The Council’s 10th Annual Humanities Colloquium focused on the topic of “Citizenship and the Humanities.”
In an opening lecture, Eddie S. Glaude, Jr. (Religion and African American Studies) addressed members of the University community on the topic of “Democratic Virtue and #BlackLivesMatter.”
Glaude’s lecture explored the Black Lives Matter movement alongside an intellectual tradition that included Frederick Douglass, Ralph Waldo Emerson, James Baldwin, and John Dewey. For Glaude, the contradictions of our current moment have created an opening for serious political work, as well as a chance for young Americans to take up the task of self-creation. A video of his talk is now available here.
The second half of the colloquium featured a panel discussion between Lital Levy (Comparative Literature), Philip Pettit (Politics and Human Values), Tracy K. Smith (Creative Writing), and Ilya Vinitsky (Slavic Languages and Literatures). Both Levy and Petit traced the etymological histories of the word “citizen” to frame their respective talks. As a way of reflecting on citizenship and immigrant experience, Vinitsky introduced the audience to Ivan Narodny, a Russian-Estonian writer and con man, once labeled by the FBI as “the worst fraud that ever came out of Russia.” Tracy K. Smith read Claudia Rankine’s “Stop and Frisk,” a poem from Citizen: An American Lyric, and argued that poetry uniquely allows us to imagine the experience of others.