Fall Conference 2019

Searching for Home: Journeys, Quests and Migrations

November 15-16, University of Vermont

Conference Schedule

Friday, November 15

3:30 p.m.

Registration Desk opens

4:00 to 5:15 p.m.

Friday Afternoon Breakout Sessions

See list of breakout sessions.

5:15 to 6:15 p.m.

Reception with heavy hors d’oeuvres

6:15 to 7:30 p.m.

Break for dinner at the Davis Center, or in downtown Burlington

7:30 to 9:00 p.m.

Gish Jen: The Girl at the Baggage Claim

Author of The Girl at the Baggage Claim: Explaining the East-West Culture Gap, Gish Jen offers a provocative and essential look at the different ideas Eastern and Western cultures have about self and society. What’s more important—self-sacrifice or self-definition? Do we ultimately answer to something larger than ourselves—a family, a religion, a troop? Or is our mantra “To thine own self be true”? (Note: This talk replaces the originally scheduled event with Heavy author Kiese Laymon.) Details.

Saturday, November 16

8:30 to 9:00 a.m

Registration Desk open and continental breakfast

9:00 to 9:30 a.m.

Welcome and presentation of 2019 Victor R. Swenson Humanities Educator Award.

9:30 to 10:45 a.m.

“Whose Land Have I Come to Now?”: The Foreigner in Homer’s Odyssey

Odysseus was a refugee who sought repeatedly to survive among alien landscapes and foreign peoples. Carol Dougherty, Professor of Classical Studies at Wellesley College, explains how the Odyssey prompts us to consider questions about the foreigner beyond “Who is he?” or “Where is he from?” Details.

10:45 to 11:00 a.m.


11:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

Saturday Morning Breakout Sessions

See list of breakout sessions.

12:15 to 1:15 p.m.

Buffet lunch

12:15 to 3:30 p.m.

Food as Memory: Migrants, Food Traditions and Community Markets (optional offsite food tour)

Familiar foods call up memories of home. During this walking tour in the Old North End of Burlington, we’ll sample foods of various cultures and meet people who make a living through local agriculture ventures and food markets. Details.

1:15 to 2:30 p.m.

Roads Taken: The Great Jewish Migrations to the New World and the Peddlers Who Forged the Way

Beginning in the mid-19th century, Jewish male immigrants to the United States found a living through a familiar occupation. In doing so they learned much about America, and Americans learned about them. Dr. Hasia Diner, Professor of American Jewish history at New York University, explores the experience of these on-the-road peddlers. Details.

2:30 to 2:45 p.m.


2:45 to 4:00 p.m.

Saturday Afternoon Breakout Sessions

See list of breakout sessions.

4:00 to 5:00 p.m.


5:00 to 6:30 p.m.

Kinan Azmeh Cityband

Clarinetist Kinan Azmeh weaves the mesmerizing sounds of his native Syria into a form of haunting and celebratory Arabic jazz with his ensemble, CityBand. We present this special treat to close our conference through a partnership with the UVM Lane Series. Details.