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Past Lectures 2009- 2010


Lawrence F. Brewster Lecture in History

Dr. Marcus Rediker
Black Pirates: The Curious Early History of the Amistad Rebellion

Dr. Marcus Rediker is a world-renowned scholar of maritime history. After completing his doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Rediker taught at Georgetown University from 1982 to 1994, before moving to the University of Pittsburgh where he now serves as professor and chair of the department of history.

Dr. Rediker has authored or co-authored five books: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (1987), Who Built America? (1989), The Many-Headed Hydra (2000), Villains of All Nations (2004), and most recently, The Slave Ship: A Human History (2007). For The Slave Ship, Dr. Rediker was awarded the 2008 James A. Rawley Prize, given by the American Historical Association; the 2008 George Washington Book Prize, given by the Gilder Lehrman Institute; and the 2008 Merle Curti Award, given by the Organization of American Historians.

His works have been translated into French, Gern, Greek, Italian, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Swedish. Dr. Rediker has held fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the National Endowment of the Humanities, and the Andrew P. Mellon Foundation.

Dr. Rediker has been active in a variety of social justice and peace movements, most recently in the worldwide campaign to abolish the death penalty. He has described himself as “by ancestry, Welsh, Scottish, Dutch, and Cherokee; I am, by upbringing, a Southerner; I am, by generation, of the New Left; I am, by choice, a citizen of the world.”


Dr. Mark Ravina

Reflections on The Last Samurai

Dr. Mark Ravina is an internationally recognized authority on early-modern samurai history and culture. Dr. Ravina is a professor of history and chair of the Department of Russian and East Asian Studies at Emory University. Dr. Ravina’s specialization is Japanese history, especially eighteenth- and nineteenth-century politics. Ravina’s first book, Land and Lordship in

Dr. Ravina is best known for his biography of Saigo Takamori (1827-1877) entitled The Last Samurai (John Wiley & Sons, 2004). Saigo was the inspiration for the character Katsumoto in the Tom Cruise film, also entitled The Last Samurai. That the film, which opened shortly after Ravina’s book was published, was, as Dr. Ravina explains, “pure coincidence.” Nevertheless, the Warner Brothers film piqued interest in Ravina’s biography of Saigo, resulting in his appearance as a "guest expert" on CNN and on two History Channel programs: "History vs. Hollywood" and "The Samurai."

On a more scholarly note, Dr. Ravina has begun to explore the idea of transnational history, emphasizing interactions between nations and cultures, reflecting his broader methodological interests in the transnational/international dimensions of state-building.


The Premier Lecture

Gloria Steinem
Reflections on Feminism: A Voyage of Discovery with Gloria Steinem

Gloria Steinem is an icon of American feminism, a well-respected journalist, and a vocal activist for a variety of social and political causes.

After rising to national prominence as a feminist leader in the 1960s, Ms. Steinem emerged as an important intellectual force as well, helping to found New York magazine. Earlier, Ms. Steinem had broken new cultural and journalistic ground in 1963 with an investigative report on how the women of Playboy were treated. Ms. Steinem’s report was later made into a 1985 movie, A Bunny's Tale.

In the 1970s she became a leading political leader and one of the most important heads of the second-wave feminism, the women's rights movement. In 1971, Steinem, along with other feminist leaders (including Betty Friedan and U.S. Representatives Shirley Chisholm and Bella Abzug) founded the National Women's Political Caucus. An influential co-convener of the Caucus, Ms. Steinem delivered her memorable, "Address to the Women of America." The next year Steinem became the founding editor and publisher of Ms. magazine, which brought feminist issues to the forefront and became the movement's most influential publication.

Steinem actively campaigned for the Equal Rights Amendment, in addition to other laws and social reforms that promoted equality. She also founded or co-founded many groups, including the Women's Action Alliance, the Coalition of Labor Union Women, the Women's Media Center, and Choice USA.


Jarvis Lecture on Christianity and Culture

Dr. Walter Brueggemann
Recovery from the Long Nightmare of Amnesia

Dr. Walter Brueggemann is an internationally recognized Old Testament scholar who has authored 58 books and hundreds of articles on biblical interpretation.

A graduate of Elmhurst College, Dr. Brueggemann studied at the Eden Theological Seminary, receiving his Doctorate of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary and his PhD from St. Louis University. He is professor emeritus at Columbia Theological Seminary.

Dr. Brueggemann’s lifework has been characterized by a passionate and imaginative exploration of Old Testament theology, emphasizing the relation between the Old Testament and Christian canonical works, the origins and history of Christian doctrine, and the dynamics of Jewish-Christian interactions.

Mark Thiessen Nation, program director at the London Mennonite Center has commented, “No one writing on the Bible is more consistently provocative, interesting, challenging, and imaginative than Walter Brueggemann. … For those Christians who yearn for serious, biblically informed engagement with our contemporary world there is no one more stimulating to read than Brueggemann. The man rarely writes a boring page. He is thoroughly knowledgeable as an Old Testament scholar–not to mention reasonably informed on theology, psychology, sociology, philosophy, and several other fields–and yet he writes with such verve that he is a joy to read.”


Sallie Southall Cotten Lecture

Dr. Trudier Harris
Little Old Ladies and the Last Word: An Exploration of Sassiness and Risque Behavior in African American Folklore

Dr. Trudier Harris is one of the most prominent and prolific scholars of African-American literature and culture.

Dr. Harris taught at the College of William and Mary for six years before joining the faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In addition to lecturing throughout the United States, Dr. Harris has lectured in Jamaica, Canada, France, Germany, Poland, Spain, Italy, England, and Northern Ireland. Her memoir, Summer Snow: Reflections from a Black Daughter of the South, appeared from Beacon Press in 2003.

From 1996-1997, Dr. Harris was a resident fellow at the National Humanities Center. In 2000, she was presented with the William C. Friday/Class of 1986 Award for Excellence in Teaching. In 2005, Dr. Harris won the UNC System Board of Governors' Award for Excellence in Teaching. Also in 2005, she received the John Hurt Fisher Award of the South Atlantic Association of Departments of English for her outstanding contributions to the field of English scholarship. Dr. Harris’ books include From Mammies to Militants: Domestics in Black American Literature (1982), Exorcising Blackness: Historical and Literary Lynching and Burning Rituals (1984), Black Women in the Fiction of James Baldwin (1985, for which she won the 1987 College Language Association Creative Scholarship Award), The Power of the Porch: The Storyteller's Craft in Zora Neale Hurston, Gloria Naylor, and Randall Kenan (1996), Saints, Sinners, Saviors: Strong Black Women in African American Literature (2001).


Thomas Harriot Lecture

Dr. Theda Perdue
Native Americans of North Carolina

Dr. Theda Perdue is a nationally recognized authority on the native peoples of the southeastern United States, and on gender in native societies.

Dr. Perdue is the author or co-author of seven books including Cherokee Women: Gender and Culture Change, 1700-1835 (1998), which won the Southern Association of Women’s Historian’s Julia Cherry Spruill Award and the Southern Anthropological Society’s James Mooney Prize. More recently, she has published "Mixed Blood" Indians: Racial Construction in the Early South (2003) and, with co-author Michael D. Green, The Columbia Guide to American Indians of the Southeast (2001) and The Cherokee Nation and the Trail of Tears (2007). She is the editor or co-editor of six books including Sifters: The Lives of Native American Women (2001).

Dr. Perdue has held a number of fellowships including ones from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the Newberry Library, and the Rockefeller Foundation. She has served as president of the Southern Association for Women Historians (1985-86) and the American Society for Ethnohistory (2001).

Dr. Perdue currently has three projects underway: a book on Indians in the segregated South, the Averitt lectures on race and the Cotton States Exposition which will be published as Race and the Atlanta Cotton States Exposition (2010), and, with Michael D. Green, A Very Short Introduction to North American Indians.

Wright Auditorium


Jeffrey S. Johnson,
Ph.D., Director
Harriot Voyages of
Discovery Lecture Series
2147 Bate Building
East Carolina University