Politics and Religion: Constantine in Rome, 312-326

Dear Colleagues,

Please join us this Friday, December 4th at 3:00 in the Hatfield Room for our tenth and final Faculty Colloquium of this semester. Treats will be provided.
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Robert Chenault, Associate Professor of History and Classics

Title: Politics and Religion: Constantine in Rome, 312-326

Abstract:

The nature of Constantine’s personal conversion to Christianity has been endlessly discussed, doubted, and defended, and probably always will. Instead of inquiring into the unknowable, scholars would do better to focus on the ways in which Constantine presented his religious affiliations publicly and how they were represented by others. In this talk, I apply this method to a single, especially significant case: Constantine’s relationship with the city of Rome and its various constituencies. By exploiting both the textual evidence and the symbolic meanings of certain buildings and monuments linked to Constantine’s three visits to Rome between 312 and 326, it is possible to arrive at fresh insights into Constantine’s skillful balancing of political messages and religious expressions, the ways in which Constantine and the Senate were able to find common ground, and the flavor of public discourse at Rome in the early fourth century.

Please feel free to invite students to attend this talk.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Doreen Simonsen and Bobby Brewer-Wallin
Faculty Colloquium Coordinators


Faculty Colloquium: Water Conflict in the Klamath Basin

Dear Colleagues,

Please join us Friday, November 20th at 3:00 in the Hatfield Room for our ninth Faculty Colloquium of this semester. Treats will be provided.Don Negri

Don Negri, Professor of Economics

Title: Water Conflict in the Klamath Basin

Abstract:

The Klamath Basin in Southern Oregon has been the site of conflict over water resources for more than a decade. The Basin is a microcosm of the conflict over water scarcity that plagues the western US. The conflict is as much about clashing cultures as it is about insufficient water. The Basin is home to four Native American Tribes, four wildlife refuges and a federal irrigation project that provides water to approximately 210,000 acres of farmland. In the 1990’s the Endangered Species Act listed two fish species in the basin that made agricultural water supplies susceptible to cutbacks especially in drought years. Also during the 90’s the Confederated Klamath Tribes began to assert their historical water rights magnifying the threat to agricultural production in the region. Then in 2001, the conflict erupted into violence as the federal government mandated the water supply head gates be closed to protect endangered fish. Since that time the battle over water allocation in the basin has be waged in Congress and the courts with no end in sight.

Please feel free to invite students to attend this talk.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Doreen Simonsen and Bobby Brewer-Wallin
Faculty Colloquium Coordinators


Faculty Colloquium: “A Hindu is white although he is black”

Dear Colleagues,

Please join us this Friday, November 6th at 3:00 in the Hatfield Room for our seventh Faculty Colloquium of this semester. Treats will be provided.

Alexander Rocklin, Visiting Assistant Professor of Religious Studies
Alexander Rocklin
Title: “A Hindu is white although he is black”: Hindu Alterity and the Performativity of Religion and Race between the US and the Caribbean

Abstract:

This talk uses the controversies surrounding the racially and religiously enigmatic Ismet Ali, a yogi working in Chicago and New York in the 1920s, as a way to get at the complexities of the interrelatedness of the performativity of religion and race. In examining several moments in which Ali’s “authenticity” as Indian is brought into doubt, it opens up larger questions regarding the global flows of colonial knowledge, racial tropes, and groups of people between India, the US, and the Caribbean. The practices of the yogi persona and its sartorial stylings, particularly the donning of a turban and beard, meant to signify “East Indianness” in the US, were one mode through which “Hindoo” stereotypes were repurposed as models for self-formation by both South Asian and African Americans in the early twentieth century. In passing as “Hindoo,” peoples of color could circumvent the US’s black/white racial binary and the violence of Jim Crow. This act of racial passing, though, was an act of religious passing as well. This talk explores the ways in which, in the early twentieth century US, East Indian “authenticity” only became legible via identificatory practices that engaged with and took on Orientalized stereotypes. However, the ways in which identities had to and could be performed changed with context, as individuals moved across national and colonial lines.

Please feel free to invite students to attend this talk.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Doreen Simonsen and Bobby Brewer-Wallin
Faculty Colloquium Coordinators


New Voices Showcase: Rabins & Bernard

Please join us for the third event in the Fall 2015 Hallie Ford Literary Series at Willamette, a New Voices Showcase, featuring poet Alicia Jo Rabins and fiction writer Sean Bernard. The reading and Q&A will take place on Monday, November 9, at 7:30 p.m. in the Hatfield Room of Willamette’s library. It is free and open to the public, and books will be for sale courtesy of the Willamette Store.

A writer, composer, performer and Torah scholar, Alicia Jo Rabins won the 2015 American Poetry Review/Honickman First Book Prize. Her first volume of poetry, Divinity School, was published this October. She tours internationally with her band, performing Girls in Trouble, an indie-folk song cycle about the complicated lives of Biblical women. A Kaddish for Bernie Madoff, her one-woman chamber-rock opera, was named one of Portland’s best theatre performances of 2014 by the Willamette Week.

Sean Bernard is the author of two books released in the last year: a novel, Studies in the Hereafter, and a story collection, Desert Sonorous, which won the 2014 Juniper Prize from the University of Massachusetts Press. He lives and teaches creative writing in Southern California, where he serves as Fiction Editor for The Los Angeles Review and also edits the journal Prism Review. He holds degrees from Oregon State University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and his fiction has appeared in Epoch, CutBank, LIT, Glimmer Train, and Sequestrum. In 2012, he received a literary fellowship from the NEA.

Read one of Alicia’s poems here: https://aprweb.org/poems/florida; or listen to her songs here: http://www.girlsintroublemusic.com/listen/.

Read an interview with Sean here: http://therumpus.net/2015/10/the-rumpus-interview-with-sean-bernard/.

Scott Nadelson
Associate Professor of English;
Department Chair of English