Events

    2021 Jul 20

    Book Talk with Tiya Miles

    4:00pm

    Location: 

    Harvard Radcliffe Institute—Online

    The second installment of the Virtual Radcliffe Book Talks will feature Tiya Miles, author of All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, a Black Family Keepsake (Random House, 2021). Miles is a Radcliffe Alumnae Professor at Harvard Radcliffe Institute and a professor of history in the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

    Miles's reading will be followed by a discussion with Tomiko Brown-Nagin, dean of Harvard Radcliffe Institute, Daniel P.S. Paul Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School, professor of history in the Harvard Faculty of Arts and...

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    2021 Jul 13

    Book Talk with Clint Smith

    4:00pm

    Location: 

    Harvard Radcliffe Institute—Online

    The first installment in the summer series of Virtual Radcliffe Book Talks will feature Clint Smith, author of How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America (Little, Brown and Company, 2021) and staff writer at The Atlantic. Smith's reading will be followed by a discussion with Kyera Singleton, executive director of the Royall House and Slave Quarters, in Medford, Massachusetts. The event will also include audience Q and A.

    ...

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    2021 Jun 14

    Martin Luther King & The Struggle for Voting Rights, Making Democracy Work

    3:00pm to 5:00pm

    Location: 

    Harvard Business School—Online

    Join us for a special session in which Professor David Moss, author of the acclaimed book “Democracy: A Case Study,” makes history come alive with an audience-driven discussion of Martin Luther King Jr. and the struggle for voting rights. Professor Moss will bring his wildly popular approach to teaching the history of American democracy to a new stage in this public forum hosted by Harvard Business School.

    So please bring your ideas, and leave your preconceptions at the door. It will be an afternoon that challenges the way you think about America’s history and civic life – and...

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    2021 Jun 10

    How We Incarcerate Young People: A Conversation about Policy and Neuroscience

    4:00pm

    Location: 

    Harvard Radcliffe Institute—Online

    Across the United States, children under the age of 18 can be tried as adults in criminal court. Although the practice is condemned by international law, we are the only country in the world that sentences young people to life in prison without the possibility of parole. At the same time, recent developments in neuroscience research demonstrate that the human brain is not fully developed until after the age of 25.

    This program will consider the ways we punish young people in the American criminal legal system and how our policies could be reformed. We will bring together a...

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    2021 Jun 02

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

    12:00pm to 1:00pm

    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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    2021 May 28

    Radcliffe Day 2021

    12:00pm to 2:30pm

    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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    2021 Apr 29

    Performance and Ritual in Ancient Egyptian Funerary Practice

    6:00pm to 7:00pm

    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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    2021 Apr 21

    The Dawn of Olmec Civilization

    6:00pm to 7:00pm

    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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    2021 Apr 16

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

    2:00pm to 3:00pm

    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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    2021 Apr 09

    Gender Rights in the Time of Pandemic

    12:00pm to 1:00pm

    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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    2021 Apr 08

    Stories of Women from Jaina Island Maya Figurines

    6:00pm to 7:00pm

    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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    2021 Apr 07

    Recovering the Histories of Seven Enslaved Americans

    6:00pm to 7:00pm

    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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    2021 Apr 06

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

    12:30pm to 1:00pm

    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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    2021 Apr 01

    Race, Representation, and Agassiz’s Brazilian Fantasy

    4:00pm to 5:30pm

    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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    2021 Mar 25

    Black Is Queen: The Divine Feminine in Kush

    6:00pm to 7:00pm

    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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    2021 Mar 17

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

    6:00pm to 7:00pm

    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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    2021 Mar 15

    Black and White Thinking: A Conversation with Cord Whitaker

    5:00pm to 6:30pm

    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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    2021 Mar 11

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

    7:30pm to 9:00pm

    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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    2021 Mar 10

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

    12:00pm

    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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    2021 Mar 08

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

    7:00pm

    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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