Past Lectures 2010-2011
Lawrence F. Brewster Lecture in History
Dr. Eve Troutt Powell
The Language of Slavery, the Diction of Freedom: Voices from the Nile Valley and Ottoman Empire
Dr. Eve Troutt Powell is a professor of history and Middle East and Africana studies at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of A Different Shade of Colonialism: Egypt, Great Britain and the Mastery of Sudan (University of California Press, 2003). Troutt Powell is also co-editor along with John Hunwick of The African Diaspora in the Mediterranean Lands of Islam (Princeton Series on the Middle East, Markus Weiner Publishers, 2001). Her specialty is the Nile Valley, particularly the nineteenth century history of Egypt and Sudan.
Troutt Powell received her B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from Harvard University. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania, she taught for ten years at The University of Georgia. She has received fellowships from the American Research Center in Egypt and the Social Science Research Council, and has been a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. In 2003, she was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow.
Troutt Powell is working on a book about the memory of slavery in the Nile valley, which examines how slaves and slaveholders wrote, sang or talked about the experience of servitude and its meaning in their societies. Both her research and her teaching explore the relationship between Africa and the Middle East, and thus connect her closely to Africana Studies and Middle Eastern Studies.
The Premier Lecture
Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson
On the Origins of the Universe
Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson was born and raised in New York City where he was educated in the public schools. He earned his B.A. in physics from Harvard and his Ph.D. in astrophysics from Columbia University. Tyson's professional research interests include star formation, exploding stars, dwarf galaxies and the structure of our Milky Way. He obtains his data from the Hubble Space Telescope, as well as from telescopes in California, New Mexico, Arizona and in the Andes Mountains of Chile.
In addition to dozens of professional publications, Tyson frequently writes for the general public. Among Tyson's nine books is his memoir The Sky is Not the Limit: Adventures of an Urban Astrophysicist; and Origins: Fourteen Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution, co-written with Donald Goldsmith. Origins is the companion book to the PBS/NOVA 4-part mini-series “Origins,” for which Tyson serves as on-camera host.
Tyson's latest two books are the playful and informative Death By Black Hole and Other Cosmic Quandaries, a New York Times bestseller, and The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America's Favorite Planet, chronicling his experience at the center of the controversy over Pluto's planetary status. The PBS/NOVA documentary "The Pluto Files," based on the book, premiered in March 2010.
Tyson is the recipient of 12 honorary doctorates and the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal. He is the first person to hold the Frederick P. Rose Directorship of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History.
Jarvis Lecture on Christianity and Culture
Dr. Matthew Fox
Dr. Matthew Fox is a Christian theologian who has been an ordained priest since 1967. He holds an M.A. in philosophy and theology from the Aquinas Institute, and a Ph.D. in spirituality, summa cum laude, from the Catholic Institute of Paris. A liberation theologian and progressive visionary, Fox was dismissed from the Dominican order in 1992, whereupon he was received as an Episcopal priest by Bishop William Swing of the Diocese of California. In addition to his work as a writer and teacher in the San Francisco Bay area, Fox lectures throughout North America, Central America, Europe and Australia.
Fox has authored 28 books, including A Spirituality Named Compassion (1979); Breakthrough: Meister Eckhart's Creation Spirituality in New Translation (1980); Original Blessing (1983); Natural Grace (with Rupert Sheldrake, 1997); One River, Many Wells (2004); and Creativity: Where the Divine and the Human Meet (2002). Fox contributed to the revived interest in the medieval mystic Hildegard of Bingen with his Illuminations of Hildegard of Bingen (1985) and Hildegard of Bingen's Book of Divine Works (1987). Among his most recent works are A New Reformation: Creation Spirituality and the Transformation of Christianity (2006) and The Hidden Spirituality of Men (2009). Controversial, stimulating, and widely respected, Fox has offered a steady critique of religion and culture for several decades.
Thomas Harriot Lecture
Ms. Lebame Houston
A Brief and True Report of The Lost Colony Drama in the New Found Land of Virginia
We don’t know much about what happened to Sir Walter Raleigh’s famous lost colony. But we do know a lot about “The Lost Colony,” an outdoor spectacle that has dramatized the story for nearly three quarters of a century. This historic play, presented on the site of Fort Raleigh at Manteo since 1937, will be the topic for the 2011 Thomas Harriot Lecture, presented through the Voyages of Discovery Lecture Series.
On March 24, at 7 p.m. in Wright Auditorium, Ms. lebame houston, Elizabethan scholar, author, educator, playwright and all-around Renaissance woman, will present “A Briefe and True Report of The Lost Colony Drama in the New Found Land of Virginia.”
Unlike previous lectures in the series, houston will portray the history of “The Lost Colony,” through film, characters, costume, music and dramatic sequences that have played a part in the drama over the past seven decades.
Written and produced specifically for this occasion, houston will narrate and direct a sequence of vignettes that will show how America’s favorite outdoor drama has evolved over time. Assisting her in presenting this innovative history performance will be four seasoned veterans of “The Lost Colony,” including the internationally recognized and multiple Tony-award winner William Ivey Long, one of the most decorated costume designers working on Broadway today.
No one has had a better perch for understanding the history of the drama. Ms. houston was born into and grew up in the “Lost Colony”family. Her mother spent 57 years as executive secretary and bookkeeper for the organizations that originated and sponsored the popular outdoor drama.
Ms. houston’s involvement with “The Lost Colony” began very early; her first role in the play was as the baby Virginia Dare. Successively, she was a page for Queen Elizabeth and an Indian dancer in the play. Currently, houston serves as the historian for the Roanoke Island Historical Association. For the past seven years, in her biggest role to date, she has been creating an archive for the association, collecting, cataloging and preserving records and artifacts relevant to the history of “The Lost Colony” drama since its inception in 1937.
In addition to serving as historian for the Roanoke Island Historical Association, houston is a prodigious researcher on the Raleigh explorations and settlements on Roanoke Island. In persistent research forays to London and through county and parish archives in England, she has documented much about the colonists sent by Raleigh to the Carolina coast. At St. Martin Ludgate Parish she discovered the marriage records of the artist and colonial governor John White. At St. Clement Danes she discovered the marriage records of Ananias Dare and Eleanor White, two principals of the lost colony saga.
In addition to her work as historian, houston has a wealth of theater experience. She has directed more than 100 stage plays ranging from Shakespeare to American musicals in locations across the United States and to various locations around the world, including Edinburgh, London, Florence, Paris and Rome. In recent years she has written and presented a variety of one-act plays performed during the summers in and around Manteo, including “Elizabeth R,” “Bloody Mary and the Virgin Queen” and “Shepherd of the Ocean.”