Queens College

Married to LeRoi, and Other Musings

May 29, 2009 | CUNY Lecture Series, Queens College

Her muse is the group of childhood photos of herself that she keeps on her desk. “There is something about that little girl within (me) that I felt I could never disappoint,” said Hettie Cohen Jones, whose first poetry collection, “Drive,” was honored by the Poetry Society of America in 1997. The author of “How I Became Hettie Jones,” (1990), a memoir of the Greenwich Village beat scene of the 1950s and 1960s when she was married to the poet LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka), discussed her life and read her poetry at an event co-sponsored by the Poetry Society of America and the Queens College MFA Program in Creative Writing and Literary Translation.
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Struggling With Jihad

May 14, 2009 | CUNY Lecture Series, Queens College

Often defined as “holy war” or “just war,” jihad actually means “struggle” or “striving in the path of Allah,” according to Kristina Richardson, professor of Islamic history at Queens College. “Fighting and warfare are central things found in the Koran, but jihad itself does not have that same meaning,” she said. “These are misuses of the Koran and should not have been applied to modern Jews and Christians.” In a lecture at Queens College, “Myths and Realities of Jihad,” Prof. Richardson examines the theological debates surrounding “greater” and “lesser” jihads and the rise of a new jihad by current-day Muslim extremists.
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From Speechwriting to Poetry

April 9, 2009 | CUNY Lecture Series, Queens College

As a speechwriter for New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, Jericho Brown found that he was drawn to poetry as a way to ask, rather than answer, questions. “When you’re writing speeches, you’re writing a message,” said Brown, now an English professor at the University of San Diego. “Speeches don’t allow for people to be unsure…(the way) poems do.” At an event co-sponsored by the Poetry Society of America (PSA) and Queens College’s MFA Program in Creative Writing and Literary Translation, Prof. Brown discussed his work with Robert Casper, programs director at PSA, and read from his first book of poetry, “Please.”
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The Making of Italy at Home and Abroad

April 6, 2009 | CUNY Lecture Series, Queens College

Between 1880 and 1915, more than 13 million people left Italy for the Americas, North and South, in search of a better life. It was the largest exodus ever recorded from any country in history. Mark Choate, professor of history at Brigham Young University, discussed this mass emigration and its importance to the development of the newly created Italian state. The author of “Emigrant Nation: The Making of Italy Abroad,” Prof. Choate spoke at the Philip V. Cannistraro Seminar Series in Italian American Studies at the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute at Queens College, about how Italy struggled to adapt as immigrants formed “Little Italies,” abroad. “What we see, with this vast emigration and the Italian states initiatives, is a ‘global nation’ in the making.”
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Lincoln, Believer in Freedom and the Written Word

March 10, 2009 | Book Beat, Graduate Center, Queens College

If Mark Twain was the Abraham Lincoln of American literature, then Lincoln was the Twain of American politics. So says Fred Kaplan, distinguished professor emeritus of English at Queens College and the CUNY Graduate Center, who has written biographies on both men. His new book, “Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer,” has been generating attention, in this bicentennial year of Lincoln’s birth. Just months before his inauguration, President Obama was photographed by the Associated Press holding a copy of the book. Prof. Kaplan discusses how he seized an unprecedented opportunity to “look into the origin and development of Lincoln’s genius with language, especially since I saw that no one else had done that before.”
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Stephen Rea at Queens College

January 2, 2009 | CUNY Lecture Series, Queens College

Before appearing on the big screen, Irish actor Stephen Rea acted on stage, something he says all actors should experience. “In theater, you learn how to act properly,” says Rea, who trained at the venerable Abbey Theater in Dublin. “It’s hard to learn how to act on film because you do so little acting — in a day’s work, you might act for five minutes.” Rea has appeared in nearly 40 films and received an Oscar nomination for his lead role in Neil Jordan’s critically acclaimed “The Crying Game.” In October, as an artist-in-residence at Queens College, he coached students in the college’s production of the J. M. Synge classic “The Playboy of the Western World.'” After the play, Rea was interviewed by Prof. Kevin Whelan of Notre Dame University, Dublin.
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"Honor" and Murder

November 25, 2008 | CUNY Lecture Series, Queens College

For nine decades, Karen Tintori’s ancestors had fiercely guarded the family’s secret. Then, a genealogical query by Tintori unearthed the name of a great-aunt that had mysteriously vanished from her family tree. In “Unto the Daughters: The Legacy of an Honor Killing,” Tintori traces her family’s immigrant Sicilian roots and, along the way, discovers Frances Costa, her grandmother’s sister, who was brutally murdered by her own brothers in a 1920 honor killing in Detroit. “This was something that was buried, hidden and changed so many times to protect the guilty and the innocent,” said Tintori, who read from her book as part of the John D. Calandra Italian-American Institute’s Writers Read Series at Queens College.
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Arrivederci, Little Italy

May 9, 2008 | CUNY Lecture Series, Queens College

“Little Italys,” city enclaves that once cradled Italian-American immigrants, have almost disappeared, says Fred L. Gardaphe, Distinguished Professor of Italian-American studies at Queens College. “But they were never meant to be permanent settlements. Italian-American identity is fluid, and constantly shifting shapes and changing often, more often than the scholars would like to acknowledge.” In “Beyond the Immigrant Paradigm: Identities and the Future of Italian American Studies,” Prof. Gardaphe traces the evolution of Italian-American identity and theorizes about its future. His lecture keynoted the “Italians in the Americas,” conference sponsored by the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute at Queens College.
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Italian Intellectuals' "Metropoli Americana"

May 5, 2008 | CUNY Lecture Series, Queens College

The American metropolis — as seen by Italian intellectuals who journeyed here during the 19th and 20th centuries — is the subject of Bronx Community College Associate Prof. Giulia Guarnieri’s book, “Narrative di vaggio urbano: Mito e antimito della metropoli americana.” The book analyzes diaries and memoirs of intellectuals such as playwright and novelist Giuseppe Giacosa, who visited New York and Chicago in 1891 and saw the skyscrapers as symbols of American creativity and modernity. As part of The Philip V. Cannistraro Seminar Series in Italian American Studies at the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute at Queens College, Italian Studies Prof. Guarnieri explains how the travelers interpreted American culture and society through architecture.
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Images of Arab-Americans

April 30, 2008 | CUNY Lecture Series, Queens College

For nearly 40 years, freelance photographer Mel Rosenthal has traveled the world to capture extraordinary images of ordinary people. A native of the South Bronx, his black and white chronicle “In the South Bronx of America,” captured a borough at the abyss; The New York Times described that work as “a classic example of the art of documentary photography.” Rosenthal’s ongoing project, “The Arab-Americans: Americans By Choice,” features photographs dating forward from 1992, highlighting the large diversity of Arab-American communities. The exhibit, which opened in New York in 2002, has traveled to other U.S. cities as well as to Jordan and Syria. In a lecture at Queens College, Mr. Rosenthal discusses his Bronx origins and the evolution of the Arab-Americans exhibit.
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