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Simpson Center for the Humanities

Announcing the 2021/2022 Katz Distinguished Lecturers: Catherine Cole, Ato Quayson, and Abderrahmane Sissako

The New Ones Sculpture at the HRC Pop Health Building on Seattle Campus. Side profile of a bronze statue figure, blurred brick buildings in teh backgorund.

June 2, 2021

The 2021/2022 Katz Distinguished Lectures will feature three speakers whose lectures will focus on thinking Africa beyond the confines of the continent. Lecture topics will include African arts and the afterlives of injustice, cosmopolitanism and nostalgia in Africa’s diverse diasporas, and global African cinema. Mark your calendars and join us in person for these talks. All Katz Lectures are free and open to the public. 

Catherine Cole Author Photo

Catherine Cole (Dance, English, and Divisional Dean of the Arts, UW)

Wednesday, January 19, 2022 | 7pm

Catherine Cole is Divisional Dean of the Arts and Professor of Dance and English at the University of Washington, and is an internationally renowned scholar of African performance studies. As a scholar, teacher, and artist, she brings together themes of independence and interdependence, performance in Africa and in the diaspora, disability and movement, post-apartheid art, and postcolonial history. She is the author of Performance and the Afterlives of Injustice (2020), and choreographer and performer of dance theatre pieces, including Just Duet, Still Point, and Five Foot Feat. Cole’s Katz Distinguished Lecture will be on African arts and the afterlives of injustice.


Ato Quayson Author Photo

Ato Quayson (English, Stanford)

Wednesday, April 6, 2022 | 7pm

Ato Quayson is the Jean G. and Morris M. Doyl Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies and Professor of English at Stanford. He has published key books on a wide range of topics, including Tragedy and Postcolonial Literature (2021), Oxford Street, Accra: City Life and the Itineraries of Transnationalism (2014), and Aesthetic Nervousness: Disability and the Crisis of Representation (2007). In addition to his scholarly work on affect, postcolonialism, and African studies, Professor Quayson produces and hosts the YouTube channel “Critic.Reading.Writing.”  His Katz Distinguished Lecture will be on cosmopolitanism and nostalgia in African cities and Africa’s diverse diasporas.


Abderrahmane Sissako (Film Director and Producer)

May 2022

Abderrahmane Sissako is a Mauritanian-born Malian film director and producer. His 2014 film Timbuktu was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and named Best Film in the 11th Africa Movie Academy Awards among over ten additional nominations and awards. Waiting for Happiness (Heremakono) was screened at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival official selection under Un Certain Regard, winning the FIPRESCI Prize. His 2007 film Bamako likewise received much international attention. Sissako's themes include globalization, exile and displacement. Sissako’s Katz Distinguished Lecture will be on the aesthetics of Africa cinema.