PRESIDENTIAL LECTURE SERIES
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ARCHIVE
CALENDAR
LECTURERS
PAST LECTURER SITES
CURRENT LECTURER SITES
SYMPOSIA
HUMANITIES AT STANFORD
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Christo and Jeanne Claude || Peter Eisenman || Hélène Cixous || Harold Bloom

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. || Stephen Jay Gould || Karl Heinz Bohrer || Wole Soyinka

Fredric Jameson || Beatriz Sarlo || Alexander Nehamas || Stefan Maul || Jacques Derrida

Pina Bausch || Svetlana Alpers || Bei Dao

Individual Web sites have been developed for each of the lecturers who have participated in this series. The sites contain a variety of materials pertaining to that lecturer, including bibliographies, electronic texts, image files, links to internet resources, and schedules of events. Lecturer sites for speakers visiting in the current quarter are also available.

Lecturers are listed in the order that they visited the campus. A schedule of upcoming events is available from the calendar page.


Christo and Jeanne-Claude
The artistic team of Christo and Jeanne-Claude have produced some of the 20th century's most unique works of art. Their innovative utilization of fabrics in pieces such as the Running Fence ((c)1976 Christo; Photo: AK Ciesielski ) and most recently the Wrapped Reichstag ((c)1995 Christo; Photo: AK Ciesielski ) defy traditional approaches to materials and means of artistic production. Requiring collaborative efforts on a scale without precedent in contemporary art their projects engage not only the artists themselves but also their production teams, the workers who construct the final realizations, legislative bodies and planning agencies, and perhaps most importantly, the public. The Christos have redefined the nature of "work" in the "work of art". Christo and Jeanne Claude were on campus from March 2-March 3, 1998. They spoke at Annenberg Auditorium on March 2 1998 at 5:00 p.m.

Peter Eisenman
Peter Eisenman's multi-faceted career includes the roles of architect, theorist, teacher, writer and editor. Founding Director of the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies, New York, and editor of its influential journal, Oppositions, Eisenman has often been regarded more an agent provocateur than architect, with his particular practice occurring in the arenas of theory and design. Linked to the post-Functionalist trend in architecture wherein buildings achieve an autonomous and self-referential status, Eisenman is now devoting more of his energies to seeing his designs fulfilled in the built environment. His recent works have included the Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio State University, which signaled and symbolized the deconstructionist movement in architecture, and the Aronoff Center for Design and Art, University of Cincinnati.
Eisenman was on campus from March 9-March 12, 1998. He spoke at Kresge Auditorium on March 9 at 7:00 p.m.

Hélène Cixous
A prolific writer and influential theorist, university professor, novelist, philosopher, playwright, and activist, Hélène Cixous blends multiple roles and vivid creative imagination in a body of work that is both poetic and deeply provocative. Her insights into the effects of difference developed the concept of an écriture féminine that influences all the genres in which she works, including the fiction, literary criticism, drama, essays, lectures, and interviews that have been published in close to 50 books and well over 100 articles. She is currently Professor of Literature at the University of Paris VIII, an institution she helped create after her active participation in the Parisian événements of May 1968, and where she later founded and now directs the doctoral program in the Centre d'Études Féminines.
Cixous was on campus from March 16-March 19, 1998. She spoke in the Moot Court Room at the Law Building on March 16 at 7:00 p.m.

Harold Bloom
Harold Bloom, an internationally distinguished literary critic and theorist, is Sterling Professor of the Humanities at Yale University and Berg Professor of English at New York University. The author of more than twenty books, ranging from early studies of British Romantic poets to recent commentaries on American millennial religion, Bloom is perhaps most familiar to general readers for The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages (1993), his polemical defense of the great writers of the Western tradition against the challenges of such academic fashions as deconstruction, feminism, Marxism, multiculturalism, and New Historicism.
Bloom was on campus from May 18-May 21, 1998. He spoke at Kresge Auditorium on May 18 at 7:00 p.m.

Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is the W.E.B. Du Bois Professor of Humanities at Harvard University. As one of America's premier scholars on black literature, culture, and history, Gates has championed African-American studies' place in academe. He has been a force in establishing the traditions and cultural context against which black literature should be read and studied. His most recent book, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Man , contains essays about and interviews with influential black men in high-profile positions (e.g., Colin Powell, Louis Farrakhan, Harry Belafonte). Gates was on campus from October 12-13, 1998. He spoke on "Race and Class / Race in Class" at Kresge Auditorium on October 12 at 7:00 p.m.

Stephen Jay Gould
At Harvard University, Stephen Jay Gould is Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology, Professor of Geology, adjunct member of the Department of the History of Science, and Curator of Invertebrate Paleontology in the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology. He is president-elect of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and perhaps America's best-known writer in the biological and geological sciences, particularly with regard to the theory of evolution, the interpretation of fossil evidence, and the meaning of diversity and change in biology. His essays in Natural History magazine and his writings on the history of science, particularly The Mismeasure of Man, have been influential and controversial. Gould was on campus from November 4-5, 1998. He lectured on "Interactions of Art and Science, and the Largely Arbitrary Nature of Academic Boundaries" at the SEQ Teaching Center on November 4 at 7:00 p.m.

Karl Heinz Bohrer
Karl Heinz Bohrer is Professor for Modern German Literary History at the University of Bielefeld. An accomplished and productive scholar and essayist, he is also editor of the influential journal Merkur, Germany's "journal of European thought" and current affairs. He is one of Germany's leading writers on aesthetics, the aesthetic imagination in literature, and the relationships of literature and culture to the political state. Bohrer was on campus from November 9-10, 1998. He gave a lecture entitled "Without Future: The Meaning of Poetic Nihilism for Interpretation, Theater and State" at Pigott Hall (Bldng. 260) on November 9 at 7:00 p.m.

Wole Soyinka
Wole Soyinka, the Nobel Laureate for Literature in 1986, is a distinguished dramatist, poet, autobiographer, and cultural critic. Born in Nigeria and educated in both his native country and Britain, Soyinka first came to prominence in the 1960s as a dissident artist-activist, whose plays and improvised street theater attacked the follies and cruelties of Africa's early post-colonial leaders. In the years since, Soyinka's work has continued to act as the outspoken conscience to a succession of oppressive regimes in Nigeria as well as other African states, and he has consequently suffered periods of both political imprisonment and exile. Beyond Soyinka's role as the socially engaged man-of-letters, he is also an influential teacher, having taught at a number of universities in Africa as well as in Britain and the United States. Today Soyinka is the Robert W. Woodruff Professor of the Arts at Emory University in Atlanta. Soyinka was on campus from November 30-December 1, 1998. He lectured on "Contemporary Literature and the Future of the Humanities and Arts" in Kresge Auditorium (Stanford School of Law) on November 30, 1998 at 7:00 p.m.

Fredric Jameson
Fredric Jameson is an internationally renowned Marxist critic. Presently the William A. Lane Professor of Comparative Literature at Duke University, he has long been recognized as a major theorist of modern culture and a master analyst of its relation to socio-economic reality. In recent years Jameson has concentrated on contemporary artistic practices, both popular and elite, and is today best known for the essays collected in Postmodernism, or The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (1991), which diagnose late twentieth-century culture as a symptom of the new global economy. Methodologically eclectic, Jameson's critical thought yields unusually subtle studies of aesthetic production, ranging from avant-garde literature and corporate architecture to popular films and video art. Jameson was on campus January 25-26, 1999. He spoke on "Aesthetic Autonomy in the Age of Late Capitalism" at the School of Law, Room 290 on January 25 at 7:00 p.m.

Beatriz Sarlo
Beatriz Sarlo is one of Latin America's most important cultural critics. Her writings examine the work of literary giants (Jorge Luis Borges: A Writer on the Edge, 1993) and with the same ease, she examines Argentina's every day life to address issues of technology, modernity, fiction and mass media (Escenas de la Vida Posmoderna: Intelectuales, Arte y Videocultura en la Argentina, 1994). Her more recent work is La Maquina Cultural: Maestras, Traductores y Vanguardistas, 1998. Since 1978 she has published Punto de Vista, one of Argentina's most important cultural publications. Sarlo is a professor at the Universidad de Buenos Aires and is a frequent contributor to several Latin American newspapers. She has been a Wilson Center and Guggenheim fellow. Sarlo was on campus February 22-23, 1999. She gave lecture entitled "No Future? Literature and Cultural Politics" at Pigott Hall (Bldng. 260), Room 113 on February 22 at 7:00 p.m.

Alexander Nehamas
Alexander Nehamas, born in Greece, studied at Swarthmore and then Princeton, where he earned a Ph.D. in philosophy in 1971. Currently Edmund N. Carpenter Professor in Humanities, Professor of Philosophy, and Professor of Comparative Literature at Princeton, Nehamas is also chair of Princeton's Council of the Humanities. His most recent book is Virtues of Authenticity: Essays on Plato and Socrates (Princeton UP, 1998). Describing how he ended up teaching and writing about philosophy, Nehamas told an interviewer: "My official plan was to go into business and retire at a relatively young age in order to discuss intellectual issues on my yacht. But I never got a yacht, I got tenure instead." Nehamas was on campus March 8-9, 1999. He gave a lecture entitled "The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters" at the School of Law, Room 290 on March 8 at 7:00 p.m.

Stefan Maul
Stefan Maul is an internationally renowned Assyriologist. His main area of research is Mesopatamian religion in the first millenium B.C., but he is recognized as a very accomplished scholar in many areas of Assyriology and cuneiform culture. In 1997, Professor Maul was awarded the G. W. Leibniz Prize, the most prestigious scientific prize in Germany, which will allow him generous funding for a scientific project undertaken over the next five years. Maul was on campus May 17-18, 1999. He gave a lecture entitled "Constructions of Divinity. The Idea of God in Ancient Near East" at the Cantor Arts Center Auditorium on May 17 at 7:00 p.m. He also presented a seminar on May 18 entitled "The Magician's Archives". Please see the schedule for details.

Jacques Derrida
Jacques Derrida came into prominence in America because of his association with the school of philosophy and literary criticism known as deconstruction, and it is with deconstruction that he is still most closely identified today. Born in Algeria in 1930 of Algerian Jewish parents, Professor Derrida is Director of Studies at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris, and Professor of Humanities at the University of California, Irvine. Derrida visited the Stanford campus April 15-16, 1999. He spoke on " The Future of the Profesion, or the Unconditional University (Thanks to the 'Humanities': What Could Take Place Tomorrow)" at Kresge Auditorium on April 15 .

Pina Bausch
Choreographer and dancer Pina Bausch has directed the Tanztheater (dance theater) Wuppertal in Germany for 25 years. Her company is well known for provocative and innovative performances that combine dance, theater, music, and visual arts. The term dance theater began to be commonly used in the 1970s to describe this new genre that used whatever media is most effective in conveying and portraying what is being expressed. Bausch is often quoted as saying "I'm not interested in how people move, but what moves them." Her works are known for their exploration of relationships between people, particularly men and women, and confront issues of modern life. At times her work has drawn criticism and controversy, particularly in the United States, for its content and graphic depictions. When Bausch first started to choreograph her dance theater pieces, they were something totally different, even radical, and many reacted negatively to them. But they are now widely accepted and dance theater has become one of the major forces in modern dance today, largely due to Bausch. She has received many awards and is considered one of the most influential choreographers of our time. Bausch will conduct a public dance rehearsal and give an onstage interview on October 18, 1999.

Svetlana Alpers
The second lecturer scheduled for the Fall Quarter series is Svetlana Alpers, an art historian specializing in Baroque painting. She has written controversial books on Rubens, Rembrandt, and Dutch 17th-Century art, and is known for her innovative approaches to theoretical issues of narration and description in the visual arts. Alpers is one of a handful of art historians whose fresh, imaginative methodologies introduced the New Art History to a wider U.S. audience in the 1970s and 1980s. She is professor emerita (History of Art) at the University of California, Berkeley. She will lecture at Stanford on November 8, 1999 on "What Are We Looking For? Expectations in Art History." For more info on Svetlana Alpers click here.

Bei Dao
The third and final lecturer scheduled to appear in the Fall Quarter series is Bei Dao, considered to be one of China's foremost poets. He is also known as Zhao Zhenkai, but has used the pseudonym Bei Dao since the late 1970s. In 1989, he was accused of helping to incite the protests in Tiananmen Square and consequently forced into exile. He has published numerous volumes of poetry and short stories, several of which have been translated into English. He was also one of the founders of Today (Jiantian), a literary magazine that provided a venue to emerging authors and poets, including Bei Dao himself. Bei Dao, who now lives in the U.S., has been a visiting scholar at the International Institute and the Center for Chinese Studies. He is currently in residence at the University of California Davis, and working on a collection to be entitled "Unlock." Bei Dao, accompanied by his translator, Eliot Weinberger, will lecture and give a reading in Chinese and English at Stanford on November 29, 1999.


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