Slideshow: Classics still lively today, speaker reminds 'After Thoughts' audience
Classic French literature of the mid-1800s by Gustav Flaubert and Emile Zola did a wonderful job of illuminating the path ahead and the modern consumer culture and feminist movements to follow.
That was one of the messages shared by Susan Frost, associate lecturer in Humanistic Studies, president of Frost Marketing Communications, Inc. and featured speaker Nov. 1 for the second presentation in the 2011-12 edition of UW-Green Bay’s popular After Thoughts series.
Frost told the audience of nearly 100 women at the Weidner Center Grand Foyer that the humanities “are profoundly relevant today,” something she seeks to demonstrate daily to her undergraduate students. In both her academic and private-sector careers Frost has been an advocate of applying literary and cultural texts to contemporary business and society.
Frost centered her remarks on Flaubert’s famously controversial Madame Bovary and its observations on materialism, social mores and adultery, and Zola’s 1883 novel, Au Bonheur des Dames (or, The Ladies’ Paradise), set against the backdrop of the new “cathedrals of commerce,” the lavish department stores springing up in Paris and, soon after, around the world.
During the Q&A that followed her slide-illustrated remarks, Frost and the audience touched upon issues relating to shopping as sensual experience, the rise of credit cards and immediate gratification, and even the lifestyles of today’s rich and famous reality-show stars. The conspicuous excess of LA’s Kardashian Family merited further discussion.
“I ask my students, ‘With all the better options out there, why are we watching these people?’” Frost related. “They respond that, ‘The Kardashians, and others like them… their lives are so screwed up, it makes us feel better.’”
Designed to connect women in the community with UW-Green Bay, After Thoughts gatherings showcase talented faculty and staff and convene women after their workdays for learning, enrichment and fun. The sessions provide “After Thoughts” for participants to take with them when they leave.
The series resumes March 13, 2012, when UW-Green Bay alumna and president and publisher of The Des Moines Register Laura Hollingsworth will present the first talk of the spring semester. The final After Thoughts event of 2011-12 will feature UW-Green Bay Theatre Prof. Laura Riddle in an April 10, 2012 presentation.
– Photos by Eric Miller, Office of Marketing and University Communication