This is Vassar: The newsletter for Vassar College Alumnae/i and Families

Photo Credit: Steven Kovich

September Speakers Take the Podium

James Hevia, director of the International Studies Program and professor of international History at the new Collegiate Division at the University of Chicago, will give a lecture entitled “Tribute, Asymmetry and Imperial Formations: Rethinking Relations of Power in East Asia” on September 15. Hevia, whose numerous publications include Cherishing Men from Afar: Qing Guest Ritual and the Macartney Embassy of 1793, winner of the 1997 Joseph R. Levenson Book Prize, has focused his research on empire and imperialism in eastern and central Asia. Read an interview with James Hevia.

Mahmood Mamdani, Herbert Lehman Professor of Government and Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University and former President of the Council for Development of Social Research in Africa, will speak at Vassar on September 21. An important voice in contemporary debates about Africa, Mamdani, who speaks 9 languages, has proved himself an expert in African history, politics, and international relations, In 2001, he was one of nine scholars to present at the Nobel Peace Prize Centennial Symposium, and in 2008, Foreign Policy magazine named him one of the top 100 public intellectuals. His current work focuses on the intersection between politics and culture, and the politicization of culture in the making of political identities. Watch Mahmood Mamdani speak about Save Darfur and the conflict in Sudan.

On September 21, Dickinson College’s Michael Heiman, director and professor of environmental studies, and professor of geography, will deliver a lecture titled “The Inconvenient Truth of Neoliberal Carbon Offset Trading.” With a background in environmental science and social theory, Professor Heiman's research centers on environmental regulation and policy. His publications focus on U.S. and European energy policy, carbon offset trading, and the sustainability of alternative transportation fuels.Read Heiman’s article Race, Waste, and Class: New Perspectives on Environmental Justice.

Thibaut Schilt, assistant professor of French at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA, will deliver the inaugural lecture in the Transnational Queer Lecture Series—a collaborative project among Bucknell University, College of the Holy Cross, Union College, Vassar College, and Williams College—onSeptember 21. The series corresponds with a course of the same name that will be offered simultaneously at Bucknell and Vassar this fall, allowing students to engage in dialogue with classmates and peers outside the college.The course and lectures will focus on the ways in which different societies engage with discourses on gender and sexuality. Schilt will speak about the work of French film director François Ozon as a means of understanding queer identity construction in cinema. Learn more about Ozon in an essay written by Schilt.

Billy Collins (pictured), whose collection of poetry, Sailing Alone Around the Room: New and Selected Poems, was the common reading for the class of 2013, will lecture onSeptember 23. A celebrated American author who has published and contributed to numerous collections of poetry for more than 30 years, Collins served two terms as Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001 to 2003. He has received many honors, including fellowships from the New York Foundation of the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation. Collins teaches English at Lehman College of the City University of New York. The lecture is part of the William A. Starr Lecture Series. Listen to an interview with Billy Collins on NPR’s All Things Considered.

Academy-Award nominated documentary filmmaker Gini Reticker will lecture at Vassar on September 24 as part of Peace Week. Reticker, who was nominated for an Oscar for Asylum, a 20-minute short focusing on the story of a Ghanaian woman seeking political asylum in the U.S., has worked on numerous documentaries over the past 20 years, with a particular focus on women’s stories. Her latest film, Pray the Devil Back to Hell, examines the Liberian civil war and a group of extraordinary women who helped to put an end to it, showing a side of war and peace that is not normally seen on film. Watch the trailer for Pray the Devil Back to Hell.

September 2009

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