Katz Lecturers for 2012-2013 Academic Year Announced

Victoria Lawson, Cathy Davidson, and Josiah Ober have been named Katz Distinguished Lecturers in the Humanities for the 2012-2013 academic year. One of the most distinguished awards in the humanities at UW, the Katz lectureship recognizes scholars and emphasizes the role of the humanities in liberal education. Each year, one UW faculty member and two scholars from outside institutions are awarded the title.

UW professor Victoria Lawson (Geography) will deliver the Fall Katz lecture on Wednesday, November 7, 2012. An internationally respected scholar in geography and women’s studies, with a cross-disciplinary research emphasis on care, poverty, and feminist theory, Lawson is a valued member of the UW community. Drawing on themes evident in both the social sciences and humanities, her research explores the nature of affect and emotion in the contemporary neoliberal movement, asking how human relations have been altered by new modes of mobility, technology, and inequality. She examines how people struggle to provide care and love in worlds that are fragmented by space and time, and she queries how people support one another in an era of growing poverty.

The Winter lecture will be given by Cathy Davidson (English, Duke University) on Thursday, February 21, 2013. Nominated by President Obama in 2010 to the National Council on the Humanities, Davidson currently serves as the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at Duke. She is also co-founder of Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory (HASTAC), a network of innovators to new forms of learning for the digital age. The author of numerous books, her most recent, Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work and Learn (2011), explores the impact of digital media on learning, and asks readers to think creatively about how major institutions that adhere to organizational and learning models inherited from the early 20th century—including colleges and universities—can be reshaped.

The Spring Katz lecturer, Josiah Ober (Political Science, Classics, and Philosophy, Stanford University) is a leading interdisciplinary thinker on democracy, deliberation, political dissent, and institutional design. Ober invites scholars to imagine new ways of engaging in robust democratic practice. Through his writings, such as Democracy and Knowledge (2008), he looks to the democracy of ancient Athens to explore political issues of the present. In doing so, he has transformed understanding of classical Athens, illuminating the relevance of the Athenian experience to enduring issues of political life. Ober’s scholarship encompasses not only classics, political science, and philosophy, but also history, rhetoric, sociology, and other fields. His talk takes place on Tuesday, April 16, 2013.

In addition to his public talk, Ober will hold a week-long residency at the UW, and will contribute to a micro-seminar for graduate students and participate in a research colloquium.

The series is named after Solomon Katz, who served for 53 years at the UW, as an instructor, professor, Chair of the Department of History, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Provost, and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Recent Katz Lecturers have included Dipesh Chakrabarty, Doris Sommer, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Robin Kelley, Linda Bierds, T. J. Clark, and Wendy Brown. Diana Taylor will be featured this spring.

All Katz lectures are free and open to the public. Read more about this lecture series.


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