Umbrella Academy moves into its third year

Umbrella Academy moves into its third yearIt's close to the western end of the Han dynasty Great Wall of China in the Gobi Desert - 2,000 years old. Photo provided by Dr. John Chaffee, professor of Chinese history at Binghamton University.

After celebrating its second anniversary, Umbrella Academy continues to offer more interesting and thought-provoking classes at the Colburn Free Library in Owego, N.Y. Classes are held every other Tuesday evening from 6:45 to 8:15 at no charge to participants.

On Aug. 7, 2018, Dr. John Chaffee, professor of Chinese history at Binghamton University will present “China in 2018: Reflections from a Historically Focused Tour.”  

Just back from leading a family tour around China, including places well off of the main tourist stops, Dr. Chaffee will discuss how history is preserved, presented and consumed in the dramatically changing society of contemporary China.

On Aug. 21, Ed Nizalowski, retired librarian and history buff from Newark Valley, will present “Tornadoes, Floods and 50 Below, Oh My!”  

The weather is a frequent topic of conversation and in upstate New York certain weather events have made the news, even the historic record. Tioga County has experienced its share of extreme weather events from the Year without a Summer (1816) to the Flood of 2011. 

On Sept. 4, Dr. Lisa Coniglio of Owego and co-founder of Umbrella Academy will present “Information or Disinformation? The Fine Line between Truth and Propaganda.”  

Propaganda has been used for centuries to promote various religious, political, social, and cultural agendas. One of the hallmarks of an effective propaganda campaign is the appearance of objectivity. In other words, good propaganda is hard to recognize. They will investigate types of propaganda and talk about ways to distinguish it from actual news reporting.

On Sept. 18, Christina Di Stefano, director of the Tioga Arts Council, will facilitate “Fantastic Ekphrastic: An Exploration and Writing Workshop.”  

The line between visual art and writing is wonderfully blurred; both art modes have a tradition of dialogue – intersecting and gaining energy from one another.  Traditional ekphrasis is the art of description: What does this painting look like in words?  

Writers across time and genre have confronted art with language. Join them for this workshop where they will explore this tradition of ekphrasis as well as try their hand at writing an ekphrastic poem.

Come one and all to investigate any or all of these fascinating topics. Oh, by the way, there’s no homework.

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