2010 - 2011

Chris Abani

Monday-Friday October 25-29, 2010
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Chris Abani is a professor at the University of California-Riverside in the Department of Creative Writing. He is the recipient of the PEN USA Freedom-to-Write Award, the Prince Claus Award, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, a California Book Award, a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, a PEN Beyond the Margins Award, the PEN Hemingway Book Prize & a Guggenheim Award.  Abani's prose includes Song For Night (Akashic, 2007), The Virgin of Flames (Penguin, 2007), Becoming Abigail (Akashic, 2006), GraceLand (FSG, 2004), and Masters of the Board(Delta, 1985). His poetry collections are Hands Washing Water (Copper Canyon, 2006), Dog Woman (Red Hen, 2004), Daphne's Lot (Red Hen, 2003), and Kalakuta Republic (Saqi, 2001).  Abani earned his B.A. in English and Literary Studies at Imo State University, Nigeria in 1991, his M.A. in Gender, Society, and Culture at Birkbeck College, UK in 1995, his M.A. in English at the University of Southern California, USA in 2002, and his Ph.D. in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Southern California, USA in 2004.

Martha Nussbaum

Thursday,February 10, 2011 7:00 p.m
Not For Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities 
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Martha Nussbaum is the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago, with appointments in the Philosophy Department, Law School, and Divinity School. She is an Associate in the Classics Department and the Political Science Department, a Member of the Committee on Southern Asian Studies, and a Board Member of the Human Rights Program. She is the founder and Coordinator of the Center for Comparative Constitutionalism. She has taught at Harvard, Brown, and Oxford Universities and has received honorary degrees from thirty-seven colleges and universities in the U. S., Canada, Asia, and Europe. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Brandeis Creative Arts Award in Non-Fiction, the Grawemeyer Award in Education, the book award of the North American Society for Social Philosophy, and the Association of American University Publishers Professional and Scholarly Book Award for Law. In 2009 she won the A.SK award from the German Social Science Research Council for (WZB) for her contributions to "social system reform," and the American Philosophical Society's Henry M. Phillips Prize in Jurisprudence. She is the author of fifteen books, including, most recently, From Disgust to Humanity: Sexual Orientation and Constitutional Law (2010), and Not For Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities (2010). Her Supreme Court Foreword, "Constitutions and Capabilities," appeared in 2007 and will ultimately become a book to be published by Harvard.

Anna Deavere Smith 

Monday, September 13, 2010 7:00 p.m
The Changing Landscape of Doctor-Patient Relationships
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Anna Deavere Smith is a University Professor at New York University Tisch School of the Arts, and is affiliated with the NYU School of Law. She has held appointments at Stanford and at the Yale School of Medicine. She was recently commissioned by the Stanford University Medical School to create a project on diversity in the medical school. An actor, playwright and author, she is the author of, most recently, Letters to a Young Artist and Let Me Down Easy. Looking at controversial events from multiple points of view, Professor Smith's theater and film work combines the journalistic technique of interviewing her subjects with the art of interpreting their words through her performance. Professor Smith is the founder and director of the Institute on the Arts and Civic Dialogue, dedicated to supporting the development of works of art that deal with social issues in a cross-disciplinary atmosphere that includes artists, scholars and audiences. Funded by the Ford Foundation and initially co-hosted by Harvard University's W.E.B. Du Bois Institute and American Repertory Theater, the Institute now resides at New York University. The MacArthur Foundation awarded Professor Smith a prestigious fellowship in 1996, saying she "has created a new form of theater—a blend of theatrical art, social commentary, journalism, and intimate reverie."