Middlebury

Symposium on urban culture and other social issues Sept. 29-30

September 14, 2006

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. ? Internationally recognized urban geographer and social theorist David Harvey will deliver the keynote lecture at the Middlebury College Clifford Symposium on Sept. 29-30. This year's symposium is titled "Urban Landscapes: The Politics of Expression" and will feature a series of lectures and an artistic performance that highlight the intersection of power and creativity in the nation's cities. All events are free and open to the public.

Harvey will be joined by two additional symposium speakers - urban historian and author Timothy Gilfoyle and hip-hop and youth culture expert Bakari Kitwana. The Welfare Poets, a New York-based musical ensemble, will close the symposium with an interactive performance on Saturday evening.

"This year's symposium engages the kind of current issues that are of great importance to our students as well as to the larger community," said symposium co-organizer and Dean of the College Tim Spears. "By focusing on issues involving urban culture, we continue Middlebury's tradition of addressing questions that could seem remote from a rural campus, but are relevant to all of us."

The symposium will begin in Mead Chapel at 7 p.m. on Friday with Harvey's keynote address, titled "Neoliberalism and the City." Harvey, a frequently cited academic geographer, is the author of several books and articles on the development of modern geography, particularly in terms of urban studies. His talk will focus on New York City since the 1970s, but will also touch on urban and cultural developments in cities around the world. Recent books include "The Condition of Postmodernity" and "Spaces of Global Capitalism: Towards a Theory of Uneven Geographical Development." Harvey is a distinguished professor in the anthropology department at City University in New York (CUNY), where he has been since 2001. Prior to that, he was a professor of geography at both Oxford University and Johns Hopkins University.

On Saturday, Sept. 30, at 11:30 a.m., the symposium will continue, over a light brunch in McCullough Social Space, with a lecture by music critic and activist Bakari Kitwana titled "Can Hip-Hop Make the Transition from Cultural Movement to Political Power?" Kitwana is co-founder of the National Hip-Hop Political Convention, an organization working to increase civic and political participation within the hip-hop generation, and the author of "The Hip-Hop Generation: Young Blacks and the Crisis in African American Culture," published in 2002.  Kitwana has been acknowledged as an expert on hip-hop politics by The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, CNN, "The O'Reilly Factor" and other media outlets. His various writings have appeared in The New York Times, Boston Globe, The Nation and Village Voice. He has been a visiting scholar in the political science department at Kent State University and has lectured on hip-hop at colleges and universities across the country for the last decade, including Harvard University, New York University, Columbia University and Stanford University. His recent book, "Why White Kids Love Hip-Hop: Wankstas, Wiggers, Wannabes and the New Reality of Race in America," published in 2005, is about race and hip-hop culture.

At 4 p.m., in the Harman Periodicals area of the college library, Timothy Gilfoyle will deliver a lecture on "Chicago's Millennium Park," the city's award-winning center for art, music, architecture and landscape design. Since its opening in July 2004, Millennium Park has hosted millions of people, making it one of the most popular destinations in Chicago. Gilfoyle is professor of history at Loyola University in Chicago, where he teaches American urban and social history. Recent books include "A Pickpocket's Tale: The Underworld of Nineteenth-Century New York" and "Millennium Park: Creating a Chicago Landmark," both published in 2006. He is also the author of "City of Eros: New York City, Prostitution, and the Commercialization of Sex, 1790-1920" and has published articles in American Quarterly, Prospects and the Atlantic Monthly.
 
Finally, at 8 p.m. in McCullough Social Space, the symposium will close with an eclectic performance by the musically innovative and engagingly interactive ensemble, The Welfare Poets. According to the group's Web site, The Welfare Poets are "a collective of activists, educators and artists together since 1990. Through teaching residencies and workshops, through activism around community struggles and through sharp-edged performances of music that incorporates hip hop, bomba y plena, Latin jazz and other rhythms, the Welfare Poets bring information and inspiration to those facing oppression and those fighting for liberation." Their second album, "Rhymes for Treason," was released in 2006.

"The Clifford Symposium presents a unique opportunity for members of the community to come together to reflect upon issues and problems that have an intellectual and cultural life beyond the boundaries of the college," said symposium co-organizer and Middlebury College Vice President for Academic Affairs Alison Byerly. The symposium is named for College Professor of History Emeritus Nicholas Clifford.

For more information, contact Charlotte Tate, assistant director of the Middlebury College Rohatyn Center for International Affairs, at tate@middlebury.edu or (802) 443-5795.

To follow is a schedule of symposium events:

"Urban Landscapes: The Politics of Expression"
Middlebury College Clifford Symposium, Sept. 29-30

Friday, Sept. 29
7 p.m.     Keynote Address
"Neoliberalism and the City"

Lecture by urban geographer and social theorist David Harvey.
Mead Chapel, located on Hepburn Road off College Street (Route 125)

Saturday, Sept. 30
11:30 a.m.    Light Brunch and Lecture
"Can Hip-Hop Make the Transition from Cultural Movement to Political Power?"
Music critic and activist Bakari Kitwana will discuss the politics of hip-hop.
McCullough Social Space in McCullough Student Center, Old Chapel Road off College Street (Route 125)

4 p.m.  Lecture
"Chicago's Millennium Park"

Author and urban historian Timothy Gilfoyle will discuss Chicago's award-winning center for art, music, architecture and landscape design.
Harman Periodicals area, Middlebury College Library, Storrs Avenue off South Main Street (Route 30)

8 p.m.   Musical Performance 
The Welfare Poets
New York-based ensemble of activists and musicians will perform their unique blend of commentary and expression using hip-hop and other rhythms.
McCullough Social Space in McCullough Student Center, Old Chapel Road off College Street (Route 125)

The symposium lectures and musical performance are all free and open to the public. For more information, contact Charlotte Tate, assistant director of the Middlebury College Rohatyn Center for International Affairs, at tate@middlebury.edu or (802) 443-5795.