St. Louis Humanities Festival: “A Sense of Place” April 13-14

| April 5, 2012

St. Louis Humanities Festival

Webster University has partnered with the Missouri Humanities Council (MHC), University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL), Washington University and Cinema St. Louis to present the first annual St. Louis Humanities Festival, a series of complimentary public programs to bring diverse audiences in contact with scholars, authors, filmmakers and other experts and practitioners in the humanities.

This year’s presentations include:

  • “Gloryland: Literature and Interpretive History as Tools for Social Change”
    Shelton Johnson, University of Missouri–St. Louis
    Friday, April 13, 10-11:30 a.m, Century Rooms, 3rd floor Millennium Student Center, UMSL
    Free and open to the public. Call 314-516-5698 for more information.

Shelton Johnson is a novelist and park interpreter at Yosemite National Park. Featured in Ken Burns’ film series The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, he talks about his research into the African-American cavalry officers who served as the first guards for the early Yosemite National Park.

Johnson will read from his novel, Gloryland (2011), about a cavalry guard and his family, a story spun from his park research. Johnson, who grow up in Detroit, discusses his concerns about the low numbers of minority visitors to the national parks and why we need to work to ensure that all Americans feel welcome and at home in the parks and other natural areas of America, which should be comfortable places for all of us. Gloryland will be available for signing.

  • Poetry Readings by celebrated soldier-poet Brian Turner and Missouri Veterans
    Missouri poet laureate and Webster professor David Clewell will be the master of ceremonies.
    Friday, April 13, 2:30-4 p.m., Webster University, East Academic Building, Room 253
    The event is free and open to the public. Call 314-968-7054 for more information. More information can also be found here.
    Note: This session will be streamed live online at

Brian Turner is a soldier-poet and author of two poetry collections, Phantom Noise (2010) and Here, Bullet (2005), which won the 2005 Beatrice Hawley Award, the New York Times “Editor’s Choice” selection, the 2006 Pen Center USA “Best in the West” award and the 2007 Poets Prize, among others.

Turner’s poetry has been published in Poetry Daily, the Georgia Review and other journals, and in the Voices in Wartime Anthology published in conjunction with the feature-length documentary film of the same name. Turner was also featured in Operation Homecoming, a unique documentary exploring the firsthand accounts of American servicemen and women through their own words. Turner was selected as one of 50 United States Artists Fellows.

Also on the program will be poetry readings by veterans who have participated in an MHC-sponsored project to teach creative writing to veterans as a part of their re-acclimation process.  This program is sponsored by Webster University and the Missouri Humanities Council.

  • Battle for Brooklyn Documentary Screening (June 2011, 93 min.) Docum
    Saturday, April 14, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
    Washington University, Brown Hall, Room 100

Battle for Brooklyn, the controversial documentary by acclaimed filmmakers Michael Galinsky and Suki Hawley (Horns and Halos) tells of one Brooklyn neighborhood’s battle against the corporate developers of the Atlantic Yards project. It’s an intimate look at the very public and passionate fight waged by residents and business owners of Brooklyn’s historic Prospect Heights neighborhood facing condemnation of their property to make way for the Atlantic Yards project, a massive plan to build 16 skyscrapers and a basketball arena for the New Jersey Nets.

The film focuses on graphic designer Daniel Goldstein, whose apartment sits at what would be center court of the new arena. A reluctant activist, Goldstein is dragged into the fight because he can’t accept that the government should use the power of eminent domain to take his new apartment and hand it off to a private developer. He and a host of Brooklynites form the group “Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn” to pursue alternate plans to the developer’s proposal.

Along the way, Goldstein loses a fiancé, falls in love again, gets married and starts a family. Battle for Brooklyn is a thoroughly engaging look at the infuriating erosion of individual rights in the interest of corporate concerns and political maneuvering.

Q & A will follow the film with filmmaker Michael Galinsky and Bruce Lindsey, dean of the College of Architecture and Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design, the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, Washington University.

For more information, please visit

Category: Webster Events

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