Among librarians and booksellers, hymnals and children’s books are infamous for their low survival rate, as a result of overuse and abuse. So when the staff at the University of Illinois Rare Book and Manuscript Library found an eight-page unbound copy of the ABCs and common prayers published in 1536 – more than 450 years ago – they immediately ran the title through several international databases to see if any other libraries had a copy. None did.
The religious tradition that brought us yoga, meditation and the concepts of karma and reincarnation will be the topic of this year’s Marjorie Hall Thulin Lecture in Religion, an annual event sponsored by the University of Illinois department of religion. Vasudha Narayanan, the distinguished professor of religion at the University of Florida and author of “Hinduism” and “The Vernacular Veda: Revelation, Recitation and Ritual,” will deliver the lecture at 8 p.m. April 9 (Wednesday) at Spurlock Museum. Her topic, “Global Hinduism,” will touch on Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and the United States.
The 200th anniversary of the largest volcanic eruption in recorded history will be marked by the publication of a new book by University of Illinois professor Gillen D’Arcy Wood. If you think the title character might be Vesuvius, or Krakatoa, or maybe Pinatubo, you’re wrong. Wood’s focus is Tambora – a mountain in the Indonesian archipelago that erupted so violently in April of 1815 that today, it is ranked as “super colossal” on the scientific Volcanic Explosivity Index. And the explosion was only the first dose of Tambora’s destructive power.
The Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities has been awarded a $3 million grant by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to fund a consortium of 15 humanities institutes.
Growing up in Chicago’s Hyde Park-Kenwood neighborhood, Audrey Petty lived about two miles from the Chicago Housing Authority’s Robert Taylor Homes. Those 28 high-rises, arranged in horseshoe clusters along the Dan Ryan Expressway, contained more than 4,400 apartments, giving the complex the dubious title of largest public housing development in the nation. But though she could practically see the drab concrete towers from her doorstep, Petty regarded the Robert Taylor Homes as a foreign, mysterious and impenetrable enclave.