University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

The University Symposium, a forum designed to explore a topic through a series of events held over the course of an academic year, was developed by the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) in 2005.  

From immigration policy to genocide

Our first Symposium, “Politics of Populations,” was designed to explore urgent concerns ranging from immigration policy to preparing for the next pandemic to the tragedy of genocide, as well as scholarly research ranging from demographic history to multicultural encounters in ethnic borderlands to changing technologies of population surveillance and administration.  The symposium was developed by an interdisciplinary steering committee led by Evelyn Davidheiser and M. J. Maynes and including Susan Craddock, Ann Forsyth, Michael Goldman, Miriam King, Rachel Neiwert, J. Michael Oakes, Wendy Rahn, Klaas van der Sanden, Laura Sayles, Karen-Sue Taussig, Eric Weitz, and Tom Wolfe.

The Events of the 2005-06 Symposium:

  • Space, Marginalization, and Inclusion.  Panel discussion with Gail Dubrow (Dean of the Graduate School), Erica Lee (History), and Ann Forsyth (Metropolitan Design Center).  Faculty respondents included Judith Martin (Geography and Urban Studies), John Archer (Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature), and John Koepke (Landscape Architecture).
  • Understanding Genocide: The Extremes of Population Politics
    • “Small Dances About Big Ideas: Comprehending Genocide with an Artmaking Experience.”  A movement workshop led by Liz Lerman (choreographer, performer, writer, educator and artistic director of the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange).
    • “Understanding Genocides” panel discussion. Taner Akçam (History), Bruno Chaouat (French and Italian), Stephen Feinstein (Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies), Miriam King (Minnesota Population Center), Liz Lerman (choreographer, performer, writer, educator and artistic director of the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange), J. Michael Oakes (Epidemiology), and Eric Weitz (History).
  • Newest African Americans: Post-Colonial West Africans and the Remaking of the Atlantic World in the United States.  Discussion with Marilyn Halter (Boston University), Violet Johnson (Agnes Scott College), Sahra Noor (Community University Care Center/Variety Children’s Clinic), and Elizabeth Boyle (Sociology).
  • Epidemics in the Making: Politics and the Production of Infections Disease.
    • “The Politics of Infectious Diseases: Global Surveillance and Early Warning Systems.”  Keynote address by Stephen Morse (School of Public Health and Department of Epidemiology, Columbia University).
    • “History, Science, and Society.” Panel Discussion with Paul Quie (International Medical Education and Research), Tamara Giles-Vernick (History), John Eyler (History of Medicine), and Bruce Braun (Geography).  Susan Craddock (Women’s Studies), moderator.
    • “Bridging Policy and Social Critique.”  Monica Schoch-Spana (Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh), Michael Osterholm (Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy), Michael Fraser (National Association of City and County Health Officials), Phillip Peterson (International Medical Education and Research), Harry Hull (State Epidemiologist, Minnesota Department of Health), Nicholas King (History of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University), and Walter Tsou (American Public Health Association). Susan Craddock (Women’s Studies), moderator.
  • The Meanings of Citizenship: Citizen, Alien, Terrorist—Historical thoughts on Internment Lecture by Mae Ngai (History, University of Chicago), with discussion moderated by Louis Mendoza (Chicano Studies).
  • Celebration of Art and Diaspora.
    • “Diasporic Words.” Spoken word poets Ed Bok Lee, Bryan Thao Worra, Ibé  Kaba, and Bao Phi; drumming by Kurt Kwan.
    • “Diasporic Footage.” Screening and discussion with filmmaker Kimi Takesue.
    • “The Somali Diaspora.” Exhibit and discussion with photographer Abdi Roble and writer Doug Rutledge.
    • “Performing Diaspora.” Spoken word poetry collective Palabristas.
    • “Bandh.” Performance by Ananya Dance Theatre.
    • “Arts and Diaspora.” Panel discussion with Sandy Agustin (Intermedia Arts), Ananya Chatterjea (Dance), Ed Bok Lee (poet), Abdi Roble (photographer), Evelyn Davidheiser (Institute for Global Studies), Ed Bok Lee (poet), and Louis Mendoza (Chicano Studies).
    • “Diasporic Rhapsody.” Dance party featuring Cuban band Simbiosis with hip-hop artists Desdamona and Maria Isa.
  • A final conference, “Race and Pedagogy,”  fall 2006.

The Symposium also had a curricular component. In Fall and Spring semesters, the Institute for Global Studies offered graduate credit for participation in the “The Politics of Population” research collaborative (GloS 5900) led by M. J. Maynes (History) and Evelyn Davidheiser (Global Studies) which met in the Nolte Library.  In Spring semester, Jeffrey Pilcher (History) offered an undergraduate honors seminar on “The Politics of Populations: Epidemics, Race, and Hunger” (HSem3040H).

A Celebration of Arts and Diaspora: the closing event

Public discussions, panels, and talks ranged their focus  on urgent concerns ranging from immigration policy to the next pandemic to the tragedy of genocide, and scholarly research ranging from demographic history to multicultural encounters in ethnic borderlands to changing technologies of population surveillance and administration. The Symposium closed with a weekend of poetry, films, photographs, dance, discussion, and musical performances. Cosponsored by Intermedia Arts on behalf of the Immigrant Status Program.

Friday April 21

Diasporic Words
3:00-6:00 p.m.
120 Nolte Center
Ed Bok Lee and Kurt Kwan
Bryan Thao Worra
Ibe Kaba
Bao Phi

Hosted by Ed Bok Lee

Diasporic Footage 
8:00-10:00 p.m.
155 Nicholson Hall
Director Kimi Takesue presents three short films: “HEAVEN’S CROSSROAD,” “SUMMER OF THE SERPENT,” and “E=nyc2.”

Saturday April 22

The Somali Diaspora 
12:00-2:00 p.m.
140 Nolte Center
Photographer Abdi Roble presents and discusses selections from his current project, “The Somali Diaspora.” Exhibition will be open until 6:00 p.m.

Performing Diaspora 
2:30-4:30 p.m.
120 Nolte Center
Poetry performance by Palabristas

7:30-9:00 p.m.
Barbara Barker Dance Center
Ananya Dance Theatre presented Bandh, a meditation on dream celebrates the power of women dreaming, which unleashes forces of nurturing and healing, sustaining the world’s life through violent times such as these. In this dance theater piece, sculpturesque images from the Odissi dance tradition merge with the principles of yoga to unfold the power of dream. 

Sunday April 23

Arts and Diaspora
11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
125 Nolte Center
Roundtable discussion featuring Sandy Augustin (Intermedia Arts), Ananya Chatterjea (Ananya Dance Theatre), Evelyn Davidheiser (Institute for Global Studies), Ed Bok Lee (poet, writer, performer), Louis Mendoza (Department of Chicano Studies) and Abdi Roble( photographer).

Diasporic Rhapsody 
7:00 p.m.-midnight
800 Washington Avenue North, Minneapolis
Free dance party! Simbiosis with Desdamona, Maria Isa, and DJ Don Cuco.

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