For Immediate Release — September 30, 2004


Mary E. McCrank

Media Relations Officer

(585) 245-5516


Exhibit on Eatonville, Talks by Carrie Mae Weems and bell hooks Highlight Fall Event

GENESEO, N.Y. — The State University of New York at Geneseo has announced the schedule for its sixth annual Cultural Harmony Week, which will run Oct. 23-30.

The theme for Cultural Harmony Week 2004 is "The Beloved Community," a term coined in the 20th century by philosopher-theologian Josiah Royce. Martin Luther King Jr. popularized the term to mean a critical mass of people committed to and trained in the philosophy and methods of nonviolence.

This theme will be explored over an eight-day period with a wide range of programming, including the annual Cultural Harmony Week Lecture, a national art exhibit and much more.

This year’s programming is very ambitious and involved support from more faculty, said Kelly Clark, director of the college’s Office of Multicultural Affairs and coordinator of Cultural Harmony Week. In addition, the lectures and exhibit are all free and open to the public in an effort to reach out to the community.

One of the highlights of the week will be a lecture by Carrie Mae Weems, who also will open a photography exhibit of her work at Geneseo’s Lockhart Gallery. Weems and three other photographers spent time in Eatonville, Fla., the oldest town in the U.S. incorporated by African-Americans and adopted home of artist, folklorist and novelist Zora Neal Hurston.

Weems is a well-known artist who has had solo exhibits at the Museum of Modern Art and international galleries and museums, said Mark Denaci, assistant art professor and director of the Lockhart Gallery at SUNY Geneseo.

"She deals with issues of slavery and African-American life," said Denaci. "Her work tends to have a cultural anthropological element to it. She’s extraordinary."

In addition, bell hooks, a feminist, cultural critic and professor, will deliver the Cultural Harmony Week Lecture. Elaine Cleeton, associate professor of sociology, said she has used hooks’ concept of student-centered teaching in her classes at SUNY Geneseo.

"When I meet first-year students, they don’t understand this approach to this kind of learning," said Cleeton. "They’re convinced the best way to learn is through lectures and tests."

hooks’ teaching method engages students to use critical thinking skills and write essays, she said.

"Every single individual has a contribution to make to the exploration of ideas," Cleeton said.

Here is a line-up of the Cultural Harmony Week 2004:

Oxfam Hunger Banquet with Keynote Speaker Dr. Jeffery B. Ritterman

6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 25, MacVittie College Union Ballroom

Ritterman, chief of cardiology for Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Richmond, Calif. This year’s banquet will focus on the disparity in health care and public health initiatives worldwide. Ritterman will focus his comments on issues of public health in the United States. His address is titled "The Beloved Community: From Civil Rights Dream to Public Health Imperative." He will speak on his ideas of Beloved Community Medicine. Tickets are $5, with 100 percent of sales to be donated to Oxfam America.

Spirituality & Leadership: Unique Perspectives From A Relative Unknown

12:45-1:50 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 26, MacVittie College Union Ballroom Lounge

Who was both the spiritual mentor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the first African-American to meet Gandhi? The answer is the little known mystic, poet, preacher and theologian, Howard Thurman. This workshop will explore many of Thurman’s ideas about "spiritual discipline" that found a more than receptive hearing from two of the 20th century’s greatest spiritual leaders. Presented by Mike Sauter, Catholic campus minister and the Rev. Kathryn Stimson, interim pastor of Central Presbyterian Church, in conjunction with the Geneseo Organization for Leadership Development.

The Beloved Community: What is it and how do we get there?

7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 26, MacVittie College Union Ballroom

Local community leaders representing industry, the religious community, education, public service, and health and human services have been invited to participate in this panel discussion to answer the question, "What is the beloved community and what role does each of these sectors play in supporting the development of a strong community?"

"Embracing Eatonville" Photography Exhibit Opening and Reception

4-5:45 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 27, Lockhart Gallery, Main Street

The exhibit opening also will include a book signing by photographer Carrie Mae Weems. This exhibit of the works of four nationally recognized artists comprises photographs of Eatonville, Fla., the oldest town in the United States incorporated by African-Americans and adopted home of artist, folklorist and novelist Zora Neal Hurston. The exhibit captures the community of Eatonville as only photographers can. The artists are Dawoud Bey, Lonnie Graham, Carrie Mae Weems and Deborah Willis. This exhibit will run through Dec. 10. The gallery’s opening hours are 2-5 p.m. every day with extended hours from 12-8 p.m. Thursdays. The exhibit is free and open to the public. The gallery will be closed Nov. 24-28 for the Thanksgiving holiday. For more information, call (585) 245-5814.

"Embracing Eatonville" Lecture by Internationally Recognized Photographer Carrie Mae Weems

6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 27, Newton Hall 204

Beginning in January 2002 and continuing through the middle of 2003, photographers Dawoud Bey, Lonnie Graham, Deborah Willis and Carrie Mae Weems spent time in Eatonville making photographs in an effort to provide a meaningful reflection of Eatonville’s spirit and character while concentrating on the social, political and cultural landscape of this historically unique place in central Florida. Contributing photographer Carrie Mae Weems will provide a "guided tour" of the photographers’ Eatonville experience.

Teaching Community: The Experimental Classroom, A Seminar for Educators with bell hooks

4-5:45 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 28, MacVittie College Union Ballroom

bell hooks has written extensively on race, class and gender. Her recent work explores building bridges between the academy and community. In this session, hooks will talk briefly on her pedagogical work and then engage participants’ questions on her text, "Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope" and/or their own work in the classroom. All participants will receive a copy of "Teaching Community." The event is co-sponsored by the SUNY Geneseo Teaching and Learning Center and is free for Geneseo employees and $35 for off-campus participants. Registration is required and can be made online at

Cultural Harmony Week Lecture: bell hooks, Cultures of Belonging: Beyond Domination

7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 28, Wadsworth Auditorium

hooks’ strong themes of anti-oppression and liberating pedagogy come together with ideas of what it takes to build communities of inclusion and belonging. What role does the academy play in creating communities that move beyond oppression and domination? Free and open to the public, but tickets are required. Tickets are available at the MacVittie College Union Ticket Office or by calling (585) 245-5873.

Intercultural Night Dinner

6 p.m. Saturday Oct. 30, MacVittie College Union Ballroom

The fifth annual Intercultural Night Dinner, a tradition started by alumnus Runa Rajagopal whose vision was an evening of food and culturally based entertainment representative of the many ethnicities and cultures that call SUNY Geneseo home.

For details, call (585) 245-5620 or go to

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