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2010 Voyages Lecture Series to bring experts to ECU campus

The upcoming season of the Voyages of Discovery Lecture Series will include topics ranging from slavery during the Ottoman Empire to the origins of the universe, and from Christianity to the lost colony of the newfound land of Virginia.

The lecture series is sponsored by the East Carolina University Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences. During this fourth year of the series, four prominent speakers will visit ECU and will share their knowledge and life experiences with the campus and Greenville community.

Dr. Eve M. Troutt Powell, associate professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania, will kick off the lecture series with the Lawrence F. Brewster Lecture in History on Sept. 9, co-sponsored by the ECU Department of History. Powell will present a lecture titled “The Language of Slavery, the Diction of Freedom: Voices from the Nile Valley and Ottoman Empire.”

At the Premiere Lecture on Oct. 6, Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist and director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York City, will discuss “On the Origins of the Universe.” Tyson’s lecture is being held in honor of the late Dr. W. Keats Sparrow, dean of the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences from 1990-2005, who died in November 2009.

This year’s Jarvis Lecture on Christianity and Culture will be held Nov. 9 and is co-sponsored by the ECU Religious Studies Program and Jarvis Memorial United Methodist Church. Dr. Matthew Fox, theologian and Episcopal priest, will discuss the topic of “Reinventing Christianity.”

In the final lecture of the series, the Thomas Harriot Lecture on March 24, 2011, lebame houston, Elizabethan scholar and historian for the Roanoke Island Historical Association, will present a lecture titled “A Brief and True Report of ‘The Lost Colony’ Drama in the New Found Land of Virginia.”

“It has become the premier intellectual event for students and faculty of ECU, the citizens of eastern North Carolina, and a showcase for the quality of academic life at ECU,” said Dr. Alan R. White, dean of the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences. “The series features thought provoking and accomplished leaders from a variety of disciplines, who provide insight into important issues in today’s society and share their experiences and perspectives.”

All lectures are open to the public and will be held at 7 p.m. in Wright Auditorium. Complimentary tickets are available to ECU students, faculty and staff, and are $10 for the general public, with the exception of the Jarvis Lecture, which is free to all attendees. Tickets are available through the ECU Central Ticket Office by calling 252-328-4788, 1-800-ECU-ARTS or (voice/TTY) 252-328-4736.

The Voyages of Discovery Lecture Series is made possible through contributions from the Dean’s Advancement Council of the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, the East Carolina Alumni Association and other supporters of the college.

For additional information, contact Dr. John Tucker, director of the lecture series, at 252-328-1028 or, or visit the website at

This story appeared originally in the Aug. 27, 2010 issue of Pieces of Eight. An archived version of that issue is available at