KU News Release

Nov. 11, 2011
Contact: Kristine Latta, Hall Center for the Humanities, 785-864-7823

Harvard scholar, author Louis Menand to speak at KU

Louis Menand

LAWRENCE — Louis Menand, author of “The Metaphysical Club” and “The Marketplace of Ideas: Reform and Resistance in the American University,” will speak at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17, in the Auditorium at the Spencer Museum of Art.

The lecture is part of the Hall Center for the Humanities' 2011-12 Humanities Lecture Series. The event is free and open to the public.

Menand, the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of English at Harvard University, is one of the most important cultural critics and scholars of American studies, and his reflections on the state of American culture and the university demonstrate wit, accessibility and insider knowledge of American intellectual trends. He is perhaps best-known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, “The Metaphysical Club,” a history of late 19th and early 20th century American thought, hailed by critics as “an absorbing narrative about personalities and social history…about the evolution of the American mind.”

In his Humanities Lecture Series presentation, “A Man is Shot: The Cold War Meaning of a Cinematic Technique,” Menand will discuss a key moment in American self-definition, exploring how changes in film style and form reflect a broader Cold War story. He is currently conducting research for a cultural history of the Cold War.

Menand has also written extensively about other cultural milestones in the formation of an American intellectual identity. Most recently, he explored the history of liberal arts education and the formation of a professoriate in “The Marketplace of Ideas: Reform and Resistance in the American University.”

The Hall Center will provide an opportunity for the public to hear Menand speak on this topic during "Reform and Resistance in the American University: A Conversation with Louis Menand," at 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 18, in the Hall Center Conference Hall.

Founded in 1947, the Humanities Lecture Series is the oldest continuing series at KU. More than 150 eminent scholars from around the world have participated in the program, including author Salman Rushdie, poet Gwendolyn Brooks and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. Recent speakers have included Henry Louis Gates Jr., Mary Oliver and T.R. Reid. Shortly after the program’s inception, a lecture by one outstanding KU faculty member was added to the schedule. For information on other lectures in the 2011-2012 series, visit the Hall Center website.

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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