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Arts Scholar To Discuss September 11

A world expert on arts and culture will discuss the way we understand and remember September 11 when she visits New Zealand this month.

Dr Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett is University Professor and Professor of Performance Studies at the Tisch School of the Arts, New York University.

She will be in Auckland to present a public lecture at The University of Auckland's School of Creative and Performing Arts (SCAPA) on Wednesday 24 April entitled: Kodak Moments, Flashbulb Memories: Reflections on 9/11.

Dr Kirshenblatt-Gimblett works just blocks from the World Trade Centre and has assembled her own photographic collection of images of the aftermath, which will be shown at the lecture.

Her illustrated presentation will discuss the ways in which the events of September 11 have been documented and preserved through photography and other mediums to create memories of the tragedy.

Head of SCAPA, Alan Smythe, says Dr Kirshenblatt-Gimblett's visit is a rare opportunity for New Zealanders.

"It's a chance to learn from someone who combines her expertise as an anthropologist and arts scholar with a firsthand experience of September 11," he says.

"In the days after the attack, Dr Kirshenblatt-Gimblett was out on the streets of New York taking photographs of the memorabilia and notes that mourners were leaving to remember their loved ones.

"She has studied the way people have dealt with the loss, both from an academic and personal perspective."

Dr Kirshenblatt-Gimblett's lecture will also raise some of the questions surrounding the events, such as why people were so compelled to document what happened, and the appropriate use of memorials to commemorate the deceased.

Dr Kirshenblatt-Gimblett chaired the Department of Performance Studies at the Tisch School of the Arts, for more than a decade.

She has wide-ranging expertise and teaches courses on the aesthetics of everyday life, world's fairs, museum theatre, tourist productions, food and performance, and on Jewish performance, folklore, and ethnography.

Dr. Kirshenblatt-Gimblett is the recipient of many awards, including the Guggenheim Fellowship and grants from the American Council of Learned Societies, National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, and Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture.

Her most recent book, Destination Culture: Tourism, Museums, and Heritage (University of California Press, 1998) engages lively debates about the production of heritage, limits of multiculturalism, social efficacy of the arts, and circulation of value in the life world.

Dr Kirshenblatt-Gimblett's free public lecture will be held on Wednesday April 24 from 5:30-6:300pm in Studio One of SCAPA's Kenneth Myers Centre, 74 Shortland St. For further information, contact Alison Booth, Faculty of Arts Events Coordinator, 09 3737599 ext.2546 or a.booth@auckland.ac.nz.

Note to media: pictures of events around the September 11 tragedy, taken by Dr Kirshenblatt-Gimblett are available on request. Interviews are also available. A biography is included below. For further information, please contact:

Reuben Munn Baldwin Boyle Group Tel. (09) 486 6544 Mob. 0274 921 221 Email: reuben.munn@bbg.co.nz

Dr. Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett

Dr. Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett is University Professor and Professor of Performance Studies at the Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, where she chaired the Department of Performance Studies for more than a decade. She teaches courses on the aesthetics of everyday life, world's fairs, museum theatre, tourist productions, food and performance, and Jewish performance, folklore, and ethnography.

She is affiliated with the Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies and serves on advisory committees for six interdepartmental programs--American Studies, Liberal Studies, Metropolitan Studies, Religious Studies, Museum Studies, and Asian/Pacific/American Studies-and the Department of Food Studies and Nutrition at New York University, where she is a co-convener of the faculty seminar Feast and Famine. She also co-convened, with anthropologist Fred Myers, the faculty seminar People and Things (1998-2000).

Dr. Kirshenblatt-Gimblett is the recipient of many awards, including the Guggenheim Fellowship and grants from the American Council of Learned Societies, National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, and Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture. She was in residence at the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Conference and Study Center in 1991, a Getty Scholar at the Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities in 1991-1992, a Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar in 1995, a Winston Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 1996, a University of Auckland Foundation Visitor in 1998, a fellow at SCASSS (Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study in the Social Sciences) in Uppsala in 1998, and a resident research fellow at the Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania in 2001.

She served as President of the American Folklore Society from 1988 to 1992 and is a Folklore Fellow of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters. She serves (or recently served) on the following boards and advisory committees: Arts Committee, Social Science Research Council; Center for Folklife Programs and Cultural Studies, Smithsonian Institution; Getty Institute for the History of Art and the Humanities; Stanford Humanities Center; Museum of Jurassic Technology; the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe College; the American Center for Wine, Food, and the Arts; and International Center for Advanced Studies, New York University, among others.

She also serves on the editorial boards of Journal of the History of Collections, American Ethnologist, Journal of Folklore Research, Tourist Studies, TDR The Drama Review, Postmodern Culture, Jewish Folklore and Ethnology Review, Jewish Folklore and Ethnography (Wayne State University Press book series), Journal of Yiddish Research (Israel), Encyclopedia of Jewish Folklore, Jews in Eastern Europe: The YIVO Encyclopedia, Encyclopedia of Food and Culture (Scribners), Gastronomica, and California Studies in Food and Culture (University of California Press), among others. She recently served on the editorial boards of Museum Anthropology and Cultural Anthropology.

Her most recent book, Destination Culture: Tourism, Museums, and Heritage (University of California Press, 1998) engages lively debates about the production of heritage, limits of multiculturalism, social efficacy of the arts, and circulation of value in the life world. Her most recent work takes up such issues as world heritage and cultural economics, museums and embodied knowledge, performing museologies, trauma and documentation in light of 9/11, and controversies provoked by such exhibitions as Mirroring Evil: Nazi Images, Recent Art at The Jewish Museum (New York).

Her earlier books include Image Before My Eyes: A Photographic History of Jewish Life in Poland, 1864-1939, with Lucjan Dobroszycki (Schocken, reissued 1995). Image Before My Eyes was accompanied by an exhibition at The Jewish Museum and feature documentary film. Both the book and the film are based on the landmark exhibition that she co-curated with Dobroszycki for the YIVO Institute of Jewish Research at The Jewish Museum (1976). Her other publications include Speech Play: Research and Resources for Linguistic Creativity (editor and contributor); Fabric of Jewish Life: Textiles from the Jewish Museum Collection; Authoring Lives; and numerous articles. Current projects include Investigating Jews, an intellectual history of anthropological interest in Jews, to be published by Indiana University Press; and Exhibiting Jews, a study of Jewish participation in world's fairs from 1851 to 1940. She recently completed Painted Memories: A Jewish Childhood in Poland before the Holocaust with Mayer Kirshenblatt.


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