Fall 2012 - Spring 2013
lowell humanities series
Fall 2012 Programs
October 3, 2012
Katherine Boo: Behind the Beautiful Forevers
Over twenty-five years as a journalist, Katherine Boo has established herself as a fearless, honest writer dedicated to telling the stories of the poor and disadvantaged on the pages of our most esteemed publications. Writing for The New Yorker, The Washington Post, the Washington City Paper and The Washington Monthly, Boo has profiled marginalized populations in the United States and abroad: from Denver to the Gulf of Mexico to Mumbai. Boo continues her quest to give voice to those without one in her New York Times bestselling book Behind the Beautiful Forevers, a landmark work of narrative nonfiction that tells the dramatic and sometimes heartbreaking story of families striving toward a better life in one of the world’s great, unequal cities: Mumbai, India.
This event is presented in collaboration with the Winston Center for Leadership and Ethics.
October 17, 2012
Paul Muldoon: Presented by Poetry Days
Paul Muldoon is the Poetry Editor of The New Yorker and the Howard G. B. Clark '21 Professor at Princeton University and Chair of the Peter B. Lewis Center for the Arts. His poetry has garnered both the Pulitzer Prize and the T.S. Eliot Prize. Among his books of poetry are New Weather (1973), Mules (1977), Why Brownlee Left (1980), Quoof (1983), Meeting The British (1987), Madoc: A Mystery (1990), The Annals of Chile (1994), Hay (1998), Poems 1968-1998 (2001), Moy Sand and Gravel (2002), Horse Latitudes (2006), and Maggot (2010). Muldoon was born in 1951 in County Armagh, Northern Ireland, and educated in Armagh and at the Queen's University of Belfast. From 1973 to 1986 he worked in Belfast as a radio and television producer for the British Broadcasting Corporation. Between 1999 and 2004 he was Professor of Poetry at the University of Oxford, where he is an honorary Fellow of Hertford College.
November 15, 2012
Anthony Grafton: The Florentine Renaissance Portrait:
Cultural Origins of a New Art Form
Anthony Grafton, the Henry Putnam University Professor of History at Princeton, pursues special interests that include the cultural history of Renaissance Europe, the history of books and readers, the history of scholarship and education in the West from Antiquity to the 19th century, and the history of science from Antiquity to the Renaissance. Among his books, two remarkably wide-ranging collections of essays, Defenders of the Text (1991) and Bring Out Your Dead (2001), cover many of the topics and themes that appeal to him. He has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship (1989), the Los Angeles Times Book Prize (1993), the Balzan Prize for History of Humanities (2002), and the Mellon Foundation’s Distinguished Achievement Award (2003), and is a member of the American Philosophical Society and the British Academy. In 2011 he served as President of the American Historical Association.
November 28, 2012
Jane Mayer has been a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1995. Based in Washington, DC, she writes about politics for the magazine, and has distinguished herself with her coverage of the “war on terror.” Recent subjects include Alberto Mora and the Pentagon’s secret torture policy, how the United States outsources torture (rendition), the prison at Guantánamo Bay, and the legality of CIA interrogations. She has also written about George W. Bush, the bin Laden family, Sarah Palin, and the television show 24. Mayer is the author of the best-selling 2008 book The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals, which was chosen by the New York Times as one of the ten best books of the year, and by the Economist, Salon, Slate, and Bloomberg as one of the best books of the year. She is currently writing about elections and campaign reform.
November 29, 2012
Susan Choi’s first novel, The Foreign Student, won the Asian-American Literary Award for fiction, and her second novel, American Woman, was a finalist for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize. With David Remnick she co-edited the anthology Wonderful Town: New York Stories from The New Yorker, and her nonfiction has appeared in publications including Vogue, Tin House, Allure, O and The New York Times and in anthologies including Money Changes Everything and Brooklyn Was Mine. After studying literature at Yale and writing at Cornell, she worked for several years as a fact-checker for The New Yorker. A recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation, she lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband, Pete Wells, and their sons Dexter and Elliot. Choi will be reading from her upcoming, yet-untitled new novel.
December 5, 2012
Laurent Dubois: Haiti: The Aftershocks of History
Laurent Dubois, the Marcello Lotti Professor of Romance Studies and History at Duke University, is the author of Haiti: The Aftershocks of History (Metropolitan 2012), Soccer Empire: The World Cup and the Future of France (U. California Press, 2010) and Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution (Harvard Univ. Press, 2004), and is currently writing a history of the banjo. Born in Belgium and raised in Bethesda, Maryland, he graduated from Princeton in 1992 and received a doctorate in Anthropology and History from the University of Michigan in 1998. He taught at Harvard and Michigan State University before coming to Duke.
Watch Laurent Dubois's lecture on Front Row.
spring 2013 Programs
January 31, 2013
Elaine Pagels: Revelations: Visions, Prophecy, and Politics in the Book of Revelation
Elaine Pagels, the Harrington Spear Paine Professor of Religion at Princeton University, will deliver this year's Candlemas lecture. Professor Pagels is the author of a major body of work on religious subjects, including The Gnostic Gospels (1979); Adam, Eve and the Serpent (1988); The Origin of Satan (1995); Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas (2003); Reading Judas: The Gospel of Judas and the Shaping of Christianity (2007); and, most recently, Revelations: Visions, Prophecy, and Politics in the Book of Revelation (2012). After receiving her doctorate from Harvard University in 1970, she taught at Barnard College and Columbia University, where she chaired the department of religion. She was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 1981.
February 6, 2013
Karen Russell: SWAMPLANDIA!
Karen Russell, author of the celebrated debut novel Swamplandia! and the prize-winning story collection St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised By Wolves, 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 her short stories have been selected for the Best American Short Stories volumes. She is currently writer-in-residence at Bard College. Her new collection of stories will be published in February.
February 21, 2013
Teju Cole: The Senses of the City
Teju Cole is a writer, art historian, street photographer, and Distinguished Writer in Residence at Bard College. He was born in the US (1975) to Nigerian parents and raised in Nigeria. Cole is the author of two books, a 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, and 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. Cole lives in Brooklyn.
March 20, 2013
Carol Gluck: Past Obsessions: World War II in History and Memory
Murray Function Room
Nearly seventy years after it ended, the Second World War remains a contested issue in history and memory in many countries around the world. In her forthcoming book Past Obsessions: World War Two in History and Memory, Carol Gluck considers examples from Europe, Asia, and North America that help us to understand both how public memory works and the challenge that the present preoccupation with memory poses to what we used to think of as history. Gluck, the George Sansom Professor of History at Columbia University in New York, is also the author of Japan's Modern Myths: Ideology in the Late Meiji Period (1985); Showa: The Japan of Hirohito (1992); Asia in Western and World History (1997); Words in Motion: Toward a Global Lexicon (2009); and Thinking with the Past: Japan and Modern History (forthcoming in 2013).
April 17, 2013
Michael Chabon: Telegraph Avenue
Murray Function Room
Michael Chabon is a novelist, screenwriter, columnist, and short story writer, best known for his novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2001. Chabon, who earned an undergraduate degree in English from the University of Pittsburgh and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of California at Irvine, began writing and publishing short stories between 1987 and 1990, mostly in The New Yorker but also in GQ and Mademoiselle. His debut novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, made him an instant literary sensation, and his second novel, Wonder Boys, was made into a critically acclaimed movie of the same name. His 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. Michael Chabon comes to us thanks to the generous support of the Marianacci family.