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Tulane University School of Liberal Arts

SLA Online: March 2010
News from the Field: Joel Dinerstein at the Harry Ransom Center

This is a story less from the field than the archives, specifically of the two weeks I spent foraging in the Norman Mailer papers at the Harry Ransom Center (HRC) of the University of Texas at Austin. In my current book project, The Mask of Cool: Jazz, Film Noir, and Existentialism in Postwar America, I theorize the origins of the concept of cool as it emerges in postwar jazz culture. Mailer was one of only two writers to consider jazz musicians as organic American existentialists. He published many articles on "The Hip and the Square," but left a sparse paper trail with regard to his knowledge of jazz. In letters, journals, and unpublished fragments, I hoped to find references to individual jazz musicians, perhaps also in early drafts of Mailer's "The White Negro" (1957), an important essay now often excoriated for its racism and sexism.

The exciting part of archival research is detective work and my first useful connection came almost too easily: early drafts of "The White Negro" carried the title, "Dialectic of the American Existentialist." And yet, no jazz there. I examined every folder in the three years leading up to the essay, a period in which Mailer was obsessed with the idea of "hip" and "the hipster," and kept finding references to an important journal. He even mentioned this journal in an introductory note to an essay in Advertisements of Myself (1959); he referred to it as the repository of a certain set of epiphanies. So unless Mailer threw out the journal -- which seemed unlikely -- it had to be somewhere in the more than one thousand boxes of material. I scanned the finding aid for anomalous notebooks. There were many and few had anything of import.

In Box 1032 -- one of the last -- was something called "Lipton's Journal." I put in a call slip and I was soon greeted by one of the Ransom Center archivists who had helped catalogue the collection. Off-hand, "Lipton's Journal" did not ring a bell; it turned out the journal was one of the few documents to which Mailer restricted access until after his death. I was at the Ransom Center less than a year after Mailer passed on. I was probably one of the first scholars ever to read it.

The journal was undated and kept in its own box. It was more than two hundred and fifty typed pages on onionskin paper filled with numbered paragraphs from 1-300. It was quite a find.
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The Latest Post from the Maxwell Blog

Evil Eye
My godchild, Gabriela, was over last evening, with her three boys. The youngest, Saúl Andrés, is just about a month old. He was fussy and holding, bouncing, and soothing him was wearing out successive kinfolk. Gabriela noted that Saúl would tense up every few minutes, grunt, then relax or cry. Ana, the proud grandmother, observed that babies do this for the first three months of life. But the fussiness continued and Cira, an aunt, declared that the child was ojeado “eyed”...
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Accolades

LAURA BASS (Associate Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese) is the recipient of the 2010 Eleanor Tufts Book Award sponsored by the American Society for Hispanic Art Historical Studies for her book he Drama of the Portrait: Theater and Visual Culture in Early Modern Spain (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2008). Continue Reading.
SUSANN S. LUSNIA, associate professor of Classical Studies, has been selected to be the next Director of the Classical Summer School of the American Academy in Rome. The position begins officially next summer, 2011 and continues for 3 consecutive summers (2011, 2012, 2013).
The NEWCOMB ART GALLERY was a recipient of a 2010 Community Arts Awards from the Arts Council of New Orleans. Read the full story here.
IDELBER AVELAR (Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese) was awarded a grant from the American Council of Learned Societies at the rank of Full Professor to write his next book on masculinity in contemporary Latin American fiction. Only 57 grants were awarded among 1,136 eligible candidates.

SLA In the News

From Hitchcock to Bogdanovich

When acclaimed film director, screenwriter, actor and critic Peter Bogdanovich took the stage at Tulane on Wednesday (Jan. 27) to share stories about filmmaking legends, he cautioned the audience that his presentation has been called, among other things, “lousy.” The regular bursts of laughter and applause from the overflow crowd were a good indication that the evening was anything but.
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Carnival: An Enduring Connection

In his book Authentic New Orleans, sociologist Kevin Gotham writes, "… although other cities around the world celebrate Mardi Gras, none have the intemperate and licentious reputation, long-standing cultural traditions, spectacular floats and parades, formal balls and tourism infrastructure to accommodate the thousands of tourists that visit New Orleans each year." Continue Reading

 

Verano Probes Incan Mystery

Tulane anthropologist John Verano was part of a new episode on the Incas that premiered February 2nd, on the PBS program NOVA. Verano, professor and chair of anthropology, appears in NOVA's program on "Ghosts of Machu Picchu," part of an ongoing series on the Inca on PBS. Continue Reading

 

‘Mame’ to Open 43rd Summer Lyric Season

The leading role of the unconventional, show business aunt in Mame suits Elizabeth Argus just fine. Mame will be presented by Summer Lyric Theatre at Tulane University on June 17–20. Argus says, "It might be like Peter Pan a little bit, but with one boy and lots of gorgeous clothes and jewelry." Continue Reading

 

Jewish Film Sushi Series Returns

As part of the Jewish Film Sushi Series at Tulane, Four Seasons Lodge (April 7, 7:30 p.m., Lavin-Bernick Center). All films are followed by a discussion with the director, and a sushi reception. The series is free and open to the community. Continue Reading

 

Focus on Brazilian Films

A film series devoted to the exhibition and exploration of works by women filmmakers from contemporary Brazil called "Mulheres da Retomada: Women Filmmakers in Contemporary Brazilian Cinema," continues with nine additional films showing each Thursday this semester through April 22. Continue Reading

 

Marching Band’s First Parade

"A person can never know what Mardi Gras is really like until they've experienced it for themselves," says Kyrsten Melander, a drum major with the Tulane Marching Band. A favorite of parade goers, the band typically marches in four Carnival parades a year. Continue Reading

 

Play Examines College-Aged Relationships

Why do we try to mold and mend the people closest to us? What are the consequences of such transformations? These questions are central to The Shape of Things, the latest production to hit the boards of the Lupin Theater. Continue Reading

 

‘When Being Strong Wasn’t Enough’

"African American women are perceived — and perceive themselves — to be strong. That strength can help and hinder them in the political process, according to Melissa Harris-Lacewell, associate professor of politics and African American studies at Princeton University. Continue Reading

 

A Real Character

As Broadway veteran Mary Louise Wilson teaches a master class in character acting, a documentary film crew follows her every move. For a group of students taking the course in the Tulane Department of Theater and Dance, it's a rare experience. Continue Reading

 

Spring Lectures Focus on Cultural Judaism

The Center for Cultural Judaism in New York is co-sponsoring a spring lecture series with the Tulane Jewish Studies Program on the Tulane uptown campus, featuring eight speakers on topics ranging from "Obama and Israel" to Russian Zionism to Hebrew literature. Continue Reading

 

Did Gangster Al Capone Serve a Social Good?

Chicago's Al Capone is perhaps America's best known gangster from the 1920s' Prohibition era. And his notoriety, like that of other public enemies, has been shaped by movies, TV and radio. But what is real about a gangster such as Capone and what is myth? Continue Reading

 

The French Connection

The Tulane University Department of French and Italian, Newcomb College Center for Research on Women and Ecole Bilingue de la Nouvelle-Orléans are collaborating to host a Tournées Film Festival in New Orleans. The films will be screened in the Freeman Auditorium of the Woldenberg Art Center on the uptown campus March 3–9. All films will be in French with English subtitles. Continue Reading

 

Second Line Makes the Grade

A service-learning project that was part of a Tulane communication and American studies class took students into the New Orleans community to record oral histories of the Prince of Wales Social Aid and Pleasure Club. Now their work, accompanied by photographs, has been published on a new website for the award-winning public radio program, "American Routes." Continue Reading

 

March 1
Italian Major Week - Jonathan Bertuccelli of Studio 3 will talk about the Italian origin of his New Orleans carnival floats.

March 2-14
Polaridad Complementaria exhibition - Part of the citywide ¡Sí Cuba! celebration and presented jointly with the New Orleans Museum of Art, the exhibition is comprised of more than 50 works of painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, video and installation art.

March 2
Jewish Studies Speaker Series: Obama and Israel - featuring Mitchell Bard, American Israeli Cooperative Enterprise

March 3
The Tournées Festival - French Film: Azur and Asmar (3 showings) - Azur and Asmar is the story of two boys raised as brothers lovingly cared for by Asmar's gentle mother, who tells them magical stories of her faraway homeland and of beautiful, imprisoned Fairy Djinn waiting to be set free.

March 3
Music at Midday - featuring Marijim Thoene, organ

March 3
German and Slavic Studies Speaker Series: Life With a Red and a Yellow Star - Jiri Weil and the Totalitarian Regimes of the 20th Century - featuring Bettina Kaibach

March 3
Arabic Film Screenings - "That The Smoke May Not Blow Away"

March 4
The Tournées Festival - French Film: Azur et Asmar - Azur and Asmar is the story of two boys raised as brothers by Asmar's gentle mother, who tells them magical stories of her faraway homeland and of beautiful, imprisoned Fairy Djinn waiting to be set free.

March 4
French Film: Comme un Juif En France (Part 1) - Presenting a treasure trove of lush archival material, memorable music, and clips from classic French films, "Being Jewish in France" is poised to become the definitive film on the topic.

March 4
French Film: Comme un Juif En France (Part 2) (Being Jewish in France)

March 4
German and Slavic Studies Speaker Series: Facing Two Faces of Totalitarianism - The Poetry of Vladimir Holan and His Contemporaries, 1938 featuring Urs Heftrich

March 4
French Film: Les Plagues D'Agnes - The Tournées Festival screening: Les Plagues D'Agnes. Returning to the beaches which have been part of her life, Varda invents a kind of self portrait‐documentary.

March 4
French and Italian Major Week Speakers: Le français aux Etats-Unis: survivra-t-il? (in French) featuring Albert Valdman, Rudy Professor of French and Linguistics (emeritus), Indiana University

March 4
The Tournées Festival - French Film: L'Ivresse Du Pouvoir - Parisian judge Jeanne Charmant Killman (Isabelle Huppert) has recently sanctioned the arrest of CEO Michel Humeau (François Berléand) in a high-profile case of corruption and embezzlement at a giant state-supported company.

March 6
The Tournées Festival - French Film: Azur et Asmar - Azur and Asmar is the story of two boys raised as brothers lovingly cared for by Asmar's gentle mother, who tells them magical stories of her faraway homeland and of beautiful, imprisoned Fairy Djinn waiting to be set free.

March 6
The Tournées Festival - French Film: Les Plagues D'Agnes - The Tournées Festival screening: Les Plagues D'Agnes. Returning to the beaches which have been part of her life, Varda invents a kind of self portrait‐documentary.

March 6
The Tournées Festival - French Film: The Secret of the Grain - The Secret of the Grain. Mister Beiji, a weary sixty-year-old, is still grinding away at the shipyard, in a job that has become more painful as the years wear on.

March 6
The Tournées Festival - French Film: L'Ivresse Du Pouvoir

March 6
French Film: A Christmas Tale - The Tournées Festival: A Christmas Tale. As a family returns home for a long Christmas weekend, solidarity devolves into feuding, drunkenness and bed-hopping, as everyone struggles to make sense of the mysteries of family, life, and what lies ahead.

March 6
Classical Guitar Series - featuring Gabriel Bianco

March 8
The Tournées Festival - French Film: Azur et Asmar (3 showings) - Azur and Asmar is the story of two boys raised as brothers lovingly cared for by Asmar's gentle mother, who tells them magical stories of her faraway homeland and of beautiful, imprisoned Fairy Djinn waiting to be set free.

 

March 8
The Tournées Festival - French Film: The Secret of the Grain - The Tournées Festival: The Secret of the Grain. Mister Beiji, a weary sixty-year-old, is still grinding away at the shipyard, in a job that has become more painful as the years wear on.

March 8
Poet Laureate Series - Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Rita Dove, the country’s first African-American poet laureate, will read her poetry. After the reading, Dove will sign copies of her book.

March 8
The Tournées Festival - French Film: A Christmas Tale - The Tournées Festival: A Christmas Tale. As a family returns home for a long Christmas weekend, solidarity devolves into feuding, drunkenness and bed-hopping, as everyone struggles to make sense of the mysteries of family, life, and what lies ahead.

March 9
The Tournées Festival - French Film: Azur et Asmar (2 showings)

March 10
Before & After Katrina: Black Education in New Orleans - A one-day forum featuring a number of distinguished guest lecturers (scholars and practitioners).

March 10
Music at Midday featuring Javier Olondo, guitar

March 11
Jewish Speakers' Series - Jewish Conceptions of Self and Other in Early 15th Century Spain

March 11
Arabic Film Screenings - Alexandria...Why? - A dramatic recollection of the filmmakers adolescence focusing on two love affairs (one between a Jewish woman and a Muslim man and the other between two men, an Arab nationalist and an English soldier) in Alexandria during World War II.

March 12
Music Department Keyboard Festival - featuring Janice Weber

March 12
An Evening of Dance - The concert will include choreography by the Newcomb Dance Program faculty & guest artists.

March 13
Music Department Keyboard Festival Master Class - featuring Janice Weber

March 13
Music Department Keyboard Festival - featuring Igor Resnianski

March 13
Music Department Keyboard Festival Master Class - featuring Igor Resnianski

March 13
An Evening of Dance - The concert will include choreography by the Newcomb Dance Program faculty & guest artists.

March 14
An Evening of Dance - The concert will include choreography by the Newcomb Dance Program faculty & guest artists.

March 17
Music at Midday - featuring Maxim Samarov, cello and Angie Estrada, piano

March 17
Arabic Film Screening: The Dove's Lost Necklace

March 18
Exhibit/Lecture on Guitarist Snoozer Quinn - “The Search for Snoozer Quinn” features reception with live music, a short lecture and an exhibition of photographs, instruments and other mementos, as well as the debut of never-before-seen film footage of the late Louisiana jazz guitarist Snoozer Quinn.

March 19
Jewish Studies Speaker Series - Jewish Culture in Pre-Nazi Germany and Jewish Culture in Post-War America featuring Michael Brenner

March 20
Jewish Studies Speaker Series - A Conversation on Cultural Judaism: Felix Posen and David Biale

March 22
Albert Fishlow: Is Brazil the Country of the Future? - Presentation by Albert Fishlow, Director of the Columbia Institute of Latin American Studies and Director of the Center for the Study of Brazil at Columbia University.

March 24
The Art of Luis Cruz Azaceta: A lecture by Alejandro Anreus (author of Azaceta's monograph)

March 25
Application Deadline for Summer in Latin America 2010

March 25
Arabic Film Screenings: Bab el Oued City

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Tulane University School of Liberal Arts


Tulane University
School of Liberal Arts
102 Newcomb Hall
New Orleans, LA 70118
tulane.edu/liberal-arts

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