Celebrating LAS


D’Emilio’s scholarly work honored

Freedman, DEmilio, Brier

(L-R) Estelle Freedman, John D’Emilio, GWS Director Jennifer Brier. Photo by Edward Drogos

On September 11-12, 2014, the Gender and Women’s Studies Program hosted “John D’Emilio’s Scholarship and its Impact on LGBTQ Life,” a symposium honoring the work of Professor Emeritus John D’Emilio, a pioneer scholar of LGBTQ history. The Thursday evening reception and keynote address was attended by about 120 scholars, students, activists, and supporters of D’Emilio. Estelle Freedman of Stanford University, with whom D’Emilio wrote Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America, (1st edition 1988; 3rd edition 2012, University of Chicago Press), spoke on “Sexual Violence and Citizenship: Rape Reform in American History.” Welcoming remarks were presented by LAS Dean Astrida Orle Tantillo. On Friday, about 75 individuals attended panels and participated in discussions of D’Emilio’s scholarly influence, the state of the scholarly fields of LGBT history and sexuality history, and the future of queer studies.

The event was co-sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Department of History, the Institute for the Humanities, the Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer People, and Allies and the Honors College.


LALS marks 40 years

Amalia Palares

Amalia Pallares, LALS director.

The year 2014 marked the 40th anniversary of the Latin American and Latino Studies Program, and faculty, alumni, students, and supporters noted the event with an October 29, 2014 celebration at the National Museum of Mexican Art. “From Vision to Legacy” featured music and presentations on the history and future vision for LALS. The event was also a fundraiser for the newly-established LALS Student Scholarship Fund.

The anniversary celebration continued throughout November with a series of lectures and workshops examining the history of Latin American and Latino activism on and off campus.


Fall of the Wall Week

November 9, 2014 marked the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, which once separated West Berlin from East Berlin and the rest of Germany. During the week of September 22, the Department of Germanic Studies, led by Professor and Head Elizabeth Loentz, organized the Fall of the Wall Campus Week at UIC. Program partners were the Embassy of the Federal Republic of German, the German Information Center USA, and the UIC Global Learning Community (GLC).

Counsul Quelle and Loentz

Elizabeth Loentz (right) with Consul General Herbert Quelle. Photo by Micki Leventhal

The UIC library hosted “Dictatorship and Democracy in the Age of Extremes,” an exhibit examining the history of 20th-century Europe as a dramatic story oscillating between freedom and tyranny, democracy and dictatorship. Consul General Herbert Quelle of the German Consulate of Chicago delivered introductory remarks prior to the exhibit’s opening on Monday, September 22.

building the wall

Constructing the wall. Photo by Edward Drogos

An architectural installation—designed and constructed by UIC architecture students and led by John Manaves, adjunct assistant professor in the UIC School of Architecture—was assembled as a visual barrier in the UIC Memorial Grove and symbolically torn down at the culmination of the week’s events.

Loentz, 'N', Gore, Meyer

(L to R) Elizabeth Loentz, José Ángel N, Jeff Gore, Imke Meyer. Photo by Estevan Cruz

The GLC keynote event featured Germanic studies professor Imke Meyer, the director of the School of Literatures, Cultural Studies and Linguistics, and alumnus José Ángel N. (BA ’02 Philosophy; MA ’04 Latin American Literature), speaking to their respective experiences living and interacting with walls. Meyer, who grew up in a divided Germany, recalled watching the Berlin Wall come down as a college student in the United States. “I could not believe it,” Meyer said. “It just shows that you can’t turn back the tide of history. I was also amazed that as soon as something good happens, people somehow have fireworks.”

N., who is undocumented in the United States after crossing the U.S./Mexico border more than 20 years ago, read two passages from his book, Illegal: Reflections of an Undocumented Immigrant (2014, University of Illinois Press) and spoke to the differences and similarities that exist from living on either side of a wall.

The Wall construction

The Berlin Wall installation. Photo by Edward Drogos

“We aim to create high impact educational experiences for GLC students,” explained GLC coordinator Jeff Gore. “We wanted to frame the fall of the Berlin Wall as a global event by acknowledging walls that students are familiar with in everyday life. The week’s events marked the struggles and triumphs born from living behind walls both in the post-Cold War era in Germany and in the United States today.”

The week’s events also included three advance screenings of the German mini-series, The Tower. The film’s producer, Benjamin Benedict, participated (via Skype) in a post-film discussion led by Germanic studies professor Sara Hall.


LAS Distinguished Professor: Joel Brown

Joel Brown

Distinguished Professor Joel Brown.

Joel Brown and Students

Brown with his students and alumni.

On November 6, 2014 Joel Brown, professor in the ecology and evolution group in the Department of Biological Sciences, joined the ranks of LAS Distinguished Professors. Colleagues, students, and friends joined Brown (aka Dr. Squirrel) for a lively talk on “Adventures in Nature: From Natural Ecosystems to Tumor Ecosystems” in which Brown explained his work in game theory in relation to predator-prey and foraging behavior among animal populations native to ecosystems from Oak Park Illinois to the Negev Desert. He also described his work in cancer research and the use of game theory in seeking treatments for metastatic cancers. Brown is the co-author of Evolutionary Game Theory, Natural Selection, and Darwinian Dynamics (2005, Cambridge University Press) and Foraging: Behavior and Ecology (2007, University of Chicago Press) as well as almost 200 scholarly articles. He was a recipient of the 2014 Silver Circle Award for Teaching Excellence.


Cook, Eat, Man, Woman: Chancellor’s Food Studies Lecture

Raj Patel

Raj Patel.

Patel and students

Raj Patel discusses the issues with LAS freshman Katie Tangen.

On November 13, 2014 author and activist Raj Patel presented the annual Chancellor’s Lecture in the Humanities: Food Studies at UIC, in cooperation with the College’s Institute for the Humanities. Patel, author of The Value of Nothing and Stuffed and Starved and a fellow of the Institute for Food and Development Policy/ Food First discussed competing ideas to feed the world in the 21st century. He explained the global food crisis in which one billion people suffer from constant hunger while 1.5 billion are overweight—and both groups suffer from improper nutrition. He offered alternative scenarios by which societies can grow food that is environmentally sustainable and socially just. As part of his visit to UIC, Patel met with student members of the Global Learning Community (GLC) for lunch and conversation.

Brown and Patel photos by Matthew Kaplan

Save the Date!

Institute for the Humanities Fellows Lectures

Thursdays, January – April, 2015, 4 p.m.
Institute for the Humanities, Stevenson Hall, lower level.
Institute Fellows present updates on their 2014-15 research projects in the humanities. All programs are free and open to the public. Details at the Institute website.

LAS Distinguished Professor: Nikos Varelas

Wednesday, February 25, 2015, 4 – 6 p.m.
Student Center East, room 302
Professor of Physics, Nikos Varelas, lectures.

LAS Commencement

Sunday, May 10, 2015
UIC Forum