CHHU Public Lecture, Bishkek: A Dombra that Plays Itself: Morals and Meaning in Traditional Tales
October 18th 2019, 16:00
Dr. Dana Sherry
Artistic Director, Silk Road House
Lecturer, Saint Mary’s College of California
He said, “Signs form a language, but not the one you think you know.”
I realised I had to free myself from the images which in the past
had announced to me the things I sought…
-Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities
Morals tend to be straightforward and didactic, and often tell us explicitly what we should take away from a story. In contrast, meaning is both more expansive and elusive. This interactive lecture blends a performance of the “Three Sisters” Kazakh fairy tale, with reflections on its meaning at different levels. How does the storyteller engage with the story, and how does that influence the listeners’ experience of it? How do individual perspectives of the listeners affect meaning? And how do the images in the story fit in the broader imagined world of Kazakh folk tales?
Ultimately, meaning comes from the space where narrative, narrator, listener, and living culture meet. Meaning is always in motion, evolving and changing as we change, and this lecture aims to deepen our understanding of this story, and perhaps our understanding of how meaning works through images as well.
In 1993, Dr. Dana Sherry graduated from the Department of Slavic Languages and Literature at the University of California Berkeley, and continued her graduate studies at the University of Washington (Seattle) and the Central European University (Warsaw and Budapest). In 2007, she earned her Ph.D. in History at the University of California Davis (UC Davis) focusing on Russian imperial policies in the Caucasus. She has also taught courses in history and humanities at UC Davis and Stanford University, and is currently a lecturer at St Mary's College.
University of Central Asia
138 Toktogul Street
2nd Floor Seminar Room
The lecture will be delivered in English.
Ideas presented in this lecture reflect the personal opinion of the speaker and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Central Asia and/or its employees.