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"A Writing Life in a 24-Hour News Cycle"

Professor Melissa Harris-Perry is a public intellectual for the twenty-first century. A distinguished professor of political science at Tulane University, where she is the founder and director of the Anna Julia Cooper Project on Race, Gender, and Politics in the South, Professor Harris-Perry is a frequent guest on the local and national news, and she regularly appears on NBC and MSNBC. She is a columnist for The Nation and is extremely active on Twitter. She has taught at the University of Chicago and Princeton University.

Harris-Perry is the author of Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought (2006), the winner of the 2005 W.E.B. Du Bois Book Award. In her new book, Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America; ; For Colored Girls Who've Considered Politics When Being Strong Isn't Enough (2011), she discusses the myths and misconceptions that inhibit black women’s lives. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., praises Sister Citizen: “Melissa Harris-Perry is one of our most trenchant readers of modern black life… This book will change the conversation about the rights, responsibilities, and burdens of citizenship.”

Professor Harris-Perry’s talk, “A Writing Life in a 24-Hour News Cycle,” will examine what it takes to engage in a meaningful writing life in our current age of constant internet, news, and social media attention. As we lose the time that used to be dedicated to single ideas, she wonders, what happens to the traditional basis of a writing life? As she provocatively asks, “Must we have Walden to create meaningful work or can we squeeze our best ideas into 140 characters?”

This lecture is sponsored by The Center for Writing and Public Discourse with generous support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.