The University Record, January 30, 1996

Institute for the Humanities conference on `Unruly Emotions, Disorderly Conduct' begins Feb. 8

Taslima Nasrin, a writer whose work is banned in Bangladesh for its candid treatment of religious oppression and women's rights, will open the Institute for the Humanities' two-day conference, "Unruly Emotions, Disorderly Conduct," at 8 p.m. Feb. 8. All sessions will be held in the Rackham Assembly Hall and are free and open to the public.

Other featured speakers will examine the Institute's theme of "Emotion" with talks on race, writer's block and religious practices in Imperial Russia. The conference concludes with a preview of the opera "JACKIE O," with composer Michael Daugherty and librettist Wayne Koestenbaum.

Nasrin, a Muslim, physician, columnist and author of six novels and six collections of poetry, has spoken out on a variety of controversial issues, decrying male dominance and religious extremism in Bangladesh. In 1993 the government confiscated her passport, and later that year banned her book "Lajja" ("Shame").

Feb. 9 at 9:15 a.m. Wayne Koestenbaum will speak on the avoidance of writing in his talk, " `There is No Penny and No Slot': Notes on the Poetics of Indifference." Koestenbaum is the author of prose and poetry including "Jackie Under my Skin" and "The Queen's Throat: Opera, Homosexuality and the Mystery of Desire," the latter nominated for a National Critics Circle Award. He currently is working on the libretto for "JACKIE O."

At 10:30 a.m. Laura Engelstein will speak on "Ecstasy, Anxiety, and the Erotics of Fear: Castration Tales in Tsarist Russia," examining a sect of self-castrators in Imperial Russia. Engelstein is the author of two studies in the social and cultural history of late imperial Russia.

Michael Rogin will speak on "What is Race?" at 1:15 p.m. He will discuss Thomas Jefferson, Henry Hughes, Adolph Hitler and the blackface minstrel shows. His books include "Ronald Reagan: The Movie and Other Episodes in Political Demonology" and the forthcoming "Blackface, White Noise: Jewish Immigrants in the Hollywood Melting Pot."

Composer Michael Daugherty and librettist Wayne Koestenbaum will direct singers and musicians at 2:30 p.m. in a preview of their opera "JACKIE O." Performances include "Flame" (a duet for Jackie Onassis and Maria Callas) and "I Am Curious Yellow" (Aristotle Onassis). The opera will premiere in Houston in March 1997.