Monday, November 15, 2010

UWG humanities conference attracts worldwide audience

by Rachel Lane/Times-Georgian
11.12.10 - 11:59 pm
Dr. Evren Kutlay Baydar performs ‘Osmanie March’ by Callisto Guatelli Friday as part of her lecture-recital in Cashen Hall at the University of West Georgia. The lecture-recital was part of the 25th Annual Interdisciplinary Conference in the Humanities, which continues today. Dr. Kutlay-Baydar is a native of Turkey and teaches at Koc University, researching ‘Western Music in the Ottoman Empire.’ (Photo by Ricky Stilley/Times-Georgian)
Mixing words, movement, images and sound, speakers at the 25th annual Interdisciplinary Conference in the Humanities explored how different media could enhance other venues of expression.

The University of West Georgia program continues today, with more than 125 members of academia from around the world gathered to share thoughts and experiences with each other, students and the public.

“This is the largest one we have had and the first one we have had on campus,” said organizer Lynn Anderson, assistant professor in the department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at UWG.

The conference has allowed humanities professors to gather, see UWG and spend money in local hotels, shops and restaurants, Anderson said.

“This helps the economy beyond the school,” she said.

The conference attracted participants from Japan, Australia, Europe, Canada and throughout the U.S.

The conference gives professors and graduate students an opportunity to present papers, something professors have to do annually to retain their positions.

“When you get different scholars together from different areas, it’s a synergistic effect and energizes everyone,” Anderson said.

The intellectual stimulation has given the attendees more enthusiasm than they might typically have on a Friday, she said.

“The humanities really enable people to understand what it is to be human, to confront different situations that we all confront: life, death, family, friends, adversity, diversity,” Anderson said. “The arts really help people understand how that works.”

She said communication skills are necessary for all employment. A degree without the ability to write, speak and communicate will not be enough.

“You have to have good communication skills and humanities is where you learn that,” she said.

Many people traveled to the conference to hear the keynote speaker, Dr. Carrie Noland, professor of French and Italian at the University of California at Irvine.

“We are trying to talk about art forms that demand to be seen in more than one way, as both sound and visuals or as both movement and verbal meaning,” Noland said. “What kind of theoretical, scholarly discourse can we develop together to frame those artworks so they can be more readily seen ... so we can begin to approach artworks that do not announce themselves as multimobile and view them as such.”

She is working to demonstrate the similarity of a multimedia work and a less obvious multimedia work, like a poem, Noland said.

She said would like to see advanced degrees offered that encourage physical artists to write theoretical papers based on their work and have theorists and researchers have an artistic outlet to help them better express their work.

“Most of our lives are spent trying to be productive in ways we know will be appreciated, but ultimately those pursuits can feel empty if they are the only pursuits that we have,” Noland said. “There are huge rewards from pursuits that are more contemplative and take time and allow us time in our own thoughts.”

A variety of morning sessions are planned in the Campus Center today between 8:30 a.m. and 12:30.
© 2010

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