Insight Seminars

image: trees and mountain reflected in lakeUniversity of Oregon Insight Seminars

2014-2015 Season - Winter Classes - Register Now

Enjoy a Taste of the Upcoming Seminars with Free Introductory Lectures
(Location for All Free Lectures: Knight Library Browsing Room - 1501 Kincaid Street, Eugene, OR)

  • History & Art of the Book (James Fox) - February 2, 2015 (7:00 pm)
  • The Beatles & Their Time (Carl Woideck) - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 (7:00 pm)
  • Boccaccio's Decameron (Gina Psaki) - Monday, April 27, 2015 (7:00 pm)

Winter 2015 Classes

The Italian Renaissance Villa - Registration Closed
Saturday mornings: January 10, 17, 24, 31
9:30 am - Noon
James Harper (History of Art and Architecture Department)
Registration $99
This course focuses on the Italian Renaissance Villa, treating it as a site type where architecture, landscape, fresco painting and the display of collections combine to form an integrated, synergistic whole.  While we will consider both the villa’s roots in classical antiquity and its progeny up to the present day, primary attention will be given to the period from 1450 to 1650.  These two centuries encompass monuments like the seminal Villa Medici in Fiesole, the working villas of Palladio in the Veneto, and the opulent villas of the Roman court, including suburban examples like the Villa Borghese and exurban ones like the Villa Aldobrandini in Frascati.
Class Books: Please acquire one of the following books.

  • James Ackerman's "The Villa: Form and Ideology of Country Houses" (Princeton University Press, 1990).  This is the very best book for studying Italian villas.  Unfortunately it is out of print, but you can obtain a used copy online. 
  • Witold Rybczynski's "The Perfect House: A Journey with Renaissance Master Andrea Palladio" (Simon & Schuster, 2002) Still in print.

The History & Art of the Book - Class Full - Registration Closed
Saturday mornings: February 7, 14, 21, 28
9:30 am - Noon
James Fox (UO Libraries Special Collections and University Archives)
Registration $99 (space is limited)
We will study the long and rich history of the book, as both a human-made artifact and a means for transmitting culture. In this endeavor we will be using the unique resources in the Knight Library’s special collections, particularly medieval and Renaissance manuscripts and rare printed books. We will make a close physical analysis of book forms to see how an understanding of material objects can help us reconstruct and interpret cultures of the past. In this way, we can develop a deeper awareness and appreciation of the craftsmanship and art forms that go into creating books. Interwoven with these approaches to studying the book are readings by book historians and others who challenge our thinking about the past, present, and future of the book.

  • Recommended book: Christopher De Hamel's "Scribes and Illuminators" (Co-published by The British Museum and the University of Toronto Press, 1992). (Still in Print - check local bookstores or online.)

Ethnic America After the Gold Rush: The Chinese Immigrants (half-day seminar) - Register
Saturday, March 7
9:15 am - 1:15 pm
Kevin Hatfield (History Department)
Registration $45
In this class we will explore the real wild West. The years following the Gold Rush were a time of great change in the West and the country. This class uses the story of the mid-19th century Chinese immigrants to humanize the history of race, immigration, and exclusion in America. Through this class, participants will gain insight into the voices of historical actors, including those who were often marginalized. This will be an engaging and exciting class as participants delve into this dynamic time in American history with real case studies and primary sources. No textbook is needed.


The Beatles and Their Times 
Tuesday evenings: April 7, 14, 21, 28
6:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Carl Woideck (School of Music and Dance)
Registration $99
Over the course of the 1960s, the Beatles evolved from lovable mop-tops to counter-culture icons, and from purveyors of fleeting music for the moment to creators of lasting art. This Insight Seminar will use period audio and lots of fascinating video to explore the music, personalities, and the English and U.S. culture of the Beatles and their times. No technical music skills are needed to fully enjoy this seminar.

Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra (half-day seminar)
Saturday, April 18
9:15 am - 1:15 pm
Lara Bovilsky (English Department)
Registration $45

Boccaccio's Decameron
Tuesday evenings: May 5, 12, 19 & 26
6:30 pm- 9:00 pm
Regina Psaki (Romance Languages Department)
Registration $99
A generation before Chaucer cheerfully began “What that Aprille,” Giovanni Boccaccio opened his Decameron with an unforgettable aphorism: “It is a human quality to have compassion for the afflicted.” As the Decameron opens everybody is afflicted, whether by the Black Death of 1348, or by the pain of love and other desires. The Decameron is one of the most endlessly various, energetic, transgressive, intricate, and laugh-out-loud funny books of the past 2000 years. We’ll spend three Saturdays getting to know the hundred tales in a brand-new translation, and we’ll spend our final morning with a few glorious ancient editions in our Special Collections that will show us a little about the Decameron’s reception in history.

Native American Photographs: The Art of Edward Curtis (half-day seminar)
Saturday, May 16
9:15 am – 1:15 pm
James Fox and Jennifer O’Neal (UO Libraries Special Collections and University Archives)
Registration $45
This class will take participants on a guided tour of Curtis's rare, original photographs, a treasure housed in the UO Libraries Special Collections. From the mid-1890s to the late 1920s, Edward S. Curtis roamed throughout western North America documenting what he perceived to be the vanishing lifeways of Indians. More than 2,000 of the Curtis images appear in his monumental The North American Indians (1907 – 1930).  This publication is composed of 20 volumes of large photogravures and 20 corresponding volumes of photogravures and text.  In this seminar, Curtis’s own copy of this stunning work will be examined, its aesthetic value will be discussed, and it will be evaluated from a Native perspective. No textbook is needed.

UO Insight Seminars - A Program of the UO Libraries

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Created by jenkins on Jun 18, 2012 Last updated Jan 13, 2015