MOCRA Programs and Events

MOCRA presents two lectures in conjunction with the
exhibition Bernard Maisner: Entrance to the Scriptorium

Thursday, April 15, 1999    7:30 p.m.
reception to follow
free and open to the public

Ellen Dissanayake
"In the Beginning, Art"

An innovative scholar makes a case for an innate human drive to "make special," drawing on evolutionary biology, anthropology and sociology. 

Ellen DissanayakeEllen Dissanayake is a scholar, lecturer, and author of three books, What Is Art For?, Homo Aestheticus (with translations into Chinese and Korean), and Art and Intimacy. Combining her interests in the arts and evolutionary biology, and using insights drawn from fifteen years of living and working in nonwestern countries (Sri Lanka, Papua New Guinea, India, and Nigeria), she has developed a unique perspective that considers art to be a normal, natural, and necessary component of our evolved nature as humans. She has held Distinguished Visiting Professorships at Ball State University in Indiana, the University of Alberta, Edmonton, and the Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of Western Australia. Additionally, she has taught at the National Arts School in Papua New Guinea, the University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka, Sarah Lawrence College, and the New School for Social Research in New York City. She lives in Seattle where she is Affiliate Professor in the School of Music at the University of Washington.

Dr. John Renard
"Words Alight: Islamic Calligraphy and the Art of Bernard Maisner"

A prominent scholar of Islam and Islamic culture brings his expertise to bear on the resonances between Islamic calligraphy and the illuminated manuscripts and paintings of artist Bernard Maisner. 

Dr. John RenardJohn Renard joined the Saint Louis University Department of Theological Studies in 1978, after completing a Ph.D. in Islamic Studies, in Harvard University's department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, focusing on religious literature in Arabic and Persian, and religious art and architecture. His research has centered on Islamic Humanities, with a specialization in the religious histories and literatures of major Middle Eastern cultures such as those of Egypt, Turkey, Iraq and Iran. He has concentrated particularly on medieval sources in Arabic and Persian related to the history of Sufism, Islamic mystical traditions, Islamic hagiography, and, most recently, comparative study of Islamic and Christian theologies.

Renard has taught a wide variety of graduate and undergraduate courses, including: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; Religious Traditions of Asia; Islam: Religion and Culture; Islamic Art and Society; the religious arts of Hinduism and Buddhism; Comparative Theology; and Medieval Seminars on various topics within the greater Mediterranean world.

These lectures are made possible by a grant from The Arts and Education Council of Saint Louis.

More information

For more information about Ellen Dissanayake, click here.

For more information about Dr. John Renard, click here.

For more information about Bernard Maisner: Entrance to the Scriptoriumclick here.

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