Faculty members share their passions in Mount Vernon library talks
This fall, Kenyon and the Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County are sponsoring a new program of talks by Kenyon faculty members. Entitled "A Kenyon Sampler: Kenyon Faculty Members Share Their Passions," the series is intended for a general audience and is free and open to the public.
All of the talks are scheduled for Mondays at 7:00 p.m. at the main branch of the public library, 201 North Mulberry Street, Mount Vernon. The first three talks will be offered this semester, with three more slated for the spring semester. If the program proves popular, it will be continued during the 2005-06 academic year.
On Monday, October 18, Associate Professor of Sociology and Legal Studies Ric Sheffield will inaugurate the series with "In the Wake of Brown: the Color of Classrooms in Rural Ohio." Americans recently commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's 1954 decision Brown v. Board of Education, which struck down the legal rationales for school segregation. Sheffield notes that nearly all of the scholarship on this landmark case has examined its impact on black and white schoolchildren in the South or the urban North. His talk will explore the influence of Brown and related cases on the educational experiences of African-American children in the rural towns and villages of the heartland, focusing on a Knox County case study.
Samuel B. Cummings Jr. Professor of Psychology Michael Levine will offer the second talk, "Swimming with a Real Body in a Sea of Media Fantasies: How to Protect Your Image," on Monday, November 8. Levine, one of Kenyon's experts on body image and disordered eating, will discuss the "third-party effect" of images in the mass media-that is, the tendency of people to view the media's messages, such as the glorification of slenderness, as affecting others rather than themselves. His talk will cover research on the negative effects of the mass media on body image and eating patterns, and will emphasize what people can do to maintain a positive self-image and healthy habits in the face of harmful cultural pressures.
The final talk of the semester, "In Search of . . . Authentic Indonesian Music," will be presented by Luce Assistant Professor in Asian Music and Culture Henry Spiller on Monday, December 13. Spiller will offer a whirlwind introduction to a musical tradition that embraces widely contrasting styles, from the delicacy of Java's gamelan music-with its percussive tinkling and deep gong sounds-to the surging energy of Bali's "monkey chant," performed by a swaying mass of bare-chested men. The talk will also take a thought-provoking look at the notion of authenticity.
The spring semester's "Kenyon Sampler" will feature talks in January, February, and March by Professor of Art History Melissa Dabakis, Jordan Professor of Environmental Science and Biology Ray Heithaus, and NEH Distinguished Teaching Professor of History Wendy Singer.
All members of the College community are encouraged to attend the "Kenyon Sampler" presentations. Refreshments will be served after each talk.