Prisoners University Project topic of discussion Oct. 27

Distinguished Puerto Rican historian Fernando Picó will present a talk on his latest initiative, “Prisoners University Project, 1990-2002″ at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 27, in UU-111.

Picó, who recently retired from teaching at the University of Puerto Rico, is one of the leading historians of Puerto Rico. He has written classic books on peasants, coffee production, slavery, prisons and the U.S. invasion of 1898, among other topics, as well as textbooks and a children’s book. He continues to be an active scholar and will speak on some of his more recent work on imprisonment. A Jesuit, he received his PhD at Johns Hopkins and is a past president of the Association of Caribbean Historians.

The talk is sponsored by the Latin American and Caribbean Area Studies Program and co-sponsored by the Sociology Department. It is free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Reynaldo Ortiz-Minaya via e-mail.

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Harpur Cinema film showing this weekend: Wadjda

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Harpur Cinema features an appearance by visiting filmmaker Haifaa Al Mansour and a showing of her feature debut, “Wadjda,” (98 min.) at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 24, and Sunday, Oct. 26, in LH-6. Waad Mohammed portrays 10-year-old Wadjda, who wants a beautiful green bicycle so she can beat her friend Abdullah in a race. When Wadjda’s mother refuses permission to buy the bike, Wadjda decides raise the money herself by entering a competition that requires her to memorize and recite verses from the Koran. Haifaa Al Monsour is the first female Saudi director, and though her work is considered controversial, “Wadjda” and her earlier documentary “Women Without Shadows” have encouraged discussions about women’s issues in the Saudi kingdom. “Wadjda” has been screened around the world and won best new film at the 2012 Venice Film Festival. Admission is $4. For more information, call 607-777-4998.

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Huntington archivist finds historic piece of China’s largest book

Pages from section 10,270 of the Yongle Encyclopedia, 1562-1567, recently discovered among the stacks at the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino. (The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens).

Pages from section 10,270 of the Yongle Encyclopedia, 1562-1567, recently discovered among the stacks at the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino. (The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens).

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens announced Thursday that it has portions of a rare and important Chinese manuscript called the Yongle Encyclopedia — with 11,095 volumes, the largest book ever written in China.

The book was commissioned by the Yongle Emperor of the Ming Dynasty in 1403 in an attempt to gather in one place a broad range of Chinese knowledge, including astronomy, geography, medicine, religion, technology and art.

In 1562, years after the Yongle Emperor’s death, the Jiajing Emperor commissioned 109 scribes to transcribe the entire encyclopedia as a backup copy. It took them five years to complete the work.

“That was the only copy made,” Yang said. “Eventually the original copy disappeared, and there is lots of speculation about what happened.”

No conclusive evidence of its fate ever emerged.

Read more here

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Feast around the world

Join Broome RAs and the Office of International Programs for an informative and casual conversation on study-abroad opportunities at Binghamton University. Don’t forget to bring your appetite; the event features foods from different cultures!

Thursday, October 23, 2014, 6:00-7:00 p.m., Broome Hall Great Room

Sponsored by: Newing College – Broome Hall
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Call for Papers! Authority and Materiality in the Italian Songbook

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Send abstracts and brief CVs by December 1, 2014 to cemers@binghamton.edu. Inquiries may be directed to Professors Olivia Holmes (oholmes@binghamton.edu) or Paul Schleuse (schleuse@binghamton.edu).

Supported by grants from the Material and Visual Worlds Transdisiplinary Area of Excellence of Binghamton University and the SUNY Conversations in the Disciplines program for “Intercampus Scholarly Conferences.”

For more information see http://conferences.cemers.info

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Following Political Pressure, Citizen-Led Rural Libraries Shut Down in China

Citizen-run libraries forced to shut down. Chinese social media image via China Digital Times.

Citizen-run libraries forced to shut down. Chinese social media image via China Digital Times.

China’s rural areas don’t receive the same education resources that the country’s wealthier urban centers do. This gap is a widely acknowledged problem, and many organizations have been established to improve the facilities in rural China and ensure that the students there aren’t left behind.

However, Chinese authorities don’t exactly welcome citizen-led initiatives with open arms, and recently an independent library project called China Rural Library (CRL) was forced to close due to political pressure.

CRL announced the closure of its library project on Sept. 18, 2014, on popular microblogging website Sina Weibo and published an open letter explaining the pressure they faced. The letter went viral on Chinese social media and was later censored by the authorities. Independent news website China Digital Times published a copy of the letter on Google Plus.

Read more here

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VizCult talk to focus on Renaissance Italy

The Department of Art History invites the campus to another talk in the Harpur College Speaker Series in Visual Culture. Kim Sexton, associate professor in the Department of Architecture, University of Arkansas, will speak at 5:15 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 15 in FA-213, on “Street Life: The Portico in Renaissance Italy.” The VizCult series is organized by the Art History Department and co-sponsored by the Alumni Association, German and Russian studies, CEMERS, Romance languages and history. Go online for more information about VizCult.

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Day-trip to Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY!

Interior of the Holy Trinity Monastery

Interior of the Holy Trinity Monastery

Thursday, October 9 is the last day to sign up for the all expenses paid day-trip to Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY.  Come enjoy the peak of autumn color and learn about the fascinating culture of Eastern Orthodoxy here in upstate New York.  The chartered bus will leave from Lot M at 8:00am on Saturday, October 11.  Lunch will be provided at the monastery.  The bus will return to Lot M at 4.  Click on the following link to sign up: https://docs.google.com/a/binghamton.edu/forms/d/10hBTLseVSmTIU3QFlSisKOEMOU-wTqLO9LblgB7WEbk/viewform?usp=send_form.

On October 11 the Russian and East European Program (REEP) is sponsoring a bus trip to Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY. Departure time will be approximately 8 a.m., with arrival at the monastery at about 10:30 a.m. Lunch will be provided at the monastery, and the bus will arrive back at Binghamton University by about 4 p.m.

Please fill out this form if you definitely plan to participate in this trip. There is no cost, but we do expect that if you reserve a spot, you will participate. Anyone who is interested can sign up here; please indicate if you are currently taking a Russian course, or are part of the Russian student union, or if you have some other affiliation with Russian programs on campus. Preference will be given first to students who are currently Russian majors/minors or who are in Russian or REEP-affiliated courses (e.g. History or Political Science or Comparative Literature courses that have a substantial Russian component.)

For more information, please contact Professor Sidney Dement (sdement@binghamton.edu).

Read more about the Holy Trinity Monastery

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Split Up by Holocaust, Top Collection of Yiddish Works Will Reunite Digitally

Jonathan Brent, the executive director of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, in the institute’s archives in Manhattan. Credit Michael Appleton for The New York Times

Jonathan Brent, the executive director of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, in the institute’s archives in Manhattan. Credit Michael Appleton for The New York Times

Like a family split apart by the upheaval of war, what is now known as the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, considered the world’s foremost collection of Yiddish books and cultural artifacts, was torn apart as a result of the German occupation of Vilna, Lithuania, in 1941 and the Nazis’ plan for studying a people they determined would be extinct.

Much of the prewar collection was soon turned to pulp. But a large part was shipped to Frankfurt for an anti-Semitic institute for “the study of the Jewish question.”

The American Army recovered that material and sent it to YIVO’s new home in New York. Still, much of the collection remained in Vilna, now Vilnius, where in a gripping saga it was rescued during the war by enslaved Jewish laborers who risked their lives to squirrel away precious books, diaries, paintings and sculptures in underground bunkers, attics and crannies.

Now, 70 years later, YIVO has announced a $5.25 million project to reunite the scholarly treasures, digitally.

Read more here

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Study Abroad Fair

A Study Abroad Fair will be held from 1-5 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 30, in UU-Mandela Room. The fair is an opportunity for students to speak to staff from the Office of International Programs, advisors from various SUNY study-abroad offices, program faculty directors and program alumni.

Students are encouraged to attend. All staff and faculty are welcome to stop by the fair to become familiar with the international opportunities available to students.

For more information, go online.

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