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Taft Co-Lab


2018-2019 TAFTco-labs

2019 LTAB logo

Back for the 5th year, LTAB Cincy is bringing its best game yet. The Taft Center and ELEMENTZ will host the following events as we seek to crown the best youth poets of the city.

4 PM, Febr.16
UC-Uptown, African American Cultural and Resource Center
60 W Charlton St, Cincinnati, OH

10 AM, Mar. 16

5 PM, Apr 5
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

5 PM, Apr 6
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

2017-2018 TAFTco-labs

Truth, Justice, and The American Way? The Need for Arts and Sciences in a Post-Truth World

Students, parents, and even legislators often prioritize educational paths that strike them as more "practical" or that are perceived to have more direct paths to employment. Even with the national push for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, the emphasis has tended to be on applications rather than basic research. Nationally the number of majors in humanities and social sciences has plummeted in the past decade. Despite being the largest college at the University of Cincinnati, many students--and even many faculty--are unclear about what the College of Arts & Sciences has to offer. Such uncertainty is a widespread phenomenon, especially at public universities.

Yet this phenomenon is puzzling in light of the frequent essays and editorials in which corporate executives and political leaders emphasize the need for exactly the sort of education that is provided by study of Arts & Sciences.

This event will consist of several lectures beginning at 1pm. The main event and panel discussion will begin at 4pm with a reception following at Rhinegeist. For more information about this event and full event schedule, you may visit:

Theater of War promotional image

Theater of War is an innovative public health project that presents readings of Sophocles’ Ajax, an ancient Greek play about the suicide of a great and respected warrior, as a catalyst for facilitated town hall discussions about suicide, combat stress, alcohol and substance abuse, and the impact of war on families. The town hall-style discussion that follows the performance of scenes from Sophocles’ Ajax elicits first-person testimonials and powerful comments from service members of all ranks, with a special focus on the themes of suicide prevision and alcohol and substance abuse awareness. Community panel members who have struggled with and overcome combat stress, suicidal ideation, and alcohol and substance abuse kick off the conversation with their gut reactions to the play, relating the 2,500 year-old story to their own post-deployment experiences. Then, a skilled facilitator asks the audience a series of questions designed to pull out timeless themes from the story of Ajax.

Selected media:
The New Yorker

Corbeaux promotional image

Bouchra Ouizguen: Corbeaux

Sept. 16 - 17, 7:30 PM
Contemporary Arts Center, Black Box Theater

In her work Corbeaux (‘crows’ or ‘ravens’), Moroccan choreographer Bouchra Ouizgen offers us an experience of immense intensity outside of a traditional theatre space. Out of the dark emerge figures dressed in black. Like birds they step forward, their heads wrapped in white headscarves that droop like beaks. They dance in an hypnotic rythm, singing with tempo-less voices, resting, then restarting. They undertake physical and vocal actions ranging from repetitions to variations, swelling up until they explode in the form of a vital, earthy cry from the womb.

Bouchra Ouizguen’s crows are women of different languages, cultures and origins. With the CAC, Compagnie O, the Marrakech dance group that came together during eight years of laboratory and performance work directed by Ouizguen, will be joined by women living in Greater Cincinnati. As in every town to which Corbeaux migrates, this collection of women is freed of the barriers of age, origin, and language, exchanging their personal histories in this shared commitment. They assemble to convey their feminine knowledge, bursting into the everyday spaces of the city and bowling the spectators over with their own cathartic rites before leaving them facing themselves once more.

Originally created for the 2014 Marrakech Biennale of Contemporary Art, Corbeaux has since been presented throughout Europe and West Asia, appearing at some of the world’s foremost contemporary arts centers and performance festivals. Wherever it goes, each venue is uniquely specific to the environment, and the pubic is never far away.

Support for the US tour of Corbeaux is provided by the French Institute in Paris (Institut Français à Paris); the French-US Exchange in Dance, a program of the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project; the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States; and FACE Foundation, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Florence Gould Foundation, and the French Ministry of Culture and Communication. Additional support provided by the Hermès Foundation within the framework of the New Settings Program; This presentation is supported by the Arts Midwest Touring Fund, a program of Arts Midwest that is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional contributions from Ohio Arts Council and the Crane Group; and the Charles Phelps Taft Research Center at the University of Cincinnati.

For more information, visit the CAC event listing by clicking on this sentence.

National Conference on the Beginning Design Student 2018 - banner image

34th National Conference on the Beginning Design Student

March 1-3, 2018
Keynote: Marcos Novak, Director of the transLAB and Professor of Media Arts and Technology at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

An architect, artist, composer and theorist, Novak employs algorithmic techniques to design actual, virtual and hybrid intelligent environments. He is a pioneer in the field of transarchitecture.

To visit the conference website, simply click on this sentence.

Chatterjee Global Lectures series

Michael Murphy, co-founder and Executive Director, MASS Design Group

Michael Murphy regularly speaks on architecture and health care, and sits on the boards of the Clinton Global Initiative Advisory Committee, the Harvard Graduate School of Design Alumni Board, and the Center for Healthcare Design. Michael holds a Master in Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

2016-2017 TAFTco-labs

Frida in Focus

University of Cincinnati Professor Emeritus Edward Silberstein enjoys a special connection to Kahlo through his father, the renowned photographer Bernard G. Silberstein . Over a three-day period in December of 1940. Silberstein photographed Kahlo and her husband, Diego Rivera. Edward Silberstein shared eight of his father’s photos for the “Frida in Focus” exhibit. Alongside Bernard G. Silberstein’s photos, the exhibit also featured 10 monographs that had published a selection of his portraits of Kahlo.

This marvelous opportunity was the result of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, under the leadership of Professor and Chair Carlos Gutierrez, working with the Taft Research Center, the UC Office of the Provost, the Office of the Vice President of Research, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences

The Griffin Warrior of Pylos

Classics Faculty Jack David and Sharon Stocker attracted a staggering crowd to the Center to hear about their discovery of the ancient tomb of the Griffin Warrior from Pylos, Greece. Hailed in The New York Times as potentially being a “gateway to civilizations” and described as one of the most important Grecian digs within the last century, it is unsurprising that this event drew a packed house at Taft. Davis is the Carl W. Blegen Professor of Greek Archaeology and Stocker is a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Classics. Their discovery has shed light on how Minoan culture influenced the Mycenaeans.

Conversations in Classics: Culture as Casualty

Assistant Professor Marion Kruse, of the Classics Department, described ISIS’ destruction of the Syrian site of Palmyra. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it had been one of the best-preserved ruins of the ancient, Roman trading post. He showed how modern warfare destroyed history’s creations. Associate Professor Sarah Jackson from the Department of Anthropology, discussed how sacred monuments, built for one function, can be later utilized by others for different purposes. For instance, Mayans built temples to honor their gods, and today, people from across the world, journey to these same temples for spiritual exercises; whilst others use the site as a backdrop for political protest. Professor HOLLY MCGEE spoke of the South African government’s forced relocation of Sophiatown’s black residents to make way for white settlers. Sophiatown was once, a thriving cultural hub just outside of Johannesburg. The country’s government destroyed this city’s rich, Black culture with its relocation policy.

The US Presidency and Our Common Future

The national Presidential election and President Donald Trump’s inauguration was contentious and divisive. It raised many issues concerning the future of religious freedom, the makeup of the Supreme Court, the state of US democracy, an inclusive US society, economic and environmental wellbeing, gender equality, and race relations. In this context, humanities research and scholarship provides an important platform to discuss, debate, and tackle the difficult topics plaguing a nation. As such, the Taft Research Center saw this as an opportunity to bring together different constituencies from across campus and the broader community to share their thoughts and concerns with the general public. The Office of Equity and Inclusion, the Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice, and the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences co-sponsored the event.

January 24: Religious Diversity, Race Relations, and Immigration
Shakila Ahmad, the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati President
Ervin Matthew, from the Department of Sociology
Carlos Gutierrez, Chair of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures

January 31: US Economy, Environment, and Gender Relations
Debashis Pal, Chair of the Department of Economics
Adrian Parr, UNESCO Water Chair and Taft Research Center Director
Amy Lind, Mary Ellen Heintz Professor and Chair of the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

February 7: Democracy, Freedom of the Press, and the future of the US Supreme Court
Laura Jenkins, interim Chair of the Department of Political Science
Jeff Blevins, Chair of the Department of Journalism
Verna William, interim Dean of UC College of Law


Continuing the goal of deepening and expanding humanities based educational opportunities for the Cincinnati community, the Center worked with the University of Cincinnati Master of Public Health program and its Gamma Rho student chapter of the Delta Omega Public Health Honorary Society, the Department of Environmental Health, and the Graduate Student Governance Association to celebrate National Public Health Week. The focus was “Refugee Health.” Journalist Ben Solomon, of The New York Times, was part of a Pulitzer-winning team that covered many of the sobering and vivid stories on Ebola in Africa. Since 2011, Solomon has reported from more than 20 countries, including Tunisia, South Sudan, Afghanistan, Mali, Niger, Sierra Leone, and Syria. Not only did Solomon share his experiences of the Ebola outbreak, but he also spoke about his recent reporting in the wartorn Middle East. More specifically, he described the myriad challenges Syrian refugees face.

Louder Than A Bomb

Louder Than A Bomb is a Spoken Word contest where teenagers can voice their opinions, hopes, dreams, and fears. Through this event, teenagers are provided with an incredible opportunity to have their voices heard. The event is politically charged, emotionally moving, and artistically captivating. The Finals occurred on April 8 at the School for Creative and Performing Arts.

Lena Alpern of Walnut Hills High School took home first prize in the individual’s category; Miah Harvey of DePaul Cristo Rey took second prize; and Noelle O’Neal of Seven Hills took third place. In the team category, DePaul Cristo Rey High School took first place, Walnut Hills High School took second place, and Elementz won third place.

LTABcincy is sponsored by the Kroger Corporation, the Goldsmith Family, the Taft Research Center, the UC Office of Equity and Inclusion, and the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences. It is the result of a lively collaboration between Taft, Elementz, Cincinnati Public Schools, Seven Hills High School, and DePaul Cristo Rey High School.

2015-2016 TAFTco-labs


Some posit that Judaism promoted human entitlement to environmental exploitation (Gen 1:28); others suggest that it promotes responsibility for the earth (Gen 2:15, Deut 20:19-20, and other rabbinic texts). This lecture series explores talks on Jewish faith and environmentalism, rabbinic responses to drought and environmental crisis, and Zionism and the environment. The lectures considered contemporary Jewish approaches to environmental challenges with presentation on innovative readings of Jewish texts related to environmental ethics, cutting-edge attempts to connect Jews and nature, and current efforts to enlist environmental to solve contemporary Jewish challenges.

October 13
7:00 PM

Speaker: Hava Tirosh-Samuelson, Arizona State University
Title: Jewish Environmentalism: Faith, Scholarship, and Activism.
Location: Taft Research Center

November 2
7:00 PM

Speaker: Julia Watts Besler of Georgetown University
Title: Fasting, Prayer, and Protest: Rabbic Responses to Drought and Environmental Crisis
Location: Taft Research Center

January 19
2:45 PM

Speaker: Dr. Yedida Eisenstat, assistant professor at York University
Title: Against the Law: Rabbinic Law in Rashi’s Torah Commentary
Location: Taft Research Center

IFJP CFP image

The fifth annual International Feminist Journal of Politics (IFJP) Conference, featured "BEING PRESENT 2016: seeking new feminisms against empire," the keynote address by Dr. Zillah Eisenstein, Ithaca College, one of the world’s foremost political theorists and activists of our time. The conference was followed by a call for papers for a special issue of IFJPl, guest edited by Anne Sisson Runyan, Professor of Political Science and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

LTAB, which enjoyed an enormous first-year success, extended its reach to include 20 local schools and after-school programs and over 120 students. We hosted a crowd of more than 600 people at the LTAB finals, on April 9, at the School for Creative and Performing Arts Corbett Theater. Former Cincinnati Bengals player Dhani Jones and Malcolm London, who won the 2011 Chicago LTAB, co-hosted the event

The International Žižek Studies Association Conference is an internationally well-recognized and attended conference featuring addresses by Slavoj Žižek himself, Greg Harman, and Frances Restuccia, among others. Each is an internationally recognized expert in their field. Well over 100 scholars attended from across Canada, France, Germany, Mexico, Philippines, Slovenia, the United Arab Emirates, UK, and the USA.

May 27 – 29
International Zizek Studies Association Conference: Materialism and Materiality
Location: Tangeman University Center

Date: May 27
Time: 6 to 7:30 PM
Speaker: Slavoj Žižek, University of Ljubljan
Title: Is God Dead, Unconscious, Evil, Impotent, Stupid...or Just Counterfactual?

Date: May 28
Time: 1:30 to 2:45 PM
Speaker: Kelly Agra, Jr. Keynote Speaker
Talk title: The Event Divides into Two or the Parallax of Change: Badiou, Žižek, Bosteels and Johnston

Time: 6 to 7:30 PM
Speaker: Frances Restuccia, Boston College
Talk title: Is the Gaze a State of Exception?

Date:May 29
Time:3 to 4:30 PM
Speaker: Graham Harman, American University
Talk title: On Žižek

For more information about registration, please click here.

2014-2015 TAFTco-labs

Outspoken: Conscience & Responsibility


UC President Santa Ono, University of Kentucky President Dr. Eli Capilouto and Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion President Aaron D. Panken will discuss respectful social responsibility and political discourse on public campuses. Monday, Jan. 26, at 4 PM, at Mayerson Hall, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

louder than a bomb: youth poetry competition

semifinal competition
Wednesday, Mar. 25 - Saturday, Mar. 28
Location: DAAP 5400

final competition
Saturday, Apr 18
Location: Harriet Tubman Theater at the National Freedom Center

disposable life project
video collection: now available

Are there aspects of contemporary global society that make it possible to think and act in ways that render specific populations "disposable"? How might we commemorate tragic events of the past in ways that will cultivate a deeper understanding of the conditions that give rise to extreme violence? We are pleased to announce that the first installment of the disposable life project, which tries to tackle such questions, is now available.

The "disposable life" project – a special series in the larger "histories of violence" project - is a reflection on the nature of violence and disposable life, in the face large-scale violence within the 20th century. January 2014 marks the 20thanniversary of the Zapatistas issuance of revolutionary laws, following their declaration of war on the “Mexican State” and the seizure of several towns and cities by armed insurgents. April 2014 marks the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, which exposed the horrifying legacy of colonialism and its long lasting implications.

June 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I, one of the bloodiest conflicts in human history. 2015 marks the 70th anniversaries of the bombings of Hiroshima & Nagasaki, where perhaps as many as a quarter of a million people were killed; and the 100th anniversary of the Armenian “genocide,” ending the lives of an estimated one million+ persons; and the 65th anniversary of the start of the Korea War; the 60th anniversary of the US involvement in the Vietnam War; and the 40th anniversary of the beginning of the “killing fields” in Cambodia. January of 2015 marks the liberation of Auschwitz camp complex, where an estimated 1.1 million people were murdered.

A more just and peaceful future must move beyond the historicity of memorialization and reflect critically on the contemporary significance of events past, Disposability may take many different forms but it cannot be properly understood without engaging the underlying causes, which span political, economic, cultural, social, psychological and an identity-based nature.

The "disposable life" project begins with a talk from the celebrated feminist scholar Cynthia Enloe, who was recently hosted by Taft in the Fall of 2014. Enloe provides her original interpretation of the paradigm, exploring the idea of namelessness in relation to the concept of disposability. According to Enloe, "to be disposable is to be nameless in somebodies eyes. It is to have no recognized history."

This series is the result of a collaboration between the Charles Phelps Taft Research Center at the University of Cincinnati, the McMaster Center for Scholarship in the Public Interest; University of California Humanities Research Institute, the Rice Center for Critical and Cultural Theory (3CT), the Humanities Corridor Center New York, the Global Insecurities Centre and the University of Bristol, Centre for Critical Research on Race & Identity at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and the Committee on Global Thought at Columbia University.

Histories of violence "project, created by Brad Evans (University of Leeds), assembles a video collection of lectures and interviews of some of the most influential scholars discussing the many dimensions of violence (social, political, economic, aesthetic, theoretical, empirical, etc.). Spanning disciplinary boundaries, the project seeks to ignite a discourse on violence and thereby move viewers towards peace, or at least ethical resolutions differences.

gefilte fish and couscous
Sunday, Nov. 9
7 pm
Claudia Roden
Location: Mayerson Jewish Community Center fall of the berlin wall 25th anniversary commemoration
Sunday, Nov. 9
Location: National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
For event details, click here.

poverty lecture series
Organized by: Dr. Jana Braziel
global health and poverty round table
Wednesday, Nov. 5
2 pm
Featuring: Ope Adeoye, Farrah Jacquez, Shaunak Sastry and Guy-Lucien Whembolua

poverty and gentrification
Wednesday, Dec. 3
2 pm
Frank Russell and Anthony Leong

For more information, click here

2013-2014 TAFTco-labs

Sunday, Nov. 17, 7 PM
Rabbi Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi
Title: Lichter Lecture: Women of the Wall: Recent Legal Developments
Sponsors: Jacob and Jennie L. Lichter Lecture Fund, the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati, the Mayerson Jewish Community Center, and the Ohio Humanities Council.

Wednesday, Nov. 13
12:30 PM
Summit: Security, Surveillance, and the Public Good 
Location: Taft Research Center

Future Cities logo Saturday, Nov. 9
9 AM - 5 PM
Conference: Future Cities; Livable Futures
Location: Contemporary Arts Center
Sponsors: Faculty Development Council, McMicken College, DAAP, Sociology, CAC, Taft Research Center, the Architecture Foundation of Cincinnati, Soapbox, Kroger, and the Haile Foundation
Event website:

Monday, Nov. 4
7 PM
Gary Jacobsohn
Lichter Lecture: Constitutions in Divided Societies: the Case of Israel
Location: College of Law, Room 114
Sponsors: Jacob and Jennie L. Lichter Lecture Fund, the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati, the Ohio Humanities Council, and the College of Law

Monday, Nov. 4
2:45-4:45 PM
Carol Cohn & Cynthia Enloe
Lectures: If You Ignore Women, You Can't Be Smart About Militarized Masculinities: A Feminist Warning and If You Ignore Political Economy, You Can't Be Smart About Women and Peacebuilding.
Location: UC’s Kaplan Auditorium (DAAP 5401)
Reception to follow from 4:45-6:00 pm outside the Reed Gallery (DAAP 5th floor).
Sponsors: US Institute of Peace, the UC Departments of Political Science and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, the Taft Human Rights Studies and Global Studies Research Groups, the University of Dayton Human Rights Program, the UC College of Law’s Center for Race, Gender and Social Justice and the Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights.

Monday, Nov. 4
11 AM-12:30 PM
Carol Cohn & Cynthia Enloe
Workshop: Pedagogy and Policy Challenges: Taking the 'Women, Peace, and Security' Agenda Seriously
Location: Taft Research Center
Sponsors: US Institute of Peace, the UC Departments of Political Science and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, the Taft Human Rights Studies and Global Studies Research Groups, the University of Dayton Human Rights Program, the UC College of Law’s Center for Race, Gender and Social Justice and the Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights.

Wednesday, Oct. 23
7 PM
David Flatto, Professor of Law, Penn State University Title: The Concept of a Separation of Powers: A Novel Doctrine in Early Jewish Jurisprudence and its Analogs in Modern Western Jurisprudence
Location: Taft Research Center
Sponsors: Taft Research Center, Judaic Studies, Lichter Lecture Fund

Wednesday, Oct. 16
3:30 PM
Mae Ngai, author of Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America (2004) and The Lucky Ones: One Family and the Extraordinary Invention of Chinese America (2010)
Title: A Nation of Immigrants? History, Politics, and Immigration Reform
Location: Taft Research Center
Sponsors: Taft Research Center, UC History, and the Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights in the College of Law

Tuesday, Sept. 17
5:30 PM
Fadela Amara, former secretary of State for Urban Policies under Sarkozy (rebroadcast from Chicago event in May 2013)
Title: The Burqa Ban in France
Sponsors: Taft Research Center and Alliance Française.

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