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WORLDWISE: Arts and Humanities Dean's Lecture Series Archive

Fall 2016Spring 2016Fall 2015Spring 2015Fall 2014Spring 2014 | Fall 2013 |  Spring 2013 | Fall 2012 |  Fall 2011 | Spring 2012 | Fall 2010 | Spring 2011

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The Worldwise Arts & Humanities Dean's Lecture Series provides an opportunity for the college faculty, students and staff to join together with colleagues across campus for stimulating conversation about issues that cross our disciplines.  Lectures and performances may address either enduring or emerging questions central to the arts and humanities, or questions arising from other disciplines to which the arts and humanities might speak.  In addition to presenting a major public event, each lecturer interacts in smaller settings with faculty, graduate students and/or undergraduates. Lectures and performances in the series may be co-sponsored with particular programs, centers, or departments within the college, with other colleges, and with external organizations. All Dean's Lecture Series events are free (ticketed) and open to the public.

An archive of videos and galleries from previous events is available here.

Fall 2016

The Pulitzer 100: Taylor Branch and Isabel Wilkerson in Conversation with Sherrilyn Ifill

Tuesday, December 6, 2016, 7:00pm 
Kay Theatre, 
Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center

What is the impact of the humanities on American life? As part of the Pulitzer Prizes' Centennial Celebration, the College of Arts and Humanities has partnered with Maryland Humanities to present Pulitzer Prize-winning author-historian Taylor Branch and Isabel Wilkerson. NAACP's Sherrilyn Ifill will moderate an engaging discussion between the two on the historical context behind their Pulitzer Prize-winning work and its relevancy to our lives today.

A book signging and reception will follow the event.

This event is free but ticketed. Tickets are available at the Clarice

This event is supported in part by Maryland Humanities through its yearlong commemoration of the centennial of the Pulitzer Prizes. This commemoration is part of the Pulitzer Prizes Centennial Campfires Initiative, a joint venture of the Pulitzer Prizes Board and the Federation of State Humanities Councils in celebration of the 2016 centennial of the Prizes. The initiative seeks to illuminate the impact of journalism and the humanities on American life today, to imagine their future, and to inspire new generations to consider the values represented by the body of Pulitzer Prize-winning work.

For their generous support for the Campfires Initaitve, we thank the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Ford Foundation, Canegie Corporation of New York, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Pulitzer Prizes Board, and Columbia University. 

For more information on Maryland Humanities and their Pulitzer 100 initatives:

#ARHUDLS #pulitzer100

Claudia Rankine in Conversation with Sheri Parks

Claudia Rankine, Award Winning Poet

Thursday, September 29, 2016, 5:30pm
Gildenhorn Recital Hall, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center

Award-winning poet Claudia Rankine joins Sheri Parks for an intimate conversation on the role of public education, specifically art, in the making of American democracy. The event combines a poetry reading from Rankine's New York Times best-seller "Citizen: An American Lyric," and a discussion in which the two engage audience members on themes related to race, art and citizen making. 

In partnership with the Democracy Then and Now: Citizenship and Public Education Program.

This event is free (ticketed) and open to the public.  Tickets are available from The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center.  #ARHUDLS


Spring 2016

NEA and NEH: Fifty Years

NEA Chairman Jane Chu and NEH Chairman "Bro" Adams 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016, 5:30pm
Gildenhorn Recital Hall, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center

The arts and humanities help us to understand the human experience and critical issues such as power, inequality and quality of life. Join us as NEA Chairman Jane Chu and NEH Chairman William D. Adams discuss how the arts and humanities unlock solutions to some of society’s most pressing challenges. Discover how the arts and humanities impact public engagement, technological advancement and cultural preservation. 

This event is free (ticketed) and open to the public. 

Fall 2015

Huang Yi

Dancer, Choreographer, Inventor and Videographer.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015, 5:30pm
Gildenhorn Recital Hall, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center

Named by Dance Magazine as one of the “25 to Watch”, Huang Yi’s work lies at the intersection of modern dance, aesthetics and robotics.

Yi is blurring the line between mortal and virtual, asking the question are humans becoming more machine-like or are machines becoming more life-like?

This event is free but ticketed. Tickets are available here.

Angelique Kidjo

Singer and Activist

Friday, December 4, 2015, 5:30pm
Gildenhorn Recital Hall, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center

The “undisputed queen of African music,” Angélique Kidjo is a musical superstar who uses her acclaimed songs to speak to the lives of African women.

In conversation with Sheri Parks, Kidjo, whom Time Magazine called “Africa’s premier diva,” will discuss her world activism in and out of the media spotlight and her life — from Benin to Paris to Brooklyn.

This event is free but ticketed. Tickets are available here.

Spring 2015

Terry Tempest Williams

Environmental Humanist, Activist and Nature Writer

Thursday, April 16, 2015, 5:30pm
Gildenhorn Recital Hall, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center

Terry Tempest Williams, award winning author of “Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family & Place” and “Finding Beauty in a Broken World,” will discuss the role of the humanities in environmentalism. Williams has been called a “citizen writer” who speaks out on behalf of an ethical stance toward life, asking how power can be redistributed equitably even beyond our own species.  Williams is the Annie Clark Tanner Scholar in Environmental Humanities at the University of Utah and Provostial Scholar at Dartmouth College.  She is also a founding member of Narrative 4, which fosters empathy through the exchange of stories across the world and will help lead a story exchange at UMD on April 15. 

This event will be in conversation with Sheri Parks followed by a reception with Terry Tempest Williams.

Co-sponsored by the ADVANCE Program for Inclusive Excellence.

Art, Peacebuilding and Social Change
Featuring Wendy Sternberg, Nigel Osborne, and Jelani (W. Michael Hamm)


Thursday, April 23, 2015, 5:30pm

Gildenhorn Recital Hall, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center

A lively mix of performance art, video and talk will showcase international activists who are strategically using art for social justice and post-traumatic healing. Nigel Osborne, one of the UK’s leading composers and founder of the University of Edinburgh Institute for Music in Human and Social Development, creates operas to help traumatized people in Palestine, Georgia and Uganda. Wendy Sternberg left a medical career to start Genesis at the Crossroads, using arts as vehicles for peacebuilding, humanitarianism and education worldwide. Jelani, a teacher-artist-scholar, stages and studies an array of art forms for healing post-traumatic stresses of inner city children and the descendants of African-American slaves who travel to African slave ports.

This event will be in conversation with Sheri Parks followed by a reception with all three panelists.



Fall 2014

Walter Isaacson





Biographer, Journalist and CEO, Aspen Institute

Monday, November 10, 2014, 5:30pm
Gildenhorn Recital Hall, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center

“Genius expert” Isaacson is credited with unlocking the codes of innovation and the people who dream and execute game changing breakthroughs. His biography, “Steve Jobs,” broke U.S. biography sales records and his latest book, “The Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution,” is nominated for a National Book Award. TIME magazine named him one of the World’s 100 Most Influential People in 2012. A former CEO of CNN and now the president and CEO of the Aspen Institute, his work fosters leadership based on enduring values and nonpartisan approaches to critical issues. He argues that the future belongs to those who can appreciate the arts, the humanities and the sciences.


Spring 2014

Annette Gordon-Reed

Professor of History and Charles Warren Professor of American Legal History, Harvard Law School

Thursday, February 27, 2014, 5:30 PM
Gildenhorn Recital Hall, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center

Despite scholarly opposition toward her groundbreaking book, “Thomas Jefferson & Sally Hemings: An American Controversy,” historian, Harvard Law School professor and Pulitzer Prize winner Annette Gordon-Reed published an unrelenting body of research that led to a 1998 DNA test that proved the once-rumored relationship between Jefferson and the woman he owned. Her current work continues the story of the Hemings-Jefferson family. She too serves as a humanities commission member for the "Heart of the Matter."

Co-sponsored by the ADVANCE Program for Inclusive Excellence and Miller Center for Historical Studies

Anthony Romero

Executive Director, American Civil Liberties Union

Wednesday, April 16, 2014, 5:30 PM
Gildenhorn Recital Hall, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center

Named one of Time magazine’s 25 Most Influential Hispanics in America, Anthony Romero is the Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union, the nation’s premier defender of civil and human rights. He is both the first Latino and openly gay man to serve in that capacity, and the first member of his family to graduate from high school. Under his leadership, the ACLU has challenged racial profiling, torture and abuse detainees in U.S. custody, private ownership of human genes and threats to basic freedoms during times of crisis.

Natasha Trethewey

U.S. Poet Laureate and Robert W. Woodruff Professor of English and Creative Writing, Emory University

Tuesday, April 29, 2014, 5:30 PM
Ulrich Hall, Tawes Hall

As the United States Poet Laureate and the Robert W. Woodruff Professor of English and Creative Writing at Emory University, Natasha Trethewey writes poetry as social action, from the intersections of living memory and political, cultural and social history. The recipient of a Pulitzer Prize and a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation, her work speaks to many scholarly themes including race relations, identity, social activism and cultural memory.

Fall 2013

John Lithgow 

Tony and Emmy award-winning Actor

Monday, November 18, 2013, 5:30 PM
Dekelboum Concert Hall, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center

With roles from the Trinity Killer on “Dexter” to Dr. Dick Solomon on “3rd Rock from the Sun,” multitalented actor John Lithgow has won Golden Globes, Emmys, and Tony Awards for both comedic and dramatic roles on stage and screen. Lithgow is a prominent spokesperson for the national report, “The Heart of the Matter,” on the necessity of the arts and humanities. Lithgow is currently touring his one-man show “Stories By Heart,” exploring the power of storytelling as the tie that bonds humanity.

The University of Maryland College of Arts and Humanities is a host site to extend the conversation on a national report titled, “The Heart of the Matter: The Humanities and Social Sciences,” conducted by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Spring 2013

Chimamanda Adichie in conversation

February 19, 2013, 5:30 PM
Gildenhorn Recital Hall, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center

2008 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship recipient and award-winning author of Half of a Yellow Sun, Purple Hibiscus, and The Thing Around Your Neck, which was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book in Africa.

Followed by audience Q&A and reception.

Cathy Davidson in conversation

"Now You See It:  Why the Future of Higher Education Needs a Paradigm Shift"
April 18, 2013, 5:30 PM
Gildenhorn Recital Hall, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center

Dr. Davidson, the author of Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn, will explore through an interactive talk how the modern digital age will globally shape future innovations in learning.

Named a “Top Ten Science Book” of the year by Publisher’s WeeklyNow You See It has helped spark a spirited conversation about how the principles of the Internet will shape our schools and workplaces going forward. In 2011, President Obama appointed Davidson to a six-year term on the National Council on the Humanities.

Moderated by Sheri L. Parks, ARHU Associate Dean and Professor of American Studies

Followed by audience Q&A and reception

Fall 2012

David Alan Grier in conversation

Monday, November 12, 2012, 7:00 PM
Dekelboum Concert Hall, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center

The multitalented comedian and film, television and Broadway star discusses the creative process, comedy and improvisation, music, and his life experiences with culture and race. Named one of Comedy Central’s “100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time,” Grier was most recently nominated for a 2012 Tony Award for his performance in the critically acclaimed Broadway revival of The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess.

Moderated by Sheri L. Parks, ARHU Associate Dean and Professor of American Studies

Eric Schlosser in conversation

Wednesday, November 28, 2012, 5:30 p.m.
Gildenhorn Recital Hall, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center

Dubbed in one review as “a social crusader for the new millennium,” award-winning journalist, producer of the critically acclaimed documentary FOOD, Inc., and best-selling author of Reefer Madness, Chew On This: Everything You Don't Want to Know About Fast Food, and Fast Food Nation -- selected by TIME magazine as one of the top 100 non-fiction books of all time Schlosser will discuss the controversial and alarming state of public health, agriculture and the food industry in America.

Moderated by Sheri L. Parks, ARHU Associate Dean and Professor of American Studies

Followed by audience Q&A and reception

Fall 2011

Bill T. Jones in conversation


Moderated by UM Professor of Theatre Leigh Wilson Smiley

Monday, October 24th, 5:30 PM
Kay Theatre, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center

"For me, the big struggle has been to find a place in the world through identity, history, and love...Though I move on, I must always ask the questions: Whom do I love, and what values are worth holding on to?"
- Bill T. Jones 

Earlier this year, NPR's Tom Ashbrook said, "Dancer and choreographer Bill T. Jones is a force of nature.  Artist.  Exhibitionist. Contrarian.  Crowd-pleaser. He’s been denounced and picketed – and hailed as a genius... Dance Master, Bill T. Jones." Join us for an open conversation with this provocative, award-winning artist who was named “An Irreplaceable Dance Treasure” by the Dance Heritage Coalition in 2000 and is internationally acclaimed as a trailblazer with a "fearless reflection of political concerns in his work." His company, the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, is now in its 29th year and has performed worldwide in over 200 cities in 30 countries on every major continent and is recognized as one of the most innovative and powerful forces in the modern dance world - having "foreshadowed issues of identity, form and social commentary that would change the face of American dance."  Mr. Jones has been profiled on the NBC nightly news, the Today show, and was featured in HBO’s documentary series MASTERCLASS as well as one of the final episodes of Bill Moyer's Journal. He has received major honors ranging from a 1994 MacArthur “Genius” Award to 2010 Kennedy Center Honors to four Tony Awards, three for the 2010 critically acclaimed Broadway musical FELA!, which he co-conceived, co-wrote, directed, and choreographed, and one for 2007's Spring Awakening.

In collaboration with Artists-in-Residence and the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center


Spring 2012 Lectures

Angela Davis


A Conversation with Angela Davis
April 18th, 2012, 5:30 PM
Colony Ballroom, Adele H. Stamp Student Union

Followed by audience Q&A and reception

"We have to talk about liberating minds as well as liberating society."
- Angela Davis

For over four decades, philosopher and writer Angela Davis has been one of most influential, controversial, and fearless activists and public intellectuals in the United States. She has been hailed as "a courageous voice of conscience on matters of race, class, and gender in America.".  Her work as an educator – both at the university level and in the larger public sphere – has always emphasized the importance of building communities of struggle for economic, racial, and gender justice. Professor Davis is a leading advocate for prison reform and abolition and the founder of "Critical Resistance," a grassroots organization working to abolish what she has popularized as "the prison-industrial complex." Currently Professor Emerita of the History of Consciousness at the University of California, Santa Cruz, Professor Davis has taught and lectured internationally on feminism, African-American studies, Marxism, popular music, social consciousness and the philosophy and history of punishment and prisons. Among her notable books are Women, Race, and Class (1981),  Resisting State Violence: Radicalism, Gender, and Race in U.S. Culture (1996), The House That Race Built (1998), Are Prisons Obsolete? (2003), and most recently an acclaimed new critical edition of Frederick Douglass’s classic work, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself.  Renowned poet and civil rights activist June Jordan said, "Behold the heart and mind of Angela Davis, open, relentless, and on time!"

In collaboration with Adele H. Stamp
Student Union, ADVANCE, the
Departments of American Studies,
Philosophy, and Women’s Studies, and
the Office of the Chief Diversity Officer

David Simon in conversation


Moderated by UM Professor of American Studies Sheri Parks

March 1st, 2012, 5:30 PM
Gildenhorn Recital Hall, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center

Followed by audience Q&A and reception

"Learning to catch how people really talk is the way you show what's true in everything.”
- David Simon

“Surely the best TV show ever broadcast in America…no other program has ever done anything remotely like what this one does, namely to portray the social, political, and economic life of an American city with the scope, observational precision, and moral vision of great literature.”  So said Jacob Weisberg in 2006 writing in Slate about HBO’s five-season crime drama The Wire, set in Baltimore and co-created, produced, and written by UM alum David Simon. Just about every other critic agreed. Join us for a candid conversation with the passionate, irascible former crime reporter for The Baltimore Sun who, after spending a year with the city homicide squad and on a West Baltimore drug corner, wrote two works of narrative non-fiction that went on to become award-winning television series - The Corner, an HBO miniseries winning three Emmy Awards in 2000 and NBC’s critically acclaimed Homicide: Life on the StreetsSimon is currently at work on the HBO drama Tremé which centers on a group of local musicians in post-Katrina New Orleans.  He also writes for The New Yorker, Esquire and The Washington Post, among other publications.

In collaboration with the Graduate Field Committee in Film Studies and The Graduate School


Noam Chomsky


"Grammar, Mind, and Body: A Personal View
Thursday, January 26th, 2012, 4:30 PM
Colony Ballroom, Stamp Student Union

Followed by audience Q&A and reception

"Crisis and Hope: Theirs and Ours"
A talk on politics
Friday, January 27th, 2012, 7:00 PM
Dekelboum Concert Hall Hall, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center

Followed by audience Q&A

We shouldn't be looking for heroes, we should be looking for good ideas.”
- Noam Chomsky

 "Judged in terms of the power, range, novelty and influence of his thought, Noam Chomsky is arguably the most important intellectual alive today,” wrote Paul Robinson in The New York Review of Books.   The London Times named him one of the thousand “makers of the twentieth century.” Come hear talks on two of the renowned scientist’s great passions: politics (Friday) and language (Thursday).  Chomsky, a professor of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has written prolifically, taught courses, and lectured widely throughout the world. His ground-breaking research “into the nature of human language and communication” has “had an impact on everything from the way children are taught foreign languages to what it means when we say that we are human." Chomsky has also earned a place in history as an activist, social critic, and unrelenting and compelling voice in the debate over American politics. Among his recent books are New Horizons in the Study of Language and Mind, On Nature and Language, Hopes and Prospects, and Gaza in Crisis.  He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Science and a recipient of the Kyoto Prize in Basic Sciences, the Helmholtz Medal, the Dorothy Eldridge Peacemaker Award, the Ben Franklin Medal in Computer and Cognitive Science, and others. 

In collaboration with the Department of Linguistics

Fall 2010 Lectures

Alan Liu

Alan Liu, chair of English at University of California, Santa Barbara asks “What is cool when even our youngest children know to say “cool” in the presence of high technology?” Come hear Liu, author of The Laws of Cool, discuss his current work on the transformative effect of our increasingly digital world in his talk "Rerouting Creativity: New Media Arts after the Ideology of Creativity.

Monday, October 4, 2010
3:30-5 PM
Ulrich Recital Hall, Tawes Hall

Buffet reception immediately following event in Tawes lobby.

Following the reception, please join us at 7 P.M. at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center for Creative Dialogue: Laurie Anderson & David Harrington with Kojo Nnamdi.

In collaboration with MITH, the Digital Cultures and Creativity Honors Program, and the Center for Literary and Comparative Studies.

Saul Williams


Grand Slam Poetry Champion and HBO Def Poetry Jam performer Saul Williams says, “Who I am and what I do seems to vary by mod, mood, and mode of expression. I write. I act. I perform.” Join UMD’s own Terpoets for an electrifying performance by this multi-talented musician, actor, writer, and artist.

Performance followed by Q&A

Thursday, October 28th, 2010
7:30-9:30 PM
Hoff Theatre, Stamp Student Union

Reception immediately following event.

In collaboration with the student group Terpoets, "UMD's premier open mic for poetry and prose."

Louis Menand


"The Future of Disciplinarity: The Case of Literature." 

Louis Menand, professor of English at Harvard University, Pulitzer Prize winner and New Yorker writer, says trying to reform the university is like trying to get on the Internet with a typewriter. Author of The Marketplace of Ideas: Reform and Resistance in the American University, Menand talks about the future of the disciplines that have defined American higher education for 140 years.

Thursday, November 4, 2010
4:30-6 PM
Ulrich Recital Hall, Tawes Hall

Reception immediately following event.

In collaboration with the School of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures and the Center for Comparative and Literary Studies, hosts of the symposium "Reading Comparatively," November 4-5, 2010.


Spring 2011 Lecture

Tony Kushner

Tony Kushner

Pulitzer, Emmy, Obie, and Tony award-winning playwright and screenwriter, Tony Kushner, “gives voice to characters who have been rendered powerless by the forces of circumstances – a drag queen dying of AIDS, an uneducated Southern maid, contemporary Afghans,” according to The New Yorker.  Professor Emeritus of English Jackson Bryer sits down for an intimate conversation with the dynamic author of Caroline, or Change, Steven Spielberg’s Munich and his epic Angels in America.

Tuesday, February 22, 2010
3:30-5 PM
Dekelboum Concert Hall
Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center

Book-signing and reception immediately following event in the Grand Pavilion

In collaboration with the Clarice Smith Center and the School  of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies.