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Simpson Center for the Humanities

2014-15 Katz Distinguished Lecturers in the Humanities Announced

Thomas Lockwood, Anne Balsamo, and Rainer Forst have been named Katz Distinguished Lecturers in the Humanities for the 2014-2015 academic year. The most distinguished award in the humanities at UW, the Katz lectureship recognizes outstanding scholars and emphasizes the role of the humanities in liberal education. Each year, one UW faculty member and two visiting scholars are awarded the title.

On October 28, UW professor Thomas Lockwood (English) will deliver the Fall Katz lecture on the work of Jonathan Swift. A scholar of the Restoration and eighteenth-century British literature, Lockwood’s areas of interest include the rise of the novel, theater history, periodical journalism, and print history.  He is known internationally for his research on the works of novelist and playwright Henry Fielding and is editor of three volumes of Fielding’s plays, published by Oxford University Press between 2004 and 2011. The third volume of this series won the 2013 Patten Award from Studies in English Literature for best recent contribution to British Restoration and eighteenth-century studies. Lockwood is working on a book, Lowlife: Representations of Social Inferiority in Britain, 1660-1830, as well as a volume on The Life of Jonathan Swift for the Blackwell “Critical Biography” series. He is also part of the Textual Studies Program faculty at the UW.

The Winter 2015 lecture will be given by Anne Balsamo (Media Studies, The New School), a scholar and media-maker whose work explores the connections between culture, art, gender, and technology. Her work encourages scholars to contemplate the move from traditional text-based digital platforms to new kinds of public scholarship designed for diverse audiences. Balsamo is the author of Designing Culture: The Technological Imagination at Work (2011), a transmedia book that synthesizes and theorizes the links between her cultural studies scholarship and digital media projects, and Technologies of the Gendered Body: Reading Cyborg Women (1996). She is currently Dean of the School of Media Studies at the New School for Public Engagement in New York City. She has also held appointments at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) and the University of Southern California.  At USC, she served as the Director of the Institute for Multimedia Literacy where she created one of the first academic programs in multimedia literacy across the curriculum. She has been a leader in the growth of digital humanities nationally, serving on the Advisory Board of HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance & Collaboratory) since its founding in 2003.

The Spring 2015 Katz lecturer, Rainer Forst (Political Theory and Philosophy, Johann Wolfgang Goethe University) is a leading German philosopher and political theorist whose primary areas of research are pragmatism, tolerance, and political and social justice. A student of noted intellectuals Jürgen Habermas and John Rawls, Forst’s research bridges what at one time were seemingly separate worlds of political theory (most prominently represented by critical theory of the Frankfurt School) and analytic political philosophy. He has been called the “most important political philosopher of his generation.” Forst received the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize in 2012. The author of numerous publications in German, his works reprinted in English include The Right to Justification: Elements of a Constructivist Theory of Justice (2012) and Contexts of Justice: Political Philosophy Beyond Liberalism and Communitarianism (2002).

In addition to their public talks, Balsamo and Forst will hold week-long residencies at the UW, and will contribute to micro-seminars for graduate students and participate in research colloquiums.

The Katz Distinguished Lectures in the Humanities 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 & Sciences, Provost, and Vice President for Academic Affairs.  Recent Katz Lecturers have included Stephen Hinds, Cathy Davidson, Josiah Ober, Victoria Lawson, Diana Taylor, Shu-mei Shih, Doris Sommer, and Linda Bierds.

All Katz lectures are free and open to the public. Learn more.