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Smith students talk about their work to Smith faculty at 2017 Collaborations, Smith College

Each academic year the Office of the Provost and Dean of the Faculty offers a variety of lectures, luncheons and faculty development workshops that feature Smith faculty and visiting professors.

Photo of Professor Ogee
This spring, Frédéric Ogée joins the Smith College community as the 2018-19 William Allan Neilson Professor. Ogée will deliver a series of three public lectures. Videos of the lectures will be available on the Kahn Institute website following each lecture.

Frédéric Ogée is professor of English literature and art history at Université Paris Diderot. Ogée comes to Smith most recently from the Clark Art Institute, as the Kress Fellow in the Literature of Art before the Age of Art History. His main period of research is the long 18th century, and his publications include two collections of essays on William Hogarth, as well as “Better in France’? The Circulation of Ideas across the Channel in the 18th Century” (Lewisburg, 2005), Diderot and European Culture (Oxford, 2006), and J.M.W. Turner, Les Paysages absolus (Paris, 2010). In 2006–07, he co-curated the first ever exhibition on Hogarth for the Louvre. In 2014–17 he was a member of Tate Britain’s advisory council. He is currently preparing a monograph and exhibition on Thomas Lawrence for 2019.

Lecture Dates and Titles

March 4, 2019 J.M.W. Turner, Landscape, and History
In the first in a series of three lectures dedicated to British art, Frédéric Ogée will discuss the historical and political importance of landscape in Britain’s nascent school of art at the turn of the 19th century. Focussing on J.M.W.Turner, the lecture will look at the work of one of its leading and most path-breaking figureheads.

March 19, 2019 Performing the Self in Enlightenment England: William Hogarth, Laurence Sterne and Modern Identity
After landscape, discussed in the first lecture, this second in a series of three lectures dedicated to British art will examine the other dominating genre, portraiture, in the rise of a national school of art in England in the course of the 18th century. The Enlightenment approach of identity and self allowed the emergence of a new conception of ‘human nature’, which was reflected and questioned in the art and literature of the period.

March 25, 2019 Truth, Nature, and Nation in British Art
Rounding up a series of three lectures on British art, this final talk will take stock of the two previous lectures’ examinations of landscape and portraiture to discuss the vexing question of ‘the Englishness of English art’. Focusing on this most insular European school of art, it will raise questions about the relevance, usefulness and validity of national labels and boundaries, questions that have acquired a new urgency in the Brexit context.

Civil War soldier standing under tree near grave at sunset in field
In 2018-19,  the 61st annual Engel lecture, The Saddest Words: William Faulkner and the Problem of Memory, will be presented by Michael Gorra, Mary Augusta Jordan Professor of English Language & Literature, on Monday, February 25, at 4:30 pm in the Alumnae House Conference Hall, Smith College: What can the works of William Faulkner tell us about the Civil War — how can we use them to think about each other? The war is both everywhere and nowhere in Faulkner. He rarely writes about it explicitly and yet in its causes and consequences that conflict provides an explanation for everything in the Mississippi he describes. But more: it also shapes the deep structure of his imagination. This talk will focus on his 1929 novel, The Sound and the Fury, seeing its account of the way memory works in terms of Civil War memorials both North and South. 

The Katharine Asher Engel Lectureship at Smith College was established in 1958 by the National Council of Jewish Women to honor the memory of Mrs. Engel, its onetime president, a graduate of Smith College, 1920. Mrs. Engel's life was one of generous participation in educational, civic, religious and welfare activities. In endowing the lectureship, the council hoped to "create a bond between a remarkable woman, her college, and the organization to which she was devoted." Under the terms of the grant, the holder of the annual lectureship must be a member of the Smith College faculty who has made an outstanding contribution to knowledge in his or her field.

Photo of Michael Gorra
Michael Gorra came to Smith in 1985, and works primarily with 19th- and 20th-century fiction.

His most recent book, Portrait of a Novel: Henry James and the Making of An American Masterpiece (2012) was a finalist for several prizes, including the Pulitzer Prize in Biography. Earlier books include The Bells in Their Silence: Travels through Germany (2004); After Empire: Scott, Naipaul, Rushdie (1997); and The English Novel at Mid-Century (1990).

As editor Gorra has put together volumes of stories by Joseph Conrad and Henry James for Penguin, along with the Norton Critical Editions of Faulkner's As I Lay Dying and The Sound and the Fury. He has received a Guggenheim fellowship, two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, including a Public Scholar Award, and a National Book Critics Circle award for his work as a reviewer. His essays and reviews have appeared in the New York Review of Books, the TLSThe Atlantic, and The New York Times Book Review, among others, and his travel essays have twice been included in the annual volumes of Best American Travel Writing. In 2014 he was a judge for the National Book Award in fiction.

Gorra's current book in progress is William Faulkner’s Civil War.

The Smith College Department of English is pleased to host Bruce Smith as the 2018-19 Ruth and Clarence Kennedy Professor in Renaissance Studies.

Bruce Smith is Dean’s Professor of English and Professor of English and Theatre at the University of Southern California. He studies the literature and culture of early modern England, including Shakespeare, gender, sexuality, acoustic ecology and historical phenomenology. Among his six published books, The Acoustic World of Early Modern England won the 2000 Roland H. Bainton Prize for Literature, attracting the attention of theater professionals, communications specialists and musicologists. His current work explores what it was like to live in the kind of body imagined by early modern medicine and to perceive the world through that body. He is particularly interested in how important the senses and the passions were to perception before Descartes divorced the thinking mind from the sensing body in the middle of the 17th century.

Liberal Arts Luncheons

Liberal Arts Luncheons are sponsored by the Committee on Academic Priorities (CAP) and in Spring 2019 take place from noon–1 p.m. in the Alumnae House Conference Hall, unless otherwise noted.

Date Lecture Presenter(s)
April 18

Building a New World: Pioneering Female Architect Minerva Parker Nichols, 1862-1948
Minerva Parker Nichols was the first independently practicing female architect in the United States. Over her career, Parker Nichols had over ninety commissions, including buildings for the Philadelphia and Wilmington New Century Clubs, and the home of Rachel Foster Avery, a gathering place for suffragists. Parker Nichols and many of her clients were part of the first generation of feminist, educated, independent career women who pushed the limits set by the male-dominated society of their day. This presentation is a preview of an exhibit on Parker Nichols’ life and work coming to Smith in spring of 2021.

Carrie Baker, Study of Women & Gender

Sigma Xi Luncheons

Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society, meets regularly for talks and a complimentary lunch throughout the year. Talks are open to all faculty, staff and students.

Talks begin at approximately 12:10 p.m. in McConnell Auditorium. A complimentary lunch is offered in McConnell Foyer. Please visit the Sigma Xi website for the schedule.

Faculty Development Events

The Office of the Provost offers a variety of faculty development workshops and events throughout the year. Please visit the office’s Faculty Development webpage for the schedule.