Matisse and the novels of Charles Dickens.

The three-time Grammy Award winner seeks to help audiences connect to the resonance of classical music, and how the form expresses ideas of existence, love and loss and the inevitability of death.

This month, Bostridge will amplify that conversation as part of the Randy L. and Melvin R. Berlin Family Lectures, hosted annually by the Division of the Humanities at the University of Chicago. His lecture series, “Musical Identities,” will begin April 11 and continue April 17 and 24. Each presentation will be held virtually from 1 to 2:30 p.m. CDT. Registration for the series is free and open to the public.

Take a Closer Look at Artist Pope.L's Newest Exhibition

The COVID-19 pandemic casts a shadow over the exhibition, which contains allusions to the crisis with a degree of directness that is unusual in Pope.L’s work. Visitors enter the gallery under a literal cloud of masks, and seeing the works requires opening mirror-clad medicine cabinets with blue latex gloves. Photo by Robert Heishman

After nearly a full year of closure, the University of Chicago’s Neubauer Collegium will reopen its gallery to the public—doing so with a new exhibition from acclaimed artist Pope.L.

On display through May 16, My Kingdom for a Title features recent work by Pope.L, a scholar in UChicago’s Department of Visual Arts. The show contains allusions to the COVID-19 crisis with a degree of directness that is unusual in Pope.L’s work, which is often elusive and ambiguous.

Appointments to visit the gallery will begin March 9, with special hours and new visitor policies developed by the University of Chicago to protect the health of guests and staff.

Controversial Classics Spur New Conversations for TCM Hosts

Jacqueline Stewart by Joe Mazza, Brave Lux

Most of the classic films that run on TCM are introduced by a single host. In March, some will require a whole team.

The WarnerMedia outlet on Thursdays this month will seek to put some popular but troublesome films in better context, part of an effort it calls “Reframed.” Teams will ponder cultural issues posed by films such as “Gone With The Wind,” “Psycho,” “The Searchers,” “My Fair Lady” and “Gunga Din,” among others. Some of the hosts hope the initiative will continue beyond the next four weeks.

“We are hearing more and more from audiences about moments they are really puzzling over, if not downright offended by, in light of all of the broader cultural and political conversations we are having,” says Jacqueline Stewart, who became TCM’s first Black host in 2019 and is a cinema-studies professor at the University of Chicago.

Neubauer Collegium's New Research Projects Signal Enduring Commitment to Inquiry

Curator Nina Sanders, a visiting fellow at the Neubauer Collegium, sits on horseback at a parade to open Apsáalooke Women and Warriors on March 12, 2020. The exhibition grew out of the Open Fields research project, one of 111 faculty-led collaborations the Neubauer Collegium has supported since its 2012 launch. Photo by Max Herman.

The University of Chicago has long championed collaborative research as a promising strategy for addressing complex questions. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit last year, it was not clear how this form of inquiry might need to adapt. What new strategies would humanistic scholars adopt to share, develop and test new ideas online? What empirical data would social scientists be able to gather, and what insights could they glean from fieldwork dramatically constrained by new public health guidelines preventing close physical contact?

The challenges for scholars pursuing humanistic research collaborations at this moment are significant. But the 2021–22 cycle of research projects at the Neubauer Collegium are a clear sign that UChicago faculty remain committed to collaborative modes of inquiry—and creative in their approach to pursuing excellence in research.

Martha C. Nussbaum Awarded 2021 Holberg Prize

Martha C. Nussbaum

Professor Martha C. Nussbaum, a philosopher whose prolific and influential contributions have made her one of the world’s leading public intellectuals, has been named the winner of the 2021 Holberg Prize—one of the largest international awards given to an outstanding researcher in the arts and humanities, the social sciences, law, or theology.

Nussbaum, the University of Chicago’s Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics, is appointed in both the Law School and the Philosophy Department.

In giving the award, the Holberg Prize Committee cited the breadth and influence of Nussbaum’s work, as well as her “stupendous intellectual energy and productivity to address issues of major academic concern, as well as issues that have concrete economic, political, and legal impact.”

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