If scholarship is your hobby, you might want to be at the University of Utah on Wednesday nights this fall. The Tanner Humanities Center Reading Series will be conducted by Tanner Humanities Fellow Kirsten Fischer, a professor from the University of Southern Florida.
The topic of this reading group is "Race, Sex and Empire." There's a textbook as well as packets of articles from scholarly journals.Should you choose to join, you'll be reading about Malinche - the female interpreter who aided Cortez - and who has become even more famous and mythologized than Pocohontas. (She's famous in Latin America anyway. No Disney movie yet.)
Another reading is about the politics of venereal disease and prostitution in British colonial India. It seems the British government was anxious to keep track of prostitutes. Not only did they want to see who was sick, they wanted to "redeem and rescue" the British ladies of the night. It was not government policy, however, to rescue Indian prostitutes from their fate.
This is a five-week reading series. It concludes with the next logical site for a discussion of race and gender and colonization: outer space.
A scholar named Luise White has read the UFO literature and sees parallels in the literature of 18th and 19th century abductions of whites by Indians. Her thesis notes that in the typical UFO abduction someone is taken aboard alien spacecraft to be studied. Sometimes homing devices are inserted in the abductee's body. Sometimes the aliens merely observe their emotions.
White says, "It is not uncommon for the women to be impregnated and to have the fetus removed from their bodies." Sometimes the female abduct-ees are later shown their alien child - they report the child looks like a big-eyed alien except more human.
Sometimes the aliens want the mother to care for her baby. Sometimes the mother doesn't want to nuture the half-human half-alien child. White draws several conclusions, one of which is this: "Without notions of racial difference, there is virtually no abduction literature."
If such scholarly discussion piques your interest, call 581-7989 to sign up for the reading series. Space is limited.