Events

    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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    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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    The History of Structural Racism in Charlottesville: Legally-Enforced Segregation and Its Impact on Health

    Location: 

    Harvard Medical School—Online

    Using Charlottesville as a case study, Dayna Bowen Matthew, JD, PhD, Dean and Harold H. Greene Professor of Law at the George Washington University Law School, explores the theory, mechanisms, and impact on health of legally-mandated residential segregation and how we can identify and redress historical inequities.

    ...

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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 Politics of Health Policy: Integrating Racial Justice into Health Care and Clinical Research

    Location: 

    Harvard Medical School—Online

    What are political determinants of health? How have they driven inequities in the U.S. health care system? Daniel Dawes, JD, director of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute Morehouse School of Medicine, shares an inclusive approach to addressing health issues impacting the most vulnerable populations in an increasingly complex...

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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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