Every year UAF’s Summer Sessions puts on a wide range of free events for the public, including concerts and talks. By luck, I have an opportunity to play a small part in the programs, by talking with interesting people about their lives and passions. Every Monday night in a series called “Down Memory Lane” I speak with retired faculty who helped give shape to the University of Alaska Fairbanks. This summer I’m recording those conversations and presenting them in a special weekly series of Northern Soundings.
Last week I spoke with Dr Aldona Jonaitis. As Director of the University of Alaska Museum of the North, she brought vision, energy and entrepreneurial skills to bear for over twenty years. She helmed a multi-million-dollar expansion of the museum and transformed the skyline of the University. And her annual chocolate fundraising events were the talk and envy of the community. I began my conversation by asking whether she recalls the first time she was struck by beauty.
And Chris Lott is in with another Katexic Clippings.
On the show this week: Rev. Dr Nancy James is an Episcopal priest who serves as chaplain at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital. She’s also a scholar and author specializing in the 17th-century mystic Madame Jeanne Guyon. James says while Guyon is not well known today, in the late 17th and early 18th centuries she was popular and drew an international readership. Guyon’s independence and writings on interior prayer also attracted the ire of Roman Catholic prelates and King Louis XIV. As a result, Guyon was imprisoned in the Bastille and branded an enemy of the state. While she was eventually cleared of charges, Guyon’s works remain on the Vatican’s Index of Prohibited Books.
On this week’s show, I talk with Dorli McWayne, a faculty member of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Music Department, principle flutist for the Fairbanks Symphony and Arctic Chamber Orchestras, and founder and director of the Fairbanks Flutists. She explains the history of her instrument and the range of compositions her ensemble performs. The Fairbanks Flutists are giving a performance this Saturday at 8 PM at the Davis Concert Hall.
I chat with UAF mathematics professor and KUAC’s Math-Guy John Gimbel about geometry’s influence on political thinkers and some of the founders of our nation.
Seventy years ago, almost exactly to this day, secret police spotted a young Czech publically distributing anti-communist pamphlets in his country. As a result, Rudy Krejci was forced into hiding for five years and into a daring escape to Austria.
On this Northern Soundings we pay tribute to Rudy who earned a doctorate in philosophy and eventually became a leading champion of free speech and thought at the Unversity of Alaska Fairbanks. Rudy passed away last December and a celebration of his life is planned for this Sunday from 2 to 7 p.m. at the Dog Mushers’ Hall in Fairbanks.
I had the priviledge of interviewing him two years ago for UAF Summer Sessions. Part of today’s show is taken from that discussion. He is also the subject of a wonderful short documentary by the author Dan O’Neill.
In this show, I also talk with Rudy’s son Dr. Paul Krejci, who teaches at UAF. Paul is a gifted musician who contributed piano renditions by Czech composers for the O’Neill documentary. My thanks to Paul for permission to use those pieces for this Northern Soundings.
Educator, archivist, and oral historian, Ron Inouye discusses Japanese influence in Alaska history and shares his family’s experience during World War II when more than one hundred thousand Japanese-Americans were put in concentration camps.
And Chris Lott in Katexic Clippings points out some Japanese terms we use in our conversations, and others that would enrich English.
Zen Temple Hakata, Fukuoka by Richard Murphy Photo used by permission
This episode we explore journalism past, present, and future with Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Richard Murphy who served as the Photo Editor for the Anchorage Daily News for many years.
As the Arctic grows in strategic importance, Brandon Boylan, a political science professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and co-director of the school’s Arctic and Northern Studies program, discusses the role of the Arctic Council and a model of the council on the UAF campus.
And speaking of strategic, UAF geography professor Cary De Wit explains how Yemen’s location has attracted regional and global players in its civil war.
And Katexic Clippings’ Chris Lott is in to politely unpack the rich history of the word “nice.”
Reading has always been an important activity in my life. Of course, “activity” may not rightly describe sitting in a comfortable chair with a good book. However, it is a pleasure 32 million Americans can’t share. This episode I talk with Literacy Council of Alaska Executive Director Mike Kolasa about the organization and his background.
Speaking of books: Homer’s Odyssey is one of the enduring classics of world literature. Far from a dusty tome, it continually spurs fresh approaches and inspires new creations. UAF Professor Emeritus and writer Frank Soos, looks at several recent works that take it up, including Daniel Mendelsohn’s memoir, Madeline Miller’s fictional embellishment Circe, and Emily Wilson’s ground-breaking translation.
While I’ve known Greg Pacetti for years, only recently did it strike me he would make an outstanding guest on the show. Greg is now semi-retired but still produces fine stringed instruments; and he has an album of songs you can find on-line. He describes his journey from hippy artisan to luthier.
Greg’s father was a fisherman. Others often go to sea for research. One of them is Roger Topp. His day job is Director of Exhibits at the University of Alaska Museum of the North. However, Roger was originally trained as an oceanographer and is a serious writer. This past summer he returned to his roots, documenting a voyage of the research vessel Sikuliaq. Roger shared those reports on his blog. He discusses his approach to communicating science.