Pixel Tracker

Friday, January 18 , 2019, 6:49 am | Fair 53º


UCSB Culture and Nature Series to Kick Off with ‘The Plague!’

Bubonic plague. Yellow fever. Cholera. HIV and AIDS. For thousands of years, humans have faced devastating epidemics that suddenly kill millions and cause enormous social and economic disruption. How have different cultures grappled with these catastrophic events?

In an innovative program titled “The Plague! — Making Sense of Epidemics, Contagions and Pestilence,” three UC Santa Barbara humanities scholars will explore social, religious and artistic responses to massive epidemics.

The program, which includes a performance of selected scenes from the award-winning play Angels in America, will take place at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History on Thursday, May 16. It will begin at 7 p.m. in the museum’s Fleishmann Auditorium. Admission is $8 for museum members and $10 for all others.

Ranging from 19th-century Italy to Buddhist Japan to 20th-century America, the program illustrates the diversity of responses to contagion, while at the same time highlighting our common humanity in response to unimaginable death and suffering.

Among the UCSB presenters are Irwin Appel, professor in the Department of Theater and Dance; Jon Snyder, professor in the Department of French and Italian; and Fabio Rambelli, professor in the Department of Religious Studies and chair of the Department of East Asian Languages and Culture. Rambelli also holds the International Shinto Foundation Chair in Shinto Studies.

“The Plague!” is the inaugural event in UCSB’s new Culture and Nature series, which will continue over the next academic year. Events in the series are designed to highlight the interrelation between nature and the environment and religion, art, literature and other fields within the humanities and fine arts.

“The series examines how people interact with nature, and how that interaction shapes our world,” said John Majewski, professor of history and associate dean of humanities and fine arts in the College of Letters and Science. He is organizing the event with Stefania Tutino, professor of history and of religious studies at UCSB.

“Humanists have something to say about how societies and cultures interpret nature and how the natural environment impacts society,” Majewski said. “Our faculty members are excited about sharing their research with a broad community audience.”

Tutino added: “Humanists often can study issues related to nature and society and make sense of them in a way that scientists can’t.”

The series will continue in the fall with additional events co-sponsored by the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum and also by the Wine Cask restaurant. Events at the Wine Cask will feature UCSB humanities scholars exploring the cultural significance of specific foods, such as the history of beer in American culture, the cultural and environmental impact of sustainable fishing, and the role tea played in consolidating the British Empire. Each presentation will be followed by a themed dinner that highlights the cultural dimensions of that specific food, from a culinary perspective.

Tickets for “The Plague!” can be purchased in advance by clicking here.


Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.