Distinguished Lecture

31st Annual Mortenson Distinguished Lecture 

Dr. Agnes Kaposi, Engineer, Educator, Holocaust survivor and Author presents “Engineering Change and the Power of Information: Otherness, Exclusion, Propaganda, Dislocation” 

8 November 2021 | 12:30-2:00 pm CT | Virtual Event    Click here to REGISTER

Followed by a conversation moderated by Dr. Valerie J. Matsumoto, Professor & George and Sakaye Aratani Chair on the Japanese American Incarceration, Redress and Community, UCLA 

Join us for a lecture with Dr. Agnes Kaposi, who brings nearly a century of perspective as she tells her life story and the role of information as a source of power/control resulting in otherness, exclusion, propaganda, dislocation, as well as transformation in engineering change.
A conversation will follow, moderated by Dr. Valerie J. Matsumoto, to connect Dr. Kaposi’s experiences with those of other marginalized and dislocated groups worldwide, such as Japanese Americans, to identify similarities and differences across time and locations, as we aim to understand the Other and rethink some of the most pressing issues that libraries face in promoting equitable communities in our information-intensive and networked society.

This Lecture is in celebration of the Mortenson Center’s 30th Anniversary. See: https://www.library.illinois.edu/mortenson/30th-anniversary/

Postcard (JPG: front :: back | PDF)   Poster (11″x17″ PDF high res | low res)

31st Annual Mortenson Distinguished Lecture Book Giveaway

As part of the 31st Annual Mortenson Distinguished Lecture with Dr. Agnes Kaposi, Engineer, Educator, Holocaust Survivor, and Author of “Yellow Star-Red Star” (i2i Publications, 2020), we are awarding 30 copies of Dr. Kaposi’s autobiography, underscored by comments by the Hungarian historian Dr László Csősz, to add to your institution’s collection and support your informational/educational/cultural program or activity.

The first 30 applicants representing different geographic regions who submit by November 1st, a qualified application describing targeted reach and thoughtful engagement with the book’s subject matter, and committing to promoting their proposed activity, will be awarded a book. Winners will be announced at the Lecture and notified by email. Books will be mailed to the winners.

Only ONE SUBMISSION may be made by a library, information center or cultural institution.

Engineering Change and the Power of Information: Otherness, Exclusion, Propaganda, Dislocation

The aim of Engineering Change with Dr. Agnes Kaposi is to understand the Other and mobilize our libraries to provide more effective and equitable services and programs to underserved communities. Engineering Change is organized in two parts: the Lecture (setting the context) and two stand-alone 1.5-hour Workshops to facilitate library staff to take action.

THE LECTURE – November 8, 2021
We all have a story to tell. Our stories are influenced by our family’s history and how they tell it, our homeland, the political forces around us from our birth, and our emotional life, innate intelligence, education, and resiliency.  And luck.

Dr Agnes Kaposi is an Hungarian-born British engineer living in London. She has lived through some of the most cataclysmic events of 20th and 21st centuries — the Holocaust, the Communist regime in Hungary, becoming a UK citizen, breaking the glass ceiling in industry and academia in the 1960s, and working internationally as researcher, consultant and educator. At 89, she helps adults and young people to learn from her story about the encroaching forces of nationalism, ethnic hatred, sexist prejudice and fear of the “other” in our midst. Libraries, at times forbidden to her and at times a respite, have played a strong role in her life.

Libraries as public spaces can play a leading role in building a compassionate, engaged civil society. But the challenges of our communities and our patrons today are many: economic and racial exclusion; the barrage of “fake news” and propaganda; and the brutality of dislocation and relocation.

Join us for a lecture with Dr. Kaposi, who brings nearly a century of perspective as she tells her life story and the role of information as a source of power/control over advancing otherness, exclusion, propaganda, dislocation, as well as the catalyst of transformation in engineering change. A conversation will follow, moderated by Dr. Valerie J. Matsumoto, to connect Dr. Kaposi’s experiences with those of other marginalized and dislocated groups worldwide, such as Japanese Americans, to identify similarities and differences across time and locations, as we aim to understand the Other and rethink some of the most pressing issues that libraries face in promoting equitable communities in our information-intensive and networked society. Valerie J. Matsumoto is a Professor in the Department of History and the Department of Asian American Studies, and the George and Sakaye Aratani Endowed Chair on the Japanese American Incarceration, Redress, and Community at UCLA.

THE WORKSHOPS – February 1 and 15, 2022
Two stand-alone 1.5-hour workshops to facilitate library staff to take action. See https://www.library.illinois.edu/mortenson/other-events/ for details.

  • Workshop 1: February 1, 2022, 8:00-1:30 am CT
  • Workshop 2: February 15, 2022, 1:00-2:30 pm CT

Dr. Agnes Kaposi was born in Hungary in 1932, a year before Hitler came to power. She started school at the outbreak of World War II. Many of her family and friends were murdered in the Holocaust, together with half a million other Hungarian Jews, but a series of miracles and coincidences allowed her to survive. She worked at age 11 as a child labourer in the agricultural and armament camps of Austria and was liberated by a rampaging Soviet Army. She struggled through post-war hardship to re-enter Hungarian society, only to be caught up for a decade in the vice of Stalinism. In 1956, the Hungarian revolution offered the opportunity to escape. Entering Britain as a graduate engineer, she started a family and built a career as a researcher, educator and consultant. She was the third woman to become a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering. She is the author of a recent memoir co-written with historian Laszlo Csosz of University of Budapest, Yellow Star-Red Star (i2i Publications, Manchester).

More information on Dr. Agnes Kaposi here.

Dr. Valerie J. Matsumoto is a professor in the Department of History and the Department of Asian American Studies at UCLA. In addition to her book City Girls: The Nisei Social World in Los Angeles, 1920-1950, she is the author of Farming the Home Place: A Japanese American Community in California, 1919-1982 and co-edited the essay collection Over the Edge: Remapping the American West. She was the first recipient of the Toshio and Doris Hoshide Distinguished Teaching Award, received the UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award, and has twice received the Award for Excellence in Graduate Mentoring and Teaching from the UCLA Asian American Studies Graduate Student Association. In 2017 she was appointed to the George and Sakaye Aratani Endowed Chair on the Japanese American Incarceration, Redress, and Community.

More information on Dr. Valerie J. Matsumoto here.

Yellow Star-Red Star is the poignant memoir of Dr Agnes Kaposi, a Hungarian-born British engineer, educator, author and Holocaust survivor.

Dr Agnes Kaposi was born in Hungary in 1932, a year before Hitler came to power. She started school at the outbreak of World War II. Many of her family and friends were murdered in the Holocaust, together with half a million other Hungarian Jews, but a series of miracles and coincidences allowed her to survive. She worked as a child labourer in the agricultural and armament camps of Austria and was liberated by a rampaging Soviet Army.

She struggled through post-war hardship to re-enter Hungarian society, only to be caught up for a decade in the vice of Stalinism. In 1956, the Hungarian revolution offered the opportunity to escape. Entering Britain as a graduate engineer, she started a family and built a career as a researcher, educator and consultant. She was the third woman to become a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Her memoir is thoroughly researched and written with compassion and optimism, without self-pity. The tone is light and there is plenty of irony and even humour.  The narrative is underscored by the historian Dr László Csősz and illustrated by maps, documents, archival images and family photographs.  This book goes beyond the recollections of a survivor – it is an appeal to all of us to fight against prejudice and for human rights.

Source: http://agneskaposi.com/



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The Heritage of Knowledge and Contemporary Life

Edwin Thumboo
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