Fall 2013 Events
The Department of Biological Sciences and The Marcus Orr
Center for the Humanities presents
The Quest to Discover the Structure of DNA
2013 marks the 60th anniversary of perhaps the most important scientific advance in modern
times: the discovery of the structure of DNA by James D. Watson and Francis Crick.
This discovery was the culmination of a century-long quest to understand how heredity
works. The story of this quest will be told in a series of lectures on Wednesday evenings
during November at the University of Memphis. more information
The events below are on Thursday evenings at the University Center Theatre (UNLESS
OTHERWISE NOTED). Receptions begin at 5:30 p.m., and the lectures start at 6:00 p.m.
Convenient and affordable parking is available next door at the Zach Curlin Parking
Thursday, November 21
British Israelism: Three Centuries of a Forgotten History
CHANGE IN LOCATION FOR THIS EVENT:
Fogelman Executive Center, 330 Innovation Drive, Room 136 (directly across from the
University Holiday Inn on Central Ave.) Convenient parking in Fogelman Executive Center
Achsah Guibbory explores the idea of England as "Israel," God's elect nation, over the course of
three centuries and spanning across Britain, Palestine, and America.
The idea emerged in the seventeenth century, as the Hebrew Bible with its narratives
of Israel was used to construct England's national identity, though the idea was contested
by more radical religious sects like the Quakers, who emerged in the 1650s and resisted
identifying God's people with any nation. It traveled to New England in the seventeenth
century, but also developed into a full-fledged "British Israel" ideology in nineteenth
century Britain. The Church Mission to the Jews and other British missionaries worked
to convert Jews not just in England but in Europe, the Middle East, and Palestine.
"British Israelism" flourished in the years between World War I and World War II.
But Anglo-Israelite attitudes towards Jews could be complicated, and the relations
between Christian and Jew fluid. Did Christian Israel simply replace Jewish Israel?
Or were the Jews recoverable? Could a Christian perhaps find himself losing his Christian
identity, even becoming a "Jew"?
Dr. Guibbory is the Ann Whitney Olin Professor of English at Barnard College. Her
most recent book, Christian Identity, Jews, and Israel in Seventeenth-century England,
is about how English people used the Hebrew Bible to imagine and construct their Christian
(Protestant) identity and the identity of the nation.
Her address is the Department of English's Naseeb Shaheen Memorial Lecture.
Spring 2014 Events
Thursday, February 6
The Lessons of the New Deal: Has Obama Learned the Right Ones?
Anthony Badger asks why President Barack Obama was unable to turn the economic emergency of 2009
into a New-Deal style political success. As in 1933, a charismatic president had succeeded
a discredited president at a time of economic crisis and with resounding majorities
in Congress. Obama and his advisers explicitly looked to FDR's New Deal for policy
models. The Democrats gained seats in the mid-term elections of 1934 and FDR won a
landslide re-election in 1936. But Obama lost his commanding majority in the Senate
in January 2010 and lost control of the House in the mid-term elections of 2010. He
was narrowly re-elected in 2012 but failed to regain control of the House, where the
Republicans continue to stymie attempts to secure a bi-partisan agreement on measures
to tackle the budget deficit.
Did Obama learn the right lessons from the New Deal? Can he learn from FDR's unhappy
Dr. Badger is Paul Mellon Professor of American History at Cambridge University and
Master of Clare College. His books on the New Deal include local case studies about
North Carolina as well as a grand overview, The New Deal: The Depression Years 1933-1940.
He returned to the subject of the New Deal in his 2008 book FDR: The First Hundred
Days, which The Observer described as a "slim, brilliant volume" that was "top of
the political class's reading list on both sides of the Atlantic at Christmas."
His address is the Belle McWilliams Lecture in American History.
Thursday, February 20
Race-girl: How an Artist Tackled a Touchy Subject, and How It Tackled Her
damali ayo explores race relations from her unique perspective as a visual artist and author.
She reflects on how racism has shaped her community, the larger national conversation,
and her own health and artistic voice.
Ms. ayo is the author of How to Rent a Negro, an unflinching satire about race relations,
and Obamistan! Land Without Racism: Your Guide to the New America, of which the activist
Tim Wise praises, "damali is a brilliant humorist, and this ironic romp through post-racial
America is pure genius." This celebrated artist and expert storyteller has written
for such publications as Harpers, Village Voice, Redbook, and the Chicago Tribune.
She is a frequent guest on public radio who has appeared on television programs ranging
from Book TV to The O'Reilly Factor, and her artistic pieces have appeared in a variety
of exhibits, including RACE: Are We So Different?, which will be concurrently showing
at the Pink Palace Museum.
Her talk is part of a community-wide series of lectures throughout Memphis in conjunction
with the Pink Palace's exhibit on race. (See http://www.memphismuseums.org/exhibit-15001/). The lecture is co-presented by the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change
and additionally sponsored by the Program in African and African American Studies.
Thursday, March 20
Free Markets and the Modern Political Scene
Stephen Moore reads today's political environment in light of his advocacy of free-market policies.
Mr. Moore is a member of the editorial board and senior economics writer at the Wall
Street Journal. He was the founder and former president of the Club for Growth, which
raises money for political candidates who favor free-market economic policies. He
has served as president of the Free Enterprise Fund, as a senior economist on the
Congressional Joint Economic Committee, as a budget expert for the Heritage Foundation,
and as a senior economics fellow at the Cato Institute, where he published dozens
of studies on federal and state tax and budget policy. He was a consultant to the
National Economic Commission in 1987 and research director for President Reagan's
Commission on Privatization. He is the author of five books, most recently Bullish
on Bush: How the Ownership Society Is Making America Richer.
His lecture is co-sponsored by Nationwide Financial, Young America's Foundation, the
Department of Economics, the William N. Morris Chair of Excellence, and the Department
of Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate.
Thursday, April 3
Telling Stories: The Art and Craft of Narrative History
Hampton Sides returns to his native Memphis to read from his work and discuss the possibilities
for narrative writing in the digital age. The award-winning author will talk about
his inspirations, his writing process, and his hopes for reinvigorating the narrative
tradition despite the hostility leveled at narrative history by some academic historians.
In the end, he argues, the secret to making people care about their history comes
down to two words: Tell stories.
Mr. Sides is the author of six books, including Ghost Soldiers, a World War II narrative
which sold over a million copies, was translated into a dozen foreign languages, and
was the basis for the 2005 Miramax film The Great Raid. His book Blood and Thunder,
about the life and times of controversial frontiersman Kit Carson, was named one of
the 10 Best Books of 2006 by Time magazine. He is an editor-at-large for Outside Magazine
and has written for such periodicals as National Geographic, The New Yorker, Esquire,
Preservation, and Men's Journal. His work has been twice nominated for National Magazine
Awards for feature writing.
He visits Memphis on the eve of the forty-sixth anniversary of the assassination of
Martin Luther King, a particularly appropriate date given his latest book: Hellhound
on His Trail, a riveting account of the assassination and the international manhunt
for James Earl Ray. The New York Times bestseller, in the words of critic Janet Maslin,
is "spellbinding...bold, dynamic, unusually vivid."
His lecture is co-sponsored by the River City Writers Series, the Department of History,
and the Department of Journalism.
Thursday, April 17
Radical Life on the Mississippi: A Global History of the American Civil War
Andrew Zimmerman suggests just how international our national history is. He focuses on the Civil
War – the most American of international revolutions. European, Caribbean, Latin American,
and African histories influenced, and were influenced by, the war over slavery in
the United States.
Dr. Zimmerman highlights the international currents at work in the states around the
Mississippi River during the Civil War. When war came to this region in 1861, the
struggle between secession and union was joined by revolutionary socialist émigrés
from Europe, African American rebels against slavery, and evangelical anti-slavery
fighters from "Bleeding Kansas." These groups helped create a winning "war-by-emancipation"
strategy for the Union Army by building on international experiences of armed struggle
against slavery, against aristocracy, against capitalism, and for a wide range of
secular and religious ideas of a just society. At the same time, some slaveholders
sought to be as international in their defense of slavery as these opponents, and
looked to the top-down, conservative socialisms of Napoleon III in France and Robert
Owen in Britain, as well as to their own Caribbean and Latin American slaveholding
counterparts, to modernize the ideologies and institutions of slavery.
Dr. Zimmerman is Professor of History at the George Washington University. He is the
author of Anthropology and Antihumanism in Imperial Germany and Alabama in Africa:
Booker T. Washington, the German Empire, and the Globalization of the New South.
His address is co-sponsored by the interdisciplinary student group Transcending Boundaries.