Hall Center announces lecture series lineup for 2019-2020

Monday, May 13, 2019

LAWRENCE — The Hall Center for the Humanities has announced its Humanities Lecture Series for 2019-2020. Founded in 1947, the Humanities Lecture Series is the oldest continuing series at the University of Kansas. More than 185 eminent scholars from around the world have participated in the program, including author Salman Rushdie, poet Gwendolyn Brooks and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. Recent speakers have included Neil Gaiman, Siddhartha Mukherjee and Zadie Smith. Shortly after the program’s inception, a lecture by one outstanding KU faculty member was added to the schedule. For more information on the series, visit the Hall Center website.

The first speaker in the series is Brittney Cooper, a writer, teacher, public speaker and the author of "Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower" (2018). An associate professor of women’s & gender studies and Africana studies at Rutgers University, Cooper has published several book chapters and articles on representations of black women in popular culture, including a piece on the representation of the "baby-mama" figure in hip-hop music and film, the feminist implications of Janet Jackson's 2004 Super Bowl mishap and the importance of Michelle Obama in the tradition of black female leadership. Cooper’s scholarly research interrogates the manner in which public black women have theorized racial identity and gender politics as well as the methods they used to operationalize those theories for the uplift of black communities.

Next in the series is KU Professor Sarah Deer, who holds a joint appointment with the School of Public Affairs & Administration and the Department of Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies. A member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma and a long-time activist for the rights of indigenous women, Deer was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2014 and is a 2019 inductee to the National Women’s Hall of Fame. Her scholarship focuses on the intersection of federal Indian law and victims' rights. Deer is the co-author of four textbooks on tribal law and author of "The Beginning and End of Rape: Confronting Sexual Violence in Native America" (2015).

Alan Alda, who will speak at the Lied Center in November, is an actor, writer, director and science advocate. Throughout his career, Alda has won seven Emmys, six Golden Globes, three DGA awards for directing and the SAG Life Achievement Award for career achievement and humanitarian accomplishment. One of TV Guide’s 50 Greatest Television Stars of All Time, Alda is best known for portraying Hawkeye Pierce on "M*A*S*H." A recipient of the National Science Board’s Public Service Award, Alda is a visiting professor at Stony Brook University and a founding member of the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, which develops innovative programs that help scientists communicate with the public. Alda is the author of the New York Times best-selling memoir "Never Have Your Dog Stuffed—And Other Things I've Learned" (2005), "Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself" (2007), and, most recently, "If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face? My Adventures in the Art and Science of Relating and Communication" (2017).

The series will also feature prominent lawyer Nadine Strossen, president of the American Civil Liberties Union from 1991-2008 and currently a professor at NYU Law School. In her recently published book, "HATE: Why We Should Resist It With Free Speech, Not Censorship," Strossen explores how speech is protected under the constitution and how free speech can be used to counter hate speech. With her expert knowledge of the Constitution, Strossen offers useful and applicable strategies for achieving positive outcomes without violating constitutional rights. From government surveillance and decriminalization of drugs to sexual harassment and more, Strossen makes complex issues accessible through the use of illuminating statistics and true-life stories.

Kwame Anthony Appiah, a world-renowned cultural theorist and philosopher, has taught at Princeton, Yale, Cornell, Duke and Harvard. In January of 2014, he took up an appointment as professor of philosophy and law at NYU. Appiah has been named one of Foreign Policy’s Top 100 public intellectuals, one of the Carnegie Corporation’s “Great Immigrants,” and he was awarded a National Humanities Medal by the White House. He considers readers’ ethical quandaries in a weekly column as “The Ethicist” for The New York Times Magazine. From 2009 to 2012 he served as president of the PEN American Center, the world’s oldest human rights organization, and he is currently chair of the Man Booker Prize. His most recent book, "The Lies That Bind: Rethinking Identity," is an exploration of the nature and history of the identities that define us.

These lectures are sponsored in part by the Hall Family Foundation, the Sosland Foundation, the Friends of the Hall Center, the Emily Taylor Center, the KU Office of Multicultural Affairs and KU departments of American Studies, Anthropology, African & African-American Studies, English, Film & Media Studies, History, Political Science, Sociology, Theatre & Dance, Visual Arts, and Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies.

Full schedule below:

Brittney Cooper, “Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower”

Sept. 12, 7:30 p.m., Liberty Hall

Sarah Deer, “Sovereignty of the Soul: Centering the Voices of Native Women”

Oct. 1, 7:30 p.m., The Commons

Alan Alda, “An Evening with Alan Alda”

Nov. 25, 7:30 p.m., The Lied Center

Nadine Strossen, “HATE: Why We Should Resist It with Free Speech, Not Censorship”

Feb. 27, 2020, 7:30 p.m., Lawrence Public Library

Kwame Anthony Appiah, “The Lies That Bind”

March 26, 2020, 7:30 p.m., KU Memorial Union Ballroom