Lecture spotlight: ‘Age of Epigonality’; ‘Illegible Cities’; cafes and Jewish culture; Paul Robeson

“Age of Epigonality: Creativity in the Rearview Mirror” by Adrian Daub (Stanford University, professor of Comparative Literature and German Studies)
4 p.m. Feb. 6, 602 Cathedral of Learning

Daub’s research focuses on the intersection of literature, music and philosophy, particularly in the nineteenth century. In Karl Immermann’s 1836 novel “Die Epigonen” (The Epigones), the novelist has one of his characters describe the 1830s: “It won’t allow for slow maturation bearing immediate fruit. Instead, wild, useless saplings are pushed forward in a hothouse atmosphere.” This was the Age of Epigones: with Goethe and Hegel dead, with Romanticism on its last legs, the very rules by which German writers and philosophers had taken themselves to follow on their forebears were changing. Many observers considered the new artistic movements either not creative enough or too creative to effectively inherit the now-dead giants — sometimes both not creative enough and too creative, or creative in the wrong way. But in the confusion that followed, a new, modern theory of creativity took shape. The event is co-sponsored by the Department of German and the Creativities.


“Illegible Cities: Translating Early Modern China” by Carla Nappi, professor of History
4 p.m. Feb. 6, University Club, Ballroom A

The Provost’s Inaugural Lecture series invites University of Pittsburgh faculty members to give a lecture marking their recent appointments to endowed chairs. A reception with light refreshments will follow the talk.


How Cafes Created Modern Jewish Culture: A Talk with Shachar Pinsker”
Noon-2 p.m. Feb. 17

Shachar Pinsker, professor of Judaic and Middle Eastern studies at the University of Michigan, will talk about the convergence of cafés, their urban milieu, and Jewish creativity. Pinsker’s research uncovers a network of interconnected cafés that were central to the modern Jewish experience in a time of migration and urbanization, from Odessa, Warsaw, Vienna, and Berlin to New York City and Tel Aviv.  


“Antiphonal Life: The Returns of Paul Robeson” by visiting scholar Shana Redmond, professor of Musicology and African American Studies at UCLA
6 p.m. Feb. 19, Frick Fine Arts Building auditorium

Redmond provides an experimental cartography of Paul Robeson’s afterlife. Tracing his sound and its materialization in the late 20th and 21st centuries, she establishes the global scope of his musical practice as well as the imagination of those who call him back. Redmond is the author of “Everything Man: The Form and Function of Paul Robeson” (Duke UP, 2020) and “Anthem: Social Movements and the Sound of Solidarity in the African Diaspora” (NYU Press, 2014).