University of Rochester

EVENT: From Iraq to Latin Jazz, Libraries' Neilly Series Opens for 2002-03

September 10, 2002

Seven writers who dig deep into history, personal exploration, and the day's news will lecture for the second season of the Neilly Series at the University of Rochester. Best-selling author Simon Winchester and U.S. foreign policy critic Scott Ritter top the list of guest speakers in the arts and sciences.

The yearlong program, which is free and open to the public, is supported by a major gift from University alumnus Andrew H. Neilly and his wife, Janet Dayton Neilly.

The 2002-03 Neilly Series begins at 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26, when writer Kenn Harper describes the life of Minik, an Inuit boy taken from his family in the late 1800s and brought to New York. Harper first heard the story from the Polar Eskimos of Greenland and wrote the best seller, Give Me My Father's Body: The Life of Minik, the New York Eskimo. He tracked the story and documented the role of the American Museum of Natural History in the Minik affair.

Harper, who has lived in the Canadian Arctic and Greenland for more than 35 years, is a linguist fluent in the Eskimo language and an active participant in territorial issues. He was an advisor on setting up the government of Nunavut, Canada's third territory established in 1999. His lecture with slides will be held in the Welles-Brown Room of Rush Rhees Library on the River Campus.

Remote places also have intrigued best-selling author Simon Winchester as he's traveled worldwide as a journalist, broadcaster, and now the author of numerous books. His most recent works include The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary and The Map that Changed the World: William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology.

Winchester's visit will coincide with Meliora Weekend, the annual College celebration for alumni, students, and friends. He will speak at 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11, in Hoyt Hall on the River Campus. Winchester's talk, "Pleasures of a Writing Life," will describe his adventures while researching stories.

Daily news reports of potential American attacks on Iraq make the lecture by Scott Ritter, a former U.S. military intelligence officer and United Nations' arms control inspector, timely. He will lecture at 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7, in Hoyt Hall. Ritter is a critic of current American foreign policy in the Middle East and in Iraq. For more than 10 years, he has been on the front lines of efforts to stop arms proliferation and resigned his U.N. position to protest economic sanctions against Iraq.

Ritter is the author of Endgame: Solving the Iraq Problem Once and For All and a new documentary film, In Shifting Sands, which investigates the role of the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) in disarming Iraq.

John Storm Roberts, an astute writer known for his command of world music, will speak at 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 30, in the Welles-Brown Room of Rush Rhees Library. He has documented and promoted music from countries worldwide through recordings, documentaries, and on the printed page. He studied languages at Oxford University, and invested years of work on African music and its relationship to American blues and rock.

His 1979 book, The Latin Tinge: The Impact of Latin American Music on the United States, examined the major influences of Latin styles on all forms of U.S. popular music. Its second edition and related volumes in recent years mark Roberts' expertise in that category. His lecture, accompanied by recorded music, will focus on "Gestating Jazz: The Mexican Tour of 1885."

Th. Emil Homerin, professor of religion and chair of the Department of Religion and Classics at the University of Rochester, is a scholar and teacher of Islam. At 5 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26, he will discuss the religious and cultural dimensions of Islam and how they are interpreted in the West. His talk in the Welles-Brown Room is titled "Translating Islam."

He is the author of many publications, including From Arab Poet to Muslim Saint and an anthology of translations titled Ibn al-Farid: Suf Verse & Saintly Life. Homerin completed his doctoral degree at the University of Chicago, and has received several foundation grants in support of his work. He has lived and worked in Egypt intermittently during the last 15 years.

Poet, reviewer, and librarian Bruce Whiteman will present slides to illustrate his lecture on his latest writing project: a book about Constantine Simonides, a 19th-century manuscript forger. Head librarian at the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library at UCLA, Whiteman will speak at 5 p.m. Thursday, March 27, in the Welles-Brown Room. He has written widely about bibliography, printing, and literary history. But he's also embraced other subjects, including a book on Canadian landscape artist J. E. H. MacDonald, and has written several books of poetry.

Whiteman received his master of library science degree and worked in libraries at McMaster and McGill universities in Canada before moving to UCLA in 1996. His lecture topic is "The Forger as Male Head Case: Constantine Simonides and Some Other Rogues."

The series' final speaker will be Linda Greenhouse, U.S. Supreme Court correspondent for the New York Times, on Wednesday, April 9. Her coverage of the court earned her a Pulitzer Prize for beat reporting in 1998. She is a frequent guest on the PBS program Washington Week in Review. Greenhouse has a master of studies in law degree from Yale Law School, and holds honorary degrees from Brown, Colgate, and Northeastern universities and from the City University of New York.

She began working for the Times in 1968 as an assistant to famed columnist James Reston, and she went on to cover Congress and the New York State legislature. Greenhouse will discuss the repercussions of recent Supreme Court rulings.

The Neilly Series is produced by the River Campus Libraries of the University of Rochester.