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Past Dialogue Series

Beginning in fall 2010, the Institute changed its events schedule to include Distinguished Harris Lectures and an annual Dialogue Series, which brings conversations in the humanities to the public sphere.

For 2015-2016, we explored Native American and Indigenous Studies topics of history and cultural production. 

A Misplaced Massacre: Struggling Over the Memory of Sand Creek

A Misplaced Massacre book cover

Wednesday, February 3, 2016
5:00 pm
Harris Hall, Room 108

1881 Sheridan Road, Evanston

Professor Ari Kelman, Penn State University

Lecture and roundtable discussion about Sand Creek, historical trauma, institutional memory and national identity, with Northwestern faculty members Elizabeth Son (Theatre), Kelly Wisecup (English) and moderator Ken Alder (History).

This event is free and open to the public, and made possible in part by the Harris Fund.

Ari Kelman head shot

Ari Kelman is the McCabe Greer Professor of History at Penn State University, where he teaches a wide range of courses, including on the Civil War and Reconstruction, the politics of memory, environmental history, Native American history, and America in the 1960s. He is the author, most recently, of Battle Lines: A Graphic History of the Civil War (Hill and Wang, 2015), as well as A Misplaced Massacre: Struggling Over the Memory of Sand Creek (Harvard University Press, 2013), recipient of the Antoinette Forrester Downing Book Award, the Avery O. Craven Award, the Bancroft Prize, the Tom Watson Brown Book Award, and the Robert M. Utley Prize; and A River and Its City: The Nature of Landscape in New Orleans (University of California Press, 2003), which won the Abbott Lowell Cummings Prize.

Kelman’s essays and articles have appeared in SlateThe Christian Science MonitorThe Nation, The Times Literary Supplement, the Journal of Urban HistoryThe Journal of American History, and many others. Kelman has also contributed to outreach endeavors aimed at K-12 educators, and to a variety of public history projects, including documentary films for the History Channel and PBS’s American Experience series. He has received numerous grants and fellowships, most notably from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Huntington Library. He is now working on For Liberty and Empire: How the Civil War Bled into the Indian Wars.

Winter Quarter Talks

January 27, 2016 – 5:00 pm
Atomic Indians: Pueblo Art and Environmental Conflicts of 20th Century Northern New Mexico
Patricia Marroquin Norby (D’Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies)

February 1, 2016 – 12:00 pm
The Liminality of Empire: The Making of the Savage in a Lawless Land
Heidi Kiiwetinepinesiik Stark (University of Victoria)

February 11, 2016 – 12:30 pm
Translated Nation: Rewriting the Dakota Oyate, 1862-1934
Christopher Pexa (Oklahoma State University)

February 15, 2016 – 12:30 pm
Hating Hawaiians, Loving Hybrids: Social Scientific Histories of Race and Indigeneity in Hawai'i
Maile Arvin (University of California, Riverside)

February 18, 2016 – 12:30 pm
Unsettling Territory: Oneida Indian Resurgence and Anti-Sovereignty Backlash
Doug Kiel (Williams College)   


November 4
Deborah Coen, Associate Professor, Department of History, Barnard
Timothy Morton, Professor, Department of English, Rice University
"The Humanities in the Age of Ecological Catastrophe"

January 20
Keller Easterling, Professor, Yale School of Architecture
Ramón Saldívar, Professor, Departments of English and Comparative Literature, Stanford University
"Crossing Borders"


February 18
Vinay Lal, Associate Professor, Department of History, UCLA
Michael Lynch, Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Connecticut
"Knowing in the Age of the Virtual University"


February 5
Todd Porterfield, Professor, Department of History, Université de Montréal
Debora L. Silverman, Professor, History and Art History, UCLA


October 11
Dialogue I
Carl Elliott, Professor, Center for Bioethics, Department of Pediatrics, University of Minnesota Medical School, Department of Philosophy, College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota
Nancy Scheper-Hughes, Chancellor's Professor of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley
"Corporeality and the Boundaries of the Human"

February 21
Dialogue II
Caroline Winterer, Professor, Stanford Department of History, Stanford University
Geoffrey Harpham, President and Director, National Humanities Center, North Carolina
"The Origins and Disappearance of the Humanities"

April 24
Dialogue III
Chandra Mukerji, Professor, Department of Communication Studies, University of California, San Diego
Piotr Michalowski, Professor, Ancient Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
"The Limits of the Known World"


February 22
Catherine Malabou, Professor, Modern European Philosophy, Kingston University, London
Elizabeth Wilson, Professor, Department of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Emory University, Atlanta
"Defining the Human: Interdisciplinary Dialogue"


February 15
Things 1
Jennifer Roberts, Professor, Art and Architecture, Harvard University
Bill Brown, Professor, Department of English Language and Literature, University of Chicago
"What is an Object?: Thing Theory in Interdisciplinary Perspective – Dialogues on the Social Life of Objects"

April 19
Things 2
Janet Hoskins, Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles
Moderators: Mary Weistmantel, Professor, Department of Anthropology and Gender Studies, Northwestern, and Lars Tøender, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Northwestern
"What is an Object?: Thing Theory in Interdisciplinary Perspective – Dialogues on the Social Life of Objects"

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