Communities in Conversation Spring 2015 Series Kicks Off This Week

Rhodes College’s “Communities in Conversation” series will present five sets of events during the spring semester of 2015 including a French film festival; a symposium on the historical and contemporary perspectives of Beale Street; and lectures by scholars, philosophers, historians, and thought leaders. All lectures are free and open to the public.

Jan. 15: Scott Samuelson, “Suffering and Soul-Making: On the Deep Value of the Liberal Arts,” in Evergreen Presbyterian Church at 6 p.m.

Samuelson will explore two general visions of suffering—the “Promethean” attitude, which holds that we’d be better off if we could minimize suffering; and the “Orphic “attitude, which holds that finding ways of coming to terms with suffering is a crucial part of how we form our identities. Drawing on his book, The Deepest Human Life, he will discuss how the study of the liberal arts helps us not only with suffering, but in what John Keats called “soul-making.”

Jan. 27-Feb. 11: Tournées French Film Festival in Blount Auditorium, Buckman Hall on the Rhodes campus at 7 p.m.

For the third consecutive year, Rhodes will host the Tournées French Film Festival. Films shown will be subtitled in English and include:

  • “In the House” on Jan. 27 (opening reception at 6:30 p.m.); Sixteen-year-old Claude stirs the interest of his literature teacher with his reflections about time spent at a classmate’s house.
  • “The Gatekeepers” on Jan. 28; The film offers sit-down interviews with six former heads of Israel’s internal security service, which was formed in 1949, the year after the country declared its independence.
  • “Grigris” on Feb. 3; Despite a paralyzed leg, Grigris dreams of being a dancer.
  • “Augustine” on Feb. 4; The film explores the real-life relationship between the nineteenth-century French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot and his teenage patient named Augustine.
  • “The Missing Picture” on Feb. 10; Clay figures, archival footage, and narration are used to recreate the plight of Cambodians between 1975 and 1979.
  • “The Lovely Month of May” on Feb. 11 (closing reception at 6:30 p.m.); The documentary was filmed in May of 1962, just after the passage of the Évian Accords, which officially ended the Algerian War.

February 18: Nell Irvin Painter, “The History of White People,” in the McCallum Ballroom, Bryan Campus Life Center on the Rhodes campus at 6 p.m.

Painter’s book The History of White People goes through more than 2,000 years of Western civilization, illuminating not only the invention of race but the concept of “whiteness” and exploring how racial and gender identity have figured into the history of America and the West.

March 5: Brian Greene, “The Cosmos: From the Big Bang to the End of Time,” in the McCallum Ballroom, Bryan Campus Life Center on the Rhodes campus at 6 p.m.

Through theoretical and observational breakthroughs, science has provided sharp insight into the universe’s earliest moments and made predictions, tentative though some may be, for what things will be like in the far future. In this visual tour of the cosmos by Brian Greene, audiences hitch a ride on 
the continuing journey.

March 19-21: The Beale Street Symposium at Rhodes College and on Beale Street

Events includes book launch of Preston Lauterbach’s, Beale Street Dynasty: Sex, Song, and the Struggle for the Soul of Memphis on March 19; panel discussions on historical and contemporary perspectives of Beale Street on March 20 at Rhodes; guitarist Calvin Newborn with the Rhodes Jazz Band at the Historical Daisy Theater on March 20; and Walking Tour of Historic Beale Street with Preston Lauterbach and special guests on March 21.

For more information about Communities in Conversation or upcoming events, contact Dr. Jonathan Judaken, the Spence L. Wilson Chair in Humanities at Rhodes, at or (901) 843-3292.