The IU Northwest College of Arts and Sciences will host its annual faculty and student research conference Nov. 9 and 10 at the Savannah Center Auditorium. The theme for this year’s conference is “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants.” The public is invited to attend this informative series of presentations, tooics of which will include HIV/AIDS in Haiti, the processes of medieval inquisitors, and a keynote presentation on the civil religion of dead celebrities, among many others.
As part of this year’s conference, IU Northwest is pleased to host Sarah Vowell, best-selling author of “The Partly Cloudy Patriot” and “Assassination Vacation.” Vowell will deliver the evening keynote address at 6 p.m. on Nov. 9 at the Savannah Center Auditorium. The event will be followed by a book signing and reception.
Vowell is widely hailed as one of the finest of today’s generation of young writers. Her work is a lively mixture of history, pop culture and witty personal observations about the current state of things in America. “The Partly Cloudy Patriot,” Vowell’s best-selling 2002 collection of essays, unites the author’s thought-provoking social and historical commentary with her entertaining personal recollections; her 2005 book “Assassination Vacation,” meanwhile, is a weird, whimsical yet insightful treatment of America’s first three successful presidential assassinations and their lingering impact on our cultural imagination.
Vowell is also a contributing editor and performer on National Public Radio’s “This American Life,” and she has made numerous appearances on “Late Night with David Letterman,” The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart, and other television venues. Vowell also voiced teen superhero Violet Parr in the blockbuster 2004 animated comedy “The Incredibles.”
The community is encouraged to attend Vowell’s presentation, which will include live readings from her works. An autograph session and reception will follow.
This year’s research conference will feature numerous presentations in the fields of arts, humanities, and social and life sciences. The conference will also feature paper presentations from other IU Northwest disciplinary units, and this year the event has been opened to presentations from faculty and graduate students from other universities, including IU Bloomington, the University of South Florida, the University of Illinois at Chicago, Ball State University, Millikin University, and the University of Wisconsin – Madison, as well as the Great Lakes Science Center and the Geological Survey of Montenegro.
Individual presentations are scheduled from 3 p.m. until 5:45 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 9, and from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 10. The lunchtime keynote lecture on Nov. 10 features the presentation “Gravers: Deaners, Nat-Packers, Valentinos, and the Civil Religion of Dead Celebrity Icons,” by Prof. Charles Gallmeier and Prof. Stephanie Shanks-Meile of the IU Northwest Department of Sociology. The public is invited to attend this entertaining and informative look at the social aspects of America’s fascination with deceased movie stars, musicians and other celebrities. This presentation will be held in Room 105 of the IU Northwest Library Conference Center.
All other research conference events will be held in the IU Northwest Savannah Center Auditorium, 3400 Broadway in Gary, Ind. For more information on the conference, please call (219) 980-6680.