college of liberal arts

Author to read from memoir on April 27

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Aria Minu-Sepehr will read from “We Heard the Heavens Then,” his debut memoir of a boy in revolutionary Iran, on Friday, April 27, at Oregon State University. The book will be available for sale with a signing to follow the reading, which begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Valley Library rotunda.

Published this month by Simon & Schuster, “We Heard the Heavens Then,” recounts the author’s privileged boyhood as a son of eminent general in the Imperial Iranian Air Force. Seen through the eyes of a 10-year-old with unusual access to the two poles of his society – modern and traditional – the tale describes the rising tension, collision, and eventual fallout of the country’s split as the family is forced into political exile.

“We Heard the Heavens Then” was selected as a Publisher’s Weekly “Top 10 Memoir” of Spring 2012.

Minu-Sepehr sought refuge in the United States following the fall of the Shah of Iran in 1979. He has lectured on issues concerning Iranian culture and U.S. foreign policy, and created and directed the Forum for Middle East Awareness at Susquehanna University, where he taught world and Middle Eastern literature. He lives in Corvallis with his wife, the poet Karen Holmberg, and their two daughters.

Minu-Sepehr’s reading and book-signing is sponsored by the proposed OSU School of Writing, Literature and Film and Grass Roots Books and Music.

German a cappella ensemble Vocaldente to visit OSU on April 30

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The German a cappella ensemble Vocaldente will visit Oregon State University on Monday, April 30, for a free workshop in the Memorial Union Journey Room. The group will preview its concert repertoire, explain some of its techniques, and perform a few songs.

That same night in downtown Corvallis, Vocaldente will present a free concert at the Whiteside Theatre at 6 p.m. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Vocaldente performs popular music from the past 10 decades in classical a cappella style, without microphones but with entertaining choreography. Its repertoire covers songs of every decade, including 1920s Charleston tunes, popular German styles from the 1950s, 1970s disco and recent pop songs and chart hits.

The event is organized by the German program at OSU, supported by the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in San Francisco, the School of Language, Culture and Society at OSU, the Office of the Vice Provost for Student Affairs at OSU, and the Whiteside Theatre.

Media Contact: 

Sebastian Heiduschke, 541-737-3957

Holocaust Memorial Week observed April 16-20

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University will observe Holocaust Memorial Week April 16-20 with a series of events, including an exhibit of letters from Holocaust survivor Sala Garncarz, a theatrical performance highlighting Garncarz’s struggles in a concentration camp, a talk about the genocide of native peoples and a concert by an acclaimed flutist.

This observance is the 26th in the annual series, which is a collaboration of OSU, the Corvallis/Benton County Public Library, the City of Corvallis, Beit Am, and School District 509-J.

The partners are undertaking the event “in the belief that educational institutions can do much to combat bigotry of all kinds, and to foster respect for diversity, by promoting an awareness of the Holocaust,” said Paul Kopperman, OSU professor of history and chair of the Holocaust Memorial Committee.

One of the highlights of this year’s program is a public exhibit based on a collection of more than 300 letters dating from 1940-45 from Holocaust survivor Garncarz. The exhibit, “Letters to Sala – A Young Woman’s Life in Nazi Labor Camps” will be at the Corvallis/Benton County Library throughout the month of April.

Ann Kirschner, the daughter of Sala Garncarz, will be at the exhibit from 3 to 4 p.m. Monday, April 16, and will answer questions from the public.

For a complete schedule and descriptions of the events, go to: http://oregonstate.edu/dept/holocaust/index.php

The program will also include the following events, all of which are free and open to the public:

Monday, April 16, 7:30 p.m., C&E Auditorium, LaSells Stewart Center

Ann Kirschner will discuss the wartime experiences of her mother and the importance of the unique collection of letters that she saved and later passed down to her children. Kirschner is the dean of Macaulay Honors College of the City University of New York and author of an acclaimed biography of her mother, “Sala’s Gift.”

Tuesday, April 17, 7 p.m., Corvallis/Benton County Public Library

“Sala's Story,” Arlene Hutton's dramatic adaptation of Kirchner's book, “Sala's Gift,” tells the story of young Garncarz's experiences growing up in Nazi work camps. Much of the play's text comes directly from her letters. History and drama become fused together in this play, which is suitable for younger audiences, as well as for adults. OSU Theatre faculty member Elizabeth Helman directs.

Wednesday, April 18, 4 p.m., La Raza Room, OSU Memorial Union

Tomasz M. Giebultowicz will speak on “Operation Harvest Festival” - In the fall of 1943, the Germans killed 40,000 Jews in three camps of the Lublin District in Poland. This campaign of murder was given the euphemistic name of “Operation Harvest Festival.” Even given the enormity of the Holocaust, few if any massacres on this scale occurred in such a brief span of time. Among the prisoners at one of these camps was young Joseph Giebultowicz. Since he was a political prisoner and not Jewish, he was spared and eventually came to America. Years later, he told his son, Tomasz, what he had witnessed. Tomasz, a member of the physics faculty at OSU, will discuss Operation Harvest Festival and what his father told him of that massacre.

Wednesday, April 18, 7:30 p.m., C&E Auditorium, LaSells Stewart Center

Concert titled “One Heart” by flutist Jan Michael Looking Wolf; followed by Benjamin Madley’s talk on “Genocide in America? The Assault on the Tolowa Tribe of Oregon and California.”

Madley, a postdoctoral fellow in history and Native American studies at Dartmouth, focuses on “frontier genocide,” or mass assaults on indigenous people. His talk will deal primarily with the campaigns against the Tolowa tribe, who lost more than 80 percent of their population between 1851 and 1856, but he also will place this history in the context of the wider assault on California Indians.

Prior to Madley’s talk, Jan Michael Looking Wolf will perform on the Native American flute. Looking Wolf teaches Native American flute at OSU and has released more than 20 albums.

Thursday, April 19, 7:30 p.m., C&E Auditorium, LaSells Stewart Center

Eric Sundquist will speak on “The Historian’s Anvil, the Novelist’s Crucible: Holocaust Literature and the Uses of History.”

Sundquist, Andrew W. Mellon professor of the humanities at Johns Hopkins University, will discuss the ways the Holocaust has been depicted in literature and examine the issue of imaginative recreation of an event that carries such a heavy moral burden to depict accurately. Sundquist is known for his scholarship on African-American and Jewish-American literature, as well as on the Holocaust, and his many publications include the award-winning book, “Strangers in the Land: Blacks, Jews, Post-Holocaust America.”

Media Contact: 

Paul Kopperman, 541-737-1265

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Oregon State University will observe Holocaust Memorial Week April 16-20 with a series of events including a public exhibit of letters from Holocaust survivor Sala Garncarz.
Jan Michael Looking Wolf

Documentary on human connection to the cosmos screens April 9

CORVALLIS, Ore. – “Journey of the Universe,” a documentary exploring the human connection to Earth and the cosmos, will be screened on Monday, April 9, at Oregon State University. The event, which is free and open to the public, begins at 7 p.m. in the C&E Auditorium of LaSells Stewart Center.

Narrated by evolutionary philosopher Brian Swimme, and produced by historians of religion Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim, “Journey of the Universe” weaves together the findings of modern science with cultural traditions of the West, China, Africa, India, and indigenous peoples to explore cosmic evolution as a process of creativity, connection, and interdependence.

The documentary premiered last year on PBS and has been shown around the world.

Filmed on location on the Greek island of Samos, “Journey of the Universe” invites viewers to become travelers on a journey that explores the origins of the universe, the emergence of life, and the rise of humans.

Sponsored by the Spring Creek Project for Ideas, Nature, and the Written Word, the event will also recognize the winners of the OSU Student contest, “The Great Work: Re-imagining Humanity as the Planet Changes.”

To view the trailer, visit www.journeyoftheuniverse.org

Media Contact: 

Charles Goodrich, 541-737-6198

Poets Geri Doran and Maxine Scates to share a reading at OSU on April 20

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon poets Geri Doran and Maxine Scates will read from their recent collections on Friday, April 20, at Oregon State University, beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the Memorial Union’s La Raza Room (208).

The reading is free and open to the public; a book signing follows.

Doran will read from her second collection of poems, “Sanderlings” (Tupelo Press, 2011), which has recently been named a finalist for the 2012 Oregon Book Award in Poetry. Doran will be joined at the reading by Scates who will read from her recent book, “Undone” (New Issues, 2011), a poetry collection called “nuanced, mysterious, intimate” by Dorianne Laux.

Doran is the author of “Resin,” selected by Henri Cole for the Academy of American Poets’ Walt Whitman Award. She has received the Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholarship, a Wallace Stegner Fellowship, and fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and Portland’s Literary Arts.

Scates is the author of three books of poetry including “Toluca Street” and “Black Loam.” Her poems have been published widely in such journals as “AGNI,” “Ploughshares,” and “The Virginia Quarterly Review” and she has received the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize, the Oregon Book Award for Poetry, the Lyre Prize, and a Pushcart Prize.

The Literary Northwest Series is sponsored by the OSU Beaver Store and the proposed School of Writing, Literature and Film at OSU, and celebrates regional literary achievement.

Media Contact: 

Rebecca Olson, 541-737-1648

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Sanderlings 300 dpi



'Everybody Reads' campaign in celebration of Joyce Carol Oates begins April 18

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A wide-ranging “Everybody Reads” program, celebrating the work of acclaimed American writer Joyce Carol Oates, will be held in Corvallis and on the Oregon coast throughout April and May.

The program will culminate in a public reading by Oates, who will visit Oregon May 9-10 to receive Oregon State University’s inaugural Stone Award for Lifetime Literary Achievement, one of the largest prizes of its kind given by an American university.

The spectrum of events leading up to Oates’ visit will range from book discussion groups to creative writing workshops inspired by the author’s work. Each session will be led by a team of candidates from the OSU masters programs in creative writing and literature.

On Wednesday, May 9, Oates will appear at a free public lecture and book-signing on the OSU campus. She will be honored the following evening, Thursday, May 10, at a ticketed event at the Portland Art Museum. Tickets for the Portland event are available at: https://pam.spotlightboxoffice.com/purchase/step4?ticketID=63600

In addition to conducting community-based book discussions and writing workshops, OSU graduate students will visit classes at Corvallis High School, Crescent Valley High School, Harding Alternative High School, Linn Benton Community College, and Toledo High School.

Oates published her first book in 1963 and has since published more than 50 novels, as well as many volumes of short stories, poetry, literary criticism and essays. Her novel, “them,” (1969) won the National Book Award, and her novels “Black Water” (1992), “What I Lived For” (1994), and “Blonde” (2000) were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize. In 2010, Oates received the National Humanities Medal. Her newest novel, the psychological thriller “Mudwoman,” was just released in March.

OSU’s biennial Stone Award is given to a major American author who has created a body of critically acclaimed work and who has been a dedicated mentor to young writers. The award was established in 2011 by Patrick and Vicki Stone to spotlight OSU’s Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing. The honorarium for the award is $20,000, making it one of the most substantial awards for lifetime literary achievement offered by any university in the country.

The “Everybody Reads” Program is sponsored by the OSU Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing, the Friends of the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library, and Grass Roots Books & Music.

The following events are free and open to the general public.

  • Wednesday, April 18, 6:30-8 p.m. - Public book club discussion: “We Were the Mulvaneys,” Corvallis-Benton County Public Library board room;
  • Saturday, April 28, and Saturday, May 5 (two sessions). 2-4 p.m. - Creative writing workshop, Grass Roots Books & Music. Corvallis. For registration, call 541-754-7668 or email grootsreads@gmail.com
  • Saturday, April 28, 7 to 9:30 p.m.  - Discussion of “Black Water”, The Yachats Center for Lifelong Learning;
  • Sunday April 29, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. - Creative writing workshop, The Yachats Center for Lifelong Learning. For registration, contact Andrea Scharf atAndrea@GoYachats.com or (541) 547-3092;
  • Tuesday, May 1, 6:30-8 p.m. - Public reading group: “A Widow’s Story”, Grass Roots Books & Music, Corvallis;
  • Wednesday, May 2, 2-3:30 p.m. - Teen book club: “Big Mouth and Ugly Girl”, Youth Activity Room, Corvallis-Benton County Public Library;
  • Wednesday, May 9, 7:30 p.m. - Joyce Carol Oates, public reading and lecture, Oregon State University’s CH2M HILL Alumni Center, Corvallis;
  • Saturday, May 12, 2-3:30 p.m. - Joyce Carol Oates discussion group, main meeting room, Corvallis-Benton County Public Library.

For more information about OSU’s MFA program and the Stone Award, go to: http://oregonstate.edu/cla/wlf/mfa/2012-stone-award-recipient-joyce-carol-oates

Media Contact: 

Rebecca Olson, 541-737-1648

Activist and former presidential candidate David Cobb gives annual peace lecture on April 24

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Activist David Cobb, who ran for United States president in 2004 on the Green Party ticket and has made his life’s work battling corporate power, will give the 2012 Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Memorial Lecture for World Peace on Tuesday, April 24, at Oregon State University.

The free, public event begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Austin Auditorium of LaSells Stewart Center, 875 S.W. 26th St., Corvallis. The title of his talk is “Corporate Personhood:  The Legal Doctrine that Perverts the Promise of Democracy.”

Cobb is national projects director at the community organizing group Democracy Unlimited and is a spokesman for Move To Amend, a national coalition calling for a constitutional amendment to abolish “corporate personhood,” or the Supreme Court’s Citizen’s United decision, which asserts that corporate entities have the same rights under law as people.

He was born in San Leon, Texas, and worked as a laborer before going to college. Cobb graduated from the University of Houston Law School in 1993 and maintained a successful private law practice in Houston for several years before devoting himself full-time to activism.

In 2002, Cobb ran for Attorney General of Texas, pledging to use the office to revoke the charters of corporations that violate health, safety and environmental laws. In 2004, he ran on the Green Party presidential ticket and successfully campaigned for a recount of ballots in Ohio.

Now in its 29th year, this annual lectureship honors Linus Pauling, an OSU graduate and two-time Nobel Prize laureate, and his wife, Ava Helen Pauling, a noted peace activist. It is sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts.

Media Contact: 

Richard Clinton, 541-737-2811

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David Cobb

Documentary about Nazi resistance group shows April 3; workshop also offered

CORVALLIS, Ore. – German filmmaker and artist Stefan Roloff will visit Oregon State University on Tuesday, April 3, for a workshop on his documentary film from 10 to 11:20 a.m. in Owen Hall Room 103.

That same night in downtown Corvallis, he will screen the film, "The Red Orchestra," which chronicles a resistance group of ordinary citizens who fought the Nazis, and paid the price. Roloff’s father, Helmut Roloff, was a member of this resistance group.

The screenings will begin at 6 p.m. and at 8 p.m. at the Darkside Cinema, 215 S.W. 4th St. The filmmaker will introduce his film and answer questions after the showings. All events are free and open to the public.

In the workshop, Roloff will talk about the historical background of the group, his motivations to make this film, and will give insights into how to approach making a documentary. He will also demonstrate his technique of computer-assisted picture photo-shopping; Roloff is considered a pioneer of manipulating images digitally.

The Red Orchestra” features the stories of surviving members of the resistance group. Their tales are imaginatively re-created by a pioneering animation technique that resembles moving black and white drawings. The reenactments are used for scenes that were described in interviews but could not be documented, such as the Gestapo agents interrogating the resistance fighters.

The Red Orchestra was a resistance group that fought against the Third Reich within Germany from 1933 to 1942. The Gestapo labeled them as Communists and traitors for their efforts to put an end to Hitler. Historians now officially recognize their work as that of one of the largest and most efficient anti-Nazi resistance efforts. Together, the resisters represented a broad range of German society with diverse political beliefs and backgrounds.

The review of the film in the New York Times can be viewed here: http://movies.nytimes.com/2005/03/02/movies/02red.html

Stefan Roloff is an independent artist and filmmaker working in Berlin and New York. In 1984, he was invited to experiment on prototypes of digital video and imaging computers at the New York Institute of Technology where he produced videos with Peter Gabriel and Suicide. He received a 1989 fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts for his pioneering digital work.

The workshop and screenings are sponsored by the German Program in the School of Language, Culture, and Society and the Office of the Vice Provost for Student Affairs.

Media Contact: 

Sebastian Heiduschke, 541-737-3957

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Stefan Roloff, Portrait
Stefan Roloff Red Orchestra, Arrest
Film still from "The Red Orchestra," a documentary about the Nazi resistance group, with re-creations of the stories told by survivors visualized in black and white animations. Image courtesy of WHEN 6 IS 9 PRODUCTIONS.

New member of forensics team takes multiple awards in recent tournament

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Cody Connolly, a new member of the Oregon State University’s forensics team, received awards in both individual events and debate in a recent tournament in Spokane, Wash.

OSU Forensics attended the Spokane Falls Voices on the River/Pi Kappa Delta Great West Regional Forensics Tournament. The event featured more than 12 schools from the Northwest Forensics Conference.

“The team looks forward to Spokane every year,” said Mark Porrovecchio, director of the team. “It is a great diagnostic of what needs to be done as we approach nationals.”

Connolly, a native of Honolulu, Hawaii, took fourth place in novice impromptu speaking. He also was a semifinalist and was recognized as the eighth best speaker in novice debate.

Connolly was joined at the tournament by Kelsey Irish of Williams, Ore. and Michael Walters of Gresham. The team was coached by graduate assistants Kori Thornburg of Kennewick, Wash., and Forest Ledbetter of Sheridan, Ore.

In two weeks, the three students will attend the final tournament of the season: the PKD National Comprehensive Tournament in Overland Park, Kan.

Celebrating its 119th season, OSU Forensics is one of the oldest clubs on campus.  The team is open to all students in good academic standing. For more information, contact mark.porrovecchio@oregonstate.edu

Media Contact: 

Mark Porrovecchio, 541-737-8230

OSU neuropsychologist receives prestigious NSF Career Award

CORVALLIS, Ore. – An Oregon State University neuropsychologist has received a prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER Award designed to support emerging influential scholars and educators.

Sarina Saturn, an assistant professor of psychology, will use the funding to investigate how naturally occurring variations in the oxytocin hormone (also known as the “love hormone”) influence the experience and expression of uplifting emotional states and altruism in young children, young adults and older adults.

The CAREER award is the NSF’s most prestigious award for new faculty members, designed to recognize and support the early career-development activities of the academic leaders of the future.

An integral component of Saturn’s research involves forming a partnership between the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) and the Cross-Cultural Mentorship Program at OSU in order to introduce underrepresented and first-generation college students to a variety of scientific research opportunities on campus.

Saturn holds a doctoral degree from New York University and conducted post-doctoral research at the University of California, Berkeley. She is an expert on the link between genetics and empathy, and is particularly concerned with how oxytocin impacts social connections and behavior.

Media Contact: 

Sarina Saturn, 541-737-1366

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Sarina Saturn