Wednesday, July 25, 2007
CAS features Revolution theme for 2007-08This year the College of Arts and Sciences will be continuing its Celebration of the Liberal Arts. Now in its fifth year, this program demonstrates how a liberal arts education results from the interactive work of scholars from many disciplines.
This year’s theme is “Revolution.” This goes beyond the typical notion of war or political change and examines the very idea of rapid, dramatic, intellectual change that underlies all revolutions. Scholars will examine the idea of revolution from a wide variety of disciplines, including political science, anthropology, sociology, art history and communication. All departments of the College of Arts and Sciences will participate, along with the Honors College.
Details for events throughout the year are still being finalized, but a number of events are planned.
- The Department of Music, Theatre and Dance, will examine the theatrical revolution sparked by absurdist drama in the twentieth century. They will present a series of absurdist plays, culminating with Frank Vitella’s “Come, Beauty.”
- The English Department will bring literary critic Kathering Joslin to campus for a two-day visit that will focus on the career of social activist Jane Addams. The career of Addams brought about a revolution in the way Americans viewed the role of women in public life.
- The Center for International Programs will invite Juan R.I. Cole, professor at the University of Michigan, to deliver a lecture on importance of revolutionary movements in the politics of the modern Middle East.
- The Department of Rhetoric, Communication, and Journalism and the Honors College will sponsor a discussion concerning the revolution of race relations which began in Detroit in the 1920s. Kevin Boyle, author of “Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age,” will come to campus to discuss his book on the infamous murder trial of Ossian Sweet.
As part of the Revolution theme, the faculty has selected a community book. Boyle’s “Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age” will be required reading in freshman rhetoric classes, as well as a number of classes in other disciplines.
The book centers on the African American physician Ossian Sweet’s decision to move his family into a white neighborhood in Detroit during the fall of 1925. Sweet had no intention of being driven out of his home by white mobs, as had happened to others trying to break Detroit’s color line. On the first night in his new home, he was encountered by a crowd of 5,000 hostile whites. Shots rang out and a white neighbor was killed. The next day, Sweet and the ten other friends and family members who had come to help on the move-in day were charged with first-degree murder. The case attracted the support of the NAACP and the famous attorney Clarence Darrow. As it wound its way through the court system, the Sweet trial transformed the American civil rights movement. In many respects, it constituted a revolution that still affects Detroit today.
Revolution is sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences with support from the divisions of Student Affairs and Academic Affairs. For more information, visit the Revolution Web site.