UNC Asheville presents Mary Louise Pratt and Renato Rosaldo

Press release from UNC Asheville:

The Educated Imagination in Uncertain Times, a discussion let by Pratt, with participation by Rosaldo and the audience, will take place at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 8 in UNC Asheville’s Reuter Center.

Arts of the Contact Zones in Time of Border Crossings, a discussion led by Rosaldo, with participation from Pratt and the audience, will take place from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 9, in Highsmith Union, in the Swannanoa Room 104. The discussion will be followed by a “happening.”

Rosaldo and Pratt, both faculty emeriti of New York University, are renowned authors and scholars. Pratt is a past president of the Modern Language Association and at NYU is a Silver Professor, teaching social and cultural analysis, Spanish, Portuguese and comparative literature. The author and editor of many books and articles, Pratt has focused on what she calls “contact zones” – areas in which two or more cultures communicate and negotiate shared histories and power structures.

Rosaldo, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences who taught social and cultural analysis as well as anthropology at NYU, also is practitioner of anthropoesia (anthro-poetry). He is UNC Asheville’s second Black Mountain College (BMC) Legacy Fellow in spring 2017. This fellowship program brings one distinguished scholar to UNC Asheville each semester to offer a public lecture and teach a course in the spirit of BMC’s arts-centered education. The fellowship is funded through a three-year grant from the Windgate Charitable Foundation, and is part of UNC Asheville’s partnership with the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center. The grant also funds undergraduate research in areas related to Black Mountain College.

In addition to the public discussions, Rosaldo is co-teaching a course, Culture, Citizenship, Community, with Heidi Kelley and Ken Betsalel of UNC Asheville’s faculty.

“Rosaldo’s work through the Black Mountain College Legacy Fellowship is a continuation of innovating teaching where students learn by doing,” said Betsalel, UNC Asheville professor of political science. “In this course, students are learning about what it means to be a citizen through community service, poetry and close observation in and out of the classroom. Renato is an inspiring teacher who uses his own fieldwork experience as an anthropologist and poet to convey the importance of reading books as well as observing life closely.” Rosaldo also is co-facilitating, with Betsalel and Kelley, a faculty group examining “Diverse Ways of Knowing in the College Classroom.”

UNC Asheville Assistant Professor of Spanish Juan G. Sánchez Martinez who is coordinating the March 9 event says the post-discussion “happening” (a form of participatory group expression originated by composer John Cage at Black Mountain College) will entail “audience members coming together using art materials and words to construct their response to the questions and issues discussed by Rosaldo and Pratt.”

These cross-disciplinary events are co-sponsored by many UNC Asheville departments and programs, and the March 9 event is part of the university’s intermittent Poetry Across Fields series. For more information, contact the Department of Political Science, 828.251.6634 or political_science@unca.edu.

Coming in April – Rosaldo, Betsalel and UNC Asheville Professor of Anthropology Heidi Kelley will join together at the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center for a discussion of cultural citizenship and the possibilities of social healing, at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 20, with more information at blackmountaincollege.org.

About Thomas Calder
Thomas Calder received his MFA in Fiction from the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program. His writing has appeared in Gulf Coast, the Miracle Monocle, Juked and elsewhere. His debut novel, The Wind Under the Door, is now available.

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