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Syracuse Symposium 2013, 'Listening,' kicks off Sept. 12

With the theme “Listening,” Syracuse Symposium 2013, the annual semester-long intellectual and artistic festival, will kick off Thursday, Sept. 12, with a lecture by author Misha Glouberman.

Aug 23, 2013 — Article by: Kelly Homan Rodoski

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Syracuse Symposium is organized and presented by the SU Humanities Center for SU's College of Arts and Sciences and the entire Syracuse community. Launched in 2001, Syracuse Symposium has become a fall tradition at SU, drawing thousands of people to free lectures, panel discussions, performances and exhibitions built on annual themes. Past symposia include “Identity,” “Conflict: Peace and War,” “Migration,” “Justice” and “Light.”

“Sirens, traffic, beeping, whirring, pinging, blaring TV: these are the noises that assault our ears every day. Perhaps we blank out so much of our soundscape because it consists overwhelmingly of gratingly mechanical and technological noise,” says Dympna Callaghan, William L. Safire Professor in Modern Letters and interim director of the SU Humanities Center.

Callaghan says the sounds of nature, in contrast, seem to draw our attention more to the complex interplay between sound and silence; to the way that silence frames sound, and vice versa.

“This year’s Syracuse Symposium topic, proposed by the School of Education, addresses a vast array of sound and uncovers some important distinctions between hearing and listening: hearing is passive, while listening is a mode of cognition, one that demands an active, conscious act of attention. When we listen, our minds are engaged as much as our senses. We hear noise all of the time; we rarely listen. The symposium offers us the chance to do just that: to listen,” she says.

All Syracuse Symposium events are free and open to the public, unless otherwise noted. For more information, call the SU Humanities Center at 315-443-5708 or visit

The full Syracuse Symposium schedule is as follows:


Misha Glouberman

Misha Glouberman (Opening Lecture)
Co-author, “The Chairs Are Where the People Go: How to Talk to People About Things: Negotiation and Listening in Everyday Life”
Thursday, Sept. 12, 7:30 p.m.
107 Hall of Languages

Glouberman draws on research from many sources, including Harvard’s Program on Negotiation, to explain the basic ideas of negotiation and the importance of listening, both in professional and personal contexts.

Bhikkhu Bodhi

The Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi
Founder, Buddhist Global Relief (BGR)
“Engaged Buddhism: Listening and Responding with Compassion to World Hunger”
Monday, Sept. 16, 5:30 p.m.
Hendricks Chapel

During his October 2012 visit, the Dalai Lama encouraged all members of the Syracuse University campus and greater communities to “engage in acts of compassion and kindness that might create change.” This lecture by Bhikkhu Bodhi will explore ways in which engaged listening can move to acts of compassion, especially in regard to world hunger.

This event is co-sponsored by Hendricks Chapel, the Department of Religion in The College of Arts and Sciences, the South Asia Center at the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs, the David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics, the Zen Center of Syracuse, the CNY Medicine Buddha Prayer Sangha, InterFaith Works of Central New York and the SU Student Buddhist Association in the Division of Student Affairs.

Diane Ackerman

Diane Ackerman
Author, “The Zookeeper’s Wife” and “One Hundred Names for Love”
“Everyday Heroism: The Subversive Power of Compassion”
Tuesday, Sept. 24, 4 p.m.
Kilian Room, 500 Hall of Languages

This lecture is based upon research for her 2007 book, which tells the story of Jan and Antonia Zabinski, who gave refuge to hundreds of Holocaust refugees at the Warsaw Zoo. The book speculates broadly on the human relationship with nature.

The lecture is presented in cooperation with the Kameshwar C. Wali Lecture in the Sciences and Humanities and the Department of Physics in The College of Arts and Sciences.

“Listening to ‘Scorched:’ A Panel Discussion”
Saturday, Oct. 26, following the 3 p.m. matinee performance
Syracuse Stage, 223 Regent Theater Complex

Lebanese-Canadian playwright Wajdi Mouawad’s “Scorched” follows twins Jeanne and Simon as they journey to the Middle East to unravel the mystery of their recently deceased mother’s life during wartime in her homeland. The panel discussion, in conjunction with the Syracuse Stage production, will focus on issues and ideas regarding Middle Eastern women and war. The panel will include Dana M. Olwan, assistant professor of women’s and gender studies, and other panelists to be announced. The panel will be moderated by Carol Fadda-Conroy, assistant professor of English in The College of Arts and Sciences.

Billy Collins
“Aimless Love:” New and Selected Poetry
Wednesday, Oct. 30, 7:30 p.m.
Hendricks Chapel

Collins, United State Poet Laureate from 2001-03, will read new and selected poems from his vast body of work. This lecture is part of the 2013-14 University Lectures series.

Exhibitions and Screenings

Syracuse University Human Rights Film Festival
Thursday, Sept. 26, Joyce Hergenhan Auditorium, Newhouse 3
Friday, Sept. 27-Saturday, Sept. 28—Life Sciences Complex Auditorium Room 001

Syracuse University’s Human Rights Film Festival celebrates its 11th year by showcasing groundbreaking documentaries and fiction films about human rights and social justice struggles around the world. The three-day festival opens with “Rafea: Solar Mama,” Mona Eldaief and Jehane Noujaim’s documentary about sustainable energy, women’s rights and empowerment. For more information, visit

Festival presenters are the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and the SU Humanities Center. Festival co-sponsors are the Department of History and the South Asia Center at the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, the David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics, Center for Bioethics and Humanities and SUNY Upstate Medical University.

Pan Am 103Telling Their Stories
The Pan Am 103 Story Archives Project
Monday, Oct. 7, through Saturday, Oct. 12, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily
Room 402 of Crouse-Hinds Hall
By appointment: or 315-443-0632

As part of the 25th anniversary commemoration of Pan Am 103, members of the University community are invited to offer their experiences of and reflection on the tragedy. Oral histories collected will become part of the Pan Am 103/Lockerbie Air Disaster Archives, a collection within the SU Archives.

Co-sponsored by the Pan Am Flight 103/Lockerbie Air Disaster Archives and the Pan Am 103 25th Anniversary Commemoration Committee.

 Performances and Readings

DJ Spooky

Cultivating Resources in the Arts for Value in our Economy (CRAVE)
Paul D. Miller, aka DJ Spooky, “The Subliminal Kid”
Friday, Sept. 20, 2:30 p.m.
Life Sciences Complex Auditorium, Room 001

Paul D. Miller, aka DJ Spooky, presents a media-assisted lecture devoted to digital functionality and its useful relationship to presenting art—to accommodate the new way of “listening” to cultural content demanded by the current generation of digital arts consumers. For more information, visit The event is co-sponsored by CNY Jazz Central and the Connective Corridor.

Living in the Soundscape

Tuesday, Oct. 22, 3:30-5 p.m. walking tour of campus beginning at Crouse College’s rear door and 8 p.m. in Setnor Auditorium

The event will begin with a sound tour of the Syracuse University campus to reveal the sound fabric of contemporary life; the day will conclude with a concert in Setnor Auditorium by the Lark Quartet, one of today’s foremost chamber ensembles. The tour will be presented by Andrew Waggoner, professor of music in the Setnor School of Music in the College of Visual and Performing Arts, and Setnor School faculty and staff.

Living in the Soundscape is co-sponsored by the Setnor School of Music.

Stephen Kuusisto

The Art of Listening: A Reading by Poets Ilya Kaminsky and Stephen Kuusisto
Thursday, Oct. 24, 7 p.m.
Downtown YMCA
340 Montgomery St.

This reading, featuring two internationally acclaimed poets, will demonstrate that the poet’s act of listening is a complicated, intricate matter. This event is co-sponsored by the YMCA Downtown Writer’s Center. For more information, visit

“Ancient Voices, Contemporary Contexts: Native American Musical Updates”
Sunday, Nov. 10, 4 p.m.
Hendricks Chapel

The performance will include world premieres by Native American composers (Peruvian and Mohican), works that weave their heritage into classical new music, a context for hearing our ancestors through a modern prism. “Whistling Vessels” by Jorge Villavicencio Grossmann, incorporates samples of indigenous Peruvian “singing vessels.” “The Purchase of Manhattan” by Brent Michael Davids is the dramatic restaging of the mythic beginnings of New York for $24 worth of beads.

This event is cosponsored by the Society for New Music, SU Arts Engage and La Liga.

Admission prices are $15 per person, $12 for seniors, $5 for youth 18 and younger, or $30 per family. This event is free for SU students and faculty with valid I.D.

Conferences and Symposia

SU Belfer Audio Archive at 50: Exploring Psychological Film Music Through “Spellbound” and ‘Rebecca”
Friday, Nov. 1, 2 p.m.
Peter Graham Scholarly Commons, E.S. Bird Library

Syracuse University will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its Belfer Audio Archive with an array of interlinked events. In this symposium, four film music scholars will explore the soundtracks to “Rebecca” and “Spellbound,” considering new sound technologies that expressed extreme psychological states. For more information, visit
The Rhetorical Listening and Composition Speaker Series

Sondra Perl, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2:15 p.m.

Gesa E. Kirsch, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2:15 p.m.

Krista Ratcliffe, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2:15 p.m.

The Kilian Room, 500 Hall of Languages

In an age filled with sound bites and reductive arguments, listening—as teachers, researchers and students—becomes a critical 21st-century literacy skill. This interdisciplinary colloquium and workshop series aims to recover listening in the study and teaching of writing across diverse fields and genres.

The event is co-sponsored by the Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies in the College of Visual and Performing Arts, the Departments of Religion, Women’s and Gender Studies and the Writing Program in The College of Arts and Sciences, Hendricks Chapel and its Wellness Center and the School of Education.

Listening to the Wampum
Thursday, Nov. 14, 4 p.m.
Peter Graham Scholarly Commons, E.S. Bird Library

Wampum has held critical importance for the Haundenosaunee (People of the Longhouse) since before the arrival of Europeans through today. Woven into belts and strings, the white and purple shell beads commemorate exchanges, agreements and treaties. Participants in this event will also reflect on the wider implications of indigenous people's uses of “oral” texts. For more information, visit Co-sponsors of this event are the Onondaga Historical Association, Ska ñoah-Great Law of Peace Center, Ray Smith Symposium in The College of Arts and Sciences, Le Moyne College and Onondaga Community College.

 Not Just Talk: Listening, Telling and the Transformation of Social Consciousness
Saturday, Nov. 16, 10 a.m.
Killian Room, 500 Hall of Languages

This symposium explores the use of stories and dialogues as tools of social change. Local and international models that apply acts of listening and storytelling to transform consciousness, reshape identity, create relationships and realize social movement goals will be presented.

Contact Information

Rob Enslin