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Events & Exhibits: 2014 Brown Bag Talks

Creative Documentation of Creative Destruction: On Margin Call and Other Great Recession Documentaries

Thursday, September 25


Ramsey Library Special Collections

Kirk Boyle, Literature and Language

Creative Documentation of Creative Destruction: On Margin Call and Other Great Recession Documentaries

How did the 2007 financial meltdown register at the level of culture? Kirk Boyle (lecturer, Literature and Language) will read from the introduction to his edited collection The Great Recession in Fiction, Film, and Television: Twenty-First-Century Bust Culture (Lexington, 2013), which explores how imaginary works of fiction, film, and television reflect, refract, and respond to the recessionary times specific to the twenty-first century. His presentation will focus on how documentaries—both cinematic and written—represent the financial crisis as at once terribly complex and simply terrible. This tension between ontological complexity and ideological simplicity seems inherent to both the documentary form and the financial crisis itself, but can this arrested dialectic between complexity and simplicity be overcome? An analysis of J.C. Chandor’s film Margin Call unearths the same tension within a work of cinéma vérité, and thus provides a bridge to more creative treatments of the Great Recession that serve as the focus of the collection’s individual essays.


A Brief History of Death

Thursday, October 9


Ramsey Library Special Collections

William Spellman, Professor of History and Director of COPLAC

Join Bill Spellman as he discusses his latest book, A Brief History of Death (Reaktion Books, 2014). 

"A Brief History of Death considers how we have died throughout history, both in the causes of death and in our varying attitudes to actions that lead to the deaths of fellow humans. The book provides a deeper context for contemporary debates over end-of-life issues, especially the emerging tension between longevity and quality of life."  (from the publisher's website)

Century America: COPLAC Digital Liberal Arts Project

Thursday, November 6


Square D Classroom, Ramsey Library 001

Ellen Holmes Pearson, UNC Asheville Department of History

Jeff McClurken, Professor of History and Special Assistant to the Provost for Teaching, Technology, and Innovation, University of Mary Washington

Greg Dillingham, Distance Learning Services Manager, Teaching and Learning with Technology Resources, Ramsey Library

Join Ellen Holmes Pearson and Jeff McClurken as they discuss the Century America Digital Liberal Arts Project,  a collaborative effort between member campuses of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges founded before 1914, the year when World War I began in Europe. Taught by professors Ellen Pearson and Jeff McClurken, with extensive technical support from Greg Dillingham, the Century America Project brought together thirteen students from nine different COPLAC schools across the country. Meeting in a virtual environment, the students drew on archival resources in their own communities to create a digital history project that documented how their schools and communities fared between 1914, when World War I started, and 1919, when the war was over and a major influenza pandemic swept across the globe. As befits the virtual classroom nature of the Century America Project, Jeff McClurken will be joining us via videoconference.


What's Knotty in Higher Education - rescheduled until Spring 2015


 Ramsey Library Special Collections

Joseph Urgo, Provost

"What's Knotty in Higher Eduction"

Join Provost Joseph Urgo in a discussion on issues facing the academy at large. Topics may include student access vs student motivation, intellectual elitism in a democracy, the invasiveness of popular culture, the age-old tendency to make war on the young, and general confusion about various forms of financial aid and the "cost" of a college education.  


Wayfaring Strangers: The Musical Voyage from Scotland and Ulster to Appalachia

Thursday, November 20


Square D Classroom, Ramsey Library 001

Douglas Orr, Chancellor

Wayfaring Strangers: The Musical Voyage from Scotland and Ulster to Appalachia

Join Chancellor Douglas Orr as he discusses his new book, Wayfaring Strangers: The Musical Voyage from Scotland and Ulster to Appalachia (UNC Press), co-written with NPR's Thistle & Shamrock host Fiona Richie. From the UNC Press website: "Throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, a steady stream of Scots migrated to Ulster and eventually onward across the Atlantic to resettle in the United States. Many of these Scots-Irish immigrants made their way into the mountains of the southern Appalachian region. They brought with them a wealth of traditional ballads and tunes from the British Isles and Ireland, a carrying stream that merged with sounds and songs of English, German, Welsh, African American, French, and Cherokee origin. Their enduring legacy of music flows today from Appalachia back to Ireland and Scotland and around the globe. In Wayfaring Strangers, Fiona Ritchie and Doug Orr guide readers on a musical voyage across oceans, linking people and songs through centuries of adaptation and change."  Chancellor Orr may even play a few tunes!