A Curious Man: The Life and Work of Jay Leyda

Leyda — a scholar, a translator, an artist, an archivist and a teacher — worked across the 20th century in a remarkable array of fields. He left his intellectual mark, in his characteristically understated way, on cinema, photography, music, painting and literature. This symposium brings together scholars from many aspects of Leyda’s life and work in order to spark conversation regarding his influence and legacy.

♿ Free and open to the public. Please register by October 25 to ensure adequate seating for the symposium and lunch on Friday.

The event will be held on the campus of Mount Holyoke College at the Willits-Hallowell Center. A variety of lodging options — including hotels, motels, and bed and breakfasts — are located within a short distance from campus. 

For more information, please contact Robin Blaetz (rblaetz@mtholyoke.edu).


Thursday, November 2

8:00 p.m.
“Leyda and His Musical World,” a concert by the Mount Holyoke College Department of Music. It will present a variety of works associated with Leyda.
Pratt Hall

Friday, November 3

9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Presentations throughout the day. Lunch available for all attendees.
Willits-Hallowell Center

Saturday, November 4

9:00 a.m.–noon
Morning presentations.
Willits-Hallowell Center

Symposium participants and topics of discussion

  • Weihong Bao, University of California, Berkeley (Chinese cinema)
  • Christopher Benfey, Mount Holyoke College (Dickinson and Melville)
  • Nathaniel Brennan, doctoral candidate, New York University (Museum of Modern Art Film Library, Film Studies and the Popular Front)
  • Tom Gunning, University of Chicago (early cinema)
  • Michael Kunichika, Amherst College (Shub, Vertov, Pudovkin and Tarkovsky)
  • Charles Musser, Yale University (Steiner, Evans, Strand and “A Bronx Morning”)
  • Gerald O’Grady, the State University of New York at Buffalo, professor emeritus (Flaherty)
  • Ted Perry, Middlebury College, professor emeritus
  • Harlow Robinson, Northeastern University (Rachmaninoff, Mussorgsky and Hollywood)
  • Masha Salazkina, Concordia University (film education from VGIK to NYU)
  • David Stirk, Princeton University (end of the Cold War)
  • Holger Teschke
  • Alan Trachtenberg, Yale University, professor emeritus (“The Melville Log”)
  • Yuri Tsivian, University of Chicago (for Hannah Frank)
  • And more