3/17/2009 Linfield visiting professor to give lecture on freedom and jazz
McMINNVILLE – Josef Jařab, Renshaw Distinguished Visitor at Linfield College, will present “The Stories of Jazz in Unfree Societies” on Wednesday, April 8, at 7:30 p.m. in the Austin Reading Room at the Jereld R. Nicholson Library at Linfield.
Jařab will speak about jazz as an avenue for creative experimentation with freedom amid constricting social contexts. Jazz provided vital imaginative energy that catalyzed modernism in both Europe and the U.S. According to Ralph Ellison, noted African American author, jazz emerged in response to the denial of freedom within American culture.
“Jazz was also felt to offer paths to liberation from the stifling atmosphere imposed on individuals and societies by totalitarian regimes, such as nazism and communism,” Jařab said.
Jařab, professor of English and American Literature at Palacký University in Olomouc, Czech Republic, is the Renshaw Distinguished Visitor at Linfield and is teaching in the English Department spring semester.
Jařab was the first freely elected university administrator in Czechoslovakia following the Velvet Revolution and served as the rector of Palacký University for seven years. He also served as the rector and president of Central European University in Budapest and Warsaw from 1997 to 1999. He is a founding member of the Czech Learned Society and the first chairman of the Czech Fulbright Committee and the Czech and Slovak Association for American Studies. From 2000-04, Jařab served as president of the European Association for American Studies. For eight years he was a member of the Senate of the Czech Parliament where he was responsible for the Committee on International Affairs, Defense and Security, and for a decade he represented Czech humanities in the European Science Foundation. Jařab has been awarded honorary doctorates from Durham University, England; Moravian College, Bethlehem, Penn.; and Mount Mercy College, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He is the first Czech recipient of the Woodrow Wilson Freedom Award and has written or edited a score of books and hundreds of essays on cultural pluralism, African American literature and culture, modern poetry and fiction, and issues of higher education.
The Renshaw Distinguished Visitor is under the auspices of the Philip Renshaw Endowment for the Liberal Arts. The endowment was established by Renshaw, a 1931 Linfield alumnus and former trustee and one of the college's most avid supporters.
The lecture, which is free and open to the public, is co-sponsored by Friends of Nicholson Library and the Linfield English Department. For more information contact Susan Barnes Whyte, college librarian, at 503-883-2517.