Fall 2021- Spring 2022

 Isabel Wilkerson

Isabel Wilkerson
Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents
September 8 | 7:00 p.m.

Wednesday, September 8, 2021
7:00 p.m. | Virtual

A leading figure in narrative nonfiction and a Pulitzer Prize winner, Wilkerson is an interpreter of the human condition and an impassioned voice for demonstrating how history can help us understand ourselves, our country, and the current era of upheaval. She is a daughter of the Great Migration--the mass movement that she wrote about in her debut work, The Warmth of Other Suns, which won awards including the National Book Critics Circle Award and Heartland Prize for Nonfiction.

She will speak on topic of her new book Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents. “Beyond race, class, or other factors, there is a powerful caste system that influences people’s lives and behavior and the nation’s fate,” according to publisher Penguin Random House

.Cosponsored by the Office of the Provost, the Winston Center for Leadership and Ethics, the Jesuit Institute, BC Law School, and the Boston College Forum on Racial Justice in America.

Beth Lew-Williams

Beth Lew-Williams
“The Chinese Must Go: A History of Anti-Asian Violence”

Wednesday, September 29, 2021
7:00 p.m. | Virtual

A Princeton University associate professor of history, Lew-Williams’ teaching and research examines race and migration in the United States, specializing in Asian American history. Her book, The Chinese Must Go: Violence, Exclusion, and the Making of the Alien in America,won the Ray Allen Billington Prize and Ellis W. Halley Prize from the Organization of American Historians.

With Endowment for the Humanities support, her next book project, John Doe Chinaman, will consider the policing of Chinese migrants in the American West.

She will speak on the topic of The Chinese Must Go": the eruption of anti-Chinese violence in the American West in 1885. Following the massacre of Chinese miners in Wyoming Territory, more than 165 communities in California and the Pacific Northwest harassed, assaulted, and expelled thousands of Chinese migrants. She will discuss this violence within the broader history of anti-Asian violence, and reflect on the present-day implications, as we confront a new surge of anti-Asian hate crimes amid the pandemic

.Cosponsored by the Asian American Studies Program and the History Department.

 Dina Nayeri

Dina Nayeri:
“The Ungrateful Refugee"

Wednesday, October 20, 2021
7:00 p.m. | Virtual

Nayeri is the author of The Ungrateful Refugee, a finalist for the 2019 Kirkus Prize and Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

A 2019 Columbia Institute for Ideas and Imagination Fellow, winner of the 2018 UNESCO City of Literature Paul Engle Prize, a National Endowment for the Arts literature grant, O. Henry Prize, Best American Short Stories, and numerous fellowships, her stories and essays have been published by prominent publications. Her debut novel, A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea, was translated to 14 languages; her second, Refuge, was a New York Times editor’s choice.

Nayeri will read from The Ungrateful Refugee. At age eight, she fled Iran with her mother and brother and lived in a refugee camp before being granted asylum in the U.S. She weaves together her own vivid story with those of other refugees and asylum seekers, taking readers through the different stages of their journeys.

Cosponsored by the Fiction Days Series and the English Department.

Bryce Pinkham

Bryce Pinkham:
“Fear Into Fuel: A Gentleman's Guide to Stage Fright and Other Scary Things like Climate Change”

Wednesday, November 3, 2021
7:00 p.m. | Virtual

A 2005 graduate of Boston College, the stage and screen actor is perhaps best known for originating the role of Monty Navarro in the Broadway production of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, which won the Tony Award for best musical. Pinkham's lead performance earned him nominations for both Tony and Grammy awards.

In 2012, Pinkham was awarded the Leonore Annenberg Fellowship, given to “exceptionally talented young dancers, musicians, actors, and visual artists.” Also that year, Pinkham and a fellow actor founded Zara Aina, a non-profit organization devoted to helping at-risk children expand their capacity for achievement through theatrical performance and storytelling.

Pinkham also participates in the theater company Outside the Wire, which takes performances of Greek tragedy to American-military audiences worldwide, to foster discussion about PTSD and soldier suicide.

Cosponsored by the Theatre Department.

Samuel Moyn

Samuel Moyn:
“Humane: How the U.S. Abandoned Peace and Reinvented War"

Wednesday, November 10, 2021
7:00 p.m. | Virtual

The Henry R. Luce Professor of Jurisprudence at Yale Law School and professor of history at Yale University, Moyn’s areas of interest in legal scholarship include international law, human rights, the law of war, and legal thought. In intellectual history, he has worked on such subjects as 20th-century European moral and political theory and written books including The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History, and edited or co-edited others. 

Of Humane, Macmillan writes: “Moyn asks a troubling but urgent question: What if efforts to make war more ethical have only shored up the military enterprise and made it sturdier? This provocative book argues that this development might not represent progress at all.”

Cosponsored by the International Studies Program and Global Citizens Project.

Robin Wall Kimmerer

Robin Wall Kimmerer:
“Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants"

Wednesday, December 1, 2021
7:00 p.m. 

Kimmerer is a mother, scientist, decorated professor, enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, and author of Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants. Her first book, Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses, was awarded the John Burroughs Medal for outstanding nature writing, and her other work has appeared in Orion, Whole Terrain, and numerous scientific journals.

She will give a lecture based on Braiding Sweetgrass, of which Milkweed Editions writes: “In a rich braid of reflections, she circles toward a central argument: that the awakening of a wider ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgment and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world.”

Cosponsored by the Environmental Studies Program and the Earth and Environmental Sciences Department.

Kelly Brown Douglas

Kelly Brown Douglas:
“Resurrection Hope in a Time of Crucifying Black Death"

Wednesday, February 2, 2022
7:00 p.m. | Virtual

The Very Reverend Kelly Brown Douglas is dean of the Episcopal Divinity School at Union Theological Seminary, professor of theology at Union College, and also serves as the Canon Theologian at the Washington National Cathedral and Theologian-in- Residence at Trinity Church Wall Street. She will speak about her latest book, Resurrection Hope: A Future Where Black Lives Matter, followed by an audience Q&A.

According to publisher Cokesbury, questions from her son—such as “How do we really know that God cares when Black people are still getting killed? How long do we have to wait for the justice of God?—prompted the theologian to undertake this soul-searching reflection. She reflects on how a "white way of knowing" has come to dominate American identity and even to shape the consciousness of Christians. The author of other groundbreaking books, her presentation is cosponsored by BC's Theology Department and PULSE Program.

Eli Saslow

Eli Saslow:
“Rising Out of Hatred: The Awakening of a Former White Nationalist"

Wednesday, February 23, 2022
7:00 p.m. 

Eli Saslow—a Pulitzer prize-winning Washington Post reporter who has been called “one of the great young journalists in America” —will give a lecture based on his reporting in Rising Out of Hatred. Born out of his Washington Post feature “The White Flight of Derek Black,” the book tells the story of how the one-time heir to America’s white nationalist movement came to question the ideology he helped spread. Based on extensive interviews, it explores the ramifications of Black’s decision to publicly denounce white nationalism in an open letter to the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2013. The award-winning journalist’s forthcoming book, Voices from the Pandemic, is drawn from his ongoing Washington Post oral history project of the same name.

The event is cosponsored by the Journalism and American Studies programs, and the Communication Department.

Claudia Rankine

Claudia Rankine:
“Citizen: An American Lyric"

Wednesday, March 2, 2022
7:00 p.m. 

Claudia Rankine—the author of six collections of poetry—will give a reading from Citizen: An American Lyric, which recounts “mounting racial aggressions in ongoing encounters in 21st-century daily life and in the media,” according to her website. “In essay, image, and poetry, Citizen interrogates the individual and collective effects of racism in our contemporary, often named ‘post-race’ society.” Rankine—Yale University’s Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry, has won several awards, and also is a playwright and author of anthologies.

Her appearance is cosponsored by the American Studies, African and African Diaspora Studies, and PULSE programs, the English, History, and Sociology departments, with support from an Institute for the Liberal Arts Major Grant Award.

Ruha Benjamin

Ruha Benjamin:
“Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code”

Wednesday, March 24, 2022
7:00 p.m. 

Princeton University professor of African American studies and founding director of the Ida B. Wells Just Data Lab, Ruha Benjamin’s work investigates the social dimensions of science, medicine, and technology with a focus on the relationship between innovation and inequity, health and justice, knowledge and power.

She will give a lecture based on her book Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code. Of the book, publisher Wiley writes: “Benjamin cuts through tech-industry hype to understand how emerging technologies can reinforce White supremacy and deepen social inequity…Presenting the concept of the ‘New Jim Code,’ she shows how a range of discriminatory designs encode inequity…” She is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships.

The event is presented by the Park Street Corporation Speaker Series and cosponsored by LHS and the Schiller Institute for Integrated Science and Society.

Kevin Barry

Kevin Barry:
“Writing the West: The Influence of Place, Dialect, and Hauntedness in the Fiction of Kevin Barry

Wednesday, April 6, 2022
7:00 p.m. 

Irish author Kevin Barry— who wrote the award-winning novels City of Bohane, Beatlebone, and Night Boat to Tangier, and the story collections Dark Lies the Island and There Are Little Kingdoms—will speak on the topic of place, dialect, and hauntedness in his novels. Also a playwright and screenwriter, his awards include the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the Goldsmiths Prize, and the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Prize.

This event coincides with the 6th Biannual Conference of the International Flann O’Brien Association, April 6-9—which Boston College is slated to host—in which Barry will participate.

Ada Limon

Ada Limon:
Poetry Days Presents: "Ada Limón: The Carrying"

Wednesday, April 20, 2022
7:00 p.m. 

Ada Limón is the author of five books of poetry, including The Carrying, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry and was named one of the top five poetry books of the year (2018) by The Washington Post. She will give a reading from the book, which Milkweed Editions calls: “Vulnerable, tender, acute, these are serious poems, brave poems, exploring with honesty the ambiguous moment between the rapture of youth and the grace of acceptance…Limón shows us, as ever, the persistence of hunger, love, and joy, the dizzying fullness of our too-short lives.”

The award-winning poet is an MFA faculty member of Queens University, and the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center. Her appearance is cosponsored by the Poetry Days Series and the English Department.

Martin Parr

Martin Parr:

Wednesday, May 1, 2022
2:00 p.m. 

One of the best-known documentary photographers of his generation, Martin Parr will speak on his groundbreaking career. His appearance coincides with an exhibition of his work, Martin Parr: Time and Place, at the University’s McMullen Museum of Art. Covering nearly a half a century and comprising more than 135 works, this innovative survey is Parr’s first wide-ranging, and most comprehensive, museum exhibition in the United States. In 2019 the National Portrait Gallery in London held a major exhibition of Parr’s work titled “Only Human.” Parr—a visiting professor of photography at the University of Ulster whose work has been collected by many leading international museums, has published more than 100 books and edited 30.

This event is cosponsored by the McMullen Museum and the Irish Studies program.