Theme for 2013-14 Chautauqua Series: "Beauty Matters"

Chautauqua logo

The 2013-14 Chautauqua series at Eastern Kentucky University will explore the theme “Beauty Matters” through 15 lectures by many internationally prominent authors, artists and experts, as well as a nationwide juried art exhibition.

Chautauqua Coordinator Dr. Minh Nguyen said the year-long series “aims to explore the many dimensions of the theme (beauty in nature, art, life, etc.) and encourage critical reflections on it.”

One of the highlights of the series, he said, is "the various explorations of what may be called the ‘beauty of difference,’ such as the beauty of conjoined twins, of kids with albinism and other conditions that affect their physical appearance, of eco-trash couture, of reality shows, and of Louisiana’s Chemical Corridor between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, an area of intense chemical production where unusual occurrences of cancer were discovered.”

The series also includes the first-ever keynote address for National Hispanic Heritage Month.

“As usual,” Nguyen added, “we strive to approach the theme from a large variety of disciplinary and professional perspectives (beauty in sport, architecture, mathematics, philosophy, etc.) and tackle a wide range of provocative and fundamental issues.  In terms of disciplinary and professional balance and thematic coherence, ‘Beauty Matters’ is one of the best series that we’ve put together. We’re very pleased that the word ‘beauty’ occurs in every title of every presentation, which is unprecedented for our program.”

Nguyen credited the presidentially appointed Chautauqua Lecture Series Committee for formulating the theme, and members of the campus community for recommending more than half of the presenters in the lineup.

All lectures are free and open to the public and will begin at 7:30 p.m. in O’Donnell Hall of the Whitlock Building (formerly the Student Success Building) unless otherwise indicated. The complete schedule of programs:

Thursday, Aug. 22, Kathy Peiss, the Roy F. and Jeannette P. Nichols professor of American history at the University of Pennsylvania, “The Making of America’s Beauty Culture.”

Thursday, Sept. 12, Frances Negron-Muntaner, award-winning Puerto Rican filmmaker, writer and scholar, keynote address for National Hispanic Heritage Month, “What to Do with All This Beauty?”

Thursday, Oct. 3, Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein, best-selling authors and comedians, “Plato and Platypus Walk into a Bar: The Beauty of Philosophy through Jokes.”

Thursday, Oct. 10, Mark Wellman, acclaimed author, filmmaker and adventure athlete, keynote address for National Disability Employment Awareness Month, “Climbing Back: No Limits to the Beauty of the Outdoors.”

Thursday, Oct. 24, Harold Herzog, leading expert on the psychology of human-animal relations and professor of psychology at Western Carolina University, keynote address for EKU Reads Project, “Beauty and the Beasts: Our Complicated Relationships with Animals,” Brock Auditorium, Coates Building.

Thursday, Nov. 14, Yul Kwon, head of privacy program at Facebook and winner of the reality television show, “Survivor: Cook Islands,” in 2006, “The Beauty of Reality Shows: You Don’t Have to Follow the Script,” Grand Hall, EKU Center for the Arts.

Tuesday, Nov. 19, Gregory Sarris, acclaimed author, screenwriter and chair in Native American Studies, Sonoma State University, keynote address for National Native American Heritage Month, “Beauty: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Place.”

Thursday, Dec. 5, Karen Tice, professor and chair of the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies, University of Kentucky, “Queens of Academe: Beauty Pageantry, Student Bodies and College Life.”

Thursday, Jan. 16, Motohiko Kato, Consul-General of Japan in Nashville, Annual Distinguished Lecture in International Studies, “Beauty through Balance: Integrating Tradition, Technology and Community to Move Japan Forward.”

Thursday, Jan. 23-Friday, Feb. 21, Chautauqua Art Exhibition, annual nationwide arts showcase, a juried exhibition on the theme “Beauty Matters,” Giles Gallery, Campbell Building. Reception Jan. 30.

Thursday, Feb. 6, Rick Guidotti, award-winning fashion photographer and founder and director of Positive Exposure, “Positive Exposure: The Beauty and Spirit of Difference.”

Thursday, Feb. 20, Linda Frost, dean of Honors College, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and Tyehimba Jess, poet and assistant professor of English, College of Staten Island, keynote address for National African American History Month, “The Body Poetic: The Beauty of Conjoined Twins Millie-Christine McKoy.”

Tuesday, March 4, Nancy Judd, artist, environmental educator and founder and principal of Recycle Runway, “Recycle Runway: Environmental Education through Beauty.”

Thursday, March 20, Tori McClure, president of Spalding University and first American to row solo across Atlantic Ocean, keynote address for Women’s History Month, “On Beauty and Sublimity: You Can’t Taste the Candy Bar If It’s Always in Your Mouth,” Brock Auditorium, Coates Building.

Thursday, April 3, Arthur Benjamin, mathematician and magician, Annual Bruce MacLaren Distinguished Lecture, “The Beauty of Magic of Mathematics.”

Thursday, April 24, Kate Orff, landscape architect and assistant professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, “Toxic Beauty.”

For more information, visit or contact Nguyen at

Published on July 31, 2013

Quick Links