Cynthia Empen, Director of the Staelens Family Art History Visual Resources Center, will present a paper entitled: “Deviant Bodies: The ‘Fast Woman’ in American Visual Culture”in the American Art II: Challenges to the Main Stream session of the Southeastern College Art Association Conference in New Orleans. Out of the parlor and out in public, the “fast woman” epitomized deviance in mid-nineteenth-century American culture and played a starring role in the new public spaces of spectacle and social disorder—city streets and parks, the racetrack, and beach resort. Print culture imagined this fascinating figure type who delighted the eye yet violated strict spatial and behavioral boundaries. Examined within a context of contemporary print and visual rhetoric, images of the fast woman provide a case study to examine the intersection between the rapidly changing social landscape and the rise of a mass visual culture in mid-nineteenth-century America.
Catherine Goebel, Professor and Chair of Art History will present a paper entitled: "James McNeill Whistler: A Critical Re-definition of Modern Artistic Identity" at the Southeastern College Art Association Conference in New Orleans in the session, Artists as Professionals: Beyond the Establishment. In fostering anti-academic posturing, Whistler assessed changing market dynamics due to the burgeoning bourgeoisie and the newly empowered role of the art critic. To this end, he constructed an effective strategy by turning the role of the modern art critic to his advantage—challenging pre-eminent critic John Ruskin through his libel suit for crossing the line of fair criticism by attacking the artist as well as his art. Whistler humbled his critics and re-defined a new professional privileged position against his critics, codified for posterity through his autobiographical, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, which still stands as a major statement on modern artistic identity.
Naoko Gunji, Assistant Professor of Art History will present a paper entitled: “The Power of Etoki as Requiem at Emperor Antoku's Temple” for the panel: Texts, Rituals, and Performances: Performative Aspects of Medieval Buddhism in the Religion and History of Ideas Section of the 12th European Association for Japanese Studies (EAJS) International Conference in Lecce, Italy on Sunday, September 21st. Dr. Gunji's paper examines the functions of the etoki (picture-explaining) ritual at the mortuary temple for Emperor Antoku. The etoki performance has been generally considered to be merely an act of explication the biography of Antoku, but Dr. Gunji proposes that the functions were closely related to the primary mission of the temple: to commemorate his death, to pacify his spirit, and to assist his rebirth in paradise.
Steve Hager just published a paper in The Wilson Journal of Ornithology that summarizes over 4 years of monitoring bird mortality by window collisions at Augustana and Principia Colleges (click here for a copy of the paper). Collaborators on the paper included: Heidi Trudell (a former student at Prin), Kelly McKay (local biologist who assisted with some of the experimental work), Stephanie Crandall (Augustana Biology Lab Coordinator), and Lance Mayer (’04 Augie grad who is now at U of I pharmacy program).
Here are the main findings:
- 357 fatalities by window strikes
- average of ~40 birds died per building per year
- this figure is more than 4 times higher than current estimates (1-10 dead/building/year)
- about 70 of 150 known species were affected at the campuses
- 95% of the mortality occurred during the spring (March-May) and fall (2nd half Aug-Nov) seasons; thus bird mortality during summer and winter was significantly lower
- 94% of the species were North American (short distance; include White-throated Sparrow) and neotropical (long distance; includes Ovenbird) migrants rather than the more common permanent resident species, such as the Black-capped Chickadee and House Sparrow
- several window-killed species are declining, e.g., Wood Thrush and Prothonotary Warbler, according to the 2007 Audubon Watchlist
- annual bird mortality at Augustana is estimated at 79-790 (using current estimates of bird mortality at windows and the number of existing buildings on campus—N = 79 based on the Campus Map in the college catalogue)
Thus, bird mortality at Augie and Prin is significant. It is hoped that this research will inform efforts at these campuses aimed at minimizing window strikes by birds. Indeed, new campus construction should include architectural modifications that are known to minimize collisions with glass. This has been done at both Swarthmore and St. Olaf in some of their new buildings.
This research was made possible, in part, to several sources of in-house funding at Augustana.
Steve Klien presented a lecture entitled "The Ethics of Video Rhetoric: Campaign Ads and Public Character" to the Davenport Unitarian Church during their Forum on Sunday, September 14, 2008. Steve argued that television advertisements are the single most influential form of political campaign communication, and that so-called "negative ads," despite their controversial nature, play a particularly important role in influencing voters. We therefore need to consider the ethical implications of how such ads function. The presentation examined historic and current presidential campaign ads using a critical framework for identifying elements of rhetorical "videostyle" that encourage citizens to perceive politics and politicians in particular ways.
Margaret Morse, Assistant Professor of Art History will present a paper on September 27th entitled: “Mary Magdalene Between Public Cult and Personal Devotion in Correggio’s Noli me tangere” in the Mary Magdalene Reconsidered: Iconography from the Middle Ages through the Baroque--Part 2at the Southeastern College Art Association Conference in New Orleans. This paper will demonstrate how Correggio’s famous painting operated between the personal and civic spheres while on display in the Bolognese palace of Vincenzo Ercolani, the likely patron of the work, through the critical examination of the life and career of Vincenzo in relation to the socio-political climate of Bologna in the first several decades of the sixteenth century. The figure of Mary Magdalene plays a fundamental role in this exchange.