Below is a small sampling of the many events scheduled in the next few weeks on the Princeton University campus — events that would not normally be included in the day-by-day listings of U.S. 1. For a complete schedule of public events, visit the university’s online calendar at www.princeton.edu/events.
Thursday, February 9, 8 p.m. “Making a Splash, Breaking a Neck: The Development of Complexity in Physical Systems.” The University of Chicago’s Leo Kadanoff, a celebrated scholar of theoretical physics, will take his audience from the smallest detail, from complexity in fluids, like a drop of water, to major ideas, such as the place of chaos and predictability in the universe. Even bigger is the basic question his lecture poses: is the universe the product of some unknown maker or the product of physical laws? Sponsored by the Department of Physics. McDonnell A02.
Tuesday, February 14, 4:30 p.m. “Watching the Fighters: Exploring the Roman Fascination with Gladiatorial Combat,” Professor Garrett G. Fagan. Only a few days after the Super Bowl and all its emotional trappings, Professor Fagan of Pennsylvania State University will talk about what is perhaps one of the first and most extreme of sports, gladiatorial combat in ancient Rome. As Fagan points out, “the draw of mass spectacle is something we understand very well, even if the nature of Roman entertainment is something we can’t immediately connect with.” We may no longer crowd the stadiums to watch men fight to the death as thousands of ancient Romans did, but Fagan sprints beyond the ancient world, inspiring thoughts about why we watch what we do and why it can be so powerful. Sponsored by the Department of Classics. East Pyne Hall.
Thursday, February 16, 5:30 p.m. “On Learning to Die in Miami,” Professor Carlos Eire, professor of history and religious studies at Yale University.
Between 1960 and 1962 thousands of children were airlifted from Cuba to Miami in what was known as “Operation Pedro Pan.” Eire will talk about his experience as one of those children, an experience he has described in his memoir “Learning to Die in Miami: Confessions of a Refugee Boy.”
In a recent interview, Professor Eire described his upcoming lecture as a “microhistory,” a significant historical moment as lived by a single person. Eire will offer us more than an historical account; he will give us a first-hand take on an event that is still misunderstood. As Eire said, “I lived through it and I know it was this way . . . My narrative competes with a lot of twisted accounts, some of which are flawed, some outright lies . . . I am doing this for a purpose.” Eire’s lecture gives us the unique opportunity to learn more about the airlift and its consequences. It also allows us to witness how powerfully the memories of one person can change our understanding of an entire historical passage. 219 Burr Hall. Also see story in this issue "A Little-Known Chapter of History May Become a Feature Film," about two Princeton professionals who are producing a movie about Operation Pedro Pan.
Sponsored by the Program in Latin American Studies; co-sponsored by the Arts Council of Princeton, which will host a reception for Eire on Friday, February 17, at 5:30 p.m. in the Taplin Gallery. See article, page 37.
Wednesday, February 22, 4:30 p.m. “George Washington and U.S. Foreign Policy.” In this lecture, you will hear Professor William Allen, author of “George Washington: America’s First Progressive,” relate how the personal faith of America’s first president influenced the ways in which the United States — from its origins — dealt with other nations. Allen will tell us how the interaction between faith and power not only changed foreign policy from our nation’s earliest days, but also had a lasting impact on United States politics. The place of religion in government is a hot issue in current political debates. Come learn how it all started. Sponsored by the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions; co-sponsored by the Center for African American Studies. Lewis Library 120.
Thursday, February 23, 4:30 p.m. A panel discussion of Pamela Klassen’s “Spirits of Protestantism: Medicine, Healing and Liberal Christianity,” with Courtney Bender, associate professor of religion at Columbia University; Joao Biehl, professor of anthropology at Princeton; and John Lardas Modern, assistant professor of religious studies at Franklin & Marshall.
These scholars will discuss a book that investigates a change in how Protestants converted others, moving from Western sources of authority like science and scripture to non-western healing like Yoga. Come hear about Spirits of Protestantism and think over the place of Protestantism in medicine and in culture at large. Sponsored by the Center for the Study of Religion. Lewis Library 120.
A Postscript: Sunday, February 12, will be the last chance to visit Princeton Art Museum’s exhibit, “Object of Devotion: Medieval English Alabaster Sculpture.” The exhibit showcases selected alabasters from the largest collection in the world. More than an impressive array of art objects, the exhibit also testifies to the cataclysmic shift that came with the change to Protestantism in England, the shift from venerating religious art objects to destroying them.
For a description of the exhibit, visit http://artmuseum.princeton.edu/events/Object_of_Devotion_Mag/
Alana Shilling, a Princeton resident and the author of several articles on the relationship between poetry and memory, recently earned her Ph.D. in comparative literature from Princeton University.