INconversation with Nathan Alan Davis

Join us, on April 9th, for an INconversation with playwright Nathan Alan Davis, Nathan Alan Davis.  Photo courtesy of inside.iub.eduwhose play “Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea” will be featured at the Phoenix Theater April 9-26. Nathan received his MFA in playwriting from Indiana University in 2014 and is currently a Lila Acheson Wallace Fellow at Julliard.

The discussion, moderated by Modupe Labode, IUPUI’s Public Scholar of African American History and Museum Studies, will center around themes of memory, identity, African-American history, and the different ways we understand these ideas–through history, through theater and art, through material culture and family stories.

Nathan’s plays have also been produced, presented or developed at Baltimore Center Stage, Chicago Dramatists, San Diego Rep. and Source Festival (DC). Other honors include: Jerome Fellowship finalist, Heideman Award finalist and Bay Area Playwrights Festival finalist. Learn more.

INconversation is an Indiana Humanities program. This event has been supported by the IUPUI Arts & Humanities Institute, and is held in partnership with the Phoenix Theater

Chinese public scholar Na Li discusses state of public history in China

Na Li, a Research Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Humanities 8fb17ab0ab2b7b82969e5788675af52eand Social Sciences (IAS) at Chongqing University in China working to establish public history in China as an organizer of a Public History Faculty Training Institute, will be visiting Indianapolis April 7- May 1 doing research in the National Council on Public History (NCPH) archives housed in the IUPUI Special Collections and Archives.

Na Li, or Lina as she calls herself in English, earned a Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Toronto and a Masters from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she also earned a Graduate Certificate in Public History. Her research focuses on public history and urban preservation. Her first book, Kensington Market: Collective Memory, Public History, and Toronto’s Urban Landscape (University of Toronto Press, 2015) incorporates collective memory in urban landscape interpretation, and suggests a culturally sensitive narrative approach (CSNA) to urban preservation. Her articles have appeared in The Public Historian, Public History Review and The Oxford Handbook of Urban Planning. She contributes to a better understanding of public history on an international scale.

Na Li is also the International Affiliate of the Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling at Concordia University (Canada), and Research Fellow of Australian Centre for Public History at University of Technology Sydney (Australia). In her role as a Research Fellow at Chongqing University and Adjunct Professor at Shanghai Normal University (China), Na Li is pioneering to establish public history in China. She has organized the first National Conference on Public History in China (2013) and the first Public History Faculty Training Program in China (2014). She is completing her second book An Introduction to Public History (Chinese).

As part of her stay in Indianapolis, she will be presenting a talk about the “state” of public history in China, the goals of her public history faculty training program, and what she hopes to accomplish with her research in the U.S. Her talk, which is an official Intern Seminar, will be Friday, April 10, 2:00-3:15 pm, Faculty Lounge, Cavanaugh Hall, Room 508. Seating is very limited, so please RSVP to Philip Scarpino by April 9.

Kennedy ‘defending reason’ in Last Lecture

Sheila Seuss Kennedy

The old African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child,” goes to the heart of political philosophy: what should that village look like?

What is the common good? What is the nature of mutual social obligation? What sort of social and political arrangements are most likely to promote and enable — in Aristotle’s term — human flourishing? Perhaps most importantly, do we live in an era when such questions have largely been abandoned?

Sheila Suess Kennedy of the School of Public and Environmental Affairs will explore these and other questions in “Defending Reason in an Unreasonable Time” during IUPUI’s 2015 Last Lecture at 2 p.m. March 27 in the Campus Center Theater.

Kennedy has been at IUPUI since 1998, rising to her role as a professor of law and public policy in SPEA and as director of the Center for Civic Literacy.

The Last Lecture offers the university community the opportunity to hear reflections on life’s lessons and meaning from a retired or current IUPUI colleague of exceptional merit.

Reservations are required. RSVP online by March 23, or call Angie Vinci-Booher at 317-274-4500.

Kennedy says she has lived through the women’s movement, the civil rights movement, the ’60s, the sexual revolution, the gay rights movement, recent decades of religious zealotry that might be characterized as “America’s most recent Great Awakening,” and a dizzying explosion of new transportation and communication technologies. All those experiences have given her perspectives she will share on issues such as social justice, education and the nature of the common good.

Kennedy has a breadth of personal and professional experience that can rival anyone; she has been a lawyer (both in law firms and for the city of Indianapolis), a businesswoman, an author of nine books, a columnist for the Indianapolis Business Journal, a blogger on her own website and others, executive director of the Indiana affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union and a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Last Lecture is sponsored by the Senior Academy, the Office of Academic Affairs and the Indiana University Foundation. For additional information, contact the Office of Academic Affairs at 317-274-4500.


NEA Chair Jane Chu to Present at Arts Symposium at IUPUI

 Jane Chu Image courtesy NEA

Indiana University alumna Jane Chu, chair of the National Endowment for the Arts, will join arts leaders from around the country at a symposium in Indianapolis on Saturday, March 7.

The theme is “Community Engagement and Development Through the Arts” and it is led by arts administration faculty at the IU Bloomington School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

“This is a great way to honor the work of Dr. Chu and a chance to share the experiences and insights of arts leaders from across the U.S. whose work is directly tied to the quality of life and development of their cities and regions,” SPEA’s Michael Rushton said.

The event begins at 8:30 a.m. in the Basile Auditorium at the Herron School of Art and Design on the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis campus. It is open to the public, but organizers request attendees RSVP to

Chu has been chair of the National Endowment for the Arts since June and formerly served as president and CEO of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, Mo. She earned her doctorate in philanthropic studies from the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy in Indianapolis.

Chu will speak about the direction of the NEA as it relates to creative placemaking, including trends and plans for the future. Her address will follow a symposium with two panels. SPEA IU Bloomington professor Joanna Woronkowicz will moderate the first panel on the role of arts organizations in community engagement. Panelists include:

  • Laura Zabel, executive director of Springboard for the Arts in St. Paul, Minn.
  • Joan Squires, president of Omaha Performing Arts in Nebraska.

Rushton will moderate the second discussion on the role of arts funders with panelists:

  • Jennifer Cole, executive director of the Metro Nashville Arts Commission.
  • Karen Gahl-Mills, executive director of the Cuyahoga Arts and Culture in Cleveland.

At the conclusion of the IUPUI symposium, Chu will travel to Bloomington for a visit to the Jacobs School of Music and to attend an IU Opera Theater production of “South Pacific.”

Chu’s visit to Indiana will also include a meeting with all current NEA grantees in Indiana and a site visit to the Indianapolis Art Center with the Indiana Arts Commission, as well as meetings with SPEA IUPUI students and with the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy’s students, board of visitors, faculty and staff.

This is her second recent visit to the region; she delivered the IU Bloomington 2014 winter commencement address in December.

Support for the symposium has been made possible by grants from the Christel DeHaan Family Foundation, USA Funds, Tom and Bonnie Reilly, and the Ball Brothers Foundation, as well as from IUPUI. The host organizations for the Chu visit include SPEA IU Bloomington, SPEA IUPUI, Herron School, Indiana Arts Commission, Jacobs School of Music at IU Bloomington, the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute, and the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI.

To attend the symposium, RSVP to Nancy Bell by March 1.


Steward Speakers Series brings Hollywood to Indianapolis

Viola Davis

Viola Davis

Two acclaimed TV and film personalities are headed to Indianapolis to take the podium as guest speakers for the 2014-15 Steward Speakers Series.

Steve Harvey

Steve Harvey

The Steward Speakers Series presents award-winning actress Viola Davis and popular talk show and game show host Steve Harvey as keynote speakers for the lecture series that seeks to enhance the community by providing opportunities to engage with America’s best leaders and brightest luminaries.

Davis, currently starring in the ABC hit “How to Get Away With Murder,” is the featured speaker for the March 2 talk. Harvey, who has found success as an actor, writer and producer, as well as TV host, will headline the April 20 lecture.

Activities during both evenings include dinner from 6 to 7 p.m., followed by a lecture at 7:30 p.m. in the second-floor ballroom at the Marriott Downtown, 350 S. Maryland St.

During the March 2 lecture, Davis will discuss her career and how overcoming adversities and preconceived restrictions have all contributed to reinforcing her abilities as an artist and to her becoming a stronger woman.

The Tony Award-winning actress was thrust into the spotlight after her Oscar-nominated portrayal of Aibileen Clark in “The Help,” a big-screen drama about the struggles of black housekeepers working for white families in 1960s Mississippi.

In addition to hosting his TV shows, Harvey is a fashion entrepreneur and bestselling author. The 2012 box office hit, “Think Like a Man,” was adapted from Harvey’s No. 1 book, “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man.”

While he is known as a funny man, Harvey’s serious side shows in his longtime dedication to philanthropy. His current projects include The Steve Harvey Mentoring Weekend for Young Men, a camp that shares insights and manhood skills with teenage boys who are without fathers.

Tickets for each dinner and the following lecture are $100 per person. They can be purchased online.

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis is a title sponsor for the Steward Speakers 2014-2015 season that opened with Nov. 20 and Feb. 9 events featuring Michael Eric Dyson and T.J. Holmes as guest speakers.

The Steward Speakers Series provides continuous education and awareness to Indianapolis residents interested in empowerment topics. The program allows the community to dialogue on important issues of the day with celebrities, leaders and experts in particular fields.

Jürgen Overhoff, “On Benjamin Franklin, Clemens Vonnegut, and other Transatlantic Travelers: Why German-American Educational History Matters”

Juergen OverhoffMarch 10, 2015 | 12:00-2:00
IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute, IUPUI Library, UL 4115P
755 W Michigan St.
Free tickets below

Contemporary education ideals in the United States and Germany are the product of a set of key values propagated in the age of enlightenment: self-responsibility and autonomy of the citizen, religious toleration, individual rights of freedom and a broad general education available to all people as a sign of their human dignity. This lecture examines the genesis and development of these ideals through the multifaceted interrelationships between German and American pedagogues, school founders, and educational theorists from the colonial period up to the 21st century. This common history helps us understand the shared values of a transatlantic community committed to common educational ideals in theory and practice.

Dr. Jürgen Overhoff is Professor of the History of Education in the Institute of Educational Sciences at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster

Co-sponsored by the Center for German-American Educational History (CGAEH), University of Münster, the IUPUI American Studies Program, the Max Kade Center at IUPUI, and the IUPUI German Department.

Lecture: Jacob Darwin Hamblin, “Arming Mother Nature: The Birth of Catastrophic Environmentalism”

Jacob HamblinApril 1, 2015 | 6:00-7:30
PrintText; 652 East 52nd Street, Indianapolis, IN 46205
Free tickets available below

When most Americans think of environmentalism, they think of the political left, of vegans dressed in organic-hemp fabric, lofting protest signs. In reality, writes Jacob Darwin Hamblin, the movement–and its dire predictions–owe more to the Pentagon than the counterculture. In Arming Mother Nature, Hamblin argues that military planning for World War III created “catastrophic environmentalism”: the idea that human activity might cause global natural disasters. This awareness, Hamblin shows, emerged out of dark ambitions, as governments poured funds into environmental science after World War II, searching for ways to harness natural processes–to kill millions of people. Proposals included the use of nuclear weapons to create artificial tsunamis or melt the ice caps to drown coastal cities; setting fire to vast expanses of vegetation; and changing local climates. Oxford botanists advised British generals on how to destroy enemy crops during the war in Malaya; American scientists attempted to alter the weather in Vietnam. This work raised questions that went beyond the goal of weaponizing nature. By the 1980s, the C.I.A. was studying the likely effects of global warming on Soviet harvests. Driven initially by strategic imperatives, Cold War scientists learned to think globally and to grasp humanity’s power to alter the environment. Arming Mother Nature changes our understanding of the history of the Cold War and the birth of modern environmental science.

Dr. Jacob Darwin Hamblin is Associate Professor of History of Science, Technology, and Environmental History at Oregon State University. His most recent publication is Arming Mother Nature: The Birth of Catastrophic Environmentalism, published by Oxford University Press in 2013. He has also published Poison in the Well: Radioactive Waste in the Oceans at the Dawn of the Nuclear Age, published by Rutgers University Press in 2008, and Oceanographers and the Cold War, published by University of Washington Press in 2005. Dr. Hamblin’s current work explores the promotion of nuclear-related science and technology so-called developing countries, blending the histories of science, environment, and international relations.

Co-sponsored by Earth Charter Indiana, PrintText, and NUVO.