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Frieze Lectures: globalism's impact on arts and culture

Annual series begins Oct. 22 at Rock Island Library

August  02, 2013

Frieze lecturers for 2013: clockwise from top left, Dr. Peter Kivisto, Dr. Margaret Morse, Katie Hanson and Dr. Benjamin Mier-Cruz.

(Editor's note: See the Frieze Lectures on YouTube.)

The Frieze Lecture Series, a 16-year partnership between the Rock Island Public Library and Augustana College, continues this year with the theme, "It IS a Small World After All: Globalism's Impact on Literature, Art and Culture." Lecturers will consider transnational novels, intercontinental art and the future of ethnicity. 

The lectures will be offered at 2 p.m. on Tuesdays — Oct. 22, Oct. 29, Nov. 5 and Nov. 12 — in the Community Room at the Rock Island Main Library, 401 19th St.

Presentations are free and open to the public. Coffee and conversation will be held after the lectures.

The annual partnership brings professors into the library for college-level lectures without tests or grades. The series was named after the library's frieze, the decorative band around the top of the Main Library building that is inscribed with the names of literary figures.

Presenters and topics

Oct. 22: Dr. Peter Kivisto, who holds Augustana's Richard A. Swanson Chair in Social Thought and was this year named Distinguished Professor at Finland's University of Turku, will speak on the role of ethnicity in the 21st century, setting the stage for a series that explores the gradual erosion of racial and societal dividing lines.

Oct. 29: Dr. Margaret Morse, a member of Augustana's Department of Art History, will provide an overview of African art from the college's collection, examining these works in their original contexts while discussing how Western perceptions of African masks and sculpture have influenced traditional and current artistic production on the continent.

Nov. 5: Dr. Benjamin Mier-Cruz from Augustana's Department of German and Scandinavian will speak on the Swedish crime novel as a genre. Works by Steig Larsson, Camilla Läckberg and Henning Mankell provide a framework for understanding the incongruence of the huge popularity of violent fiction in a relatively tranquil national culture.

Nov. 12: Professor Katie Hanson, who teaches English and education courses at Augustana, will speak on one of Britain's foremost authors, Kazuo Ishiguro. Never Let Me Go, the 2005 novel for which Ishiguro won the Booker Prize, the Arthur C. Clarke Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, was chosen by Augustana's faculty as the common summer reader for this year's entering class.

The frieze

The downtown Rock Island Library opened in 1903. (Much of the project was funded by the Denkmann family, who also funded the first library building at Augustana in 1911.) The library's frieze goes all the way around the top of the building, engraved with the names of a dozen writers, some familiar, some not. (See Who's on the frieze?)

Frieze Lecture videos from 2012:

The 2012 lecture series celebrated the bicentennial of the birth of Charles Dickens.

Sam Schlouch
Director, Public Relations and Arts Promotion
(309) 794-7833
samschlouch@augustana.edu