Circumpolar Culture: Contemporary Perspectives of Ancient Peoples of the Arctic North

Sunday, June 8th

The Sami (Lapp) people are an indigenous population who form an ethnic minority in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. Evidence of possible Sami settlement in Finnmark, the northernmost province of Norway, dates back to the Komsa culture (7000-2500 BC). Traditionally, the Sami way of life has been based on self-sufficient extended-family communities called siida whose economic base is provided in salmon fishing, whaling, the trapping of beaver and the hunting and herding of reindeer. The Sami’s cultural tradition has been enlivened in recent years through the movement of indigenous people all over the globe. In particular, collective interaction between the Sami and indigenous peoples of North America have allowed for a rich exchange of their similar and diverse traditions. This symposium will examine Sami history and traditions, giving some comparison to North American Indians and an outlook for indigenous cultural identity in the 21st century.

Lecture More Than a Hundred Words for Snow: Sami Language and Tradition

Harald Gaski, Professor of Sami Language and Literature (University of Tromsø, Norway) and author of numerous books on Sami issues including Sami Culture in a New Era: the Norwegian Sami Experience. The Sami people of Northern Scandinavia and the Kola peninsula in Russia represent an ancient Arctic culture which is struggling for existence while adjusting to a modern way of life. In Gaski’s presentation we will get a brief overview of Sami history and get better acquainted with the traditional worldview of the Sami. We will also learn about how new media is innovatively incorporating an expression of Sami identity today.

Lecture Indigenous Peoples on Two Continents: Considerations on Reclaiming and Renewing Sami and Native American Societies
Rauna Kuokkanen, Professor of Comparative Literature (University of British Columbia), founding member of Finnish Sami Youth Organization and specialist in comparative Sami and North American Indian literature. Indigenous peoples worldwide share many similarities in terms of their histories and cultures as well as contemporary developments such as the struggle for self-determination. Kuokkanen’s presentation offers a comparative perspective on some of the central trends in these processes taking place in Samiland and in North America.

Lecture Sami Arts: A Source of Spiritual Survival and Cultural Identity
In addition to their beauty and use in traditional Sami life and celebration, Sami arts are a key to maintaining Sami identity. Internationally known Sami artist Rose-Marie Huuva will share the many forms of Sami art, showing slide images from the Ajtte Swedish Mountain and Sami Museum in Jokkmokk, Sweden.

Panel Discussion What Does It Mean to Be “Indigenous” in the 21st Century?
Moderated by Faith Fjeld.

Performance The Sami Joik: A Way of Understanding Nature
Ande Somby, popular Sami traditional and contemporary joiker (joik singer), lawyer and political activist, will demonstrate the oldest musical expression still alive in Europe. Dr. Somby will also perform with popular San Francisco-based pianist Larry Vukovich, demonstrating joik in its modern jazz interpretations.

On-site Exhibit
Traditional Sami crafts from the Nathan Muus – Saami Báiki Foundation collection will be on display in the Cowell Theater lobby throughout the day of the program.


Faith Field, American Indian Studies, San Francisco State University
Harald Gaski, Sami Literature, U of Tromso, Norway
Rose-Marie Huuva, artist, poet, designer
Rauna Kuokkanen, Sami native of Finland, U of British Colombua
Ande Somby, Law, U of Tromso, Norway
Larry Vuckovich Trio, music


The First Flowering of Byzantium


Friday, April 11

Lecture Constantine the Great, Founder of the Christian Roman Empire
In 330 AD, the Emperor Constantine made Byzantium his capital and renamed it Constantinople. He considered his domain, which we now call the Byzantine Empire, as the true inheritor of the Roman mantle. In time, his empire became both an ally and rival of western Europe. Kenneth Harl (Tulane University) will explain the motives behind Constantine’s conversion to Christianity, his vision of an imperial church, and his development of Byzantine civil institutions and of Constantinople as the capital of Christianity.

Performance Byzantine Chant St. Gregory of Nyssa’s Choir, led by Sanford Dole


Saturday, April 12

Lecture The Emperor Who Never Slept: Justinian I and the Challenges and Contradictions of his Reign
Justinian I ( r. 527-565) attempted to restore the Roman empire to its earlier glory. His many accomplishments included the reconquest of North Africa, Italy, and parts of Spain; preparation of the Corpus Iuris Civilis — perhaps Byzantium’s greatest legacy to the west; the construction of stunning architectural monuments; and his enlargement of the imperial role in determining church doctrine. All of these successes came at a cost. Michael Maas (Rice University) will examine the impulses that drove Justinian as well as the economic and social forces that limited his triumphs, showing why his reign marked a watershed in the development of European civilization.

Lecture Literature and Patronage in the Age of Justinian
The sixth century left a rich legacy not only in the great art and architecture it produced but also in its works of literature. Claudia Rapp (UCLA) will consider the most important authors of Justinian’s time, beginning with the enigmatic Procopius, whose Secret History was both an official history of the Emperor’s wars and a diatribe against the imperial court. These authors operated in a unique social context, which helps to explain the proliferation of literature during this era. Patronage tied authors to aristocratic benefactors and to the imperial court, while ties of friendship and collegiality strengthened the bonds among the literati themselves.

Performance The Works of Procopius and Boethius
A reading by Peter Donat.

Lecture Hagia Sophia in Constantinople: Architecture of Power and Transcendence
Byzantium’s greatest monument, the church of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, is most often discussed in terms of its unique structure, which encloses the largest vaulted space of antiquity. Built by Justinian in 532-537, Hagia Sophia served both as a symbol of earthly power and a spiritual link to heaven. These two functions combined whenever the building served as a ceremonial space, housing the rituals which guaranteed order in the well-governed Christian cosmos. Robert Ousterhout (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign) will explore the unique artistic and engineering achievement that is Hagia Sophia, as well as its religious and civic use.

Lecture Art on the Imperial Borders from Ravenna to Sinai
Justinian’s ambitions are reflected in the monuments he built on the borders of the empire. Helen Evans (Metropolitan Museum of Art) will showcase the superb mosaic decorations that survive from the Church of San Vitale in Ravenna, his western capital. She will then lead us through the church of the Holy Monastery of St. Catherine at Sinai in Egypt, a fortified monastery at the eastern edge of the Empire’s territories that demonstrated to the populace the power of the empire and the faith that protected it.

Panel Discussion
All lecturers join in a moderated discussion.


John Michael Boyer, music, cantor, Annunciation Cathedral
Sanford Dole, music director, Sanford Dole Ensemble
Peter Donat, actor
Helen Evans, Curator, Medieval Art, Metropolitan Museum Art
Kenneth Harl, History, Tulane University
Michael Maas, History, Rice University
Kathleen Maxwell, Art History, Santa Clara University
Robert Ousterhout, Architectural History, U Illinois Urbana
Claudia Rapp, Late Antiquity, UCLA


Beethoven: Resonant Genius

Friday, February 7, 2003

Herbst Theatre, San Francisco

The story of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827) is one of personal triumph over tragedy and supreme musical achievement. A complex and brilliant man, no composer before or since has exerted greater influence.

Bill Meredith, (Director, Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies, San Jose State) Moderator


Lecture Myth-Making at Work: Beethoven and His 9th Symphony
The radical shift in the representation of Beethoven from recluse to “tone hero” (Wagner’s epithet) mirrors a basic evolution in European intellectual history. By the turn of the 20th century, the German-speaking world was at a peak of cultural efflorescence and at the brink of acute political crisis. Alessandra Comini (Southern Methodist University) will examine how the 9th Symphony provided a remedy for societal yearnings for “redemption through art.”

Performance Sonata in F Major op. 54 and Diabelli Variations
Pianist Charles Rosen performs these works. Saturday, February 8


Lecture A Walking Tour of Beethoven’s Vienna
Using historical paintings and engravings of late-18th and early-19th Century Vienna, Theodore Albrecht (Kent State University) will guide us through the streets that Beethoven knew well. We’ll visit the palaces and theaters that first echoed with his music, and imagine the community of musicians with whom Beethoven interacted as he produced his masterpieces.

Lecture Beethoven’s Musical World
If, by some miracle of modern science, you could be transported back to Vienna in 1800 (the year of Beethoven’s first public concert), you would recognize the music, but very little else about the musical world. By 1827, the musical landscape would start to look a little more familiar. Mary Sue Morrow (University of Cincinnati) will explore the musical world that Beethoven knew and the dramatic changes that had taken place over the course of his career.

Demonstration Piano or Forte: Beethoven and His Instrument
Beethoven’s relationship with the piano was almost never a peaceful one. He drew from the effects so powerful that audiences were left in tears and hysterics-yet he was never satisfied! In this lecture, George Barth (Stanford University) will follow the evolution of the piano and Beethoven’s relationship with his instrument. Janine Johnson will offer musical examples on an instrument like those Beethoven knew and used until the early 1800s.

Lecture Beethoven’s Bizarrerie: Perceptions of Creative Genius
One of the most frequent descriptions of Beethoven’s music by his German contemporaries was the term “bizarre.” Though we might suspect that such labels first appeared in analyses of such difficult late works as the Hammerklavier Sonata, Opus 106, the labeling of Beethoven as bizarre can be traced back to the late 1790s. William Meredith will catalog the uses of these words and explore how this quality was attributed to Beethoven.

Lecture Beethoven: Revolutionary, Conservative, and Reactionary
Beethoven never threw away a scrap of paper that he had written. He kept referring always to the work of his earliest years of training and composing. Beethoven revolutionized music, while not abandoning the lessons that he learned when in his youth. Charles Rosen will discuss Beethoven’s appropriation of the past, his ambiguous relation to tradition, and his attempts to deal with the history of music.

Panel Discussion
All lecturers join in a moderated discussion.

Presented in cooperation with the Consul General of Germany, the Goethe Institut, the Consul General of Austria, the Mechanics Institute Library, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, the German-American Chamber of Commerce, KDFC Radio, the Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies at San Jose State University and the Institute for European Studies at UC Berkeley.


Theodore Albrecht, Kent State University
George Barth, Stanford
Alessandra Comini, Southern Methodist University
Janine Johnson, Piano
William Meredith
Mary Sue Morrow, U of Cincinnati
Charles Rosen Piano


The Pleasures of Versailles

Herbst Theater

Roger Hahn, (Professor of History, UC Berkeley) Moderator

Friday, October 18


Lecture Court Life (and Death) at Versailles
In the court society of Versailles during the Ancien Régime, no two persons had equal rights and privileges. Hierarchies of titles, ranks and favors obliged each and everyone, whether king, duchess or servant, to perform ceremonial and official gestures of respect and obedience. Orest Ranum (Johns Hopkins University) explores court life (and death) in its intimate detail in order to discern a political, social and cultural moment of French Grandeur (and Decadence).

Performance In the Footsteps of the Sun King
During the time of Louis XIV, dances emphasized intricate patterns, fan language and elegant steps. Baroque dance expressed many facets of this aesthetically embellished time period –from clothing and art to architecture and design, incorporating symmetrical patterns, mirror images and idealized beauty. Artists from Dance Through Time and Philharmonia Baroque will present this celebration of dances –the Minuet, Contredanse, Alemande, Folies and Gigue—brought to life through stunning period attire and beautiful music.

Saturday, October 19


Lecture The Gardens of Versailles: Some Uses of Paradise
Versailles—the château and gardens—was developed by Louis XIV during the 1660s as a pleasure dome for the Court, but gradually assumed monumental proportions as capital residence. Tours of the gardens for important visitors began in 1669, becoming increasingly important as a part of political stagecraft. It was a conscious aim of the Crown to impress the public with the wealth, magnificence, and taste of the French monarch. In this lecture, Robert W. Berger will explore the many uses of the Sun King’s playground.

Lecture Theatrical Splendors: Drama, Performance and Literature at Versailles
At a time when the court life of Versailles was defined by theatrical displays of personal honor, refinement and wit, it is no surprise that French drama reached its artistic pinnacle, a golden age which is still called ‘Le Grand Siècle’ (The Great Century) by the French. Larry F. Norman (University of Chicago) will explore the cultural, theatrical and literary context of key works of the period, along with sumptuous images illustrating the stage sets, acting styles, and artistic currents that coalesced in these timeless triumphs.

Performance Excerpts from Moliere’s “Tartuffe”
Performed by Tim Cunningham, Keight Gleason, Sarah Leventer, Coby Fisher, Matt Roberts, Zuzka Sabata, and Gwen Rooker under the direction of Giulio Cesare Perrone.

Lecture Spectacles of Power
At the French court, music glorified the king’s majesty. One might well say that it was music that propelled the vast stage-machinery of Versailles. Kate van Orden (UC Berkeley) shows how music mobilized the most theatrical of courts. From the coronation and Te Deum ceremonies to ballets on Apollonian themes, music harmonized the spirits and actions of individual courtiers, dramatizing the founding myths of kingship and coordinating performances that fabricated an orderly universe around the King.

Lecture Courting Trouble: Women of Influence at Versailles
Queens of France were not rulers of France. To be queen was rather, to be the wife of the king. Nevertheless, women figured prominently in the power-brokering and politicking that went on at Versailles. Melissa Hyde (University of Florida) will offer a look at the role and status of prominent women at court under Louis XIV and XV, with a particular emphasis on how they used the visual arts as a means of fashioning a public persona, acquiring social prestige, projecting an ideology or consolidating power.

Panel Discussion
All presenters join a discussion moderated by Roger Hahn (UC Berkeley).
Program held at Herbst Theatre, located at 401 Van Ness Avenue (at McAllister), San Francisco.


Robert Berger, Art History, Brandeis University
Roger Hahn, History, UC Berkeley
Melissa Hyde, Art History, University of Florida
Larry Norman, French, University of Chicago
Kate Van Orden, music, UC Berkeley
Orest Ranum, History, Johns Hopkins University
Giulio Cesare Perrone, Stage director, Milan
Dance Through Time