Hall Center announces speaker series for 2020-2021

LAWRENCE — The last few months have highlighted the enormous value of the arts and humanities as they inform and inspire people across the United States and around the globe. The Hall Center for the Humanities at the University of Kansas is determined to sustain a lively, thoughtful community of ideas despite physical distancing and so is launching its first summer speaker series, which will take place entirely online.

The Hall Center’s fall programming will begin online and then shift to in-person gatherings once it is safe to do so. All 2020-2021 events will be filmed and livestreamed for those who are unable to attend in person or feel uncomfortable doing so. Visit the Hall Center for the Humanities webpage and follow on social media for updates regarding in-person locations or how to connect to events virtually.

Summer 2020 Speaker Series

July 14: Kwame Anthony Appiah, professor of philosophy and law at New York University, will talk about his recent book, "The Lies That Bind: Rethinking Identity." This event replaces the postponed event from March. 

July 28: Deirdre Cooper Owens, Charles and Linda Wilson Professor in the History of Medicine and director of the Humanities in Medicine Program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and director of the program in African American history at The Library Company of Philadelphia, will talk about her book "Medical Bondage: Race, Gender, and the Origins of American Gynecology." 

Aug. 12: José Olivarez, author, poet and educator, will read from his first book-length poetry collection, "Citizen Illegal," winner of the Chicago Review of Books Poetry Prize, finalist for the prestigious PEN/Jean Stein Book Award and named a top book of 2018 by the New York Public Library.

2020-2021 Speaker Series

Sept. 29: Jerry Mitchell, investigative reporter for the Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi, and MacArthur Fellow, will talk about his new book, "Race Against Time: A Reporter Reopens the Unsolved Murder Cases of the Civil Rights Era." 

Nov. 2: Joy Harjo, 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States, will give a public reading at Haskell Indian Nations University. This event is made possible by a partnership among Humanities Kansas, the Lawrence Public Library, Haskell Indian Nations University and the Hall Center for the Humanities.

Feb. 26: Tara Westover, author of the critically acclaimed memoir, "Educated," will give a talk. Her work was described as “an amazing story and truly inspiring" by Bill Gates and “heart-wrenching . . . a beautiful testament to the power of education to open eyes and change lives” by Amy Chua, The New York Times Book Review.

The Emily Taylor and Marilyn Stokstad Women's Leadership Lecture

A lecture by Irin Carmon, senior correspondent at New York Magazine, CNN contributor and co-author of "Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg" has been postponed until 2021.

Meet KU's Authors

Sept. 23: David Farber, Roy A. Roberts Distinguished Professor of History, will talk about his recent book, "Crack: Rock Cocaine, Street Capitalism, and the Decade of Greed."

Oct. 28: Susan Harris, professor emerita of English, will talk about her new book, "Mark Twain, the World, and Me: Following the Equator, Then and Now."

Migration Stories

Throughout U.S. history, immigration has played a central role in enriching the country's development, yet migrants have repeatedly faced discrimination and controversy over their presence. Forced removal of Indigenous peoples from their ancestral lands and of enslaved Africans from their homelands to the Americas has cast a long shadow over U.S. history. These stories form part of a global narrative in which migration has been a constant, often fraught component of human history. The Hall Center for the Humanities' 2020-2021 speaker series, Migration Stories, features a range of humanities scholars and writers whose work on immigration, especially the stories of those whose lives have included migration, highlights the continued significance and relevance of the humanities to our contemporary world. This speaker series is co-sponsored by the KU Center for Migration Research.

Aug. 12: José Olivarez, author, poet and educator, will read from his first book-length poetry collection, "Citizen Illegal," winner of the Chicago Review of Books Poetry Prize, finalist for the prestigious PEN/Jean Stein Book Award and named a top book of 2018 by the New York Public Library.

Sept. 16: An Evening with Juan Felipe Herrera, 21st Poet Laureate of the United States. His many books include "Border-Crosser with a Lamborghini Dream," "187 Reasons Mexicanos Can't Cross the Border," "Half of the World in Light" and his 2020 work, "Every Day We Get More Illegal."

Oct. 22: Erika Lee (Carnegie Fellow, 2018-2020; Regents Professor, Distinguished McKnight University Professor, the Rudolph J. Vecoli Chair in Immigration History, and the director of the Immigration History Research Center, University of Minnesota) will talk about her latest book, "America for Americans: A History of Xenophobia in the United States."

March 3, 2021: Donna Gabaccia, professor emerita of history, University of Toronto, will speak about her book "Gender and International Migration: From the Slavery Era to the Global Age," co-written with Katharine Donato.

March 25, 2021: Denise Brennan, professor of anthropology at Georgetown University, will talk about her book "Life Interrupted: Trafficking into Forced Labor in the United States."

April 7, 2021: Lual Mayen, who grew up in a refugee camp in Uganda and is now the award-winning CEO of a game development company in Washington, D.C., will give a talk titled "From Refugee to Game Developer: Peacemaking through the Art of Gaming."

Also in spring 2021: A KU research team including Elizabeth MacGonagle, associate professor of history and of African & African American studies and director of the Kansas African Studies Center; Marta Caminero-Santangelo, professor of English and director of the Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies; Abel Chikanda, assistant professor of African & African American studies and of geography & atmospheric science; Meg Jamieson, assistant professor of film & media studies; Brian Rosenblum, librarian for digital scholarship, KU Libraries, and co-director of the Institute for Digital Research in the Humanities; Hannah Britton, professor of political science and of women, gender & sexuality studies; and Sylvia Fernandez, postdoctoral researcher at Hall Center for the Humanities, will give a presentation about their work on the intergenerational stories of Latin American and African migration to the Heartland. The presentation date is not finalized.

Tue, 06/30/2020


Eliott Reeder

Media Contacts

Eliott Reeder

Hall Center for the Humanities