Humanities Institute

HI Distinguished Visiting Lecturers

Upcoming Lectures

2020-2022 Lectures

The Humanities in the Environment / the Environment in the Humanities

Our Fall 2021 programming will be virtual

September 29, 2021: Nick Estes

November 10, 2021: Vivien Sansour

Past Lectures

2018-2020 Lectures

Narrative and Social Justice

Emily Greenwood, PhD, Professor and Chair of Classics at Yale University
“Philology and Reparation: Resisting Anti-Human Errors in ‘Great’ Books”

Doris Sommer, PhD, Ira Jewell Williams Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures, and Director of the Cultural Agents Initiative, Harvard University
"Pre-Texts in a Dublin Prison: StoryDads Tell Tall Tales"

Robin Lakoff, PhD, Professor of Linguistics (Emerita), The University of California, Berkeley
"Narrative Control and the Human Project"

Jason De León, PhD, Professor of Anthropology, The University of California, Los Angeles
“Soldiers and Kings: A Photoethnography of Human Smuggling Across Mexico”

2016-2018 Lectures

Health, Well-Being, Healing

Arthur Frank, Professor Emeritus of Sociology, University of Calgary
"Hamlet in the Hospital: An Arts-based Response to Suffering Among the Ill and Those Who Care for Them"

Alondra Nelson, Dean of Social Sciences, Columbia University
"The Social Life of DNA"

Joseph Gone, Professor of Psychology, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor
"Rethinking Mental Health Services for American Indian Communities: Postcolonial Perspectives and Possibilities"

Priscilla Wald, Professor of English, Duke University
"Cells, Genes, and Stories: HeLa's Journey from Labs to Literature"

Rita Charon, Professor of Clinical Medicine, Columbia University
"The Shock of Attention: Bodies, Stories, Healing"

2014-2016 Lectures

Imagined Futures

Betty Sue Flowers, Professor Emeritus of English, University of Texas at Austin
Naomi Klein, Author and Filmmaker, 

2011-13 Lectures

Public & Private

Ann Cvetkovich, University of Texas at Austin, "The Secret Life of the Counterarchive: Queer Artists and Their Archives"

Elaine Scarry, Harvard University, "On Beauty and Social Justice"

Kathleen Stewart, University of Texas at Austin, “Worldlings: Scenes of Life in the U.S. Now”

2009-11 Lectures

Intellectual Life at Moments of Crisis

Stephen Sonnenberg, University of Texas at Austin, "War, Violence, and the Humanities"

Rosalyn Deutsche, Barnard College, "Hiroshima after Iraq: A Study in Art and War"

Wendy Brown, University of California, Berkeley, "Privatizing the Public and the Future of the Humanities"

Richard Schechner, New York University, "Dionysus in '69 and '09: Looking Back, Looking Forward"

Martín Espada, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Poetry reading

2008-9 Lectures

Ethical Life in a Global Society

Andrew Nathan, Columbia University, "China’s Challenge to Human Rights: Repression at Home and ’Peaceful Rising’ Abroad"

Javier Kane, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, "Addressing the Needs of Suffering Persons in Our Modern Health Care System"

Steven Collins, University of Chicago, "Civilization and the Single Woman: Buddhism in South and Southeast Asia"

Colin (Joan) Dayan, Vanderbilt University, "Where are the Animals? Understanding Torture, Abuse, and Correction"

2007-8 Lectures

Imagining the Human

Katherine Hayles, Professor of English, University of California, Los Angeles, "Re-envisioning the Human in an Information-Intensive Era"

Michael Mann, Professor of Sociology, University of California, Los Angeles, "Ethnic Cleansing and Racism: How Often Are the Victims Considered Non- or Sub-human?"

Erik Mueggler, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Michigan, "'A World of Slobber and Slime': British Imperial Botany, Technology, and Bewilderment in the Sino-Tibetan Borderlands"

Marc Bekoff, Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder, "Animal Passions and Beastly Virtues: Animal Emotions and Why They Matter"

Paula Findlen, Professor of Italian History, Stanford University, "After Leonardo: The Artist as Scientist in Seventeenth-Century Italy"

2006-7 Lectures

Labor & Leisure

Jim Kakalios, Professor of Physics, University of Minnesota, "Can One Learn Science by Reading Comic Books?"

Gail Hershatter, Professor of History, University of California, Santa Cruz, "The Gender of Memory: Rural Women, Labor, and Collectivization in Early Socialist China"

Michael Zweig, Professor of Economics, State University of New York at Stony Brook, "Class, Values, and Interests in U.S. Politics"

Victoria de Grazia, Professor of Contemporary Civilizaton, Columbia University, "How Democratic are Consumer Societies?"

Robin D. G. Kelley, Professor of Anthropology, Columbia University, "Exploiting Jazz Musicians: The Case of Thelonious Monk"

2005-6 Lectures

Remembering and Forgetting, Collecting and Discarding

David Blight, Professor of American History, Yale University, "The Historical Memory Boom: Why? And Why Now?"

James Young, Professor of English and Judaic Studies, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, "Memory and the Monument Before and After 9/11"

James Clifford, Professor of History of Consciousness, University of California, Santa Cruz, "Remembering Indigenous Futures"

Marita Sturken, Professor of Culture and Communication, New York University, "Teddy Bears, Snow Globes and the Kitschification of Memory"

2004-5 Lectures

The Work of Religion: Past, Present, and Future

Wendy Doniger, Professor of the History of Religions, University of Chicago, "Magic Rings in Mythic Narratives"

James Cone, Professor of Theology, Union Theological Seminary, "Martin, Malcolm, and Black Theology"

David Tracy, Professor of Theology, University of Chicago Divinity School, "The Open, The Void, The Face: Visions of Reality"

Daniel Boyarin, Professor of Talmudic Culture, University of California at Berkeley, "Why is Rabbi Yohanan a Woman: Platonic Love in the Talmud"

2003-4 Lectures

Modernity: Contexts and Contests, Forms and Futures

Emily Martin, Professor of Anthropology, New York University, "Cultures of Mania: Toward an Anthropology of Mood"

Susan Stanford Friedman, Professor of English and Women's Studies, University of Wisconsin at Madison, "Whose Modernity? The Global Landscape of Modernism"

Achille Mbembe, Professor of History, University of Witswatersrand, "On the Idea of Mass Destruction"

Michael Denning, Professor of American Studies, Yale University, "The Rhetoric of Class in an Age of Globalization"

Lila Abu-Lughod, Professor of Anthropology and Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard University, "In the Name of the Nation: Soap Operas and the Management of Islamic 'Extremists' in Egypt"

2002-3 Lectures

Texas in Global Contexts

Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Professor of Geography, Rutgers University, "What is the Prison Industrial Complex?"

David Harvey, Professor of Anthropology, City University of New York, "Geographical Knowledges/Political Powers"

Saskia Sassen, Professor of Sociology, University of Chicago, "Repositioning Citizenship in a Global Age"

2001-2 Lectures

The Future of Disciplinary Knowledges

Khaled Abou El Fadl, Professor of Law, University of California at Los Angeles, "Authority and Islamic Law Today: Reflections on the Voice of God"

Thomas Cleveland Holt, Professor of History, University of Chicago, "Competing Visions of Race and Nation at the Dawn of the 'American Century'"

Marjorie Garber, Professor of Visual and Environmental Studies, Harvard University, "Who Owns 'Human Nature'?"

Anne Norton, Professor of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania, "Is Responsibility a Vice: Reparations, Retaliations and Revenge"

Stanley Fish, Dean of Arts & Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago, "Holocaust Denial and Academic Freedom"

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