Insight Seminars

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

Spring 2014 Classes - Register Now

Free Introductory Spring Lectures

  • Understanding Why Militant Islam Matters - March 31 (7:00 pm) - Professor Anita Weiss (International Studies)
  • How Original Was Mozart? - April 29 (7:00 pm) - Professor Marc Vanscheeuwijck (Music)

MILITANT ISLAM  - registration closed

Professor Anita Weiss (International Studies)
Saturdays, April 5, 19, & 26 (9:15 a.m. – 1:00 pm)
Note: No class will be held on April 12. 
Knight Library Browsing Room, 1501 Kincaid Street
Cost: $99
Islamist discourse has come to set a growing number of political agendas, but the nature of this discourse—including the diversity within it—is rarely understood in the U.S.  In particular, the concept of jihad (striving) and its relation to militancy is frequently both misunderstood and misrepresented. This class will introduce the historical and theological foundations of militant Islam, identify the larger goals of some of the militant Islamist groups today, and clarify the distinctions between various groups.  Book for class: The Terrorist in Search of Humanity: Militant Islam and Global Politics by Faisal Devji (Hurst & Company, paperback 2009 or Columbia University Press, hardback 2008.)


Professors James Fox and Jennifer O’Neal (UO Libraries Special Collections)
Saturday, May 3 (9:15 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.)
Knight Library Browsing Room, 1501 Kincaid Street
Cost: $45
These rare, original photographs are a treasure from 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. Over 2,000 of Curtis’s images appear in his monumental The North American Indians (1907 – 1930).  The North American Indians is composed of 20 volumes of large photogravures and 20 corresponding volumes of photogravures and text.  In this seminar we will examine Curtis’s own copy of this stunning work, discuss its aesthetic value, and evaluate it from a Native perspective.  No book required. 


Professor Marc Vanscheeuwijck (Music)
Wednesdays, May 7, 14, 21, & 28 (6:15 p.m. - 8:45 p.m.) - note time change
Knight Library Browsing Room, 1501 Kincaid Street
Cost: $99
Was Mozart simply a wildly inventive genius, or was he also a true product of his time who “spoke” the musical language he inherited from predecessors and contemporaries? Recent rediscoveries of some mid-18th-century compositional techniques have shown how music instruction in Neapolitan conservatories influenced late-18th-century styles, including those of Mozart and Haydn. In this seminar we will explore how Mozart constructed his masterpieces.  Book for class: Mozart by Julian Rushton (Master Musician Series) (Oxford University Press 2009 paperback edition). 


Professor Gina Psaki (Romance Languages)
Saturdays, May 17 and 31 (9:30 – Noon)
Knight Library Browsing Room, 1501 Kincaid Street
Cost: $45
The Paradiso sometimes gets described as the hardest and most abstract of the three canticles. Don’t buy it. The Paradiso is the dessert! Sure, the flavors are complex; it’s for grownups, not youngsters; and you have to savor it, not bolt it.  But Insighters are known for enjoying and savoring the complex, and Dante has trained his readers in the first two canticles, so “stretch out your necks for the bread of angels.”  We’ll conclude this mini-seminar with a third meeting, a literal feast, at Gina’s house in early June.  (Note: Two seminar sessions followed by a Italian "feast" at the professors home - date TBA)

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