Jarvis to deliver 2023 Kasling Lecture; Avni to receive Hagan Award

Roger Coda
Dr. Christina Jarvis

Dr. Christina Jarvis

“Peculiar Travel Suggestions: Discovering the Story of Kurt Vonnegut's Planetary Citizenship,” the Robert W. Kasling Memorial Lecture, will be given by Department of English Professor Christina Jarvis on Wednesday, Oct. 11, at 1 p.m., at Rosch Recital Hall.

Dr. Eliran Avni
William T. and Charlotte N. Hagan Young Scholar/Artist Award recipient Dr. Eliran Avni.

The recipient of the 2023 William T. and Charlotte N. Hagan Young Scholar/Artist Award, School of Music Associate Professor Eliran Avni will also be recognized at the ceremony. Fredonia President Stephen H. Kolison Jr., Provost David Starrett and Dean of the School of Music David Stringham will present the speaker and awardee.

Drawing on her intensive study of Kurt Vonnegut’s manuscripts at the Lilly Library, Dr. Jarvis will share highlights from her archival research, giving audience members a special glimpse into the compositional stories and influences behind some of Vonnegut’s famous works. Specifically, her talk will explore the origins of the Hoosier icon’s environmental and social justice engagements, the compositional process of his 1963 novel “Cat’s Cradle” and reasons why Vonnegut’s prescient critiques still offer useful wisdom and humor for today’s chaotic, increasingly networked planetary moment.

Jarvis’s acclaim as a Vonnegut scholar has grown significantly since the publication of her book “Lucky Mud & Other Foma: A Field Guide to Kurt Vonnegut’s Environmentalism and Planetary Citizenship,” with Seven Stories Press last November. Julia Whitehead, founder and CEO of the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library and author of “Breaking Down Vonnegut,” praised Jarvis as “the leading scholar on Vonnegut’s civic engagement, locally and globally,” adding, “It is a delight to read her work and hear her speak."

Jarvis’s book “has blown the lid off everything we thought we knew about Kurt Vonnegut,” wrote Tom Roston, author of “The Writer's Crusade: Kurt Vonnegut and the Many Lives of Slaughterhouse-Five.” “From unprecedented research into Vonnegut's childhood to nuanced readings of both Vonnegut's most famous and more obscure writing,” Mr. Roston continued, “Jarvis demonstrates why she is one of the most insightful Vonnegut scholars working today. This book is deeply, giddily, and intellectually Vonnegutian.”

Rounding out her path breaking Vonnegut scholarship, Jarvis has published seven book chapters on Vonnegut’s writings and has shared her work on the Hoosier icon via numerous podcasts, workshops and more than two dozen presentations. She is also the author of the book “The Male Body at War: American Masculinity during World War II (2004, 2010)” and has published numerous articles on war and gender in journals such as Women's Studies, The Southern Quarterly, The Journal of Men’s Studies and War, Literature & the Arts.

Before joining SUNY Fredonia’s English Department in 2000, Jarvis earned her Ph.D. and M.A. in English with a minor in Women's Studies from Penn State University and holds a B.A. in History and English from Rutgers University.

The Kasling Memorial Lecture is named for Robert W. Kasling, professor of Geography at Fredonia from 1946 to 1966, who is remembered for unflinching personal integrity and a high standard of scholarship. The lectures, focused on explaining the methods, purposes, and results of a particular field, are intended to be accessible to a general audience while broadening the understanding of research being undertaken at Fredonia.

The Hagan Award winner, Dr. Avni, a piano faculty member of the School of Music, has been praised as possessing both “ironclad technique” and “ample suppleness” by The New York Times. Avni received both his B.M. and M.M. degrees while studying with Dr. Yoheved Kaplinsky at The Juilliard School and completed his D.M.A. degree there as a student of both Dr. Kaplinsky and Jerome Lowenthal.

Avni is considered an emerging force in the contemporary classical music scene. Hailed as “The new hope of Israeli music” by Ma’ariv, he made his debut with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Zubin Mehta at age 17. Since then, he has appeared as a soloist and chamber music collaborator throughout Europe, North and South America, as well as in his native Israel and has played for live broadcasts for the Israeli and German broadcasting systems.

Avni was chosen for his outstanding scholarship, prestigious recordings with the Naxos, Tzadik and SHUFFLE Concert labels and numerous master class presentations. He is currently a member of the Ekstasis Duo with cellist Dr. Natasha Farny.

The Hagan award, named in honor of SUNY Distinguished Professor Emeriti William T. Hagan and his wife, recognizes an individual who has made outstanding recent achievements in research or creativity.

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