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Lowell Humanities Series Set to Resume at End of the Month

Lowell Humanities Speaker, Karen Russell

By Rosanne Pellegrini | Chronicle Staff

Published: Jan. 17, 2013

The 55-year-old Lowell Humanities Series, under the leadership of Professor of English and American Studies Program Director Carlo Rotella, resumes this semester with a slate of appearances by literary notables and award-winning authors of acclaimed works.

Jan. 31: Elaine Pagels—Princeton University’s Harrington Spear Paine Professor of Religion will deliver this year’s Candlemas lecture, which kicks off the series. Pagels is the author of a major body of work on religious subjects, including The Gnostic Gospels; Adam, Eve and the Serpent; The Origin of Satan; Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas; Reading Judas: The Gospel of Judas and the Shaping of Christianity; and most recently, Revelations: Visions, Prophecy, and Politics in the Book of Revelation. She was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 1981.

Feb. 6: Karen Russell—Author of the celebrated debut novel Swamplandia! and the prize-winning story collection St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised By Wolves, Russell has been featured in The New Yorker’s debut fiction issue and its “20 Under 40” list. She was chosen as one of Granta’s Best Young American Novelists and in 2009 received the “5 Under 35” award from the National Book Foundation. Three of Russell’s short stories were selected for the Best American Short Stories volumes. Currently a writer-in-residence at Bard College, her new collection of stories will be published next month.

Feb. 21: Teju Cole
—Writer, art historian and street photographer, Cole is a Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at Bard College. American-born but raised in Nigeria, he is the author of two books: the novella Every Day is for the Thief and the novel Open City, which won the PEN/Hemingway Award, the New York City Book Award for Fiction, and the Rosenthal Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Open City also was shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the New York Public Library Young Lions Award, and the Ondaatje Prize of the Royal Society of Literature. 

March 20: Carol Gluck
—In her forthcoming book Past Obsessions: World War Two in History and Memory, Gluck considers examples from Europe, Asia and North America that help demonstrate how public memory works, and the challenge that the present preoccupation with memory poses to what is typically considered as history. The Columbia University George Sansom Professor of History, she is also the author of Japan’s Modern Myths: Ideology in the Late Meiji Period; Showa: The Japan of Hirohito; Asia in Western and World History; Words in Motion: Toward a Global Lexicon; and the forthcoming Thinking with the Past: Japan and Modern History.

April 17: Michael Chabon
—Best known for his novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2001, Chabon is a novelist, screenwriter, columnist and short story writer. His debut novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, made him an immediate literary sensation, and his second, Wonder Boys, was made into a critically acclaimed movie of the same name. Chabon’s distinguished body of work also includes Werewolves in Their Youth, The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, Gentlemen of the Road, Summerland, Manhood for Amateurs, and Telegraph Avenue. [Chabon’s campus appearance is through the generous support of the Marianacci family].

Lowell Humanities Series events are open to the public, free of charge. Times, locations and other series details are available at The series is sponsored by the Lowell Institute, BC’s Institute for the Liberal Arts and the Office of the Provost.