Distinguished Lectures

Each year, History & Literature invites distinguished writers and scholars to speak with students and faculty. These events provide an occasion to assemble as an intellectual community to discuss exciting new works. Students often read a piece of writing by the author in preparation for the public lecture, which is sometimes followed by a master class exclusively for the concentration. Below is a partial list of past Distinguished Lectures in History & Literature.

Homi Bhabha

Kevin Birmingham, "Treason Is a Form of Obscenity"

Geraldine Brooks, "Hearing Voices…And Other Close Encounters with the Dead”

Robert Brustein, "The Politics of Adaptation”

Roger Chartier

Rachel Cohen, "Bernard Berenson and the Picture Trade: Some Problems in Biography"

Linda Colley, “The Biographical and the Global in the 18th Century”

Peter Coviello, “Gods in Subjection: Women, Polygamy, Secularism”

Natalie Zemon Davis

Philip J. Deloria, "Becoming Mary Sully: Toward an American Indian Abstract" 

Lisa Duggan, "Mean Girl: Ayn Rand and the Culture of Greed" 

Caroline Elkins, “The Most Expensive Form of Illness’: Counter-Insurgency and the End of the British Empire”

Amitav Ghosh, “The Immanence of Time: Mythic Swamps and Historical Memory”

Carlo Ginzburg

Anthony Grafton

Stephen J. Greenblatt, “Shakespeare and the Ethics of Authority”

Nicole Guidotti-Hernández, "The Homoerotics of Abjection: The Gaze of Leonard Nadel's Placeless Bracero Photographs"

Tony Horwitz, “The History Beat: How a Journalist Covers the Past”

Maya Jasanoff, “The Worlds of Joseph Conrad: A Literary and Historical Journey”

A. Van Jordan, "The Synchronicity of Scenes: Poetry, Cinema and History"

Jane Kamensky, "What Is a Revolutionary Life? The Curious Case of Candida Royalle"

James Kloppenberg, “The American Democratic Tradition”

Thomas Laqueur

Jill Lepore, “Fixing Meaning: War and Slavery in Early America”

Lisa Lowe, "Harboring Empire: London, Canton, Boston"

Kate Masur, "Color Was a Bar to the Entrance: Partygoing in Lincoln's White House"

Maureen McLane, “A Reading of Divagations”

Louis Menand“History is a Virus: Claude Lévi-Strauss and The Family of Man

Walter Benn Michaels

Monica L. Miller, “‘Vikings and Congo Drums’: AfroSwedish Identity and Lorraine Hansberry’s Raisin in the Sun in Sweden”

Errol Morris, “Cinema and Truth”

Mimi Thi Nguyen, "The Promise of Beauty"

Achy Obejas, “Imagining a Secret History: Writing Days of Awe

Nell Irvin Painter, "Freedom from Truth: Self Portraits of Nell Painter"

Robert Pinsky, “Unpeace: A Reading from his Recent Poems”

Leah Price, “Books as Social Media”

Michael Rogin

Simon Schama, “The Black Face of British Freedom”

Joan Wallach Scott, “The Political Representation of Sexual Difference: Le Mouvement pour la Parité in Late 20th-Century France”

James Simpson, “Those Wise Restraints that Make us Free: When and Why ‘liberties’ Became ‘Liberty’ in Early Modernity”

Quentin Skinner, “Milton’s Noble Task”

Diana Taylor, “The Digital as Anti-Archive?”

Sarah Vowell, “Reading from Assassination Vacation

Isabel Wilkerson, “Migration, Reinvention, and the Search for Identity in the American Narrative”

Jay Winter, “The Moral Witness and the Two World Wars”