Thanks in equal part to an upper-respiratory infection for a certain reporter and a lack of event announcements sent his way this week, our weekly KU events roundup is a bit late and a bit brief. But it's still here, for your planning purposes:
• First up, later today: At 4 p.m. in the Pine Room at the Kansas Union, author Maija Rhee Devine will read excerpts from a new book of hers set in Korea during the Korean War, "The Voices of Heaven." And she writes from experience: She grew up in Korea while the war was going on, and she even had to flee the city of Seoul while it was under siege. This is being put on by the Center for East Asian Studies, and program assistant Susan Henderson says Devine is the only woman from that generation in Korea to have written an English-language novel about the war.
• Later this week: A bunch of KU offices are collaborating to screen a documentary called "The Desert of Forbidden Art," 5 p.m. Thursday at the Spencer Museum of Art. It's about how a painter in the Soviet Union collected thousands of pieces of banned art and stashed them in a museum in the desert of Uzbekistan, even tricking Soviet authorities into giving him funding by pretending he was buying state-approved works. The filmmaker, Tchavdar Georgiev, will speak and answer questions afterward.
• And later on Thursday is the annual Dole Lecture at the Dole Institute of Politics, to be given by retired Brig. Gen. Carl Reddel. Set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the institute, the talk will be about the legacy of President Eisenhower and the controversial effort to build an Eisenhower memorial in Washington, D.C. Reddell is the executive director of the group charged with that effort, the Eisenhower Memorial Commission.
No doubt there are many more happenings than these three going on this week, and if there's one you think should be noted, add it right in below in the comments. And get those KU news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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TUESDAY MORNING ADDITION
Here's another entry in our list of events for this week, courtesy of the Hall Center for the Humanities: Andrew Preston, an American history lecturer at Cambridge University, will speak at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Hall Center about the role that religion has played in U.S. foreign relations through history. You can read about/listen to his appearance on NPR's "Fresh Air" last year if you'd like to know more.
Spring break may be over, and it may be freezing outside with snow all over the place, but look at all these KU events coming your way this week! Here's your weekly roundup:
• Women's rights activist Sandra Fluke will be at KU on Wednesday to give this year's Emily Taylor and Marilyn Stokstad Women's Leadership Lecture. That talk is at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in Woodruff Auditorium at the Kansas Union.
The lecture is named for two leaders on women's rights issues at KU, and this installment, called "Making our Voices Heard," will address the need for women to speak up on issues important to them.
• Tuesday evening is another Dole Institute of Politics spring event: "Empowering and Sustaining Malawi: Africa Windmill Project," 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Dole Institute. John Drake, whose Africa Windmill Project helps provide farmers in Malawi with sustainable agricultural and clean drinking water, will talk about the project and how people can get involved.
If you can't make it to the Dole Institute, you can catch the event on Knology channel 31 or AT&T U-verse channel 99, or streaming online right here, courtesy of the KU School of Journalism.
• A married pair of scholars from Vanderbilt University will visit KU this week, with one giving a talk on African-American issues and the other signing copies of a book on being the parent of a son with bipolar disorder.
Houston A. Baker Jr., a distinguished professor at Vanderbilt, will give a talk Wednesday called "Why Are Black Public Intellectuals Afraid of the Ocean?: Slave Ships, Diaspora Literacy, and Cultural Erasures in the Age of Obama." It's part of the English department's American Lecture series, and it will be 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Big 12 Room at the Kansas Union. Baker is also a former president of the Modern Language Association, and he's written a number of books on African-American arts and politics.
And Charlotte Pierce-Baker will appear for a book signing and reception from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Jayhawk Ink in the Kansas Union. She's a professor of women's and gender studies and English at Vanderbilt, and she'll be signing copies of "This Fragile Life: A Mother's Story of a Bipolar Son," about confronting the reality of her high-achieving son's disorder.
• Another event on a busy Wednesday evening: A talk by Steve Rabson, a professor emeritus at Brown University, with the fairly self-explanatory title of "Compulsory Suicides of Civilians During the Battle of Okinawa."
It will address how the Japanese Imperial Army forced hundreds of Okinawan civilians to commit suicide rather than be captured by U.S. forces during World War II. That's 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Malott Room at the Kansas Union. It's the annual Grant Goodman Distinguished Lecture in Japanese Studies, sponsored by the KU Center for East Asian Studies.
• And finally, one more thing to put on your calendar for Wednesday: Heard on the Hill Office Hours, 9 a.m. to noon in the Media Crossroads at the Kansas Union. Come tell me what I should be writing about, what I'm doing that annoys you or when you're planning to send your KU news tips to email@example.com.
As always, if I missed anything, please add it onto the list via the comments below.
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Before his talk about George Washington on Sunday, I chatted with presidential historian and former Dole Institute of Politics director Richard Norton Smith about what he's up to these days (finishing up a 1,200-page book, plus a "couple thousand footnotes," on Nelson Rockefeller, for one).
But we also chatted about where the Dole Institute is now compared with his time there, when he oversaw the construction of the building in which we were sitting. (Not that I had to ask many questions; that guy is a talker, which might have something to do with why his presidential talks are pretty popular.)
He said he's thrilled with where the institute is now and how it's progressed under Bill Lacy's leadership. It attracts crowds to its events while staying lean and efficient in a way that Bog Dole himself would appreciate, he said. "It's more than lived up to our hopes," says Smith, who left the institute in 2003.
But he also couldn't help dreaming a bit about what it could still become. The Dole building was purposefully designed so that it could be expanded, Smith said, and, boy, wouldn't it be nice if there were an auditorium tacked on to the north end, or an outdoor amphitheater around the artificial lake out front?
Right now the Institute holds its events in its main hall. It's certainly nice to look at, and it seats several hundred folks, but I've often seen crowds overflowing into a media room where people can watch on a projector screen. I can certainly see how an auditorium would come in handy.
The KU administration has always been supportive of the Dole Institute, Smith emphasized, and he thinks the building is beautiful. But if any potential donors out there would like to make a 90th birthday tribute to Bob Dole this July 22 (also the building's 10th anniversary), he has an idea: chip in for a bolstered endowment.
"When you succeed, it's easy to be taken for granted," Smith said, "but hopefully there's no one around here taking the success of the Dole Institute for granted."
By the way, even though Smith will be talking about John Adams over at the Dole Institute when President Obama starts his State of the Union address tonight, he previewed Obama's talk for the Wall Street Journal in this web video. He Skyped in straight from the Dole Institute, you'll notice.
And here's your final reminder in this space: My first Heard on the Hill office hours are tomorrow (Wednesday), 9 a.m. to noon in the Media Crossroads at the Kansas Union. This is your chance to ask me a question, tell me about something I should be writing about or just tell me what you really think of me. You can always send your KU news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org, of course, but still: Come see me!
Your weekly sampling of upcoming events around KU:
• The KU Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Institute will show off its newly completed $3.5 million renovations during a reception from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday. Tours will show visitors all the high-tech stuff there that will help scientists and students expand their research, including the cryogenic tanks I saw last week, which I thought were pretty cool. The space at the event will be limited, though, so organizers ask that you RSVP if you want to go: email@example.com, or 864-4540.
• Historian Richard Norton Smith's second lecture on America's first presidents, on John Adams, will be 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Dole Institute of Politics. I checked out his talk on George Washington on Sunday, and he promised his Adams discussion would include the rise of the first U.S. political parties, which he said were far nastier than the parties we sometimes consider so polarized today.
• From 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday will be my first-ever Heard on the Hill Office Hours at the Media Crossroads in the Kansas Union. Please come say hello and tell me what's on your mind.
• A Nobel Prize winner will pitch "A Next-Generation Solution for Funding Retirement" in a talk at the Dole Institute at 1 p.m. Friday.
• And an "It Gets Better" program featuring the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles will address youth bullying, 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Lied Center. Check out that link for some other related events during the week, as well.
There are far more events than this, of course, and if there are any you'd like to add, chime in via the comments below. And get those KU news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the second time in the last few months, the Dole Institute of Politics will honor one of Bob Dole's former U.S. Senate colleagues with a memorial exhibit.
LIke George McGovern, who died in October, U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye was an across-the-aisle friend of Dole's, according to a Dole Institute release. Unlike McGovern, he was actually still serving in the Senate when he died. (All three men served in World War II, as well.) Inouye died Monday at age 88.
An exhibit honoring Inouye will be up through Jan. 25 at the institute, and an online tribute featuring a video interview with the senator from Hawaii is also posted on its website.