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Lowell Humanities Series

Event Calendar

lowell humanities series

SEP 8SEP 29OCT 14 • OCT 21 • OCT 28NOV 12NOV 18
JAN 27FEB 8MAR 2MAR 16MAR 30 • APR 6


Alice Goffman

Alice Goffman: On The Run

Tuesday, September 8, 2015
7:00 p.m.
Murray Function Room, Yawkey Center

Alice Goffman is an American sociologist, urban ethnographer, and assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her book, On The Run: Fugitive Life in an American City examines the largely hidden world of police beatings, court fees, sentencing hearings, and low level warrants that pervade daily life for young people in one poor Black neighborhood in Philadelphia. On The Run was listed as a Notable Book of 2014 by The New York Times as well as being listed among the best nonfiction books of 2014 by Publisher’s Weekly.

Edwidge Danticat

Fiction Days presents Edwidge Danticat

Tuesday, September 29, 2015
7:00 p.m.
Murray Function Room, Yawkey Center

Edwidge Danticat, who was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti in 1969, is widely considered to be one of the most talented young writers in the United States, celebrated in particular for her impassioned, meditative, and poetically intense prose style.  She became a finalist for the National Book Award at the age of twenty-six for Krik? Krak!, and has received the 1995 Pushcart Short Story Prize and fiction awards from The Carribean Writer, Seventeen, and Essence magazines. Her works include Breath, Eyes, Memory, The Farming of Bones, and Brother I’m Dying.  Her Lowell lecture will be part of a three-day residency at Boston College.

David Ferry

Poetry Days presents a Reading by David Ferry from his Poems and Translation

Wenesday, October 14, 2015
7:00 p.m.
Devlin Hall, Room 101

David Ferry is Hart Professor of English, Emeritus, at Wellesley College;  since his retirement from Wellesley he has frequently been a Visiting Lecturer in the Boston University graduate Creative Writing Program; he is currently a “Distinguished Visiting Scholar” at Suffolk University. Ferry’s most recent books of poetry are Bewilderment: New Poems and Translations and  On This Side of the River: Selected Poems. His translations include The Georgics of Virgil, The Epistles of Horace, The Eclogues of Virgil, The Odes of Horace (1997), and Gilgamesh: A New Rendering in English Verse. He is currently translating the Aeneid of Virgil. Ferry’s prizes and awards include The National Book Award, The Ruth B Lilly Prize, D.Litt. (Hon.), Amherst College, the Harold Morton Landon Translation Prize, an Academy Award for Literature, The 2000 Lenore Marshall Prize, the 2000 Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize, and he was a Fellow at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Bewilderment was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, 2012.

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Ta-Nehisi Coates: Between the World and Me

Wednesday, October 21, 2015
7:00 p.m.
Gasson Hall, Room 100

An Atlantic National Correspondent, Ta-Nehisi Coates has penned many influential articles. His George Polk Award-winning Atlantic cover story on slavery and race, "The Case for Reparations," is one of the most talked-about pieces of nonfiction in recent memory. His new work is Between the World and Me, a slim but powerful book on race and America. In 2014, Coates’s lively Atlantic blog was named by Time as one of the 25 Best in the World. Coates is a former writer for The Village Voice, and a contributor to TimeO, and The New York Times Magazine. In 2012, he was awarded the Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism. Coates is the Journalist in Residence at the School of Journalism at CUNY. He was previously the Martin Luther King Visiting Associate Professor at MIT. Coates’s visit is being presented in partnership with the Winston Center for Leadership and Ethics.

Due to the overwhelming response for this event, we would like to mention Gasson 100 will open at 6:00PM for seating on a first come, first serve basis. We do not reserve seats for Lowell series events. There will be a simulcast space directly adjacent to Gasson 100. We hope you enjoy the event!

James Howard Kunstler

James Howard Kunstler: The Long Emergency

Wednesday, October 28, 2015
7:00 p.m.
Gasson Hall, Room 100

James Howard Kunstler had a successful career as a novelist and journalist. He published his first critique of American architecture and urban planning, The Geography of Nowhere: The Rise and Decline of America’s Manmade Landscape in 1993. He followed Geography with Home from Nowhere: Remaking Our Everyday World for the Twenty-First Century in 1996. The City in Mind: Meditations on the Urban Condition (2001) is Kunstler’s third book in this urban-planning trilogy. In it he examines eight cities—Paris, Atlanta, Mexico City, Berlin, Las Vegas, Rome, Boston and London—discussing the ways in which their design and architecture have shaped their cultures and successes. For his next work, Kunstler trained his eye on the oil crisis. The bestselling book The Long Emergency: Surviving the End of the Oil Age, Climate Change, and Other Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-first Century (2005), explores the sweeping economic, political and social changes that will result from the end of access to cheap fossil fuels. A seasoned journalist, Kunstler continues to write for The Atlantic Monthly,, Rolling Stone, The New York Times Sunday Magazine and the Op-Ed page where he often covers environmental and economic issues.

Michael S. Roth

Michael Roth: Why Liberal Education Matters

Thursday, November 12, 2015
7:00 p.m.
Gasson Hall, Room 100

Michael S. Roth became the 16th president of Wesleyan University in 2007, after having served as Hartley Burr Alexander Professor of Humanities at Scripps College, Associate Director of the Getty Research Institute, and President of the California College of the Arts. At Wesleyan, he has increased grant support for students who receive financial aid and has overseen the launch of the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life, the Shapiro Creative Writing Center, and four new colleges emphasizing interdisciplinary research and cohort building: the College of the Environment, the College of Film and the Moving Image, the College of East Asian Studies and the College of Integrative Sciences. Author and curator (most notably of the exhibition “Sigmund Freud: Conflict and Culture,” which opened at the Library of Congress in 1998), Roth describes his scholarly interests as centered on “how people make sense of the past.” His fifth book, Memory, Trauma and History: Essays on Living with the Past was published in 2012. His most recent book, Beyond the University: Why Liberal Education Matters, is a stirring plea for the kind of education that has, since the founding of the nation, cultivated individual freedom, promulgated civic virtue, and instilled hope for the future. 

Declan Kiberd

Declan Kiberd: Militarism or Modernism? Intellectual Origins of the Easter Rising, Dublin 1916

Wednesday, November 18, 2015
7:00 p.m.
Merkert Hall, Room 127

Declan Kiberd is a member of the English Department and the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies at the University of Notre Dame, where he is the Donald and Marilyn Keough Professor of Irish Studies and professor of English. A leading international authority on the literature of Ireland, both in English and Irish, Kiberd has authored scores of articles and many books, including Synge and the Irish LanguageMen and Feminism in Irish LiteratureIrish ClassicsThe Irish Writer and the WorldInventing Ireland, and, most recently, Ulysses and Us: The Art of Everyday Life in Joyce’s Masterpiece (2009).

Lev Golinkin (image by Diana Lang)

Lev Golinkin: A Backpack, a Bear, and Eight Crates of Vodka

Wednesday, January 27, 2016
7:00 p.m.
Gasson Hall, Room 100

Lev Golinkin is the author of A Backpack, a Bear, and Eight Crates of Vodka. Golinkin, a graduate of Boston College, came to the US as a child refugee from the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkov (now called Kharkiv) in 1990.  His op-eds and essays on the Ukraine crisis have appeared in The New York TimesLos Angeles TimesThe Boston Globe, and, among others; he has been interviewed by WSJ Live and HuffPost Live.

Lev Golinkin's visit to BC is made possible by the Gerson Family Lecture Fund, established by John A. and Jean N. Gerson, P’14.

Mary Catherine Hilkert, O.P. at a seminar in 2010

Mary Catherine Hilkert: The Word of God Entrusted to the Entire Church and the Voices of Women

Monday, February 8, 2016
7:00 p.m.
Room TBD

Mary Catherine Hilkert, O.P. is the author of Naming Grace: Preaching and the Sacramental Imagination (Continuum, 1997), and Speaking with Authority: Catherine of Siena and the Voices of Women Today (Paulist, 2008). Dr. Hilkert was awarded honorary doctorates from Providence College in 2002 and from Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis in 2012. She was the first recipient of Washington Theological Union’s Sophia Award for Theological Excellence in service of ministry in 1997 and she received Barry University's Yves Congar Award for Theological Excellence (2011), and the Ann O’Hara Graff Award from the Women’s. Constructive Theology Seminar of the Catholic Theological Society of America (2012).  

Leslie Jamison

Leslie Jamison: The Empathy Exams

Wednesday, March 2, 2016
7:00 p.m.
Gasson Hall, Room 100

Leslie Jamison’s most recent book, a collection of essays called The Empathy Exams, won the 2012 Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize and spent several weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. It’s a book about medical acting, ultra-runners, prison, parasites, silver mines, gang tours, and—beyond and beneath all else—the possibilities, texture, and limits of compassion. The Empathy Exams was named one of the best books of the year by NPR, The New York Times and Publishers Weekly. A graduate of Harvard College and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop Leslie is currently finishing her PhD at Yale University, where she is writing a dissertation on addiction narratives. She has taught courses in fiction and nonfiction at Wesleyan University, Yale University and the New York University School of Journalism. She also mentors through the PEN Prison Writing Program and has worked—for various stints, in various points—as a baker, an office temp, a barista, a medical actor and an innkeeper. She lives with her husband, the novelist Charles Bock, and their daughter in Brooklyn.

Colm Toibin

Colm Tóibín

Wednesday, March 16, 2016
7:00 p.m.
Gasson Hall, Room 100

Colm Tóibín is the author of eight novels, including Brooklyn and Nora Webster and two collections of stories, Mothers and Sons and The Empty Family. He has been three times shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize; his play The Testament of Mary was nominated for a Tony Award in 2013. His work has been translated into more than thirty languages. He is a Contributing Editor at the London Review of Books and Irene and Sidney B. Silverman Professor of Humanities at Columbia University.

Linda Colley

Linda Colley: Publishing the Word: Constitutions, Print, and War in the Age of Revolutions

Wednesday, March 30, 2016
7:00 p.m.
Gasson Hall, Room 100

Linda Colley is a leading historian who specializes in Britain, empire and nationalism. She is currently Shelby M.C. Davis 1958 Professor of History at Princeton University. She previously held Chairs in history at Yale University and the London School of Economics, and she was the first woman Fellow of Christ’s College, Cambridge University. Linda Colley’s books include In Defiance of Oligarchy: The Tory Party 1714-1760NamierCaptives: Britain, Empire and the World 1600-1850 and The Ordeal of Elizabeth Marsh: A Woman in World History, which was named by The New York Times as one of the ten best books of the year. Her third book, Britons: Forging the Nation 1707-1837 won the Wolfson History Prize. Her work has been translated into ten languages. Her most recent book was the highly-acclaimed Acts of Union and Disunion, which was based on a 15-part BBC Radio 4 series broadcast in January 2014 ahead of the Scottish Independence Referendum and which examines what has held the United Kingdom together—and what might drive it apart.

Afaa Michael Weaver

Poetry Days presents Afaa Michael Weaver: Headphones and Speakerphones, Ideas of Voice in Contemporary Poetry

Wednesday, April 6, 2016
7:00 p.m.
Devlin Hall, Room 101

Despite the poverty and desperation that surrounded him in the East Baltimore neighborhood where he grew up, Afaa Weaver has forged a life that his sharecropper father perhaps dreamed of for his son. Weaver began writing poetry about love and social justice while studying at the University of Maryland, College Park. By the age of 27, he was publishing consistently in small magazines. His verses, which often presented as dialogue, evolved into writing plays. After receiving an NEA grant, Weaver went on to receive numerous awards, such as the Pew Fellowship in Poetry. His most recent award achievement is the prestigious Kingsley-Tufts Award. Since the early days of getting published, Weaver has authored 12 books of poetry, written numerous essays, and two of his plays have been produced. Weaver is now the Alumnae Professor of English at Simmons College.