Events

    Multilateral Cultural Diplomacy: A Conversation with UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay

    Location: 

    Harvard Kennedy School, Belfer Center—Online

    In the third installment of the Future of Cultural Diplomacy Series, UNESCO’s Director-General Audrey Azoulay will offer her unique perspective on cultural diplomacy as the leader of one of the world’s largest multilateral agencies focused on education, scientific and cultural issues.

    In a conversation co-moderated by Ambassador Nicholas Burns and Carla Dirlikov Canales, Director-General Azoulay will discuss UNESCO’s current priorities, including education, culture, gender equality, and freedom of expression, and discuss how UNESCO has provided multilateral approaches to...

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    Radcliffe Day 2021

    Location: 

    Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard—Online

    On Radcliffe Day 2021—Friday, May 28—Harvard Radcliffe Institute will award the Radcliffe Medal to Melinda Gates. 

    Expert panelists will then discuss achieving gender equity in the United States, each offering her own perspective informed by deep expertise and unique experience. The discussion will be moderated by the distinguished American historian and Arthur Kingsley Porter University Professor at Harvard University Drew Gilpin Faust, who was founding dean of the Radcliffe Institute and the first woman to serve as president of Harvard.

    Following the panel...

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    Negotiating with Vladimir Putin

    Location: 

    Harvard Law School, Program on Negotiation—Online

    Bruce Allyn applies insight from the fields of negotiation and mediation to define practical steps that both US and Russian sides can take today to realize both individual and shared interests in a relationship that has descended into bitter enmity. We will look at how to "zoom out" to big-picture strategy—realizing what is at stake—and how to "zoom in" to Vladimir Putin the negotiator: his formative years, his heroes, his psychology, his intentions and current aspirations.

    Allyn will examine practical steps to break the cycle of offense and revenge that has...

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    Performance and Ritual in Ancient Egyptian Funerary Practice

    Location: 

    Harvard Museum of the Ancient Near East—Online

    One of the best documented Egyptian rituals—occurring in both cultic and funerary contexts—is known as the Opening of the Mouth ritual. Performing this ritual was believed to animate statues and temples, while also restoring the senses of the deceased, thus ensuring that they could eat, drink, and breathe in the afterlife. Textual and iconographic references to the ritual are found in different time periods, from the Old Kingdom through the Roman Period.

    In this lecture, Mariam Ayad uses the Opening of the Mouth ritual as a case study to illustrate the power of imagery and the...

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    Gutman Library Book Talk: The Education Trap: Schools and the Remaking of Inequality in Boston

    Location: 

    Harvard Graduate School of Education—Online

    For generations, Americans have looked to education as the solution to economic disadvantage. Yet, although more people are earning degrees, the gap between rich and poor is widening. Cristina Groeger delves into the history of this seeming contradiction, explaining how education came to be seen as a panacea even as it paved the way for deepening inequality.

    Learn more about and...

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    The Dawn of Olmec Civilization

    Location: 

    Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology—Online

    The hearth of Olmec civilization is located in the tropical lowlands of Mexico’s southern Gulf Coast region, in the majestic archaeological site of San Lorenzo. The inhabitants of this first Olmec capital developed a distinctive geo-political territory and managed complex trade systems. The Olmec also created spectacular earthen architecture and magnificent stone sculpture—including the famous Colossal Heads—that reflect their stratified social organization and centralized political system backed by religion and directed by hereditary rulers.

    Building on the pioneering work of...

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    Resetting the Table: A Virtual Talk and Tour with the Curators

    Location: 

    Food Literacy Project—Online

    The "Resetting the Table: Food and Our Changing Tastes" exhibition at Harvard’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology explores food choices and eating habits in the United States, including the sometimes hidden but always important ways in which our tables are shaped by cultural, historical, political, and technological influences.

    Join us on this special virtual talk and tour at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology with Joyce Chapli, guest curator and Harvard University James Duncan Phillips Professor of Early American History; Janis Sacco, Director...

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    Gender Rights in the Time of Pandemic

    Location: 

    Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard—Online

    This session will consider what it means to organize for gender rights in global contexts in the 21st century during a pandemic. The speakers will feature diverse geographic and disciplinary perspectives, addressing key issues related to gendered power and difference in Africa, South Asia, and among minoritized people in the United States, including the gendered nature of care labor, rights-based activism in the face of rising global authoritarianisms, and the transnational reach of global protest.

    ...

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    Stories of Women from Jaina Island Maya Figurines

    Location: 

    Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology—Online

    Maya female ceramic figurines from the island of Jaina in Campeche, Mexico, produced in the Late Classic Period (600–900 CE) are admired for their lifelike, poignant, and sometimes amusing characteristics. Long assumed to be elite women or moon goddesses, these figurines reveal a complexity of Maya social life, especially for women, that is rarely seen in other painted ceramics or monumental sculpture. They also offer insights into the culture of Jaina Island, including disturbing enslavement practices.

    Mary Miller will discuss various interpretations of Jaina figurines—...

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    Recovering the Histories of Seven Enslaved Americans

    Location: 

    Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology—Online

    For seven seasons, award-winning Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. has uncovered the ancestral stories of celebrity guests on his hit-television series, Finding Your Roots. In this program, Gates will be joined by Dr. Gregg Hecimovich to discuss the process of unearthing the histories of formerly enslaved people. The focus will be on  Alfred, Delia, Drana, Fassena, Jack, Jim, and Renty, seven Black men and women who were photographed against their will in Columbia, South Carolina in 1850. These controversial photographs are the subject of a new book, To Make Their Own...

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    Art Talk Live: Liberty, Equality, Sorority? A Woman Printmaker in the French Revolution

    Location: 

    Online via Zoom

    The French Revolution saw an explosion of printed media and printmakers—including women, who used their artistic production to participate in the politics they were legally excluded from because of their gender. 

    In this talk, curatorial intern and Ph.D. candidate Sarah Lund will unfold the layers of this large color print, from the radical Jacobin revolutionary who made it and the martyred war hero it depicts to the woman artist who, by blood, by marriage, and by trade, was equally entangled in the print’s politics even as she was excluded from its image.

    ...

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    Race, Representation, and Agassiz’s Brazilian Fantasy

    Location: 

    Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology—Online

    How do we confront the history and legacy of Louis Agassiz’s extensive archive of images of African and Indigenous Brazilians made in Manaus, Brazil in 1865 and housed at Harvard’s Peabody Museum?

    Four distinguished panelists reflect on the historical moment when these pictures were taken, discuss racist displays of Indigenous people in Brazil and elsewhere, and, by bringing to light respect for different epistemologies, explore ways to contend with them today. Panelists will be writer and historian Christoph Irmscher (contributor to the recent Peabody Museum Press book about...

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    U.S. Policy Towards Latin America Under Biden

    Location: 

    David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard—Online

    How will U.S. policy toward Latin America change under the Biden Administration? Will we see a return to Obama era policies, or something new? What are the new administration’s principal priorities and challenges in Latin America? What should they be? Four experts on U.S.-Latin American relations discuss changes and continuities in the post-Trump era.

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    Black Is Queen: The Divine Feminine in Kush

    Location: 

    Harvard Museum of the Ancient Near East—Online

    The prominence of powerful goddesses and queens in the Nubian Kingdom of Kush (now Northern Sudan) highlights the unusually high status of women in this ancient African society and serves as a fitting focus for the study of female power in the ancient world. Using temple inscriptions found in Egypt and Nubia, the rich funerary goods found in royal burials, and temple and tomb imagery, Solange Ashby will discuss how ancient Africans of the Nile Valley understood female power and presence. Songs from Beyoncé’s recent production "Black Is King" will be woven into this presentation on...

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    "The Polynesian Problem": Western Studies of Pacific Islander Origins

    Location: 

    Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology—Online

    "What is a Polynesian?" This is a question with a long and troubling history embedded in settler colonialism. From Europeans’ earliest encounters with the Pacific, White Europeans expressed a fascination and partial identification with the racial origins of Polynesians. Polynesians seemed to represent "natural man" in the purest state. In nineteenth- and early twentieth-century social-scientific studies, Polynesian origins became the subject of intense scrutiny and debate. Physical anthropologists such as Louis R. Sullivan declared Polynesians to be conditionally Caucasian....

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    Black and White Thinking: A Conversation with Cord Whitaker

    Location: 

    Harvard University Committee on Medieval Studies—Online

    Author Cord Whitaker discusses his new book "Black Metaphors: How Modern Racism Emerged from Medieval Race-Thinking" (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019) with Henry Louis Gates Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research.

    ...

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    Catherine Seavitt Nordenson, "The Miasmist: George E. Waring, Jr. and Landscapes of Public Health"

    Location: 

    Harvard Graduate School of Design—Online

    In 1867, nineteenth-century sanitary engineer George E. Waring, Jr. (1833–1898) published an influential manual entitled “Draining for Profit, Draining for Health,” reflecting the obsessions of his gilded age—wealth, health, and miasma. Even as the germ theory emerged, Waring supported the anti-contagionist miasma theory, positing that disease spread through the air as a poisonous vapor, emerging from damp soil. He applied his knowledge of farm drainage to an urban theory of public health, with a drainage plan for Central Park; a sewerage system for Memphis; a transformation of New York...

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    Aesthetics of Memory, Narratives of Repair, and Why Remorse Matters

    Location: 

    Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard—Online

    Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, a professor and South African National Research Foundation Chair in Violent Histories and Transgenerational Trauma at Stellenbosch University, focuses her research on trauma in the aftermath of gross human rights violations and on remorse and forgiveness that emerge in victim-perpetrator dialogues. At Radcliffe, Gobodo-Madikizela returns to the archive of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to think through the horrific violence in contemporary South Africa. Is this violence a reflection of “ghosts” from the past, the death of hope in the present, or a...

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    "Every Pecan Tree": Trees, Meaning, and Memory in Enslaved People’s Lives

    Location: 

    Arnold Arboretum—Online

    This is the third lecture in the Arnold Arboretum's 2021 Director's Lecture Series. Tiya Miles takes up the pecan tree as inspiration for exploring the meaning of trees in the lives of enslaved African Americans. Using a family heirloom, slave narratives, oral histories, and missionary records, her talk underscores the importance of trees in the Black experience of captivity and resistance, ultimately revealing the centrality of the natural world to Black, and indeed human, survival.

    ...

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    The Future of Diplomacy is Female: A Conversation with Secretary Madeleine Albright

    Location: 

    Harvard Kennedy School—Online

    The U.S. and the world are at an inflection point, where resilient leadership and strategic reimagining of alliances, competition, and power are needed to rebuild at home and abroad. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, with her steady voice of reason and analysis, consistently warning of the dangers of fascism and championing the ideals of democracy, is a source of inspiration to women and girls around the world.

    Drawing on her decades of experience, Secretary Albright will discuss the leadership qualities needed to face new diplomatic challenges of the 21st century...

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