The mission of the Norman Levan Center for the Humanities is to provide programs that focus on and foster a greater appreciation of the humanities, explore the relevance of the humanities to the practice of medicine, examine and support ethical behavior in business and the professions, recognize and encourage scholarship and intellectual exchange among faculty and students, and involve the Bakersfield community in examining the importance of the humanities in the lives of people.
Dr. Norman Levan is professor emeritus and former chief of dermatology at the University of Southern California School of Medicine, where he earned his medical degree in 1939. After serving in the Army Medical Corps during World War II, he began a long and distinguished career in medicine. He established the Hansen’s Disease Clinic for leprosy at the Los Angeles County/USC Medical Center in 1962 at the request of state and federal health officials. At the age of 90, Dr. Levan still sees patients in his Bakersfield medical practice. He now practices one day a week, seeing elderly or specialized patients.
Wednesday, March 16
11:30 am - 12:30 pm; 7 pm - 8 pm (two presentations)
With the blessing of the of Diné (Navajo) Elders, Paul Zolbrod went on a fascinating twelve-year ethnopoetic quest to translate the poetic Diné bahane', the Navajo Creation Story, into English. In this talk, Zolbrod will discuss that process and show clips of a documentary about this experience, including readings from the book and even recitations and song. He will share his insights of converting the Native American Poetry and oral traditions to the written page in a multimedia event rich with history, myth, poetry, and a love of the Navajo people.
Paul Zolbrod has enjoyed a long career both as a Fulbright Scholar and a college professor at Allegheny College, the Navajo Nation’s Dine College, University of New Mexico, and others. While his background is in English Literature, his investigative work includes intensive archival, field, and museum research leading to the publication of several major works which place him among the earliest scholars to explore the role of narrative poetry in deepening an understanding of Native American cultural life.
His major publications include, Dine' bahane: The Navajo Creation Story, Reading the Voice: Native American Oral Poetry on the Written Page, and, with Roseann Willink, Weaving a World: Textiles and the Navajo Way of Seeing. Zolbord has also written Battle Songs: A Story of the Korean War In Four Movements.