ECU Harriot College Announces 2011 Voyages Lecture Series

Dr. Alan R. White, dean of East Carolina University’s Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, is pleased to announce the 2011-12 season of the Voyages of Discovery Lecture Series. Established in 2007, the series advances the spirit of exploration and discovery that is the hallmark of the liberal arts, and since its inception has featured speakers of international renown and wide public interest.

“This series has become the premier intellectual event for students and faculty of ECU and the citizens of eastern North Carolina, and it is a showcase for the quality of academic life at ECU,” said White. “Past speakers, including anthropologist Richard Leakey and activist Gloria Steinem, have shared their unique perspectives and provided insight into important issues in today’s society. This season’s lineup is sure to be as equally stimulating.”

During the 2011-12 season, five prominent speakers will visit ECU and will address topics ranging from America’s involvement in air and space exploration, international politics and literature, contemporary Black theology and history, and the cultural and ecological treasures of eastern North Carolina.

Kicking off the series on Sept. 13 is the Lawrence F. Brewster Lecture in History, cosponsored by the ECU Department of History. Dr. David T. Courtwright, John A. Delaney Presidential Professor in the Department of History at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, will speak on “Sky as Frontier: America’s Air and Space Century.”

At the Premier Lecture on Oct. 5, ECU will be honored to welcome Sir Salman Rushdie, current distinguished writer in residence in the Department of English at Emory University. Rushdie is one of the world’s most engaged and outspoken intellectuals and a fervent advocate for freedom of expression. He will explore the intersection of competing ideas in “Public Events, Private Lives: Literature and Politics in the Modern World.”

A special addition in this season’s roster is A University Lecture Celebrating 50 Years of Diversity. On Nov. 10, Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the W.E.B DuBois Institute for African and African-American Research at Harvard University, will discuss “African-American Lives: Genetics, Genealogy, and Black History.” This event is jointly sponsored by the ECU Office of Equity, Diversity, and Community Relations; the Office of Student Affairs; the Student Activities Board-Initiatives; the Division of Research and Graduate Studies; and J.Y. Joyner Library.

This year’s Thomas Harriot Lecture will be held Feb. 2, 2012. Bland Simpson, North Carolina native and Bowman and Gordon Gray Distinguished Term Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will examine the richness of the culture and environment of North Carolina’s coastal plain.

Rounding out the series on March 13, 2012, is the Jarvis Lecture on Christianity and Culture, cosponsored by the ECU Religious Studies Program and Jarvis Memorial United Methodist Church. Dr. J. Kameron Carter, associate professor of theology and Black church studies at Duke University, will share his knowledge of Black theology.

The Voyages of Discovery Lecture Series is made possible through contributions from Harriot College’s Dean’s Advancement Council, various university organizations, and many friends and supporters. To make a contribution or for additional information, contact Dr. John Tucker, director of the lecture series, at 252-328-1028 or, or visit the series’ Web site at

All lectures are open to the public and begin at 7 p.m. in Wright Auditorium on the campus of ECU. Complimentary tickets are available to ECU students, faculty and staff, and are $10 for the general public, with the exception of the March 2012 Jarvis Lecture, which is free to all attendees. For tickets, call the ECU Central Ticket Office at 252-328-4788 or 1-800-ECU-ARTS.

Individuals requesting accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) should call 252-737-1016 (voice/TTY) at least 48 hours prior to the event.