Center Lecture Series
Humanities NOW

Humanities NOW

Humanities NOW panels are convened to offer thoughtful perspectives from UW humanities faculty on breaking issues of our times. Our discussions offer a rare opportunity for community members and faculty to sift and winnow together, in the time-honored tradition of the University of Wisconsin, offering deeper insights and perspectives not found in general media coverage of disturbing, urgent events. Please browse our past events for a complete overview of the series.

Past Events

Fighting Islamophobia

Fighting Islamophobia

John W. Vaudreuil, Nasra Wehelie, Safi Kaskas, Imam Alhagie Jallow, Golnar Nikpour

Fighting Islamophobia Monday, February 6, 2017 @ 4:00pm H.F. DeLuca Forum, Discovery Building, 330 N. Orchard St.

Islamophobia is increasingly rising to the front of national attention, whether through politicians, presidential campaign rhetoric, newspaper headlines, or tweets. In a time when Islam is the subject of much discussion and controversy, the Middle East Studies Program and the Center for the Humanities at UW-Madison invite you to a unique panel discussion tackling causes, manifestations, dangers of Islamophobia, constitutional rights and protections offered by federal civil rights/hate crimes statutes. An intersectional approach will be taken to explore how Islamophobic violence impacts not only Muslims, but every American who cares about freedom and democracy. Islamophobia mirrors other types of oppression and exclusion that create walls and barriers among people. The panel hopes to enable an ongoing open dialogue, in a safe environment for debate through education, participation and engagement. 

Presented in partnership with UW-Madison's Middle East Studies Program

What We Know, What We Missed, What’s Next: Making Sense of the 2016 Election

What We Know, What We Missed, What’s Next: Making Sense of the 2016 Election

Alta Charo, Katherine Cramer, Lucas Graves, Sergio Gonzalez, Erik Olin Wright with Steve Paulson

What We Know, What We Missed, What's Next: Making Sense of the 2016 Election Tuesday, November 29, 2016 @ 5:30pm H.F. DeLuca Forum, Discovery Building, 330 N. Orchard St.

Twenty-one days after the presidential election, UW-Madison faculty of Law, Political Science, History, Sociology, and Journalism and Mass Communication join in conversation about the 2016 election and what this may mean for the future of American politics.

The Cultural Costs of Terrorism: Palmyra and Beyond

The Cultural Costs of Terrorism: Palmyra and Beyond

Nathanael Andrade, Jeremy Hutton, Jennifer Pruitt with Steve Paulson (moderator)

The Cultural Costs of Terrorism: Palmyra and Beyond Thursday, February 18, 2016 @ 5:30pm Chazen Museum of Art, Auditorium

Professors of History, Classical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies, and Art History join in conversation about the ISIS occupation of Palmyra and consider the cultural consequences of modern terrorism.

Debt and Demos

Debt and Demos

Laird Boswell, Mary N. Layoun, Erik Olin Wright; Moderated by Steve Paulson of Wisconsin Public Radio

Debt and Demos: Greece and the Future of the Eurozone Thursday, October 1, 2015 @ 5:30pm Madison Public Library, Central Branch

UW faculty in conversation about the current debt crisis in Greece and what it might mean for the future of the Eurozone. Panelists provide historical, cultural, and political context for the current situation, and speculate on its broader implications.

Confronting Campus Rape

Confronting Campus Rape

Claudia Card, Cecilia Klingele, Anne McClintock, Natalie Weill

Confronting Campus Rape Monday, March 2, 2015 @ 5:30pm H.F. Deluca Forum, Discovery Building

Campus sexual assault has become a growing focus for public discussion, and an urgent concern for colleges and universities across the country. Our panelists re-frame the debate, discussing university culture and policy, pedagogy, and student experience through the lens of feminist philosophy, legal theory, and studies of sexuality and power.

Parking, directions, and accessibility information for the Discovery Building.

Ferguson in Context

Ferguson in Context

Aida Levy-Hussen, William P. Jones, Stephen Kantrowitz, Keisha Lindsay

Ferguson in Context: Trauma, Violence, and Citizenship Wednesday, December 17, 2014 @ 5:30pm H.F. Deluca Forum, Discovery Building

A roundtable discussion of recent grand jury decisions in light of historical patterns of trauma and state-sanctioned violence in the United States. From the legacies of conquest and slavery to law enforcement at the border and on our streets, UW faculty reflect on the role of gender, trauma, and resistance in our understanding of recent events.

View a recording of the discussion here.

Incarceration and Inequality

Incarceration and Inequality

Rhodessa Jones, Pamela Oliver, Jean Feraca (Moderator)

A Conversation with Rhodessa Jones and Pamela Oliver Monday, March 10, 2014 @ 5:30pm Madison Public Library, Central Branch

Sociologist Pam Oliver who is investigating the causes and consequences of racial disparities in the criminal justice system and Rhodessa Jones, Director of the Medea Project: Theater for Incarcerated Women, speak with Jean Feraca about incarceration and inequality in Wisconsin and across the US. 

Co-sponsored by the Madison Opera and Madison Public Library. 

Facing Egypt’s Challenges

Facing Egypt’s Challenges

Jennifer Derr, Névine El Nossery, Amanda Rogers, Jean Feraca (Moderator)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 @ 5:30pm Madison Public Library, Central Branch

Join JENNIFER DERR (History, UC Santa Cruz), NÉVINE EL NOSSERY (French & Italian, UW Madison), and AMANDA ROGERS (Art History Fellow, UW Madison) for a discussion of the scale and significance of the Egyptian crisis, from the historical conditions to the contemporary myths of Egypt's new political realities. Moderated by JEAN FERACA.

Jennifer Derr is Assistant Professor of History at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her research explores the contemporary history of the modern Middle East, particularly questions of political economy, the production of geography, and new forms of space during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Névine El Nossery is Associate Professor of French at UW-Madison specializing in North African literature and culture, as well as francophonie, trauma studies, and women and migration. She teaches courses in the department of French & Italian on modernity, exile, autobiography, cinema, and more. Amanda Rogers is an A.W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for the Humanities and Institute for Research in the Humanities and teaches in the Department of Art History at UW-Madison. She is currently researching visual culture, marketing media, and political practice in North Africa. A practicing artist and photographer, she also serves as a commentator on Middle Eastern and North African politics. Jean Feraca is a 27-year veteran of public talk radio in the United States, most recently as host of the daily program Here on Earth. Her work has been committed to creating a global on-air community.

China in Madison / Madison in China

China in Madison / Madison in China

UW Faculty Address the Internationalization of the University Wednesday, February 6, 2013 @ 7:00pm Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, 330 North Orchard Street

In forging connections with China, UW-Madison has created an international model for the university. The UW-Madison Innovation Office in Shanghai has opened up new opportunities for students, faculty, and leaders in business and government. From the Shanghai Seminar Series, to a UW account on Sino Weibo - from knowledge transfer to official state visits, Wisconsin and China are closer than ever before. Join UW-Madison faculty in a public discussion of how this partnership might evolve over the long term. In particular, panelists will examine the role of history, literature, social theory, and communications in a blended cultural environment, and ask: what role do the humanities play in efforts to expand this university?

Featuring LESLIE BOW (Professor of English and former Director of Asian American Studies); EDWARD FRIEDMAN (Professor of Political Science); NICOLE HUANG (Professor of East Asian Languages and Literature and Director of the Wisconsin China Initiative); and ZHONGDANG PAN (Professor of Communication Arts). Moderated by YOSHIKO HERRERA (Professor of Political Science and co-Director of the International Institute). FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

Parking, directions, and accessibility information for the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery.

Patty Loew, Richard Monette, Larry Nesper, and Rand Valentine

Patty Loew, Richard Monette, Larry Nesper, and Rand Valentine

UW Faculty in American Indian Studies, Life Sciences Communication, and the Law School

Whose Land? The Fight for Tribal Sovereignty and Stewardship in Wisconsin Thursday, May 3, 2012 @ 7:00pm Hillel Foundation, 611 Langdon Street

In Wisconsin, the recently-deferred mining bill, along with wolf hunting legislation, have brought issues of tribal sovereignty, not to mention the health, safety, and culture of native people, to the attention of the general media. The Center for the Humanities invites faculty to weigh in, asking “whose land is it, anyway?"

Speakers: UW-Madison American Indian Studies affiliates Patty Loew (Life Sciences Communication), Richard Monette (UW Law School), Larry Nesper (Anthropology), and Rand Valentine (Linguistics). Moderated by Gene Purcell (Wisconsin Public Radio; Executive Director, Wisconsin Educational Communications Board).

Robert Asen, Nan Enstad, Keith Woodard

Robert Asen, Nan Enstad, Keith Woodard

UW Faculty in Communication Arts, History, and Geography

Beyond Zuccoti Park: Why the Occupy Movement Matters Thursday, December 15, 2011 @ 7:00pm Hillel Foundation, 611 Langdon Street

Join UW-Madison faculty Robert Asen (Communication Arts), Nan Enstad (History), and Keith Woodward (Geography) for an in-depth discussion of the Occupy Movement: who’s involved, what’s at stake, and why we should pay attention.  Panelists will examine the rhetoric, politics, and meaning of mass protest.  Moderated by Judy Davidoff (Isthmus News Editor).

Humanities NOW brings thoughtful interdisciplinary examination of current topics through the expertise of UW-Madison faculty.  With generous support from the Anonymous Fund of the College of Letters and Science.

Anne McClintock, Lewis Friedland, Robert Glenn Howard

Anne McClintock, Lewis Friedland, Robert Glenn Howard

UW Faculty in English, Journalism and Mass Communication, and Communication Arts

WikiLeaks: Where Do you Stand? Thursday, February 10, 2011 @ 5:30pm Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, 330 North Orchard St.

Join UW faculty for an in-depth dicussion of WikiLeaks. Anne McClintock (English), Lewis Friedland (Journalism and Mass Communication), and Robert Glenn Howard (Communication Arts) will cover issues of journalism ethics, the unintended ripple effects caused by new, fast-moving  technology in times of war, whistleblowing, U.S. paranoia, and restricted access to information, among other things. Panel moderator is Steve Paulson, executive producer of WPR's "To the Best of Our Knowledge."

Karma Chavez, Joe Elder, and Erica Halverson

Karma Chavez, Joe Elder, and Erica Halverson

UW Faculty in Communication Arts, Sociology, and Educational Psychology

Feeling Queer Thursday, November 4, 2010 @ 7:30pm Hillel Foundation, 611 Langdon Street

Join UW faculty Karma Chavez (Communication Arts), Joe Elder (Sociology), and Erica Halverson (Educational Psychology) for an in-depth discussion about Tyler Clementi and the history, politics, and rhetoric of bullying. Panelists will discuss gay youth identity in an increasingly open, digitally-oriented society. Moderated by Kenneth Burns (Isthmus Arts and Entertainment Editor).

Co-sponsored by the UW Hillel Foundation.

Will Jones, Kathy Cramer Walsh, Her Vang, and Tracy Curtis

Will Jones, Kathy Cramer Walsh, Her Vang, and Tracy Curtis

UW Faculty in History, Political Science, Hmong American Studies, and African-American studies

Taking Stock of Race and Racism: A Year after Obama's Inauguration Wednesday, January 20, 2010 @ 5:30pm Madison Public Library, Central Branch

Will Jones (History), Kathy Cramer Walsh (Political Science), Her Vang (Visiting Instructor in Hmong American studies), and Tracy Curtis (African-American studies) will discuss race and racism a year after Obama's inauguration.

Andrea Harris, Michael Jay McClure, Jane Simon, and Jin-Wen Yu

Andrea Harris, Michael Jay McClure, Jane Simon, and Jin-Wen Yu

UW Faculty in Dance and Art, MMoCA

Cunningham/Bausch: A Tribute Friday, October 23, 2009 @ 5:30pm Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

The summer of 2009 saw the passing of two of the 20th Century’s great choreographers: Merce Cunningham and Pina Bausch. This panel pays tribute to their art and influence. Panelists will include Andrea Harris (Dance), Michael Jay McClure (Art), Jane Simon (MMoCA), and Jin-Wen Yu (Dance). Moderated by Caroline Levine (English), author of Provoking Democracy: Why We Need the Arts. Cosponsored with MMoCA.

This panel has been organized in conjunction with Cage and Cunningham: Chance, Time, and Concept in the Visual Arts at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art.

Thomas Malaby

Thomas Malaby

Associate Professor of Anthropology, UW-Milwaukee

The Culture of Video Games: Game On! Monday, April 13, 2009 @ 6:00pm Memorial Union

A community forum on the influence and impact of games, virtual worlds, and other interactive media on our culture. Featuring Thomas Malaby, author of the forthcoming book Making Virtual Worlds: Linden Lab and Second Life (Cornell University Press, June 2009) and contributing author to the blog Terra Nova. This event is co-sponsored by The Games, Learning, and Society Group and DoIT Academic Technology.

Articles and Links of Interest:

Eight Myths About Video Games Debunked, PBS

Games, The New Lively Art, by Henry Jenkins

Game Design As Narrative Architecture, By Henry Jenkins

The War Between Effects And Meaning: Rethinking The Video Game Violence Debate, by Henry Jenkins

Is it Art?, by John Lanchester in London Review of Books

Jeremi Suri, Ken Goldstein, Lewis Friedland, Kathy Cramer Walsh, Susan Zaeske

Jeremi Suri, Ken Goldstein, Lewis Friedland, Kathy Cramer Walsh, Susan Zaeske

UW Faculty in History, Political Science, Journalism, and Communication Arts

Reflections on Media, Voters, and Candidates – New and Old Wednesday, October 29, 2008 @ 5:00pm Madison Public Library, Central Branch

A discussion with UW-Madison faculty Jeremi Suri (History), Ken Goldstein (Political Science), Lewis Friedland (Journalism), Kathy Cramer Walsh (Political Science), and Susan Zaeske (Communication Arts) Moderated by Ben Merens, Wisconsin Public Radio.

Harry Brighouse, Anne Lundin, Sally Schrag, and Carole Trone

Harry Brighouse, Anne Lundin, Sally Schrag, and Carole Trone

UW Faculty in Philosophy & Education and Library and Information Studies

The Good Childhood: What is it? Tuesday, February 6, 2007 @ 7:00pm Madison Public Library, Central Branch

We all care about children, and making sure that they have flourishing lives and good childhoods. But do we do a good job? And what is a good childhood anyway? There is widespread agreement about what counts as good physical and cognitive development, there's abundant controversy about emotional and moral development and flourishing in childhood itself. Are we exposing our children to too much stress? Does our culture introduce them too early to sexuality? Why is it controversial whether the law should prevent parents from beating their children, but not that it should prevent adults beating each other? Should schools resist the culture of materialism and how far should they go in teaching morality to children? The Good Childhood will explore all these questions and more. 


Panelists: Harry Brighouse (Philosophy & Education, UW-Madison), Anne Lundin (Library and Information Studies, UW-Madison), Sally Schrag (Child Care Faculty, retired, MATC), and Carole Trone (President, Wisconsin Center for Academically Talented Youth). Sally Schrag helped develop and was one of the instructors in the MATC Early Childhood Program for many years. Before that, she supervised preschool student teachers at the UW. She has an abiding interest in all aspects of the lives of young children and their parents. Carole Trone earned a Ph.D. in Educational Policy Studies with a concentration in educational history in 2005 from UW-Madison. She has written, presented and taught on the history of education and childhood. Currently, Carole is President of the Wisconsin Center for Academically Talented Youth (WCATY), a statewide non-profit educational organization headquartered in Madison.

Part two:
The Good Childhood: Does it exist?
Tuesday, February 13, 2007 @ 7:00 PM
Madison Public Library, Central Branch

Michael Bernard-Donals, Steve Stern, Neil Whitehead, Jason Moon, and John Nichols

Michael Bernard-Donals, Steve Stern, Neil Whitehead, Jason Moon, and John Nichols

UW Faculty in English, History, and Anthropology, an Iraq War Veteran, and the Associate Editor of The Capital Times

War Talk: Iraq on Campus Thursday, September 28, 2006 @ 5:30pm Chazen Museum of Art, Room L160

This panel will discuss how to talk about the Iraq war on campus. Panelists: Michael Bernard-Donals (English, UW-Madison), Steve Stern (History, UW-Madison), Neil Whitehead (Anthropology, UW-Madison), Jason Moon (Iraq War Veteran) and John Nichols (Associate Editor of The Capital Times). The goal of the Humanities Now series is to bring thoughtful, in-depth, and interdisciplinary examination of current topics through the expertise of UW-Madison faculty.

This event is one of the Forums on Contemporary Issues events.

Nalo Hopkinson, Karen Joy Fowler, Meghan McCarron, and Elizabeth Bear

Nalo Hopkinson, Karen Joy Fowler, Meghan McCarron, and Elizabeth Bear

Science fiction authors

A Feminist Utopia in Madison? Global Communities, Science Fiction, and Women Wednesday, May 24, 2006 @ 7:00pm Wisconsin Historical Society Auditorium

Panelists: Justine Larbalestier (moderator), science fiction historian, critic and author; and science fiction writers Nalo Hopkinson, Karen Joy Fowler, Meghan McCarron, Elizabeth Bear. This panel will discuss the global communities of feminist science fiction, WISCON, and the history of feminist science fiction, which stretches back far further than 30 years. Special attention will be paid to well-known feminist science fiction books and stories by leading women authors such as Octavia Butler, Suzy Mckee Charnas, Joanna Russ, and Ursula Le Guin. WisCon, the world's leading feminist science fiction convention, has been bringing together writers, readers, fans, and scholars from all over the globe to talk, think, argue, and laugh about feminism, science fiction, politics, media, and everything else under the sun (and beyond it!) for thirty years. This annual feminist sci-fi utopia has been created right here in Madison.

Justine Larbalestier is the author of the Hugo-shortlisted Battle Of the Sexes in Science Fiction (Wesleyan University Press, 2002) and the editor of Daughters of Earth: Feminist Science Fiction in the Twentieth Century (Wesleyan University Press, 2006). She has published two novels, Magic or Madness (Penguin/Razorbill, 2005), and its sequel, Magic Lessons (Penguin/Razorbill, 2006). The final book in the trilogy will be out in March 2007. She is an Honorary Associate in the School of English, Art History, Film and Media at the University of Sydney in Australia. Elizabeth Bear was born on the same day as Frodo and Bilbo Baggins, but in a different year. She grew up in New England, and has recently returned there after some years in the Mojave Desert. She is the author of over twenty published short stories; the best-selling, critically acclaimed Jenny Casey series (Hammered, Scardown, and Worldwired); and the forthcoming Carnival and Blood and Iron, and is the recipient of the 2005 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Author. She got her chin at a second-hand shop; it used to belong to the Joker. Karen Joy Fowler is the author of the novels Canary, The Sweetheart Season, Sister Noon, and The Jane Austen Book Club as well as the short story collections Artificial Things and Black Glass (which won the World Fantasy Award for Best Collection in 1999.) Her short story, "What I Didn't See," won the 2004 Nebula Award, and Sister Noon was a Pen/Faulkner finalist. Along with writer Pat Murphy, Fowler co-founded the James Tiptree, Jr. Award, given annually to a work of science fiction and fantasy that explores or expands our understanding of gender, an award now in its 15th year. Nalo Hopkinson is Jamaican-Canadian (and a bunch of other hyphens, too). She is the author of novels Brown Girl in the Ring, Midnight Robber, and the Salt Roads, and of short story collection Skin Folk. She is a founding member on the board of the Carl Brandon Society, which exists to promote the visibility of people of color in science fiction community. She's currently completing a novel in which menopause is magic. Meghan McCarron was called "Bucky" in the womb after R. Buckminster Fuller. When she was a kid, her mother introduced her to books, feminism, and science fiction, and the three have been linked in her mind ever since. Her short fiction has appeared in Strange Horizons, Twenty Epics, and Flytrap, and she's a graduate of Clarion West, a highly selective workshop for speculative fiction writers. She blogs about feminism, science fiction, and the beautiful stupidity of post-college life at megmccarron.livejournal.com. She lives, for the moment, in Los Angeles. This event is presented by the Center for the Humanities in partnership with WisCon. To learn more about WisCon, visit their website at: www.wiscon.info.

Rebecca L. Walkowitz

Rebecca L. Walkowitz

Professor of English, UW-Madison

Eat Locally, Think Globally: Cosmopolitan Taste in Madison and Beyond Tuesday, April 25, 2006 @ 5:00pm Madison Public Library, Central Branch

This discussion will examine the conjunction of regionalism and internationalism by focusing on matters of taste in the context of food. Professor Walkowitz will talk about how cosmopolitan culture can be both less than national (regional) and more than national (international), sometimes at the same time. We will also include a panel of respondents that will bring local restaurants, farming, and culture to the discussion.

This event is one of the Forums on Contemporary Issues events.

Katherine Cramer Walsh

Katherine Cramer Walsh

Professor of Political Science, UW-Madison

Engaging Conflict and Difference: Race and Dialogue in Madison Tuesday, March 7, 2006 @ 5:00pm Madison Public Library, Central Branch

With Gladis Benevides, Civil Rights & Affirmative Action Expert, and Mona Adams Winston, Development Manager for Second Harvest Foodbank Madison is a cosmopolitan city in many ways, and yet according to residents, it has a long way to go to embrace and honor the cultural diversity within its midst. Madisonites are often accused of intellectualizing problems, of talking and deliberating too much at the sake of actually taking action to confront public problems. Are attempts to organize dialogues about race guilty of this charge? Katherine Cramer Walsh's talk will consider the use of inter-group dialogue programs to improve race relations in Madison and compare these attempts with the use of race dialogues in other U.S. cities. Mona Winston and Gladis Benevides, two community leaders and activists who have played central roles in the administration of the City of Madison Study Circles on Race, will offer commentaries on Walsh's research and reflect on the place of dialogue in Madison's interracial future.

This event is one of the Forums on Contemporary Issues events.

Birgit Brander Rasmussen, Deborah Jenson, Ovamir Anjum, Tejumola Olaniyan, W. Flagg Miller, and Niels Ingwersen

Birgit Brander Rasmussen, Deborah Jenson, Ovamir Anjum, Tejumola Olaniyan, W. Flagg Miller, and Niels Ingwersen

UW Faculty in English, French, History, African Languages and Literature, Anthropology, and Scandinavian Studies

Blasphemy and Free Speech: the Danish Cartoons and World Reaction Monday, February 27, 2006 @ 7:00pm

Panelists: Assistant Professor Birgit Brander Rasmussen (English, UW-Madison), Professor Deborah Jenson (French, UW-Madison), Ovamir Anjum (PhD student, History, UW-Madison), Professor Tejumola Olaniyan (English, African Languages and Literature, UW-Madison), Professor W. Flagg Miller (Anthropology, UW-Madison), and Emeritus Professor Niels Ingwersen (Scandinavian Studies, UW-Madison). A panel discussion sponsored by the UW-Madison Center for the Humanities; co-sponsored by the International Institute's European Union Center of Excellence and the Middle East Studies Program; and the Lubar Institute for the Study of the Abrahamic Religions.

This event is one of the Forums on Contemporary Issues events.

Greg Downey

Greg Downey

Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication and School of Library & Information Studies, UW-Madison

Madison as a "Livable City" and a "Wired City": Connections and Contradictions Tuesday, February 7, 2006 @ 5:00pm Madison Public Library, Central Branch

With Mike Ivey, Reporter, The Capital Times Here in Madison, our diverse population, strong school system, and vibrant economy have long earned the city a reputation for "livability" in the national press. Recently Madison has also been held up as a model "wired" city, a site of innovation and interaction for "new media" and "knowledge economy" workers. But has the growth of global cyberspace affected the livability of our local urban space? Can a city with a strong tradition of social justice awareness and activism confront its own "digital divides"? Join us for a wide-ranging introduction to current ways of thinking through these intertwined issues of technology, economy, and society.

This event is one of the Forums on Contemporary Issues events.

Andrew Wolpert

Andrew Wolpert

Associate Professor of Classics and History, UW-Madison

War, Democracy, and Empire in Classical Greece Tuesday, November 30, 2004 @ 7:00pm Madison Public Library, Central Branch

Andrew Wolpert holds a dual appointment in the departments of Classics and History, with affiliate positions in the Religious Studies and Legal Studies programs. His work centers on Greek history, historiography, rhetoric and oratory, and on Athenian Law and Society. Wolpert earned his PhD at the University of Chicago and MA at the University of Michigan. He is the author of numerous articles and essays, and the book-length study, Remembering Defeat: Civil War and Civic Memory in Ancient Athens (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002). In the summer of 2005, he directed the University's summer session program in Athens, Greece.

Alfred W. McCoy

Alfred W. McCoy

J.R.W. Smail Professor of History, UW-Madison

Hidden History of the CIA Torture: America's Road to Abu Ghraib Tuesday, November 9, 2004 @ 7:00pm Madison Public Library, Sequoya Branch

After earning his Ph.D. in Southeast Asian history at Yale in 1977, Alfred McCoy has directed his writing and research toward two topics — the political history ofthe modern Philippines and the politics of opium in the Golden Triangle. His 1972 book, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia (recently revised as The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade), sparked controversy at the time of its publication, but is now regarded as the standard work on the subject and has been translated into nine languages. Three of his books on Philippine history have won that country's National Book Award. In March 2001, the Association for Asian Studies awarded him the Grant Goodman Prize for his career contributions to the historical study of the Philippines.

This event is one of the Forums on Contemporary Issues events.

Victor Bascara

Victor Bascara

Assistant Professor of English and Asian American Studies, UW-Madison

Unburdening Empire Tuesday, October 12, 2004 @ 7:00pm Madison Public Library, Pinney Branch

Victor Bascara specializes in the literature of colonialism, focusing especially on the era of American expansion in the South Pacific at the end of the 19th century and early 20th century. He is the author of the forthcoming book Unburdening Empire (under contract with the University of Minnesota Press) and the leader of Empires in Transition, an interdisciplinary workshop for UW-Madison faculty and students organized as a part of the Center's A.W. Mellon Foundation Interdisciplinary Workshops in the Humanities. He received his PhD at Columbia, and began his teaching career at the University of Georgia. He has been a member of the UW-Madison faculty since 2001.

This event is one of the Forums on Contemporary Issues events.

Laurie Beth Clark

Laurie Beth Clark

Professor of Art, UW-Madison

Trauma Memorials Tuesday, April 27, 2004 @ 7:00am Monona Public Library

Searching for Meaning in Memorials to the Holocaust, the Atomic Bomb, and 9-11.

This event is one of the Forums on Contemporary Issues events.

Timothy B. Tyson

Timothy B. Tyson

Professor of Afro American Studies, UW-Madison

Miss Amy's Witness: Why the History of the Civil Rights Movement is (Mostly) All Wrong Tuesday, April 20, 2004 @ 7:00pm Monona Public Library

Author of Radio Free Dixie and Blood Done Sign My Name.

This event is one of the Forums on Contemporary Issues events.

Dick Ringler

Dick Ringler

Professor of Scandinavian Studies & English, UW-Madison

What Should an Artist Do When His Country Goes Mad? The Case of the German Painter Otto Dix Tuesday, April 6, 2004 @ 7:00pm Chazen Museum of Art, Room L160

Richard N. Ringler is professor emeritus of English and Scandinavian Studies at the UW-Madison. He is a specialist in Anglo-Saxon culture and history, and is one of the world's foremost authorities on Icelandic literature. After earning his MA at the UW-Madison, he earned his PhD at Harvard, and returned to Madison to teach in 1962.

Michael Bernard-Donals

Michael Bernard-Donals

Professor of English and Jewish Studies, UW-Madison

The War Over Memory: Genocide and 9/11 Tuesday, February 17, 2004 @ 7:00am Stoughton Public Library

This event is one of the Forums on Contemporary Issues events.

Rebecca Walkowitz

Rebecca Walkowitz

Assistant Professor of English, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Patriotism and Civility: A Literary Perspective Tuesday, March 11, 2003 @ 7:00pm Middleton Public Library

Patriotism is not new as a topic of literature, but in the 20th century, many writers have made literature a topic of patriotism. This trend began during World War I, when poets and novelists decided that writing about war and national allegiance meant writing about language, and the political slogans and literary aphorisms that express and encourage patriotism. It also meant thinking about the ways that patriotism distributes, transforms, controls and obstructs language in everyday life. The World War I writers argued that there is no civility without language: that civility exists only in so far as individuals can speak, feel, agree and disagree, both in public and in private. Recent writers have come to propose that literature not only serves to describe the conditions of patriotism but that it also serves to compensate for and change those conditions. Professor Walkowitz will examine these issues through two poems by Wilfred Owen, who wrote and died during World War I, as well as several more recent works in the literature of patriotism.

Rebecca Walkowitz earned her A.B. from Harvard-Radcliffe Colleges, her M.Phil from the University of Sussex, and A.M. and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard University. Her research and teaching encompasses British and American literature of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, especially contemporary narrative fiction and film; modernist theories of culture and the aesthetics of nationalism, patriotism, and cosmopolitanism; narrative theory, critical theory, and cultural studies, styles of political commitment in contemporary narrative; McCarthyism and American culture after World War II.

This event is one of the Forums on Contemporary Issues events.
 

Jean Lee

Jean Lee

Professor of History, UW-Madison

Origins of American Patriotism Tuesday, February 11, 2003 @ 8:36am Monona Public Library

Historian Jean Lee presents an examination of the formation of patriotism in the early United States, and the ways in which the founding generation tried to define it. Taking into account the social, cultural, and political roots of patriotism, Professor Lee will explore patriotism as a key driver in American history through its links to war, gender politics and roles, and the development of an American national identity.

Professor Jean Lee's teaching and research interests at the UW include the American Revolution, cultural memory of the Revolution, and the Chesapeake River region in the 18th century. Her publications include the book The Price of Nationhood: The American Revolution in Charles County (W.W. Norton, 1994), which was awarded prizes from the Maryland Historical Society and the American Association for State & Local History, and articles such as Historical Memory, Sectional Strife, and the American Mecca: Mount Vernon, 1783-1853 in the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography (2001).

Harry Brighouse

Harry Brighouse

Professor of Philosophy, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Should We Teach Patriotism? Tuesday, January 14, 2003 @ 7:00pm DeForest Area Public Library

Since the terrorist attacks of September 11th 2001, there has been a distinct increase in patriotic feeling among Americans. Among the results of this heightened sentiment is a renewed call that schools should teach children to be more patriotic. Teaching American history and literature, and requiring the pledge of allegiance (or 'moment of patriotic observance') in schools are among the most visible manifestations of this trend. This response is not limited to the political right: much of the political left also argues that children should be taught history and literature patriotically-but the two sides often disagree about the meaning of patriotism. Professor Brighouse argued that it is entirely respectable for people to love their country, but also that they have no specific obligations to their country or fellow-countrymen, and, further, that it is wrong for schools to inculcate patriotism (whether from right or left) in students. It is wrong because it wastes valuable instructional time, interferes with learning, and violates the basic precepts of a free society. This lecture is the fourth of six public programs in the 2002-2003 Humanities Forums on Contemporary Issues series, organized by the UW-Madison Center for the Humanities and the Dane County Public Libraries with support from The University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Continuing Studies.

Harry Brighouse has taught in the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Philosophy since 1992. He works on the foundations of liberal theory and the place of education and the family in liberalism. He is currently working on the significance of positionality for egalitarian justice, on development theory and liberal egalitarianism, on the fair distribution of power, and on whether parents have rights over their children. Professor Brighouse has also written extensively about education policy, and is co-editor of the new journal Theory and Research in Education.

This event is one of the Forums on Contemporary Issues events.

Rodney Stevenson

Rodney Stevenson

Professor of Business, University of Wisconsin-Madison

The Crisis in Business Ethics: Enron, WorldCom, and the Culture of Greed Tuesday, November 12, 2002 @ 7:00pm Sun Prairie Public Library

Stevenson adresses the ethical failures, criminal activities, and other factors associated with the recent round of corporate scandals at companies such as Enron and WorldCom. These scandals have resulted in some of the largest bankruptcies in history; substantial harm to the investors, employees, and customers of these corporations; and widespread economic damage reaching far beyond the companies themselves. He will discuss how the recent crisis in business ethics calls for reforming business behavior, reinforcing regulatory controls, and reconsidering the social-corporate contract.

Stevenson teaches the MBA Business Ethics Course at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's School of Business, where his research focuses on business ethics and social responsibility, social control of economic enterprise, and public utility regulation. He has written on a wide variety of issues associated with business ethics, economic power, the public utility industries, and the need for regulatory oversight of markets and business activity.

This event is one of the Forums on Contemporary Issues events.

Harry Brighouse

Harry Brighouse

Professor of Philosophy, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Ethics in Politics? A Look at the Wisconsin Elections Tuesday, October 8, 2002 @ 7:00pm Stoughton Public Library

Brighouse looks at the ideal of a just society, and explains what it means for Wisconsin politics today. He looks at our elections and asks which candidates have incorporated the demands of social justice into their programs.

Brighouse is a political philosopher who has written numerous articles about social justice, and has been involved in politics as an activist since he was 14. He is also an expert on education policy, and is a frequent commentator in the national media in the UK. His most recent book is called School Choice and Social Justice. He recently appeared in the Ken Loach movie Bread and Roses.

This event is one of the Forums on Contemporary Issues events.

Claudia Card

Claudia Card

Professor of Philosophy, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Evil in the 21st Century: September 11 and Beyond Tuesday, September 10, 2002 @ 7:00pm Marshall Community Library

Using contemporary examples, Card explores what distinguishes evils from ordinary wrongs. Is evil today worse or on the rise? What makes a person or institution evil? Is evil an inevitable aspect of the human condition? Are some evils unforgivable? Are there some we should tolerate? How can we best live with evils?

Card is the Emma Goldman Professor of Philosophy at UW-Madison, where she has taught since 1966. Her recent books include the forthcoming The Atrocity Paradigm: A Theory of Evil, to be released in September by Oxford University Press, as well as The Unnatural Lottery: Character and Moral Luck and On Feminist Ethics and Politics. She is also engaged in a project on the responses to such atrocities as genocide and major terrorism.

This event is one of the Forums on Contemporary Issues events.

Susan Zaeske

Susan Zaeske

Assistant Professor of Communication Arts, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Word Wars: American Military Crisis Rhetoric Tuesday, January 29, 2002 @ 9:37pm Middleton Public Library

Zaeske discusses the "speech acts" that have been employed by U.S. presidents in response to national crises such as the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Cuban missile crisis, and the events of September 11. She also presented video and audio excerpts of Roosevelt's "Declaration of War," Kennedy's "Quarantine Speech," and Bush's "Speech to the Joint Session of Congress and the American People" while discussing the strategies of persuasion they employed to justify military action within Constitutional limits and to rally the American people.

This event is one of the Forums on Contemporary Issues events.

Sharon Hutchinson

Sharon Hutchinson

Professor of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

The U.S. and Islamic Fundamentalism: The War in Sudan Tuesday, December 4, 2001 @ 7:00pm Monona Public Library

Sharon Hutchinson focuses her research on Sudan, where a brutal civil war has been raging since 1983 between an Arab Muslim majority population in the North and an African and Christian minority in the South. Fluent in Arabic and Nuer, a southern Sudanese language, Hutchinson has conducted many years of anthropological field investigations on war-provoked processes of social and economic change among the second largest ethnic group in the South. Her most recent research efforts have concentrated on the plight of displaced southern Sudanese in Khartoum and on ethnic conflict, oil development and religious change in the South. She is author of a prize-winning book entitled Nuer Dilemmas: Coping with Money, War and the State as well as numerous journal articles. In addition to her scholarly writings, Sharon Hutchinson has worked extensively with international humanitarian agencies active in the southern Sudan, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Doctors Without Borders and Save the Children Fund.

This event is one of the Forums on Contemporary Issues events.

David Morgan

David Morgan

Professor of History, UW-Madison

How Afghanistan Became the Center of a World Crisis Monday, November 26, 2001 @ 7:00pm Sequoya Branch, Madison Public Library

David Morgan's research and teaching interests focus on the history of Islam, the Middle East and Mongols. He is the author of Medieval Persia 1040-1797 from the "History of the Near East Series;" and The Mongols of the "Peoples of Europe" series. He edited The Mongol Empire and Its Legacy from the series "Islamic History and Civilization, Studies and Texts;" and Medieval Historical Writing in the Christian and Islamic Worlds. Morgan is currently writing a history of the Middle East in the Islamic period, to be called The Heartlands of Islam, for the "Blackwell History of the World;" as well as a book on Iran during the Mongol period (13-14th centuries), called Ghazan Khan and His Historian.

This event is one of the Forums on Contemporary Issues events.

J. Mark Kenoyer

J. Mark Kenoyer

Professor of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Afghanistan and Pakistan: The History of a Family Divided Tuesday, November 20, 2001 @ 7:00pm Deerfield Public Library

Mark Kenoyer focuses his research on the Indus Valley and has worked in Pakistan and India, where he was born, for the past 26 years. He has conducted archaeological research and excavations at both Mohenjo-daro and Harappa, two of the most important early sites in Pakistan, and has also worked in western and central India. Kenoyer's areas of specialization include ancient technologies and crafts, socio-economic and political organization as well as religion. These interests have led him to study a broad range of cultural periods in South Asia as well as other regions of the world. He is the author of Ancient Cities of the Indus Valley Civilization and his work is most recently featured in the June 2000 issue of National Geographic Magazine.

This event is one of the Forums on Contemporary Issues events.

Muhammad Memon

Muhammad Memon

Professor of Asian Languages and Cultures, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Muslim Life and Culture Monday, November 12, 2001 @ 7:00pm Waunakee Public Library

Muhammad Memon specializes in the languages and literature of the Islamic world. He has translated and edited fiction and non-fiction in Urdu, a language used by Muslims, including the books An Epic Unwritten: The Penguin Book of Partition Stories from Urdu and Domains of Fear and Desire, Urdu Stories. He also participated in the making of Islam in South Asia, a video in the series Exploring the Religions of South Asia produced by WHA-TV. Memon was educated in Pakistan and received his Ph.D. in Islamic Studies at UCLA. In addition to his extensive work in South Asian studies, he is a trustee of the American Institute of Pakistan Studies and has served on the American-Pakistan Research Organization.

This event is one of the Forums on Contemporary Issues events.

Michael Chamberlain

Michael Chamberlain

Professor of History, UW-Madison

Islamic Political Movements Tuesday, November 6, 2001 @ 7:00pm Oregon Public Library: 256 Brook St., Oregon

Chamberlain has spent many years conducting research, lecturing and traveling in Iran, Syria, Turkey, and Egypt and throughout the region, including much of Afghanistan. His areas of study include Syria, Egypt, and Iraq during the Crusades, Islamic Law, Islamic intellectual history, military history, including recent military history. He is currently working on a biography of Ibn Taymiyya, a 14th-century intellectual and dissident seen by many, as the first modern-style Islamist political activist. Chamberlain is also the author of Knowledge and Social Practice in Medieval Damascus, 1190-1350.

This event is one of the Forums on Contemporary Issues events.