Events

    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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    Lessons Learned from Anti-Equality Mobilization

    Location: 

    Davis Center for Russian & Eurasian Studies—Online

    The 21st century Central European illiberal transformation is a process deeply reliant on gender politics. A feminist analysis is central to understanding the current regime changes, both in terms of their ideological underpinnings, and with respect to their modus operandi. Key aspects of this phenomenon are: 1. opposition to the liberal equality paradigm has become a key ideological space where the illiberal alternative to the post-1989 (neo)liberal project is being forged; 2. family mainstreaming and anti-gender policies have been one of the main pillars on which the illiberal state...

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    A History of Path-Making at the Arnold Arboretum

    Location: 

    Arnold Arboretum—Online

    At the time of its founding in 1872, the land on which the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University is sighted was a patchwork of farmland and forest. As the Arboretum was planted, pathways were developed to lead people through the picturesque landscape. As the landscape developed, economies shifted, wars took place, and directors changed. Each of these factors subtly influenced shifts in the park’s path system. Join the Arnold Arboretum on Zoom with Jared Rubinstein as he reveals the layers of change in this beloved landscape.

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    The Stories We Tell and the Objects We Keep: Asian American Women and the Archives

    Location: 

    Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard—Online

    The stories of Asian American women extend far beyond the geographic borders of the United States. Inspired by tales and objects from family history, their narratives often reflect the transnational nature of Asian American women’s lives. Despite the importance of these narratives to expanding and complicating our understanding of war, migration, inequity, and difference, the accounts and perspectives of Asian American women have often been overlooked in formal records, and the tangible objects providing critical evidence of their histories have been ignored. This program will bring...

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    Latinx Modernism and the Spirit of Latinoamericanismo

    Location: 

    Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard—Online

    John Alba Cutler, associate professor of English and Latinx studies at Northwestern University, is working on a new book examining the prodigious literary archive of early-20th-century Spanish-language newspapers in the United States. Newspapers in Latinx communities from New York to San Diego published tens of thousands of poems, short stories, chronicles, and serialized novels. These works show how Latinx communities grappled with the collision of Latin American and US modernities long before the advent of what we think of as “modern” Latinx literature.

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    Kate Thomas, “Lesbian Arcadia: Desire and Design in the Fin-de-Siècle Garden”

    Location: 

    Harvard Graduate School of Design—Online

    At the end of the nineteenth century, British and American lesbian artists settled around Florence, Italy, renovating neglected Renaissance estates. Contemporary accounts describe the hillside region as colonized by a “cult of women.” These women restored, refashioned and theorized gardens as places of queerly mythic erotic encounter.

    In this lecture Professor Thomas will explore how design features such as nymphaeums, water parterres, secret gardens, grottos and boscos provided both refuge and open-air expression for lesbian subjectivity. Remembering that the first documented...

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    The Popularization of Doubt: Scientific Literacy & Alternative Forms of Knowledge in the Soviet Union after World War II

    Location: 

    Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard—Online

    Alexey Golubev, assistant professor of Russian history and digital humanities at the University of Houston, is working on a new book project: a history of Soviet efforts to produce mass scientific literacy after World War II, when tens and later hundreds of thousands of members of the Soviet intelligentsia were recruited to communicate scientific knowledge to the public through popular science lectures, publications, public experiments and debates, and television shows.

    This mass scientific literacy campaign resulted in a diverse and autonomous network of people and ideas in...

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    And So On: Reading and Conversation with Kiese Laymon

    Location: 

    Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard—Online

    Writer Kiese Laymon will explore whether the actual histories of American colleges and universities should be ripe sites for Black American horror and comedic narratives. Laymon will create a live novella and a live essay during this talk, while questioning the ethics of making art “for” an audience longing for both titillation and innocence from the horrific histories of Black Americans in and around American institutions of higher learning.

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    Art Study Center Seminar at Home: Chinese Gold from the Winthrop Collection

    Location: 

    Online Event

    Since we are unable to welcome you into the museums at this time, we are bringing our experts to you in a new online series, Art Study Center Seminars at Home.

    When Grenville Lindall Winthrop left his extensive collection to the Fogg Art Museum in 1943, it contained three gold plaques dating to China’s Warring States period (475–221 BCE). Never displayed to the public, the plaques remained a mystery until recent excavations and archival records shed new light on their origins. In this seminar, curator Sarah Laursen investigates the decoration and function of the gold...

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    2020 Visions

    Location: 

    Online Event

    Too often, the story of women’s suffrage unfolds in a vacuum, seemingly unconnected from the general contours of American history. This panel discussion looks back from the present, asking experts working in a variety of disciplines and organizations to briefly unfold, TED-talk style, a single “big idea” that captures the significance of the 19th Amendment for voting rights, citizenship, and democracy today.

    This event is free and open to the public, but registration is required.

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    White Whales, White Males, Whitehead with Lisa Jarnot

    Location: 

    Online Event

    This lecture, which is part of the Bagley Wright Lecture Series on Poetry, explores the doctrine of discovery that haunts American poetry. Lisa Jarnot engages in an autobiographical interrogation of what it means to be a woman in a male-centered experimental tradition, and what it means to have white privilege and write poetry. Several questions arise: What do we keep and what do we reject as we acknowledge the systemic racism and American exceptionalism that pervade even the most benign of bohemian writing communities? Is there something transcendent and healing in the poet’s...

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    “Imperfectly Known”: Nicholas Said and the Routes of African American Narrative

    Location: 

    Online Event

    In this lecture, author Ira Dworkin will talk about his book in-progress “’Imperfectly Known’: Nicholas Said and the Routes of African American Narrative,” which examines the ways that the intellectual and political culture of Borno, in northeast Nigeria, shaped Black literary culture in the United States during the 18th and 19th centuries. Focusing on the writings of Said, who came to the United States after his manumission in Europe and who soon thereafter fought in the Civil War, Dworkin’s book broadly considers the relationship of African and Islamic intellectual networks to Black...

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    Washington, Moscow, and the Beginning of the End of the Cold War

    Location: 

    Online Event

    Simon Miles tracks key events in US-Soviet relations in the first half of the 1980s. He argues that covert engagement gave way to overt conversation as both superpowers determined that open diplomacy was the best means of furthering their own, primarily competitive, goals. Miles narrates the history of these dramatic years, as President Ronald Reagan consistently applied a disciplined carrot-and-stick approach, reaching out to Moscow while at the same time excoriating the...

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    Open House Lecture: Nikil Saval, “A Rage in Harlem”

    Location: 

    Harvard Graduate School of Design—Online

    This talk will consider the moment when June Jordan and Buckminster Fuller attempted to reimagine Harlem in the wake of the 1964 riots, considered against a larger context of experiments in social housing, environmental planning, urban rebellion, and Afro-futurism.

    Learn more about and RSVP for Open House Lecture: Nikil Saval, "A Rage in Harlem."

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    Education Justice: Why Prison Classrooms Matter

    Location: 

    Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard—Online

    “What college does, it helps us learn about the nation,” said Rodney Spivey-Jones, a 2017 Bard College graduate currently incarcerated at Fishkill Correctional Facility in New York, in the docuseries College behind Bars. “It helps us become civic beings. It helps us understand that we have an interest in our community, that our community is a part of us and we are a part of it.”

    The Bard Prison Initiative and programs at other institutions of higher learning across the country have brought together teachers and learners in incarcerated spaces for years. This panel will gather...

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    American Cultural Landscapes: Black Roots and Treasures

    Location: 

    Harvard Graduate School of Design—Online

    Everett L. Fly believes that African American legacies are embedded in the physical and cultural substance of many of America’s built and vernacular places. Formal education in architecture introduced him to the positive potential of planning and design in respecting and expressing the cultures of people wherever they live, work and play. He believes that American planning and design should be more deliberate in reflecting and respecting a broader cultural diversity, including Black and Indigenous people.

    Fly will discuss research, discovery, interpretation and applications of...

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    New Blocs, New Maps, New Power

    Location: 

    Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard—Online

    By the early 1980s, a new political landscape was taking shape that would fundamentally influence American society and politics in the decades to come. That year, the long-standing effort to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment—championed by suffragist Alice Paul and introduced to Congress in 1923—ran aground, owing in significant measure to the activism of women who pioneered a new brand of conservatism.

    This panel will draw together strands and stories that are often kept separate: the ideas and growing influence of conservative women, the political activism of gay communities...

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