Alden Scholar Series
The Alden Scholar Series began as a collaborative effort between SUNY Oneonta’s History Department and Milne Library in 2012. Held in the Alden Room (James M. Milne Library’s Special Collections Center), the Alden Scholar Series celebrates SUNY Oneonta faculty members who have published scholarly books or produced book-length projects within the last five years. Each lecture focuses on the featured publication of the faculty member and is followed by a Question and Answer session with the audience.
Any SUNY Oneonta faculty member interested in presenting at the Alden Scholar Series is invited to submit a proposal to the Organizing Committee.
Presentation of Colonial Geography: Race and Space in German East Africa, 1884-1905Dr. Matthew Unangst of the History department uses excerpts from his new book to illustrate the ways in which Europeans combined ideas about race and geography to establish and justify colonialism in Africa. The book, Colonial Geography: Race and Space in German East Africa, 1884-1905, charts changes in conceptions of the relationship between people and landscapes in mainland Tanzania during the German colonial period. In German minds, colonial development would depend on the relationship between East Africans and the landscape. The book argues that the most important element in German imperialism was not its violence but its attempts to apply racial thinking to the mastery and control of space. Utilizing approaches drawn from critical geography, Colonial Geography posits that the development of a representational space of empire had serious consequences for German colonialism and the population of East Africa. In this lecture, Dr. Unangst demonstrates how spatial thinking shaped ideas about race and colonialism in the period of New Imperialism for all European empires, not just Germany.
Presentation of The Art of Literary Biography: Orion on the DunesDr. Daniel G. Payne, Distinguished Teaching Professor (Department of English) lectures on the Art of Literary Biography, drawing from Orion on the Dunes (2016), his acclaimed biography of the 20th Century American nature writer Henry Beston (1888-1968). In addition to providing an overview of Beston’s life and work, Dr. Payne discusses the methods and challenges of writing a literary biography, including stories about his own experiences as a "literary detective."
Presentation of Decadent Orientalisms: The Decay of Colonial ModernityDr. Fieni will present selections from his book, Decadent Orientalisms: The Decay of Colonial Modernity, which explores how literature in French and Arabic has imagined the relative health and morbidity of France and the Arab World since the mid-19th century. Attentive to historical and literary configurations of language, race, religion, and power, Decadent Orientalisms shows the importance of understanding Western discourses of Eastern decline together with Arab and Islamic responses in which decadence returns as a characteristic of the West. The lecture will range from a discussion of a scandalously carnivalesque Arabic text from 1855 by the Lebanese author Faris Ahmed al-Shidyaq to contemporary writing in French by Arab immigrants in Paris exorcising the specters of their own supposedly “degenerate” status.