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Humanities on Demand

Oct 29 2014

Debby Irving: Waking Up White

This episode is a recording of a talk held on September 10th, 2014 at the Portland Public Library as part of their Brown Bag Lecture Series. We join Debbie Irving as she discusses her book, Waking Up White.

Debby Irving, Racial Justice Educator and Writer, and Shay Stewart-Bouley, Executive Director of Community Change, Inc., author of the blog Black Girl in Maine, and past Think & Drink speaker, led a program at the Portland Public Library on the night preceding this talk. About 150 people came to the library for “Tell Me the Truth: Exploring the Heart of Cross-Racial Conversations.” This podcast builds on that discussion, while taking a closer look at Irving’s book.

“Most people confuse racism with prejudice,” Irving explains. “Prejudice is equal opportunity. Anybody in this room and I—no matter what color or class or age—we could have all kinds of assumptions about one another. That’s prejudice. We could pre-judge each other. But that’s not going to impact whether or not you get a job, that’s not going to impact whether you get stopped by the police on the way home, this is just an interpersonal thing. When I talk about racism I’m talking about the structures in our country, the systems.”

Sep 30 2014

Paul Doiron: “The Bone Orchard”

This episode is a recording of a talk held on August 27th, 2014 at the Portland Public Library as part of their Brown Bag Lecture Series. We join Paul Doiron as he discusses his newest book, “The Bone Orchard.”

Bestselling author Paul Doiron is the Editor Emeritus of Down East Magazine. He is a native of Maine and a board member of the Maine Humanities Council. Here, he reads from his fifth novel in a series following the life of Maine game warden Mike Bowditch.

“Do I go out of my way to try to portray Maine as a place that is not just Vacationland but includes pockets of poverty and difficult places to write about? Yes, I do,” Doiron says. “I am a Maine native…I have family that has drug and alcohol abuse, lives in dire poverty, and it’s part of Maine. It’s part of the state that we live in, and I wanted to bring that to readers.”

Aug 29 2014

Rebroadcast: Tim O’Brien – Two Heads and the Things They Carried

In honor of the launch of Coming Home: A Reading Group for Combat Veterans, we are rebroadcasting an updated version of a talk by author and veteran Tim O’Brien. This was part of the Literature & Medicine program’s national conference, After Shock: Humanities Perspectives on Trauma, held on November 12 & 13, 2010 in Washington, D.C.

Tim O’Brien has been hailed as “the best American writer of his generation” (San Francisco Examiner). A Vietnam veteran, he is the author of eight books. He received the National Book Award in Fiction in 1979 for his novel Going After Cacciato. In 2005 The Things They Carried was named by The New York Times as one of the twenty best books of the last quarter century. It received the Chicago Tribune Heartland Award in fiction and was a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award.



Jul 17 2014

John Ward: Teach Me Now To Listen, a Retrospective on Seamus Heaney


In this episode we join John Ward at the Jackson Memorial Library in Tenant’s Harbor for “Teach Me Now to Listen: A Retrospective on Seamus Heaney.” This talk was held on   April 9, 2014 as a Taste of the Humanities event.

Scholar John Ward, formerly of Centre College and Kenyon College, discusses the Irish poet whose death in 2013 was a blow to poets and literature lovers alike. He explores Heaney’s ranging subjects and styles, from personal and familial to political and cultural.

“He’s gone, and I feel an obligation to keep his voice and music alive to the degree that we can,” Ward says.

May 22 2014

Raymond Miller: An “Unhappy Wanderer” on the Streets of St. Petersburg: Raskolnikov as Superfluous Man

This talk was delivered on March 8th as part of Winter Weekend 2014, Crime and Punishment. In it, Raymond Miller discusses the phenomenon of the superfluous man in Russian literature, and the ways in which Crime and Punishment’s Raskolnikov does and does not fit with his predecessors in that category.

Raymond Miller is recently retired from Bowdoin College, where he taught Russian language and literature for 30 years. He has lectured and written extensively on Pan-Slavism and the history of Romanticism in East Central Europe. His current projects include an intellectual biography of the Slovene scholar and Pan-Slav ideologue Jernej Kopitar and Dostoevsky’s relationship to his early inspiration, Nikolai Gogol. He holds a BA in Russian literature from Harvard and is president of the Society for Slovene Studies.

Apr 28 2014

Julie Buckler: Dostoevsky’s St. Petersburg

Julie Buckler is Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures and Comparative Literature at Harvard University. She specializes in the cultural heritage of Imperial Russia. Buckler is author of The Literacy Lorgnette: Attending Opera in Imperial Russia and Mapping St. Petersburg: Imperial Text and Cityscape. Her new book project is titled Cultural Properties: The Afterlife of the Imperial in Soviet and Post-Soviet Russia.

 In this talk, delivered on March 8 as part of Winter Weekend 2014, Buckler takes us on a tour through the historical and the literary city of St. Petersburg. She begins with its construction in the early 1700s, traces the forces that influenced its growth, and takes the listener through the centuries with both the city’s critics and its defenders.

“I’m very happy to share with you some of the history of St. Petersburg,” Buckler says, “which is neither a backdrop nor a setting for Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, but the medium of the novel—the air. The kind of petri dish, if you will, in which a creature like Raskolnikov grows.”




Please be aware that the content in these audio files does not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or policies of the Maine Humanities Council or any organization with which the Maine Humanities Council is affiliated. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the podcast do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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