The Syracuse University Center for the Humanities Celebrates the 19th Year of the Syracuse Symposium with a Diverse Selection of Public Events Exploring “Reparation” in the Context of Medicine, Religion, the Environment, and More . Through programming that includes a film festival, lectures, workshops, exhibitions and readings, the programming will examine if and when ‘reparation’ is possible, and encourage action based on ethics. The annual theme for the symposium is chosen by the centre’s advisory board, whose members review proposals and select events and activities for each year.
According to the director of the Humanities Center, Vivian May, this year’s season will examine the concept of reparation through different historical, political and cultural lenses. She notes that while for many reparation means healing, mending or mending, or bridging (rematching) or restoration, she can also refer to issues of restitution and reparation.
“To repair, as a verb, implies action, and the concept touches on key questions about what is possible to repair, how and by whom,” says May, who also directs the Central New York Humanities Corridor. “For example,” she asks, “who/what is considered to be in need of ‘fixing’ or broken? How could reparation and justice be “sewn together”? Furthermore, she notes, while repair can signal healing (in a positive sense), it can also reinforce mainstream ideas of health, healing, and valid norms.
This year’s Syracuse Symposium kicks off with the 20th Annual Syracuse University Human Rights Film Festival. Presented by the Humanities Center and the SI Newhouse School of Public Communications, the three-day festival showcases a selection of award-winning films dealing with social justice issues around the world in connection with the symposium’s theme of “reparation”. All of the films listed below will screen on the campus of Syracuse University.
Thursday September 22
- ‘Tantura’ – Investigating what happened in the Palestinian village of Tantura in 1948, director Alon Schwarz explores Israeli society’s taboo on discussing the Nakba (catastrophe) that displaced an estimated 700,000 Palestinians.
Friday September 23
- ‘Framing Agnes’ – This collaborative reimagining by Chase Joynt breathes new life into long-lost medical records, revealing the untold stories of transgender people in 1960s Los Angeles.
Saturday September 24
- ‘Hidden Letters’ – In this film by Violet Du Feng and Zhao Qing, a centuries-old secret text created by Chinese women promises modern female emancipation but also commercial exploitation by the government.
- ‘Aftershock’ – This documentary by Paula Eiselt and Tonya Lewis Lee sheds light on the dangers black mothers face when giving birth in the United States, and how their grieving families attempt to heal and change society.
- ‘Rehana Maryam Noor’ – A young female doctor fights for justice for a student who was sexually assaulted by one of her top colleagues in this Bangladeshi drama from Abdullah Mohammad Saad.
Other highlights from the symposium:
Fix Catholicism: Jamie Manson (Catholics for Choice) will be on campus for two events on October 6 and 7. The first, Catholic Women Speak—and Act: Repairing and Reclaiming a Progressive Faith-Based Vision, will feature a discussion of how intersectional activism can reshape and reorient the role of religion in the public square. The second event, Repairing Catholicism: Strategies for the 21st Century, is a workshop highlighting strategies, priorities, and effective means of engagement for those interested in transformative justice.
Write to fix: Jennifer Mercieca, professor of communication and journalism at Texas A&M, and Ryan Skinnell, associate professor of rhetoric and composition at San Jose State, will present two events on October 24. In Writing for Public Media, everyone will share their experiences translating research for mainstream and general audiences. Their other event, Write to Repair, will offer ways to restore the relationship between discourse and democracy.
Environmental Justice: On October 27, documentary filmmaker Jason Corwin (Seneca Deer Clan) will screen his film, “Denying Access,” which chronicles water protectors in Standing Rock and Seneca Territory as they opposed Dakota Access pipelines. and Northern Access. Corwin, an assistant professor of Indigenous studies at the University at Buffalo, will discuss how he and other Senecas worked to successfully shut down the Northern Access Pipeline, which was to carry fractured gas upstream from their territories. . On October 28, Corwin will lead a workshop exploring how stories can inspire people to action, with a focus on making films in pursuit of environmental justice.