Detail of sculpture

'Migrations' is theme of University, community programming collaboration

Jan. 25, 2018 12:40 p.m.

Throughout the spring, Princeton University and Princeton-area nonprofit organizations will investigate the theme of "Migrations" with lectures, exhibitions, performances and more. Above: "Another Place" (detail), 2014, found aluminum and copper wire, by El Anatsui, from the exhibition " Migration and Material Alchemy," on view Jan. 27-July 29 at the Princeton University Art Museum.

Several Princeton University departments and programs and over 30 Princeton-area nonprofit organizations will investigate the theme of "Migrations" from February through May. Programming will include lectures, exhibitions, film screenings, author talks, performances and more. The "Migrations" community initiative website includes programming details and will be updated throughout the spring as events are added.

At a kick-off event Jan. 22 at the Princeton Public Library, James Steward, the Nancy A. Nasher–David J. Haemisegger, Class of 1976, Director of the Princeton University Art Museum, said the initiative grew out of a meeting of University campus partners and community organizations held shortly after the presidential election in fall 2016.

"Immigration was certainly a topic that had come to the top of the list," Steward said. "That meeting reminded me about the extraordinary resources to be found in this community. In collaborating, I hoped to find a theme that would allow us to reach beyond our usual partners and link cultural organizations with social service organizations, for example.

"Mother and Children (SuEllen)" from the series "Pictures of Garbage," 2008, by Vik Muniz, from the exhibition "Migration and Material Alchemy," on view Jan. 27-July 29 at Princeton University Art Museum.

"Rather than focusing only on the question of immigration, we thought migrations would be a topic that would allow us to address not only the past and present movement of peoples but of ideas, of wildlife, of a variety of phenomena that would create a more encompassing initiative," Steward said.

Steward noted the "extraordinary output of interest from organizations," about half of which are centered at the University and about half from the greater Princeton community. "We've been thrilled to discover how many organizations were already working on this set of questions," he said. "We have so much talent and curiosity around us."

University partners include the Princeton University Art Museum; the Program in Latin American Studies; the Lewis Center for the Arts; the Pace Center for Civic Engagement; and the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies' interdisciplinary research community "Migration: People and Cultures Across Borders," a three-year initiative involving 22 core faculty members to support research, conferences and course development.

Professors from a range of departments will give talks and hold conversations, including David Bellos, the Meredith Howland Pyne Professor of French Literature, professor of French and Italian and comparative literature, and director of the Program in Translation and Intercultural Communication; Sandra Bermann, the Cotsen Professor in the Humanities and professor of comparative Literature; Eduardo Cadava, professor of English; Patricia Fernández-Kelly, professor of sociology; and Jhumpa Lahiri, professor of creative writing in the Lewis Center for the Arts.

Community partners include the Arts Council of Princeton, Centurion Ministries, D&R Greenway, the Historical Society of Princeton, Labyrinth Books, McCarter Theatre Center, Morven Museum, Nassau Presbyterian Church, Princeton Adult School, Princeton Senior Resource Center and many other organizations.

Selected programming highlights:

  • Jan. 27-July 29: The exhibition "Migration and Material Alchemy" features 12 contemporary artists who address issues such as cultural continuity, the AIDS crisis, environmental degradation and population displacement. (Princeton University Art Museum)
  •  Feb. 5-May 7: The lecture series "Migration and Human Values" features lectures at Princeton University by five prominent researchers in the humanities and social sciences discussing the ethical implications of migration and immigration research from different points of view. (Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies)
  • Feb. 7-June 24: The exhibition "Rex Goreleigh: Migrant Worker's Witness" features the work of this African American artist, known for his "Migrant Series," which brought to light the difficult conditions faced by African American migrant laborers on the farms of central New Jersey in the 1950s through the 1970s. (Historical Society of Princeton)
  • Feb. 12: Argentinian bandoneon and guitar tango performance by Matilde Vitullo and Pino Enriquez. (Program in Latin American Studies, Princeton University)
  • Feb. 18, 2 p.m.: The documentary theater piece and community event "Nice Town, Normal People" features live, original music and a script based on excerpts from nearly 100 interviews related to the theme of “home” conducted by Princeton senior Kyle Berlin (Rhizome Theater Company, Matthews Acting Studio, 185 Nassau St., Princeton University)
  • Feb. 24-Sept. 30: The exhibition "Photography and Belonging" investigates the ways in which human experiences of belonging and alienation have long been both subject and effect of photography. (Princeton University Art Museum)
  • March 1: Author talk with Neel Mukherjee and Jhumpa Lahiri, who will discuss Mukherjee's "A Life Apart." This is the first of four author talks in a "Migrations"-related series. (Labyrinth Books)
  • March 9: Puerto Rico Colloquium, Part II: Debt and Colonialism in the Aftermath of Hurricane Maria. (Program in Latin American Studies)
  • March 13-April 1: The 15th anniversary production of "Crowns" explores a young woman’s discovery of self when she returns to her Southern roots. Directed by Regina Taylor and based on the book by Michael Cunningham and Craig Marberry. (McCarter Theatre Center)
  • March 15: The panel event "Words without Borders: The Translation of Books" features professional translators who will discuss the craft and challenges of translation through the lens of migrating text between languages. David Bellos will moderate the panel. (Princeton Public Library)
  • April 7 and 8: Music conference "De Canciones y Cancioneros: Music and Literary Sources of the Luso-Hispanic Song Tradition. (Program in Latin American Studies)
  • April 12: A conversation with internationally renowned photographer Fazal Sheikh and Eduardo Cadava will address the politics of migration and exclusion, particularly as related to Executive Order 13769 of January 27, 2017. This order blocked entry into the United States for citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. (Princeton University Art Museum).
  • April 14: Salon on Stockton: A Little Literary Festival in Princeton features four writers on war and migration: Neal Ascherson, Christopher Dickey, Sally Magnusson and Lynne Olson. (Morven Museum & Garden)
  • May 4 through 6: The conference "Changing Nationalisms in an Era of Internationalism." (Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies)
  • May 17: Film screening of "Persepolis" (2007), which tells the story of a precocious and outspoken Iranian girl growing up during the Islamic Revolution. (Princeton Garden Theatre)