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Fall lineup of speakers announced for 2013 MillerComm series

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Photo by Abbott Ferriss. Used by permission of Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

Among the musicians Stephen Wade will discuss in his talk, titled "Getting Their Hands on the Tune: From the Front Porch to the Library of Congress and Back Again," are students who sang “Pullin’ the Skiff,” photographed in Brandon, Miss., May 25, 1939.

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9/5/2013 | Dusty Rhodes, Arts and Humanities Editor | 217-333-0568; rhodes8@illinois.edu

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The fall 2013 Center for Advanced Study/MillerComm lectures begin Sept. 18 (Wednesday) with Gunther Schuller – musician, composer, conductor, educator, historian and publisher. He has won a Pulitzer Prize, a MacArthur Foundation “genius” award and three Grammy awards. Schuller, a George A. Miller Visiting Artist, has composed more than 180 works covering genres from symphonic to operatic to jazz, founded publishing and recording companies, and served as the president of the New England Conservatory for a decade. Instead of giving a lecture, Schuller will be interviewed at 7:30 p.m. by University of Illinois French horn professor Bernhard Scully, who is performing Schuller’s Quintet for Horn and Strings the next night (Sept. 19) at the Allerton Music Barn Festival in Monticello, Ill.

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Musician and author Stephen Wade, a George A. Miller Visiting Scholar, will use live music and images at 4 p.m. Oct. 30 to explain how American music reinvents itself when people reshape the songs of a shared repertoire. | Photo by MaryE Yeomans ©2011

Martha Crenshaw, a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation and the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, is one of the few scholars who was investigating terrorism long before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Her latest book, “Explaining Terrorism: Causes, Processes and Consequences,” documents the development of her research on this topic through essays she wrote during the past three decades. Her lecture, at 4 p.m. on Sept. 26 (Thursday), will focus on her current research into the varied responses of governments to terrorist attacks and an evaluation of their effectiveness.

On Oct. 1 at 4 p.m., Subra Suresh will address “Crossing Boundaries and Transforming Lives: Engineering, Cell Biology and Medicine.” Suresh is the president of Carnegie Mellon University. In 2010, he was appointed director of the National Science Foundation; previously, he was the dean of the school of engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has co-written more than 250 journal articles, registered 21 patents and written three books. His talk will provide specific examples of cross-disciplinary developments in understanding human diseases.

Susan Goldin-Meadow
has found that deaf children invent their own language-like system using manual gestures, and that gestures used by people with normal hearing can convey secrets of the mind. Goldin-Meadow is the Bearsdley Ruml Distinguished Service Professor in the psychology department at the University of Chicago. Her Oct. 7 (Monday) lecture, “Talking With Our Hands: Gesture’s Role in Creating and Learning Language,” begins at 8 p.m.

Deborah Bräutigam,
a China scholar, went to Africa to research Chinese engagement, and has been specializing in the topic ever since. She is the author of three books, including “The Dragon’s Gift: The Real Story of China in Africa,” and will discuss the impact of Chinese aid and investment in Africa, and assess whether China’s presence in Africa is a threat to U.S. interests. Her lecture, “China in Africa: Stripping Away the Myths,” begins at 4 p.m. Oct. 24 (Thursday). Bräutigam is a professor of international development and comparative politics at Johns Hopkins University, where she is the director of the International Development Program.

Musician and author Stephen Wade, a George A. Miller Visiting Scholar, will use live music and images to explain how American music reinvents itself when people reshape the songs of a shared repertoire. His talk, titled “Getting Their Hands on the Tune: From the Front Porch to the Library of Congress and Back Again,” highlights the intersection of the personal and the historical in music. He is the author of “The Beautiful Music All Around Us: Field Recordings and the American Experience,” in which he tracked down and interviewed the descendants of a dozen folk musicians whose unique talents were captured between 1934 and 1942 on field recordings made for the Library of Congress. The Wall Street Journal described the resulting book – published by the U. of I. Press – as “a masterpiece of humane scholarship – but one that reads like a detective story.” Wade also is the creator of numerous theatrical productions, including “Banjo Dancing,” which ran for 13 months in Chicago and 10 years at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., in the 1980s. His Oct. 30 (Wednesday) talk begins at 4 p.m.

Kevin Featherstone, a professor of contemporary Greek studies and European politics at the European Institute, will discuss the endemic problems in Greek government and the challenges they present not only for Greece but also for the European Union. His talk, “A System Fit for Purpose? The Challenge of Governance in Greece,” begins at 4 p.m. on Nov. 14 (Thursday).

All MillerComm lectures are free and open to the public. Goldin-Meadow will speak in the ballroom at the Alice Campbell Alumni Center, 601 S. Lincoln Ave., Urbana. All other MillerComm lectures take place in Knight Auditorium at the Spurlock Museum, 600 S. Gregory Drive, Urbana.

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