The UMKC Trustees and School of Humanities and Social Sciences are proud to introduce the Marilyn T. and Byron C. Shutz Lecture Series. This annual series hosts lectures, seminars, and workshops in fields such as creative writing, literature, and art history.

Upcoming Events

This Body I Wore

Thursday, November 9, 2023 4:00-5:30 pm (CST)
In-Person Event - Miller Nichols Learning Center, Room 451

Co-Sponsored by UMKC LGBTQIA+ Programs and Services


This in-person event features poet and essayist, Diana Goetsch, who will be presenting her acclaimed memoir, which chronicles the budding trans communities of the late 20th century, and the light it sheds on today’s struggle for trans equality. This Body I Wore, hailed as “achingly beautiful” by The New York Times Book Review, takes readers on the most personal of journeys—the working out of one’s gender identity—and its public ramifications, over a span of five decades of national change. The “newest minority” in American culture seems to have come out of nowhere—except it didn’t.

Diana Goetsch is an American poet and essayist, author of eight poetry collections, the acclaimed memoir This Body I Wore, and dozens of features and columns. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, The Gettysburg Review, LitHub, Tricycle, The American Scholar, The LA Times, The Chicago Tribune, Best American Poetry, and The Pushcart Prize. Her honors include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Grace Paley Teaching Fellowship at The New School.

portrait of Diana Goetsch

This Year's Past Events

Curating as an Act of Material and Social Care

Thursday, September 21, 2023 4:00-5:30 pm (CDT)

Video Recording

The verb “to curate” originates in Latin and means “to take care.” It is now broadly applied to a wide range of acts of selecting and displaying not only artworks, but also many other types of images and objects in both physical and virtual space. While curating has always implied attentive processes of looking after artifacts, the term has increasingly acquired connections with acts of social care woven around art in exhibition settings. The proliferation of socially engaged art practices and growing concerns over deepening social divisions have considerably contributed to an expanded curatorial agenda. The Covid-19 pandemic has rendered the need for curators’ commitment to fostering social consciousness even better evident. This panel seeks to address how curatorial acts can constitute or mediate radical acts of care. It inquires into the most effective ways in which curatorial approaches can fuel equitable partnerships between artists and communities. It also explores how curatorial acts will transform in conjunction with recent advances in AI.

Mary Jane Jacob is a curator and writer who championed public, site-specific, and socially engaged art as a shared practice and discourse. A professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, in 2018 she authored Dewey for Artists with the University of Chicago Press. She also published numerous anthologies, spanning from Buddha Mind in Contemporary Art to the Chicago Social Practice History Series. Jacob is curator of the Tate Modern touring exhibition by Polish artist Magdalena Abakanowicz who revolutionized textile art. As the Director of this artist’s charitable foundation, she is working with the European League of Institutions of Arts on a mentorship program between 30 European and 15 Ukrainian schools.
portrait of Mary Jane Jacob
Raechell Smith is a Kansas City-based curator of contemporary art and founding director of the Kansas City Art Institute’s H&R Block Artspace. She has curated numerous one-person and thematic exhibitions engaging with compelling contemporary issues such as divisive political climates, competing historical narratives, and surveillance states. Smith has also commissioned public art projects by internationally renowned artists (e.g. Jenny Holzer, Vik Muniz, Trevor Paglen, Dan Perjovschi, Yara Said) for the Artspace Project Wall. As an advocate for the artists, she has served on numerous local and national advisory panels and boards, including the National Endowment for the Arts, Artadia, Anonymous Was a Woman, and the Missouri Arts Council.
portrait of Raechell Smith
Anuradha Vikram is a writer, curator, and educator based in Los Angeles. They work with process-based, public, and participatory art forms, with a focus on transcultural approaches to technology, social engagement, and the body. They are co-curator of the Getty PST Art exhibition in 2024, “Atmosphere of Sound: Sonic Art in Times of Climate Disruption” with Victoria Vesna and UCLA Art Sci Center; and co-curator for the 2024 Portland Biennial with Jackie Im. Vikram’s book Decolonizing Culture (2017) helped to initiate a global movement to decolonize museums and monuments. Their novel Use Me at Your Own Risk: Visions from the Darkest Timeline was published by X Artists Books in July 2023.
portrait of Anuradha Vikram

Women and Victorian Media

Video Recording

Thursday, October 26, 2023 4:00-5:30 pm (CDT)

This session will explore how the emergence of mass-market media shaped the careers of women writers, the establishment of new reading audiences, and the development of new literary genres in nineteenth-century Britain.

Alexis Easley is Professor of English at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. She is the author of First-Person Anonymous: Women Writers and Victorian Print Media, 1830–70 (Ashgate 2004) and Literary Celebrity, Gender, and Victorian Authorship, 1850–1914 (Delaware UP 2011). She has also co-edited four books, most recently Women, Periodicals, and Print Culture in Britain, 1830s–1900s, with Clare Gill and Beth Rodgers (Edinburgh UP 2019). Her most recent book is New Media and the Rise of the Popular Woman Writer, 1832–60 (Edinburgh UP 2021). She also has two forthcoming books: a facsimile edition of a Victorian scrapbook, Shopping as Comedy (Routledge), and an edited collection, British Writers, Popular Literature, and New Media Innovation, 1820–45 (Edinburgh UP).
portrait of Alexis Easley
Tabitha Sparks is an Associate Professor of the Nineteenth-Century Novel at McGill University, where she also works as an Associate Dean in the Graduate School.  Her publications include Victorian Metafiction (2022) and The Doctor in the Victorian Novel: Family Practices (2009) as well as numerous book chapters, articles, and three edited works. In addition to her work on Victorian fiction and narrative form, Sparks frequently publishes on women's writing, popular fiction, and non-canonical literatures.  She has been a Visiting Professor at Cambridge University (2017-2018), an Erasmus Fellow at the University of Glasgow (2019), an Associate Member of Social Studies of Medicine (McGill) and a script-writer for Civilizations 4, 5 and 6 (Signal Space for Firaxis Games).
portrait of Tabitha Sparks

Laura Vorachek, Professor of English at the University of Dayton, is completing a book on The Society of Women Journalists, 1894-1914 and has written numerous articles on detective fiction, women’s investigative journalism, and popular musicians in the periodical press. She is the 2022 recipient of Research Society for Victorian Periodicals Linda H. Peterson Fellowship. She will discuss how female incognito investigative journalists were perceived as a threat to women's attempts to professionalize and raise the status of journalists at the turn of the century.


portrait of Laura Voracheck