Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s Dessy-Roffman Myth Collaborative will continue its lecture series with “Intersections Between Myth, Imagination and Literature” Friday from 4 to 5 p.m. in IUP’s Jane Leonard Hall room 305.
The program will include three presenters:
• Mingle Moore, professor at Prairie View A&M University, “The Eternal Struggle: Dreaming of an Absolution.” Her presentation will ask questions about how myth conveys important dimensions of human experience and how nineteenth century poets present myth to a wide range of readers.
• Haleigh Hayes, IUP English graduate student, “Aeschylus’ Prometheus and the Olympian Regime: The Act of Rebellion in Ancient Greek Tragedy,” a discussion of how the performance of myth in Greek tragedy transmit and enforce culturally specific values and imaginative attitudes.
• Joshua Calandrella, faculty member at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown and IUP English graduate student, discussing “Mytho-poetic Arrangements of the Alef-Beis/t: The Vitality of Loyshn Koydesh (Holy Language) Illuminated by Chassidus,” addressing the questions of how sacred letters are more than just the components of words and does thinking about sacred letters as mythological subjects, perhaps even non-human people, enable people to express and imagine sacredness.
The university said the collaborative is designed to be a dynamic, cross-disciplinary resource for students and faculty that will enhance the on-campus site where the study of myth is nurtured and supported, providing an exchange of ideas among faculty of diverse departments, offering seminars and workshops on myth, and designing co-curricular courses.
IUP dedicated the Dessy-Roffman Myth Collaborative space, located in Jane Leonard Hall outside the Department of English, in April 2021.
“The Dessy-Roffman Myth Collaborative has helped support a diverse range of student research projects and presentations including internships, coursework on myth and fairy tales, and a number of scholarly articles,” said Department of English Chairman and Distinguished University Professor Dr. Gian Pagnucci. “The English Department’s 2024 New Growth Arts Review student literary magazine will have a myth theme and the department’s 2024 English Graduate Organization Annual Conference will also feature a number of myth-focused panels.”
The collaborative is named in honor of Blane Dessy, a 1973 graduate, and IUP Professor Emerita of English Rosaly DeMaios Roffman. Four years ago, IUP’s Council of Trustees approved the naming of the collaborative in recognition of Dessy’s “transformative” gift of $100,000, honoring Roffman’s influence on Dessy’s life.
Dessy, who retired in 2021 from his position as executive director of the Erie County Public Library, has a distinguished career in the field of library science, serving as the director of library staff at the United States Department of Justice and as executive director of national enterprises at the Library of Congress.
Roffman, of Pittsburgh, an internationally acclaimed poet and writer, taught literature and creative writing in the English Department from 1967 to 2003 and founded the IUP Center for the Study of Myth and Folklore in the 1970s. In 2002, Roffman donated more than 170 books to IUP to establish the Rosaly DeMaios Roffman Collection for the Center.