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Michael Stoff, Director 305 East 23rd St, CLA 2.102, (G3600) Austin, TX 78712-1250 • 512-471-1442

Winter Voltaire's Coffee Series - Spring 2010

Everyone's favorite Plan II event from their freshman year is now open to ALL Plan II students in our Winter Voltaire's Coffee Series!  Join us for an evening of all your favorite things: interesting books, stimulating discussion, amazing professors, engaging fellow students, and food, of course!  All VCs will be held between January 21 and January 29, before the homework really starts piling up.  Locations will be on campus for easy access, exact location TBA.  All VCs are scheduled for 7 PM so that the fewest number of classes will conflict as possible.  Limited spots are available, so registration is required!  Students can register by accessing the following link to the registration form beginning at noon on Monday, November 30th.  Registration will close on midnight of Friday, December 4th.  Registration is limited to one VC per student.

Link to registration form

 

1. Thursday, January 21 - Professor Galbraith - The Fog of War by James G. Blight and Janet M. Lang

About the book:

This session will discuss historical mystery and moral dilemma through the prism of the life and career of Robert S. McNamara, Secretary of Defense under John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, and architect of the Vietnam War.  Students should read the book, The Fog of War, by James G. Blight and janet M. Lang. They should read the EPS Quarterly for October 2009, which is dedicated to McNamara.  I would also encourage those who have not done so also to view the 2004 Errol Morris documentary, Fog of War, readily available on DVD.

About the professor:

James K. Galbraith, an economist, holds the Lloyd M. Bentsen, jr Chair in Government/Business Relations at the LBJ School of Public Affairs.  He has written extensively on a narrow, hotly disputed historical question, namely: did JFK plan to withdraw US forces from Vietnam?

 

2. Friday, January 22 - Professor Loehlin - Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov

About the book:

Pale Fire (1962) is a novel buy Vladimir Nabokov. The novel is presented as a poem titled "Pale Fire" with commentary by a friend of the poet's. Together these elements form a narrative in which both authors are central characters. Pale Fire has spawned a wide variety of interpretations and a large body of written criticism. The Nabokov authority Brian Boyd has called it "Nabokov's most perfect novel".

About the professor:

James Loehlin is Shakespeare at Winedale Regents Professor of English. He is a native Austinite and a Plan II graduate of UT; he also holds degrees from Oxford and Stanford.  His scholarship focuses on the history of plays in performance.  He has written widely about Shakespeare on stage and film, especially the history plays (he has written books on Henry IV and Henry V and articles on Henry VI and Richard III). He also works with modern drama, in particular the works of Anton Chekhov (his book on The Cherry Orchard was a runner-up for last year's Hamilton Award). As Director of the Shakespeare at Winedale program, he works with performance as a teaching method; he has directed forty productions of Shakespeare’s plays.  He has received several awards for teaching, including membership in the UT Academy of Distinguished Teachers.

 

3. Monday, January 25 - Professor Carter - Zeitoun by Dave Eggers

About the book:

When Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, Abdulrahman Zeitoun, a prosperous Syrian-American and father of four, chose to stay through the storm to protect his house and contracting business. In the days after, he traveled the flooded streets in a secondhand canoe, passing on supplies and helping those he could. But, on September 6, 2005, Zeitoun abruptly disappeared. Eggers’s riveting nonfiction book, three years in the making, explores Zeitoun’s roots in Syria, his marriage to Kathy—an American who converted to Islam—and their children, and the surreal atmosphere (in New Orleans and the United States generally) in which what happened to Abdulrahman Zeitoun became possible. Like What Is the WhatZeitoun was written in close collaboration with its subjects and involved vast research—in this case, in the U.S., Spain, and Syria.

About the professor:

Mia Carter is an associate professor in the department of English.  She received her Ph.D. in English and Modern Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1992.  Her research interests include post-colonial and ethnic studies, modernism, 19th & 20th Century British Literature, Imperial studies, film, and women's studies.  She has received multiple awards and honors, including the Texas Excellence Teaching Award, the Chancellor's Teaching Award, and induction into the  Academy for Distinguished Teachers.

4. Tuesday, January 26 - Professor Bump - Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

About the books:

While teaching in the English Oxford Summer Program Professor Bump became aware of intense student interest in the Alice books and has been teaching them ever since, as a guide to the college experience, ethics, diversity, etc. His students act out “Jabberwocky” and “The Mouse’s Tale” in many languages at the Harry Ransom Center and stage twenty performances of “The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party” for “Explore U.T.” every year.  Suggestions for discussion

About the professor:

Jerome Bump,  a Professor of English here for forty years and regular World Lit. professor for Plan II, is the author of Gerard Manley Hopkins and over sixty articles.  He has been honored with multiple fellowships and awards.  He was also an editor of Texas Studies in Language and Literature.

5. Thursday, January 28 - Professor Woodruff - The Bacchae by Euripides

About the book:

Euripides' Bacchae is the most exciting and disturbing play we have from ancient Greece.  A god brings an ecstatic religion to Greece, and a powerful young king--his cousin--tries to put the reliogion down.  But soon he changes his testosterone laden role for that of a woman by donning his mother's clothes.  In the mountain, where the women dance in ecstasy, they find the young king, tear him to pieces, and play catch with his body parts.  Read it in my translation if you can, available on Amazon or elsewhere.

About the professor:

A former Plan II director, Paul Woodruff has written on ancient Greek philosophy, ethics, and on the philosophy of theater.  His hobbies include rowing, furniture-making, and music.  He is currently Dean of the School of Undergraduate Studies.

6. Friday, January 29 - Professor Gleeson - Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth by Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos Papadimitriou

About the book:

The book is actually a biography of Bertrand Russell but its special emphasis is his work at the interface of logic and philosophy.  HIs effort to find truth through logic is told through illustrated media, a comic book.  A suitable and perfect companion is the book "Godel's Proof" by Ernest Nagel, James Newman, and Douglas Hofsteter, not a comic book, but a light read for this kind of book. 

About the professor:

Professor Gleeson is a theoretic physicist.  He has been teaching at The University of Texas since time began and the required Plan IIphysics class since the beginning of recorded history.

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