KU News Release


April 16, 2012
Contact: Victor Bailey, Hall Center for the Humanities, 785-864-7822

Hall Center lecture on Mark Twain and politics slated in Wichita

Susan Harris


LAWRENCE — The Hall Center for the Humanities, in partnership with the KU Alumni Association and its Wichita Chapter, will host its KU in Wichita annual public symposium at the Wichita Museum of Art April 19. Susan Harris, Hall Distinguished Professor of American Literature and Culture at KU, will present “Mark Twain and the Philippine-American War: ‘Hogwash’ and ‘Pious Hypocrisy’” at 7 p.m. The event is made possible by the Lattner Family Foundation.

Mark Twain did not take kindly to the U.S. annexation of the Philippines in 1899. Supporters of the project to colonize the Filipinos spoke of it as "benevolent assimilation." Twain called that "hogwash" and "pious hypocrisy."

In her lecture, Harris examines the rarely seen political side of Twain, a man deeply engaged by world events and deeply disturbed by his country's foray into global imperialism. The questions that Twain posited publicly about America's role in the world remain as relevant in 2012 as they were in 1900.

A specialist in 19th-century American literature, Harris is both a Twain scholar and a scholar of women’s writings. Her most recent publication is the Oxford University Press title “God’s Arbiters: Americans and the Phillipines, 1898-1902.”

Harris is Hall Distinguished Professor of American Literature and Culture at the University of Kansas and author of several publications, including “Annie Adams Fields, Mary Gladstone Drew and the Work of the Late 19th-Century Hostess; “The Courtship of Olivia Langdon and Mark Twain; “Nineteenth-Century American Women’s Novels: Interpretive Strategies; and “Mark Twain’s Escape from Time: A Study of Patterns and Images. Harris is the 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.

The Hall Center for the Humanities thanks the Hall Center Advisory Board members in Wichita for their assistance with the program: Dana Hensley, Carol Nazar, and Martha Selfridge Housholder.

The Hall Center’s public outreach efforts are designed to show the critical contribution that the humanities make to the understanding of the fundamental issues we deal with as individuals and communities. As part of its commitment to this ideal, the Center sponsors a variety of events and lectures on campus and in surrounding communities.


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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