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Lowell Humanities Series

Fall 2010 - Spring 2011

lowell humanities series


Fall 2010 Programs


September 13, 2010
Governor Deval Patrick

Governor Patrick was elected in November of 2006, bringing a broad range of leadership experience at the top levels of business, government, and non-profits. Hoping for the best and working for it, as his grandmother used to counsel him, his life has traced a trajectory from the South Side of Chicago to the U.S. Justice Department, Fortune 500 boardrooms, and now the Massachusetts State House.
Watch Governor Patrick’s lecture on Front Row.

September 21, 2010
Dexter Filkins

Dexter Filkins is an foreign correspondent for the New York Times. Filkins’ work in Iraq and Afghanistan has received a number of awards, including a George Polk award for his coverage of the assault on Falluja in November 2004. During the attack on Falluja, Filkins accompanied a company of Marines, a quarter of whom were killed or wounded in eight days. He has been a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize twice, from Iraq and Afghanistan.

September 28, 2010
Jane Brox

Jane Brox is the author of Clearing Land: Legacies of the American Farm; Five Thousand Days Like This One, which was a 1999 finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in nonfiction; and Here and Nowhere Else, which won the L.L. Winship/PEN New England Award. She has received the New England Book Award for nonfiction, and her essays have appeared in many anthologies including Best American Essays, The Norton Book of Nature Writing, and the Pushcart Prize Anthology. She has been awarded grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.
Watch Jane Brox’s lecture on Front Row.

October 13, 2010
Elif Batuman

Elif Batuman was born in New York City, grew up in New Jersey, and now lives in San Francisco. She is the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award and has written for The New Yorker and the London Review of Books on subjects ranging from comedy traffic school, Thai boxing, and graphic novels to psychoanalytic criticism. Her current journalistic projects include a profile of a Turkish master chef, which she reported while recently spending two months in Istanbul; she is also working on a piece about the 700-year-long civic aftermath of Dante Alighieri’s exile from Florence. She teaches at Stanford University.
Watch Elif Batuman’s lecture on Front Row.

October 26, 2010
Eric Klinenberg

Eric Klinenberg is Professor of Sociology at New York University. He is the author of Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago, which won six scholarly and literary prizes and is currently being adapted as a documentary film, and Fighting for Air: The Battle to Control America’s Media, which has been widely cited in debates about the future of media. In addition to his books and scholarship, Klinenberg appears frequently on television and radio, and has written for The New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, The Wall Street Journal, The Nation, The London Review of Books, and NPR’s This American Life.
Watch Eric Klinenberg’s lecture on Front Row.

November 9, 2010
Gish Jen

Gish Jen is the author of three novels – “Typical American,” “Mona in the Promised Land” and “The Love Wife,” – as well as a collection of stories, “Who’s Irish?” Named one of the eight most important contemporary American women writers by critic Elaine Showalter, she is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  Her new novel, entitled World and Town, will be published by Knopf in fall 2010.


Spring 2011 Programs


January 25, 2011

Richard Slotkin - "After the Fact: Writing the Battle of the Crater (1864) as Fiction and as History"
Yawkey Center, Murray Function Room - 7:00 p.m.

Cultural critic and historian Richard Slotkin is best known for his award-winning trilogy on the mythology of the American frontier: Regeneration Through Violence, The Fatal Environment, and Gunfighter Nation. He has also written three historical novels: The Crater: A Novel of the Civil War, The Return of Henry Starr, and Abe: A Novel of the Young Lincoln, which received the 2000 Michael Shaara Award for Civil War Fiction and a 2000 Salon Book Award. Slotkin is Olin Professor of American Studies (Emeritus) at Wesleyan University. He is a frequent consultant on-air commentator on violence, racism, popular culture, the Civil War, and the West.
Watch Richard Slotkin's lecture on Front Row.

February 8, 2011


A personal emergency has obliged Rebecca Skloot to cancel travel and appearances next week; therefore, this visit to Boston College has been cancelled. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Rebecca Skloot, presented in partnership with the Winston Center for Leadership and Ethics
Yawkey Center, Murray Function Room - 7:00 p.m.

It took science writer Rebecca Skloot more than a decade to research and write The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, her debut book. Skloot’s story of the legacy of a 31-year-old black mother of five who died of cervical cancer in 1951, and whose cancerous cells – taken without her knowledge – launched a biomedical revolution, became an instant New York Times bestseller. It is now being made into an HBO movie produced by Oprah Winfrey and Alan Ball. A science writer whose work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, O, the Oprah Magazine, Discover and many other publications, Skloot has written about goldfish surgery, race and medicine, tissue ownership rights, and packs of wild dogs in Manhattan. Her essays have been widely anthologized, and she is the guest editor of The Best American Science Writing 2011. She is also a contributing editor at Popular Science magazine, and has worked as a correspondent for NPR’s RadioLab and PBS’s Nova ScienceNOW.

February 14, 2011

Mark Massa, S.J. - "A Pox on Both Your Houses: Moving beyond the 'Liberal' and 'Conservative' Labels in Catholic Theology"
Devlin Hall, room 101 - 7:00 p.m.

Fr. Massa’s Candlemas Lecture explores a theme of his latest book, The American Catholic Revolution: How the ’60s Changed the Church Forever. A respected theologian, scholar, and culture critic, Massa is also author of the award-winning Catholics and American Culture: Fulton Sheen, Dorothy Day, and the Notre Dame Football Team, and Anti-Catholicism: The Last Acceptable Prejudice? A theology professor and founder-director of the Curran Center for American Catholic Studies at Fordham University, Fr. Massa is now dean of the Boston College School of Theology & Ministry.

February 28, 2011

Christopher Browning - "Holocaust History and Survivor Testimonies: The Starachowice Factory Slave Labor Camps"
Devlin Hall, room 101 - 7:00 p.m.

A cultural critic and historian of the Holocaust, Christopher R. Browning is the Frank Porter Graham Professor of History at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He is known for his 1992 book Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution of Poland, and as an expert witness in two “Holocaust denial” cases: the second Zündel trial in Toronto in 1988 and David Irving’s libel suit against Deborah Libstadt in London in 2000. Browning has served as the J. B. and Maurice Shapiro Senior Scholar (1996) and Ina Levine Senior Scholar (2002-3) at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial.

Watch Christopher Browning's lecture on Front Row.

March 15, 2011

Suketu Mehta
Corcoran Commons, Heights Room - 7:00 p.m.

Suketu Mehta is the New York-based author of Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found, a finalist for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize and winner of the Kiriyama Prize and the Hutch Crossword Award, Lettre Ulysses Prize, the BBC4 Samuel Johnson Prize, and the Guardian First Book Award. He has won the Whiting Writers Award, the O. Henry Prize, and a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship for his fiction. Mehta’s nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, National Geographic, Granta, Harpers Magazine, Time, and Condé Nast Traveler. An associate professor of journalism at New York University, Mehta is currently working on a nonfiction book about immigrants in contemporary New York. He has also written an original screenplay for The Goddess, a Merchant-Ivory film starring Tina Turner, and Mission Kashmir, a Bollywood movie.

Watch Suketu Mehta's lecture on Front Row.

March 22, 2011

Chang-rae Lee
Yawkey Center, Murray Function Room - 7:00 p.m.

Korean-American novelist Chang-rae Lee is the author of Native Speaker (1995), A Gesture Life (1999), Aloft (2004), and The Surrendered, which was published in March 2010. His novels have won numerous awards and citations, including the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award, the American Book Award, and the Barnes & Noble Discover Award. He has also has also written stories and articles for The New Yorker, The New York Times, Time (Asia), Granta, Conde Nast Traveler, Food & Wine, and many other publications. He is currently Director of the Program in Creative Writing and Professor of Creative Writing in the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University.

Watch Chang-rae Lee's lecture on Front Row.

April 12, 2011

Poetry Days presents Brian Turner
Higgins Hall, room 300 - 7:30 p.m.

Brian Turner is a soldier-poet who served seven years in the US Army, including one year as an infantry team leader in Mosul, Iraq with the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. Before that, he was deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1999-2000 with the 10th Mountain Division. His debut book of poems, Here, Bullet, which won the 2005 Beatrice Hawley Award, was a New York Times Editors’ Choice selection in 2005. It also won the 2006 Pen Center USA "Best in the West" award, and the 2007 Poets Prize. Alice James published Turner’s second book of poetry, Phantom Noise, in the spring of 2010. Recently selected one of 50 United States Artists Fellows for 2009, Turner is a contributor to “Home Fires,” a New York Times Opinionator blog that features the writing of men and women who have returned from wartime service in the United States military. He is the recipient of the 2009-2010 Amy Lowell Traveling Scholarship and teaches at Sierra Nevada College.

Watch Brian Turner's lecture on Front Row.

April 29, 2011

Chuck Hogan - "Prince of Thieves and The Town: A Boston Crime Story as Novel and Movie"
Devlin Hall, room 008 – 7:00 p.m.

Chuck Hogan '89 is the New York Times bestselling author of several acclaimed novels, including Devils in Exile, The Killing Moon, and The Standoff. His novel Prince of Thieves was awarded the Hammett Prize for "literary excellence in the field of crime writing," and in 2010 was adapted into the film The Town, directed by and starring Ben Affleck, with Jeremy Renner, Jon Hamm, Rebecca Hall, and Blake Lively. His non-fiction has appeared in The New York Times, and his short fiction has twice been anthologized in The Best American Mystery Stories annual. He is also the co-author, with Oscar-winning filmmaker Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth) of the international bestsellers The Strain and The Fall, published worldwide in twenty-nine languages. He lives outside Boston with his family.

Mr. Hogan will be joined in conversation by Christopher Wilson and Carlo Rotella of BC's English Department. Professor Wilson is a leading expert on American crime fiction; Professor Rotella, director of the Lowell Humanities Series, specializes in urban literature and culture.

Mr. Hogan is the recipient of the 2011 Arts Council Alumni Award for artistic achievement. This event is being presented in conjunction with the BC Arts Festival and co-sponsored by the BC Alumni Association, BC Arts Council, and the Lowell Humanities Series.

Watch Chuck Hogan's conversation on Front Row.