Briefly Noted

Issue Date: 
November 1, 2010

Pitt Humanities Center Plans Nov. 3 Talk on Jewish Origins of Christianity

The University of Pittsburgh Humanities Center and Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program will present a lecture by Anthony Grafton, the Henry Putnam University Professor of History at Princeton University. The lecture, titled “How Jesus Celebrated Passover: Renaissance Scholarship and the Jewish Origins of Christianity,” will take place at 5 p.m. Nov. 3 in the Frick Fine Arts Auditorium. A reception will follow the lecture from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the Frick Fine Arts Cloister.

The free public lecture will focus on perceptions of Jesus as part of the Jewish world.

Grafton is an expert in renaissances, reformations, and historiography, with a special interest in the cultural history of Renaissance Europe. He has written extensively on forgeries and the use of footnotes, the history of books and book readership, and Renaissance magic, among other subjects. Grafton’s recent publications include Codex in Crisis (The Crumpled Press, 2008) and Worlds Made by Words: Scholarship and Community in the Modern West (Harvard University Press, 2009). He is also a contributing writer for The New Republic and The New York Review of Books.

Grafton is the chair of the Council of the Humanities at Princeton University, where he has taught since 1975.

The Nov. 3 lecture is cosponsored by Pitt’s University Honors College, European Union Center of Excellence and European Studies Center, and Jewish Studies Program, among others. For more information on the lecture or the discussion, visit

—Sierra L. Starks

Pittsburgh Contemporary Writers Series to Host Poet Kimiko Hahn Nov. 4

The Pittsburgh Contemporary Writers Series will continue its 2010-11 season with a free public reading by poet Kimiko Hahn, at 8:30 p.m. Nov. 4 in the Frick Fine Arts Auditorium.

Hahn is the author of several collections of poetry, including The Artist’s Daughter (W.W. Norton, 2004), Mosquito and Ant (W.W. Norton, 2000), and Narrow Road to the Interior (W.W. Norton, 2006). Her latest book of poetry, Toxic Flora (W.W. Norton, 2010), contains poems inspired by articles from the Science Times section of The New York Times.

The recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts, Hahn also has received the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Writers’ Award, the Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Prize, and the Association of Asian American Studies Literature Award. In 2007, she received the Poetry Society of America Shelley Memorial Award; other Shelley Award recipients include poets Adrienne Rich and E.E. Cummings.

Hahn earned a BA in English and East Asian studies at the University of Iowa and an MA in Japanese literature from Columbia University. She currently is Distinguished Professor in the English department at Queens College/CUNY.

The Contemporary Writers Series is cosponsored by the Pitt Book Center and University of Pittsburgh Press. For more information, call 412-624-6508 or visit

—Sierra L. Starks

Hillman’s Cup & Chaucer Café Reopens Nov. 5

The grand reopening of the Cup & Chaucer café on the ground floor of Hillman Library is set for Nov. 5 and will begin with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m.

Rush Miller, Hillman University Librarian and director of the University Library System (ULS), will make remarks, as will Pitt Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Patricia E. Beeson, University architect Park Rankin, and Strada Architect Al Cuteri. The 10-year-old café closed in mid-August to undergo a facelift.

The all-day reopening celebration at the café will feature giveaways from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., including free water bottles and Starbucks tumblers (while supplies last) and drawings and raffles of gift certificates, coffee mugs, an iPod Touch, and a mountain bike. Free Small Bites from the menu will be available from 10:30 a.m. to noon; free hors d’oeuvres from noon to 2 p.m.; and coffee discounts from 4 to 6 p.m.

The revamped Cup & Chaucer will be more of a bistro setting with additional eating space and an expanded menu. Upgrades include new floor and wall finishes and new furniture. There will also be free wireless service, more electrical outlets, and a 46-inch screen to access the Internet.

A small raised stage will accommodate performances, including those by musicians in Emerging Legend, a weekly concert series cosponsored by ULS and Calliope: The Pittsburgh Folk Music Society. The series kicks off Friday with a free noon performance of Ronni and Al, a jazz-influenced piano/guitar duo with vocals.

—By Sharon S. Blake

Nov. 4 Talk Planned on Wood Carver Whose Work Is Featured in African Heritage Nationality Room

Rowland Abiodun, the John C. Newton Professor of Art History and Black Studies at Amherst College, will give a free public lecture at the University of Pittsburgh at 4 p.m. Nov. 4 in the Frick Fine Arts Building.

The lecture, titled “The Itinerant Artist as Explorer in Yoruba Culture,” is a memorial for Lamidi Fakeye, a fifth-generation traditional Yoruba/Nigerian carver whose work is featured in the entry door, chalkboard doors, and podium of Pitt’s African Heritage Classroom, one of 27 Nationality Rooms in the Cathedral of Learning. The room was designed by Pitt history professor Laurence Glasco and dedicated in 1989.

Prior to the lecture, the African Heritage Classroom committee will perform a “going home” libation ceremony in honor of Fakeye. Abiodun will discuss the intellectual transformation of the traditional Yoruba artist and their role as an agent of both change and continuity in African society.

Abiodun’s primary research interests are the history, style, and aesthetics of African art, particularly art of the Yoruba of West Africa. A contributor of many articles to scholarly journals and chapters in books on African art, Abiodun coauthored Yoruba: Nine Centuries of Africa Art and Thought (Abrams, 1989), Yoruba Art and Aesthetics (Center for African Art and the Rietberg Museum, 1991), and Cloth Only Wears to Shreds: Yoruba Textiles and Photographs From the Ulli Beier Collection (Amherst College, 2004); he also edited The Yoruba Artist: New Theoretical Perspectives on African Art (Smithsonian, 1994).

Abiodun has lectured extensively in the United States, Africa, and Europe. This lecture is cosponsored by Pitt’s Departments of the History of Art and Architecture, History, and Religious Studies, as well as the African Heritage Classroom Committee.

—By Jessica Myers

Nov. 5 Deadline for Pitt Staff Association Council Endowed Book Fund Scholarship

Pitt faculty and staff members who have a child attending the University of Pittsburgh have until Friday, Nov. 5, to apply for the Staff Association Council Endowed Book Fund Scholarship. The program was established to provide financial assistance toward the purchase of books for a Pitt undergraduate student whose parent or guardian is a staff member at Pitt.

Awards of as much as $200 can be granted each year. To download an application or find out more about eligibility, visit or call 412-624-4236.