Visiting Fellows and Speakers

Lynn Novick
Lynn Novick

What Nonfiction Narratives Reveal
Wednesday, January 31, 5:30 p.m.
Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum

Lynn Novick is an Emmy and Peabody Award-winning documentary filmmaker. For nearly 30 years, she has been producing and directing films about American history and culture, among them some of the most acclaimed and top-rated documentaries to have aired on PBS. Her films include Prohibition, Baseball, Jazz, Frank Lloyd Wright and The War, a seven part, 15-hour exploration of ordinary Americans’ experiences in World War II.

The Vietnam War, Novick’s newest project co-directed by long-time partner Ken Burns, first aired on PBS in September 2017. An immersive, 10-part, 18-hour epic, it is the first major documentary assessment in a generation of one of the most divisive and consequential events in American history. A groundbreaking 360-degree exploration of the war, the series features testimony from nearly 100 witnesses, including many Americans who fought in the war and others who opposed it, as well as Vietnamese combatants and civilians from the winning and losing sides.

Novick is currently working on a two-part biography of Ernest Hemingway, co-directed by Burns and slated for completion in 2020, and College Behind Bars, a feature length documentary produced by Sarah Botstein, about a group of men and women imprisoned in New York State for serious crimes, struggling to earn degrees in a rigorous liberal arts college program – the Bard Prison Initiative. College Behind Bars asks several essential questions: What is prison for? Who in America has access to educational opportunity? Can we have justice without redemption? The film will air on PBS in 2018.

 
Danielle Allen
Danielle Allen

The Declaration of Independence: Lessons for Citizenship in Challenging Times
Thursday, February 8, 5:30 p.m.
Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum

Danielle Allen, James Bryant Conant University Professor at Harvard University, and director of Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, is a political theorist who has published broadly in democratic theory, political sociology, and the history of political thought. She is widely known for her work on justice and citizenship in both ancient Athens and modern America.

Before joining Harvard, she was UPS Foundation Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, the first African American faculty member to be appointed to the Institute that was Einstein’s home for two decades. She is also a contributing columnist for the Washington Post.

Allen is the author of six books, including Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality, which won the Francis Parkman Prize from the Society of American Historians and the Chicago Tribune’s Heartland Prize for Nonfiction and CUZ: The Life and Times of Michael A. (2017)

She is a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and the American Philosophical Society and a 2001 winner of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.

 

 
Yve-Alain Bois
Yve-Alain Bois

The Billboard and the Icon
Monday, February 12, 5:30 p.m.
Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum

Yve-Alain Bois, professor of art history at the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, is a specialist in twentieth-century European and American art. Bois is recognized as an expert on a wide range of artists, from Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso to Piet Mondrian, Barnett Newman, and Ellsworth Kelly. Bois is currently working on several long-term projects, foremost among them the catalogue raisonné of Ellsworth Kelly’s paintings and sculptures, the second volume out of a planned five volumes.

 

 
Alex Ross
Alex Ross

Wagnerian Modernism
Wednesday, February 21, 5:30 p.m.
Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum

Alex Ross has been contributing to The New Yorker since 1993, and became the magazine’s music critic in 1996. He writes about classical music, covering the field from the Metropolitan Opera to the downtown avant-garde, and has also contributed essays on pop music, literature, twentieth-century history, and gay life. His first book, “The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century,” a cultural history of music since 1900, won a National Book Critics Circle award and the Guardian First Book Award, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

 

 
Alice Sebold
Alice Sebold

We Move As a Group: Uniting the Genders in the Fight Against Rape Culture
Monday, April 9, 5:30 p.m.
Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum
Photo Credit: Becky Sapp

Despite its dark subjects of rape, child murder, and the dissolution of families, Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones was one of the best-reviewed novels of the '00s. The book, which was later adapted for cinema, quickly became an unprecedented international bestseller, with translations in over 45 languages with American sales alone of over five million copies. Three months after the publication of The Lovely Bones, Sebold’s 1999 memoir Lucky, an account of her rape at the age of 18 and the trial that followed, also rose to number one on The New York Times bestseller list.

The Almost Moon, Sebold's 2007 controversial second novel, another #1 bestseller, generated more critical discord—both laudatory and negative—as Sebold plunged into taboo territories of matricide, mental illness, and profound ambivalence about mother/daughter relationships.

Born in Madison, Wisconsin, Sebold grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia and attended Syracuse University as well as the University of Houston and UC Irvine. She has contributed to numerous anthologies and edited The Best American Short Stories 2009.

 

 
Adam Zagajewski
Adam Zagajewski

An Evening of Poetry
Wednesday, April 25, 5:30 p.m.
Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum

A major figure of the Polish New Wave literary movement of the early 1970s and of the anti-Communist Solidarity movement of the 1980s, Adam Zagajewski is the author of Unseen Hand; Eternal Enemies; and Without End: New and Selected Poems, which was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award. Zagajewski’s other collections of poetry include Mysticism for Beginners, Canvas, and Tremor: Selected Poems. His most recent publication Slight Exaggerations, a collection of essays, was published in early 2017. He is also the author of a book of essays and literary sketches, Two Cities: On Exile, History and the Imagination, and of Solidarity, Solitude: Essays.

The New York Review of Books states “Zagajewski is now one of the most familiar and highly regarded names in poetry both in Europe and in this country.”

 


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