KU News Release

Jan. 31, 2011
Contact: Kristine Latta, Hall Center for the Humanities, 785-864-7823

Distinguished professor to kick off spring 2011 Humanities Lecture Series

Susan K. Harris

LAWRENCE — Susan K. Harris, Hall Professor of American Literature and Culture at the University of Kansas, will present “Pious Hypocrisies: Mark Twain, the Philippines and America’s Christian Mission” at 7:30 Wednesday, Feb. 9, at Alderson Auditorium in the Kansas Union. The event is free and open to the public. No tickets are required.

Harris is the fourth speaker in the Hall Center for the Humanities’ 2010-11 Humanities Lecture Series. Her lecture is sponsored by the Friends of the Hall Center.

Through the voices of Mark Twain, William McKinley and other Americans, Harris will discuss debates over the U.S. annexation of the Philippines that raged in 1899, a time when America first stepped into its role as a world power. Her forthcoming book, “God’s Arbiters: Americans and the Philippines, 1898-1902,” will be available from Oxford University Press in March and can be pre-ordered at a reception following the lecture.

A specialist in 19th century American literature, Harris is both a Twain scholar and a scholar of women’s writings. She has published four previous books, including “Annie Adams Fields, Mary Gladstone Drew and the Work of the Late 19th-Century Hostess” (2002) and “The Courtship of Olivia Langdon and Mark Twain” (1996). Her articles have appeared in prestigious scholarly journals, including American Literature, New England Quarterly and Studies in the Novel.

Harris received a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship and is a recipient of the Henry Nash Smith Award, an honor bestowed upon one scholar every four years for their contributions to the study of Mark Twain. She has served on the advisory board of the Mark Twain Museum, located in Twain’s hometown of Hannibal, Mo., and the editorial boards of American Literature and American Women Writers Series. Harris received a doctorate in American literature from Cornell University. She has been at KU since 2002.

Founded in 1947, the Humanities Lecture Series is the oldest continuing lecture series at KU. More than 150 eminent scholars from around the world have participated in the program, including poet Gwendolyn Brooks, paleontologist and evolutionary biologist Steven Jay Gould and author Sherman Alexie. Recent presenters have included Paul Muldoon, Michael Chabon, Jeannette Walls, Mary Oliver and Richard Dawkins.

The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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