Defining the Great Plains: Reinventing a Region Through Ideas and Stories

Events

On Tuesday, September 21, 2021, at 6 pm, Bryce Tellmann will present as part of the STEAM Café series. This free presentation will take place at Hay Camp Brewing Company in downtown Rapid City (601 Kansas City St.) and will also be available to watch via livestream on Zoom. The talk will also be posted to the SD Mines YouTube channel and the SD Mines Facebook page after the event.

If you ask someone from South Dakota what region of the country they hail from, you can expect any number of answers: “the Midwest”; “the Black Hills”; “West River”; “the Great Plains”; “the Northern Plains”. Regions are notoriously difficult to define, but the ideas and stories we form about a region affect the lives of people who live there, especially when it comes to how communities approach environmental, economic, and social challenges. Dr. Bryce Tellmann, instructor in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at South Dakota Mines, will discuss how our regional ideas of the Great Plains have changed over the past two centuries, what those ideas mean for communities in the present, and how new regional ideas could help us meet the challenges of the future.

Music, Horror Movies, and Racial Politics: Bringing the 1970s into the 21st Century

Events, Humanities, music

On Tuesday, September 21, 2021, at 11 am, Christy Tidwell will present a Brown Bag on the connections between 1970s horror film, 1970s racial politics, and recent songs by Clipping. This free presentation will be held in-person on the South Dakota Mines campus in Classroom Building 309.

Experimental hip hop group Clipping’s recent work revisits and revises 1970s horror narratives in new media and for new audiences. “Nothing Is Safe” (2019), for instance, draws on John Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct 13 (1976) and Halloween (1978) to update 1970s critiques of authority, institutional forces, and suburbanization for the 21st century, while “Blood of the Fang” (2019) combines Bill Gunn’s Blaxploitation vampire film Ganja & Hess (1973) with the radical Black politics of the 1970s to comment on 21st century racial politics.

Clipping’s commentary on contemporary issues like police brutality is clear in other songs that do not connect directly with 1970s horror and politics, however. So what is gained by connecting these two periods specifically? How do the politics and horror media of the 1970s resonate with the moment we are currently living through? In this presentation, Christy Tidwell will both introduce the audience to Clipping and explore these larger questions about politics and media.

Black and white photo of a man playing the banjo, with his hand blurred from fast movement.

A Brief History of Bluegrass

Events

On Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at 11 am (Mountain time), Dr. Matthew Bumbach will present a Brown Bag on the history of bluegrass. This free presentation will be held via Zoom, and more information is available on the SDSM&T Humanities & Social Sciences Facebook page.

Bluegrass music is all around us. Though the genre sprung from the old-time music of Appalachia, a historically isolated region, bluegrass has found its way deep into popular culture. With this increased visibility we are beginning to see more inclusion of bluegrass instruments in other genres. These include banjos and mandolins appearing in popular music, choral arrangements of popular bluegrass songs, and larger works for choir and bluegrass band. Some of these works preserve as many characteristics of traditional bluegrass as possible, while others simply borrow bluegrass instruments and apply them to folk song arrangements.

Dr. Matthew Bumbach will present a brief history of the bluegrass genre and map out its recent expansion.

Photo credit: Paul VanDerWerf, “Banjo Blur” (Flickr)

Guest Presentation: Ritualizing Robots by Dr. Qin Zhu

Events, Guest Speakers

We are happy to welcome Dr. Qin Zhu of the Colorado School of Mines as a guest speaker this week! On Tuesday, March 30th, from 7-8 pm (Mountain time), he will address ethical issues that arise from humans interacting with robots. He will draw on both Confucian ethics and research from human-robot interaction studies. For more, see the poster below! (Zoom link)

Scared Sick: What the Medical Humanities Owes the Gothic

Events
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On Tuesday, March 16, 2021, at 11 am (Mountain time), Dr. Laura Kremmel will present a Brown Bag on the Medical Humanities and the Gothic. This free presentation will be held via Zoom, and more information is available on the SDSM&T Humanities & Social Sciences Facebook page.

In the twentieth century, medicine became an institution: a complex system of technology, finance, and liability. Out of this century, we get White Coat Syndrome (fear of hospitals and doctors), tales of surgical conspiracies, isolating and invasive treatments, and economic systems determined to banish humanity from the art of healing. Unlike the hackneyed anatomists of the eighteenth century or the reformer physicians of the nineteenth century, twentieth-century doctors, surgeons, and nurses become small actors in a system that manages them, one that can simultaneously feel like a living, breathing creature and a cold, impenetrable structure. The field of Medical Humanities arose out of these developments, at least partially out of fear.

In this presentation, Dr. Kremmel shares some work in progress on the contentious relationship between the Medical Humanities and the Gothic/Horror tradition. The first part will include what the Medical Humanities is and why it’s important. The second part will include a closer look at Gothic interpretations of such topics as systemic/independent medical practice, organ harvesting, disease and contagion.