Conference Topic

Fine Arts

FEATURED CONFERENCES

Meaning and Liberty in Vietnam War Films

The conference explored several films on the Vietnam War to ask questions about American popular attitudes toward the war, the effects of those attitudes on American culture and politics, and how those perceptions informed people's sensibilities about freedom and responsibility generally.

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Liberty and Responsibility in Verdi’s “Aida”

Through a close study of the opera Aida's music and libretto, along with associated readings, this colloquium investigated the difficult and thought-provoking intersection between individual liberty and public responsibility.

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ALL Fine Arts CONFERENCES

Liberty and Responsibility in Massenet’s “Werther”

Massenet’s Werther is arguably his finest opera. We looked to both Goethe’s and Massenet’s Werthers as case studies of what happens when sentiment overrides custom, and the meaning that has for personal responsibility in particular and liberty in general.

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Liberty in Beethoven’s “Fidelio”

The conference explored the themes of liberty, creativity, and the role of art in human emancipation through the opera Fidelio and an assortment of related philosophical and poetic works.

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Liberty, Power, and Destiny in Verdi’s “Macbeth”

Using the music and libretto of Verdi's opera Macbeth, the colloquium explored the themes of power, individual responsibility, and freedom.

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Journalistic Bias in a Free Society

This conference looked at the role of journalistic bias in the media, including both its positive and negative aspects. Readings included classic texts on journalism as well as contemporary social science and neuroscience literature on how humans perceive and use bias.

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Theology and Liberty in Bach’s B Minor Mass

This conference examined Bach's B Minor Mass and its relationship to perennial themes of liberty and responsibility through discussion of selected readings and through a performance of the Mass.

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The Question of Artistic Integrity and Freedom: Shostakovich against Totalitarianism

Two irreconcilable images of composer Dmitrii Shostakovich have emerged--one of an official state bard, and the other of a genius following the rules of the game on the surface, but expressing his true feelings through his majestic, somber, grotesque music. Was Shostakovich a willing supporter of the Soviet regime whose…

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Liberty, Truth, and Virtue in War Films

This colloquium explored the problems of war and liberty and how these are treated in film. In particular, it explored the tension between the soldier’s duty to obey orders and the exercise of his own freedom, as well the ways in which the different accounts of truth and virtue in…

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The Darkening Hero: Changing Views of Responsibility, Power, and Community in the American West

Conferees discussed the nature of freedom and responsibility as depicted in six films that highlight the nature and challenges of the "Western hero."

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Liberalism, Power, and Politics in “Don Carlo”

This virtual conference explored the themes of liberty and responsibility in Verdi's opera, Don Carlo.

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Liberty, Individualism, and Rebellion in Westerns and Samurai Films

Participants in this colloquium compared and contrasted films by Akira Kurosawa and John Ford, a director Kurosawa admired, focusing on the differences in the views of individualism, society, and nation in the Japanese and American cultures.

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Scripting Liberty: Story, Economics, and Television Drama

Recent television dramas have told gripping stories about the crushing power of state institutions, the shifting calculus of political power, and the nature of individualism in a world where rights, responsibilities, and opportunities are all shrinking. This conference sought to consider this new trend in order to gain insight into…

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Liberty and Society: The Power of Imagery in Early Netherlands Painting: 1425–1575

This conference considered liberty and responsibility in several works from the Northern Renaissance in the Netherlands, a turning point in history associated with a move from a less religiously communal society to one in which individual judgment and individuality played a greater role. Readings put the primary focus on works…

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Bach and the Idea of Sacred Music: Opening up to Freedom

This conference examined the role of music in the Lutheran Reformation and Bach's role in developing Lutheran musical expression to its highest level. In addition to conference readings, conferees attended a performance of Bach choral music at Thomaskirche, where Bach served as Cantor and Music Director for many years.

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Lutheran Theology in the Cantatas of J. S. Bach

This colloquium focused on the Lutheran theology and the music of the cantatas of J. S. Bach. The choral cantata as a musical form developed during this period, and gradually replaced the motet traditionally sung after the Gospel reading in the liturgy. The cantata (as conceived by Bach) thus filled…

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Self-Reliance and Freedom in ‘The Great American Songbook’

Conferees discussed the nature and historical context of the "Great American Songbook" era, examining such issues as: What makes a song uniquely "American"? What qualifies an American popular song as "great"? What factors and events set the stage for the Songbook's rise, fostered its flourishing, and contributed to its eventually…

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The Reformation Chorale and Liberty

This conference examined the impact of Luther's musical revolution on the theology, liturgy, and practice of the church using primary materials from Luther himself and scholarly works assessing the impact and importance of Luther's reformation of church music.

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