KU News Release


Feb. 2, 2010
Contact: Mike Krings, University Relations, (785) 864-8860

Lecture series to explore 'Writing Jazz'

LAWRENCE — Jazz, a distinctly American art form, has drawn interest from all over the world and invited study from a multitude of disciplines. The spring 2010 University Honors Program Lecture Series at the Commons will explore “Writing Jazz.” All lectures, and a jazz concert, are free and open to the public.

The lecture series is designed to explore a topic with particular relevance to today’s society in a cross-disciplinary academic environment. The series is sponsored by the University Honors Program and the Commons, a partnership between KU’s Biodiversity Institute, Hall Center for the Humanities and Spencer Museum of Art.

The lectures are designed to enhance the spring 2010 Commons Course, Writing Jazz, taught by Jonathan Mayhew, professor of Spanish and Portuguese. The honors course will explore the historical evolution of jazz music from the point of view of literary and intellectual history, highlighting the ways in which poets, essayists and novelists have responded to the innovations of major figures from Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday and Duke Ellington to Ornette Coleman and Wynton Marsalis.

Each year, the University Honors Program offers a new Commons Course. The course and the University Honors Program Lecture Series were designed to encourage interdisciplinary thinking and collaboration with other departments from throughout the university. Speakers for the lecture series are selected from proposals submitted by KU faculty and staff.

The following events will take place at 7:30 p.m. in Spooner Hall.

— KU Faculty Jazz Combo concert at the Commons, Feb. 24.

— “Jurisgenerative Grammar: For Alto, For Black,” Fred Moten, Department of English, Duke University, Feb. 25

— “Ev’ry Time I Feel the Spirit: Constructing Black Women’s Conversion Narratives in Jazz,” Tammy Kernodle, Department of Musicology, Miami University, March 9

— “From Hepcat to Rebel to Heroin Fiend: The Jazz Trope in the Popular Imagination,” Paul Lopes, Department of Sociology, Colgate University, April 15


The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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