Dils notes that, “The idea for the conference has been brewing for some time. I saw Bill T Jones’s fi rst work on Abraham Lincoln, Fondly Do We Hope …Fervently Do We Pray in 2009. I was struck by how Jones’s casting and choreography make the moving body—the performer’s physical characteristics, the gestural and postural patt erns used to represent the historical fi gure—available as a means of forming and troubling public memory. One of the most interesting characters in that work is Mary Todd Lincoln. My mental images of Mary Todd come from touring her proper, well-appointed childhood home in Lexington, KY, from biographical sketches that portray her as an insecure woman with excessive spending habits, and from formal photographs that present her as a demure woman in fussy 19th century hoop skirts. Mary Todd Lincoln in black mourning clothes is an especially prominent image, and one that is used as a projection in Fondly Do We Hope … But Jones presents another Mary Todd Lincoln as well. Through dancer, Lisa Race, audiences glimpse a young, sensuous Mary Todd: the woman Lincoln courted and with whom he had three sons. That Jones choreographed two Abraham Lincolns—one a short white male dancer (a physical Lincoln) and the other a tall black actor (a cerebral Lincoln)—complicates our understanding of Mary Todd. These portrayals open up a whole series of questions: Can we re-imagine the Lincoln courtship and their personal, physical lives? What purpose would this serve? How does the medium used to represent an historical fi gure—marble, paint, photograph, fi lm, print, dance—impact public understanding? Can we imagine an historical moment in which Mary Todd Lincoln might be seen in a more forgiving light? My contemporary dance history class studied this work in Spring 2010 and did their own performance projects based on research into Lincoln’s life.
When I learned that Bill T Jones’s company would be part of the UNCG concert series in Spring 2011, performing a second Lincoln work, Serenade/ The Proposition, the idea for the conference, and a more extended examination of the arts and public memory, became a compelling possibility. Since then, conversations with faculty and students have provided additional insights about the arts and public memory, among them the idea that art can change the ways in which people see public spaces, and performance itself as an enactment of encoded memory. There are many more possibilities that I hope will be explored in April by faculty and students from many disciplines and programs.”
Contact Carole Lindsey-Pott er (email@example.com
) or Ann Dils (firstname.lastname@example.org
) for more information. Visit the conference website at: htt ps://sites.google.com/a/uncg.edu/the-art-of-public-memory-conference/
Equality North Carolina 2010 Conference
The Women’s and Gender Studies Program was a proud co-sponsor of Equality NC’s fourth annual Equality Conference on Saturday, November 13th. WGS Alumnus, Rebecca Mann, organized this conference and brought it to the UNCG campus. Nearly 300 att ended. This event brings leaders of the LGBT equality movement from across the state and nation together for a day full of cutt ing-edge policy discussions and activist skills training, followed by an evening Gala that celebrates their collective achievements.
The Equality Conference is North Carolina’s leading LGBT educational event. Each year hundreds of participants convene to learn about the latest news and trends in progressive LGBT activism and to help develop new skills and tactics. The 2010 conference examined LGBTQ issues and off ered new perspectives and possible solutions to inequities faced in the community. Topics included: Love and Laws: A Legal Perspective on Marrying Outside NC; Helping Our Youth Find Their Voice; Intersecting Identities: Considerations Among LGBT People of African Descent; Improving Syringe Access for People of Transgender Experience; Shaping Dialogue for Change in Our Community; and LGBT Oppression in the Western Tradition. The keynote speaker was Houston Mayor Annise Parker who shared her experience as the fi rst openly gay mayor of a US city with over a million residents.
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