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Brittingham Scholars coming to campus

September 27, 2007

Beginning this month, University of Wisconsin–Madison students will have the opportunity to interact with six internationally known scholars from disciplines ranging from women’s sexuality to the anthropology of food.

As part of the Brittingham Scholars program and funded through the Brittingham Foundation, the group will lecture to undergraduate classes, meet individually with students and, in some cases, host public lectures.

The visits give students the opportunity to interact with international experts and leaders who can give them a real world perspective and a taste of international scholarship, says Aaron Brower, vice provost for teaching and learning.

"The Brittingham Scholars Program is more than just a wonderful educational opportunity for UW students; it is part of the Wisconsin Experience," says Brower. "These visits allow undergraduates to learn from experts outside of the classroom, to reach beyond the boundaries of the classroom, in order to engage the real world, to become part of the international scholarly community — and ultimately make them ready for leadership after graduation."

Listed below is a brief biography of each scholar with tentative details of his or her visit. For specific information, or to arrange an interview, contact information is provided.

Abilio Estevez: The Department of Spanish and Portuguese will host Estevez, a renowned Cuban writer, from Sept. 30-Oct. 7. Estevez teaches art and drama theory at the Instituto del Teatro de Barcelona and has written numerous plays, including "La verdadera culpa de Juan Clemente Zenea," which received several awards, and "Yo tuve un sueño" and "La noche." He has also published two novels, "Tuyo es el reino" and "Los palacios distantes."

During Estevez’s visit, he will teach students in a Spanish theater course to perceive the fine lines between text and performance. Estevez will also visit a graduate seminar titled "Revolution and Crisis in Cuba" and will give a free public talk on music in the Cuban literary tradition titled "Noche tropical" at the Historical Society Auditorium, which is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 4. Contact: Guillermina De Ferrari, (608) 262-2334,

Dave Beckwith, a national leader in community organizing, will visit Monday-Wednesday, Oct. 15-17, to talk to students and area community leaders.

Beckwith, whose visit is sponsored by the Department of Rural Sociology, is the executive director of the Needmor Fund, one of the nation’s largest funders of community organizing. He will speak to two classes as well as individual students about their community involvement. Organizers say Beckwith’s visit will give students a multilevel perspective of community organizing from the ground level to the funder’s level. Contact: Randy Stoecker, (608) 890-0764,

Kathy Armstrong: From Tuesday-Thursday, Oct. 16-18, the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and the School of Music will host Armstrong, an expert in West African music.

Armstrong will teach two classes the art of West African dancing and drumming and will present a public show exhibiting her students’ new musical skills. Armstrong teaches elementary through college-aged students with a hands-on approach that strives to make music education more inclusive of musical practices of the world.

Contact: Deborah Bradley, (608) 263-3268,

Leonore Tiefer: The Department of Women’s Studies along with the departments of Medical History and Bioethics and History of Science will host renowned feminist Tiefer from Monday-Wednesday, Oct. 22-24.

Tiefer, a leading scholar and speaker on women’s sexuality, has critiqued the medicalization of female sexuality using feminist theory. During her visit, Tiefer will speak to two classes and to individual undergraduates about their research into female sexuality. She will also host two workshops and attend a lunch with the Women in Medicine Interest Group. Contact: Janet Hyde, (608) 262-9522,

Christopher Pelling: In March, the Department of Classics will sponsor a weeklong visit by Pelling, Regius Professor of Greek at Oxford University, one the most prestigious classics positions in the world.

Pelling has published extensively on the subjects of ancient history, Greek tragedy and Second Sophistic literature. His principal work has been in Greek prose, with a special emphasis on Plutarch.

Pelling will teach two classes during his stay, including one in which he will help students translate ancient Greek. He will also meet with the Classics Club for lunch and with individual students during open office hours. He will give a public lecture on Anthony and Cleopatra. Contact: Laura McClure, (608) 262-2041,

Claude Fischler: In early April, Fischler will share his research on interdisciplinary approaches to food with undergraduate students.

Fischler is a world-renowned food expert whose research ranges from socio-cultural analysis of mad cow disease, childhood obesity and food safety to the French foodways. During his visit, the scholar will give a lecture in one course and will speak to undergraduate students in small groups. His visit is sponsored by the Department of Anthropology. Contact: Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney, (608) 262-1572,

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