ISI 2018 Resident, Masha Gessen, to Give Public Lecture on 4/16 at 6:30pm

MASHA GESSEN as our distinguished Resident for 2017-18. Masha Gessen
will visit the UMass campus from April 10-April 24, as part of this
year’s ISI seminar theme, ‘Dissent’. Gessen's work as an author,
journalist, and critic makes her a particularly apt choice as this
year's Resident.

U.S./RUSSIAN RELATIONS'. A reception will be held at 6:00 PM, and the
LECTURE WILL BEGIN AT 6:30 PM. Signed copies of her award-winning book
will be available to buy there.

Masha Gessen is perhaps best known for her advocacy for LGBTQ rights in
Russia, but her work forcely addresses a very broad range of central
political and social issues in present-day Russia and more recently in
the United States. Gessen won the National Book Award for nonfiction in
2017 for here book "The Future is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed
Russia". She is currently a staff writer at The New Yorker.

Photos of "Hairdresses Are My Heroes" -- A Performance by Sonya Clark

The ISI is very pleased to pass on the news from Loretta Yarlow, of the University Museum of Contemporary Art that an event which ISI co-sponsored, “Hairdressers Are My Heroes,” a performance by Sonya Clark, was a great success. 

The performance involved an ancient African hairstyle from a sculpture in the exhibition Five Takes on African Art / 42 Paintings by Fred Wilson, re‐created by the hands of stylist Kamala Bhagat on the head of artist Sonya Clark. Clark’s work often features hair and combs to speak meaningfully about cultural heritage, gender, beauty standards, race, and identity, and this performance celebrated artists across time — from the original hairdresser who created the style, to the sculptor who created the piece, to the contemporary hair stylist, to Sonya Clark herself.

A video of the event can be seen here, and pictures of the event taken by Ed Cohen of MassLive are displayed below, with more pictures available here. 

"Digital Africas: Texts, Publics, Genre" at Amherst College

ISI is supporting the symposium, “Digital Africas: Texts, Publics, Genre” that will take place at Amherst College from October 12-14. The symposium addresses how 21st century sub-Saharan writers use and respond to digital technologies when they publish traditional print texts, experiment with online platforms, or interact with local and international audiences through social media. The symposium will commence with a keynote address on October 12 at 5:00 p.m. by Ato Quayson, in the Center for Humanistic Inquiry (CHI) in the Frost Library on the Amherst College campus. ISI’s former director Stephen Clingman will be facilitating a panel discussion on Friday, October 13. The symposium is free and open to the public. Further details about the program, including affiliations of the participants, can be found on the Amherst College website.

Fred Wilson at the UMass Museum of Contemporary Art

On October 11, ISI is cosponsoring a visit by Fred Wilson to the UMass Museum of Contemporary Art. Wilson, an acclaimed artist who has created a diverse range of work challenging assumptions of history, culture, and race, will be giving a talk titled, “The Silent Message of the Museum, and Other New Works.” The talk will take place in room 151 of the Integrative Learning Center from 5:30-7:30 p.m, and is free and open to the public.

Celebrating the ISI and Stephen Clingman

On September 13, the ISI celebrated its seventeenth year of existence, originally as the Interdisciplinary Seminar in Humanities and Fine Arts, and since 2012 as the ISI. This was also a fitting occasion to pay tribute to our founding director, Stephen Clingman. The tribute consisted of remarks from Julie Hayes, Dean of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts, from former ISHA/ISI fellows Milliann Kang and Jenny Adams, from past residents, including Daniel Kanstroom of Boston College, ISI's most recent resident, and finally, words of appreciation and a reading by Caryl Phillips, the Institute's first resident. The ISI wants to thank Stephen for his tireless efforts in creating the Institute, developing it into what it has become today, and championing interdisciplinarity in and outside of the academy.