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.