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The Invitational Lecture in the Humanities

April 10, 2012

"A Practical Global Humanities:
Approaching a Vocabulary for Art and Advocacy" 

Pembroke Hall 305
6:00 - 7:30pm

Art and Testimony, or Evidentiary Art: how do we articulate the capacities of art to incite social change, especially as directed towards justice? How do we need to expand or adapt our thinking (and our institutional frames) to embrace the field's changes in these directions and the rising demand of a student population increasingly interested in new networks and new missions? In the 1980s and 90s, performance labored to argue its relevance on the basis of economic models; have the arguments shifted to different ground?

Speaker Erik Ehn's work includes The Saint Plays, No Time Like the Present, Wolf at the Door, Tailings, Beginner, Ideas of Good and Evil, and an adaptation of Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury. The Soulographie project is currently in development - a series of 17 plays written over 20 years, on the history of the US in the 20th Century from the point of view of its genocides; it will be produced at La MaMa, in NY, November 2012 (scripts include Maria Kizito, Heavenly Shades of Night are Falling, Yermedea, Drunk Still Drinking). His works have been produced in San Francisco (Intersection, Thick Description, Yugen), Seattle (Annex, Empty Space), Austin (Frontera), New York (BACA, Whitney Museum), San Diego (Sledgehammer), Chicago (Red Moon), Atlanta (7 Stages), Los Angeles (Cal Rep, Museum of Jurassic Technology), Belgrade (Dah); elsewhere. He has taught at the U of Iowa, Naropa, UC San Diego, UT Dallas, and Cal Arts (graduate); U San Francisco, SF State, Santa Clara, and Skidmore (undergrad); he just completed a writing workshop with the Belarus Free Theater in Minsk. He conducts annual trips to Rwanda/Uganda, taking students and professionals in the field to study the history of these countries, and to explore the ways art is participating in recovery from violence. He produces the Arts in the One World conference yearly, which engages themes of art and social change. He is an Artistic Associate at the Theatre of Yugen and former Dean of the CalArts School of Theater. He is the current Director of Writing for Performance, Brown University.


The Invitational Lecture in the Humanities is an annual event in which a prominent member of the Brown University faculty considers pressing issues in the humanities, issues of importance to scholarship and to the world at large. This occasion gives the university and the community an opportunity to learn from our most distinguished colleagues, many of whom have more regular opportunities to speak off campus than at Brown.