Hall Center for The Humanities

Katherine Boo – Investigative journalist and author

September 16, 2014
Woodruff Auditorium, Kansas Union

Boo's book Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity was a smash New York Times bestseller and is the recipient of the National Book Award in Nonfiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Global change and inequality is given a human face through the story of families striving toward a better life in Annawadi.

John Symons – Chair & Professor of Philosophy, University of Kansas

October 7, 2014
The Commons, Spooner Hall

Philosopher Nick Bostrom recently described a "posthuman" as an individual who has gone beyond "the maximum attainable capacities by any current human being without recourse to new technological means." Symons will discuss the posthuman, including what the term might mean and how we can talk to and think about our posthuman descendants.

Amy Wilentz – Journalist and author, Farewell Fred Voodoo

November 3, 2014
Woodruff Auditorium, Kansas Union

Amy Wilentz is a journalist and author whose works focus on the politics and culture of Haiti. She most recently collected the National Book Critics Circle Award for Best Autobiography for Farewell, Fred Voodoo, based on her years of reporting from Haiti.  Wilentz traces the country's history from its slave plantations through its long and troubled relationship with the United States.

Anna Deavere Smith – Actress and playwright

February 18, 2015
Lied Center Auditorium

Anna Deavere Smith's ground-breaking solo shows blur the lines between theater and journalism, using text from real-life encounters to create gripping portraits of subjects as diverse as author Studs Terkel, a female convict, a Korean shopkeeper, and a bull rider. Prizes she was won include a MacArthur fellowship, the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Award, two Tony nominations, and two Obies.

Natasha Trethewey – U.S. Poet Laureate

March 3, 2015
Woodruff Auditorium, Kansas Union

Natasha Trethewey is the nineteenth United States Poet Laureate. She is the author of Thrall (2012); Native Guard (Houghton Mifflin), for which she won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize; Bellocq's Ophelia (Graywolf, 2002), ; and Domestic Work (Graywolf, 2000). She is also the author of Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast (University of Georgia Press).

James Oakes – Professor of History, City University of New York; OAH Distinguished Lecturer

April 9, 2015
Woodruff Auditorium, Kansas Union

James Oakes is Professor of History at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and OAH Distinguished Lecturer, as well as author of Freedom National: The Destruction of Slavery in the United States, 1861-865 (2013), a history of emancipation that reshapes our understanding of Lincoln, the Civil War, and the end of American slavery.

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