Humanistic Studies

UW-Green Bay

Knitting Code: A Tale of Two Very Different Disciplines

Recently I had the opportunity to sit-in on a lecture of Dr. Rebecca Nesvet’s for her class “The English Novel: 1850’s to the Present.” The reason why this lecture was particularly interesting was because it covered the topic of binary knitting, or knitting code – an idea of two very different disciplines fusing together. Professor Alison Gates, Chair of the Arts program and well-versed in the world of textiles, assisted in the lecture by discussing her knowledge about different types of knitting around the world and the commonalities between knitting and writing codes. A way that this can be done is by simply using a pattern between knitting and purling.

We have all heard a variation of the phrase “Knit one, purl two.” When it comes to knitting a code, it isn’t very different than using a pattern of ones and zeroes as we would for computer coding. Even more interesting that this strategy was discovered long before the first computer. How this ties together with Dr. Nesvet’s English Novels class is in the interest of Madame Defarge in Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. Madame Defarge was introduced as the wife of a shopkeeper, knitting in the corner, as that was a common activity for women of that time period to be doing. What was not immediately prevelant, however, was the fact that she was knitting code. As if the idea of an old woman knitting a secret cipher was not interesting enough, the message that she was knitting was what we would, by today’s standards, call a hit list.

Madame Defarge seated with her knitting in the wine shop.  Courtesy of Wikipedia / Fred Barnard

Madame Defarge seated with her knitting in the wine shop.
Courtesy of Wikipedia / Fred Barnard

The interest revolving around this topic has not been limited to just Dr. Nesvet’s class; here are some additional sources to look at:

Madam Defarges Cypher – Montgomery Bell

Steganographic Knitting – Sky Fish Knits

 

 

Great Books discussion of Calderon de la Barca’s “Life is a Dream” Tuesday, Jan. 12

Monument to Calderon de la Barca in Madrid, J. Figueras, 1878 (WikiCommons)

Please consider joining us for a discussion of Calderon de la Barca’s 17th century play “Life is a Dream,” moderated by our very own Professor Cristina Ortiz.  The work grapples with questions of free will, fate and metaphysics. Even if you haven’t had a chance to read it, the discussion will be illuminating and educational!

The discussion starts at 6:30pm in the second-floor board room at the Brown County Public Library, Downtown Branch, and they are free and open to the public.

Great Books discussion looks at Paulo Friere’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed

Associate Professor Hernán Fernández-Meardi will lead a discussion of Paulo Friere’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed as part of Humanistic Studies’ Great Book Series at the Brown County Library on Tuesday, December 8th at 6:30pm.  In his critically acclaimed work, Friere advocates for a pedagogy that empowers students as producers of knowledge.  Interested readers may find Friere’s book online.

Dr. Derek Jeffreys to offer Humanistic Studies 351: Punishment with the help of NEH “Enduring Questions” Grant

This spring, Dr. Derek Jeffreys will be teaching HUM STUD 351 on the theme of Punishment.  Dr. Jeffreys has completed detailed research into the subject spirituality and solitary confinement and a follow-up study on spirituality and torture. Check out an interview he did with Harper’s Magazine on one of his publications on the subject!Last year he won a major national grant to assist his development of this new course on punishment, and the grant will allow him to bring in several preeminent speakers on the subject. The course is a great opportunity not to be missed!

Discussion on “Global Terrorism: The World after the Paris attacks”

Panel discussion: “Global Terrorism: The World after the Paris attacks” November 24th, 4:30pm Phoenix Room C

Presenters:

Pres. Obama at G20 summit following attacks

Cristina Ortiz, UW-Green Bay Professor of Humanities and Global Studies, Chair of Modern Languages, “Paris: the city and the symbol”

Katia Levintova, UW-Green Bay Associate Professor of Political Science, Chair of Global Studies “Mourning all victims”

David Coury, UW-Green Bay Professor of Humanities and Global Studies, Director of Center for Middle Eastern Studies “Terrorism in a Global Age”

Dave Helpap, UW-Green Bay Assistant Professor of Political Science and Public Administration “US Federal and State Reaction to the Aftermath of the ISIS Attacks”

Roundtable discussion of Syrian refugee crisis this Thursday

This Thursday the Center for Middle East Studies and Partnerships is co-sponsoring with St Norbert College’s Norman Miller Center for Peace, Justice and Public Understanding, a roundtable discussion on the refugee crisis in Europe. The event takes place at 7:00pm in the Fort Howard Hall at St Norbert. Please share the information and attached flyer with interested students.Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 8.59.15 AM

Join us for an “After Thoughts” presentation on “The Flax Project,” Nov. 3rd

UW-Green Bay Associate Professor of Medieval History, Heidi Sherman, and Associate Professor of Fiber Arts, Alison Gates, will present “The Flax Project” Tuesday, Nov. 3, in the Grand Foyer of the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts on campus at 2420 Nicolet Drive.

Historian Sherman and textile artist Gates will share their experiences working across academic disciplines and across the ages as they perfect the art and practice of growing a fiber crop and processing the harvest on a college campus. Sherman and Gates, along with an outstanding undergraduate researcher, grew and processed their first successful crop in 2011. Since then, they have planted successful crops each year with a team of new students from History, Art and several other majors. The Flax Project is funded through grants from the UWGB Research Council, the Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the Office of the Provost.

After Thoughts begins with a 5 p.m. reception, followed by the Sherman and Gates’ presentation beginning at 5:45 p.m. Seating for After Thoughts is limited, so advanced registration is recommended. The cost of each program is $15. To reserve your spot, send a check (payable to UW-Green Bay Foundation) to: UW-Green Bay Foundation, CL 805, 2420 Nicolet Drive, Green Bay, WI 54311; or register online at https://secure.qgiv.com/for/afterthoughts. Walk-up registration also is an option.

Global Studies Roundtable Discussion, 10/29 in MAC 103

Dr. Tim Mau

The next Global Studies conversation will be about most recent Canadian elections and their implications for the domestic and foreign policies of our next-door neighbor. It will take place on Thursday, October 29, 2-3pm in Room 103 of the University Union. Discussion will be led by Dr. Tim Mau, Professor of Canadian politics and public administration (University of Guelph, Canada). As you know, these discussions allow us, as campus, to have important and timely conversations about topical events and processes around the world.

Published poet Coutley, a UW-Green Bay alumna, returns for reading

Award-winning poet and educator Lisa Fay Coutley returns to her undergraduate alma mater, UW-Green Bay, for a reading and question-and-answer session on Monday, Oct. 26.

The program, free and open to the public, is scheduled for 1 p.m. in the Christie Theatre on the lower level of the University Union, located on the campus at 2420 Nicolet Drive.

Coutley is an assistant professor of creative writing and poetry at Snow College in Utah. In January 2016, she will relocate to Eugene, Ore., for a half-year assignment as a visiting professor with the poetry and creative writing program at the University of Oregon.

Coutley will read from works including her debut poetry collection, Errata, published earlier this year by Southern Illinois University Press.

Announcing the Fall 2015 Great Books Series!

The fall session of the Great Books Discussion Group is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, September 8, 2015 at the Brown County Central Library, 515 Pine Street, downtown Green Bay.  The group meets on the second Tuesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. in the library’s Board Room.  Staff from the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay Department of Humanistic Studies leads the discussions.

 

Date Title & Author Presenter:
September 8 Flatland
Edwin A. Abbott 
Rebecca Nesvet
October 13 Notes from the Underground
F. Dostoevsky
Kevin Kain
November 10 My Name is Red
Orhan Pamuk
David Coury
December 8 La pedagogia del oprimido (Pedagogy of the Oppressed)
Paulo Freire
Hernan Fernandez-Meardi

 

The library offers many of these titles in a variety of formats. Copies can be reserved or downloaded from the library’s online catalog – visit www.browncountylibrary.org  and click on the library card. These discussions are free and open to anyone interested in participating.  Parking is free downtown after 6:00 p.m.

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