Campus & Community

Radcliffe to inaugurate Dean’s Lecture Series

3 min read
Farah Jasmine
Farah Jasmine Griffin

Award-winning novelist Margaret Atwood and Princeton University President Shirley Caldwell Tilghman are among the speakers who will participate in The Dean’s Lecture Series, sponsored by the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

The series begins today (Sept. 20) with “Bluenotes and Butterflies: Thoughts on Black Women’s Vocality” by Farah Jasmine Griffin, a professor of English and comparative literature and African-American Studies at Columbia University. The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will be held at 4 p.m. in Agassiz Theatre, Radcliffe Yard.

Griffin has written extensively in the fields of African-American literature, music, history, and politics. She is the author of “If You Can’t Be Free, Be a Mystery: In Search of Billie Holiday” (Free Press, 2001) and “Who Set You Flowin’?: The African-American Migration Narrative” (Oxford University Press, 1995).

“Inviting these prominent scholars to Radcliffe is an important part of our mission,” said Drew Gilpin Faust, the dean of the Radcliffe Institute. “Through these lectures, we hope to create new and thoughtful discourse and to present work that will be meaningful across a number of academic disciplines.”

On Oct. 25, Jonathan Spence, the Sterling Professor of History at Yale University and director of the Graduate Studies Council on East Asian Studies, will discuss “The Fall of the Ming and the Art of Nostalgia.”

An authority on Chinese history from the 16th century to the present, Spence has written extensively on the role of history in shaping modern China. His books include “The Search for Modern China” (1990), “The Chan’s Great Continent: China in Western Minds” (1998), and “Treason by the Book” (2001).

Margaret Atwood, the recipient of the Booker Prize for her latest novel, “The Blind Assassin” (2000), will speak on Nov. 19.

A poet, novelist, and critic, Atwood is considered one of Canada’s major contemporary authors. She is the author of 10 novels, including “Cat’s Eye” (1988), “The Robber Bride” (1993), and “The Handmaid’s Tale” (1998). In addition to the Booker, her writings have won the Molson Prize and the Commonwealth Writers Prize.

The series continues on Nov. 29 with an address by Susan Graham Harrison ’64, the Pehong Chen Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley.

A member of the National Academy of Engineering, Harrison is also a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Association for Computing Machinery. Harrison was recently elected to the Harvard Board of Overseers for a six-year term.

Shirley Caldwell Tilghman, the newly elected president of Princeton University, will speak on March 18. A member of the Princeton faculty since 1986, she took office as Princeton’s 19th president on June 15.

A world-renowned scholar and leader in the field of molecular biology, Tilghman was one of the architects of the national effort to map the entire human genome. Her own academic work has focused on mammalian genetics. Tilghman is also known for her national leadership on behalf of women in science.

On April 24, Donna J. Haraway, professor of the history of consciousness at the University of California, Santa Cruz, will speak. Haraway is the author of “Modest_Witness@Second_ Millennium.FemaleMan@_Meets_OncoMouse” (Routledge, 1997) and “Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature” (Routledge, 1991).