Distinguished Visitors

George Saunders

Public Reading, September 19, 2017
Buskirk-Chumley Theater, 7:00 pm

George Saunders, one of the most audacious writers around, will visit Bloomington for a fiction reading, Q&A, and book signing at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater.

This event is free but ticketed. Tickets are available at the BCT Box Office.

George Saunders is a writer for our time. Unshackled by the literary constraints of realism, he nevertheless writes directly about our world–its inanity, its insanity, and its beauty. One of the funniest literary writers today, he also finds an unerring way directly to the heart. Lincoln in the Bardo, his most recent book and his first novel, is uproarious, skeptical, and suffused with grief all at once. Tenth of December is the most recent of his four collections of short stories, called the “best book you’ll read this year” on the cover of The New York Times Magazine in 2013.

Saunders has redefined the possibilities of short fiction, and is a superb essayist as well, as his piece about the Trump campaign in The New Yorker last year showed. He has been the recipient of Guggenheim and MacArthur “Genius” Fellowships, and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

This event is presented by the College Arts & Humanities Institute and the Susan D. Gubar Chair in Literature with generous assistance from the Ruth N. Halls Fund.

Tom Lutz

Academic Writing for the Public
Friday, March 10, 2017, Time and Location TBA

Since his acclaimed work of cultural criticism, American Nervousness, 1903, Tom Lutz has been working all sides of the lines separating academic, literary, and journalistic writing. The founding editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books, Lutz will discuss changes in the publishing landscape for criticism and cultural reporting. His books— Doing Nothing (American Book Award), Crying (New York Times Notable Book), Cosmopolitan Vistas (Choice Outstanding Academic Title), and American Nervousness, 1903 (New York Times Notable Book)—have been translated into 12 languages and have appeared on NYT and LAT bestseller lists. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, New Republic, Chicago Tribune, Die Zeit, ZYZZYVA, Exquisite Corpse, Salon.com, Black Clock, and other newspapers and literary venues, as well as in dozens of books and academic journals. He has taught at Stanford University, University of Iowa, CalArts, University of Copenhagen, and now at UC Riverside.

Photo credit to David Walter Banks

Sidonie Smith

Manifesto for the Humanities
Thursday, February 23, 2017 Time & Location TBA

Sidonie Smith is Mary Fair Croushore Professor of the Humanities, and Director of the Institute for the Humanities at University of Michigan. Former President of the MLA, Sid Smith is a long-time observer of humanities scholarship and the institutions that sustain it. A specialist in autobiographical writing, she is the author or editor of many books on that subject. Her visit to IU will focus primarily on her recent analysis of doctoral education in the humanities, Manifesto for the Humanities: Transforming Doctoral Education in “Good Enough” Times.

Roxane Gay

Public Presentation, January 25, 2017, 7pm
Presidents Hall

As a feminist writer, educator, and cultural commentator, Roxane Gay has been one of our indispensable observers and a passionate advocate for a more just and less deluded world. Author of Bad Feminist (Harper, 2014), An Untamed State (Grove Atlantic, 2014), Difficult Women (forthcoming from Grove Atlantic in January), and Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body (Harper, forthcoming in June), Gay has developed one of the most distinctively bold voices in the country, whether it’s on the Op-Ed page of The New York Times, or in the many other venues her work has appeared: Best American Mystery Stories 2014, Best American Short Stories 2012, Best Sex Writing 2012, A Public Space, McSweeney’s, Tin House, Oxford American, American Short Fiction, Virginia Quarterly Review, and many others. Her debut novel, An Untamed State, will soon be adapted for the screen by Fox Searchlight Pictures.

Juan Felipe Herrera

Poet Laureate

¡PoesÍa Now! The Power of Poetry in Our Lives
September 30, 2016, Buskirk-Chumley Theater, 7:30 pm

Indiana University proudly welcomes the current United States Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera to Bloomington for a day-long celebration of poetry and
Latino culture.

In 2015, Herrera was appointed as the nation’s 21st Poet Laureate, and the first Latino to be named to the distinguished position. Mr. Herrera is the author of over thirty books and collections of poetry and the recipient of numerous national and international awards, including from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Breadloaf Writers’ Conference. Through his writing and other work, Mr. Herrera is a tireless champion for young people and an advocate for the potential of youth in the United States and beyond our borders.

In honor of the national Hispanic Heritage Month, the event brings together the campus, high schools, and city for a celebration of the work that poetry can do to create community, and the work our communities can do, collectively, to shape our world.

Please join us for a reading and discussion with Mr. Herrera the evening of September 30, 2016, 7:30pm, at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater. For more information, please contact Alberto Varon at avaron@indiana.edu.

CAHI is delighted to partner with Chiricú Journal: Latina/o Literatures, Arts, and Cultures, the Latino Studies Program, and others to make Herrera’s visit possible.

This event is free but ticketed.

Photo credit to Carlos Puma of UC Riverside

Jefferson Cowie

Professor of Labor History, Cornell University

Roundtable Discussion, Wednesday, November 18, 2015, Monroe County History Center
Public Lecture, November 19, 5:00 p.m., University Club, IMU

Jefferson Cowie teaches labor and working-class history, with research spanning a number of areas including politics, social history, and popular culture. His books focus on workers and the problem of social class in the postwar United States with an eye toward international and comparative history.

He is the author of Capital Moves: RCA’s Seventy-Year Quest for Cheap Labor, which received the Philip Taft Prize for the Best Book in Labor History for 2000, and co-editor of Beyond the Ruins: The Meanings of Deindustrialization (2003), and, most recently, of Stayin’ Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class (2010), which received a number of awards, including the Francis Parkman Prize for the Best Book in American History from the Society of American Historians, the Merle Curti Award from the Organization of American Historians, and the best book award from Labor History.

This event is sponsored in part by Themester 2015: “@Work: The Nature of Labor on a Changing World,” an initiative of the College of Arts & Sciences.

Left: Image courtesy of Cornell University.

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Writer, Journalist, and Educator, Senior Editor for The Atlantic

Public Lecture, Friday, October 23, 2015

Throughout the past year or more—since Ferguson and the horrifying string of incidents of police brutalizing black citizens; since Charleston and the campaign to remove the confederate flag from the South Carolina Statehouse; since the sudden attention and alarm at the incredibly high levels of incarceration in this country—Ta-Nehisi Coates has emerged as an essential guiding voice for an anguished public dialogue. A senior editor at The Atlantic, Coates became widely known for his powerful argument for reparations to African Americans for the legacy of slavery. Author of an acclaimed memoir The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons and an Unlikely Road to Manhood (2008), Coates has recently published Between The World and Me, a characteristically direct, impassioned, and historically rich essay about being black in America, written as a letter to his 15-year-old son.

Ta-Nehisi Coates will give a public lecture on Friday, October 23, then head to Chicago where he will open the Chicago Humanities Festival the following day.

This event is in partnership with the School for Public & Environmental Affairs and the Media School @ Indiana University.

Left: Image of Ta-Nehisi Coates by Gabriella Demzuk.

Edward Burtynsky

Award-winning Photographer

Public Lecture, Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Fine Arts 015, 7:00 p.m.


Edward Burtynsky’s work is an extended meditation on labor, land, beauty, and violence. The extraction of natural resources and the exploitation of human labor have transformed (and often enough, insulted) our shared planetary home.
Burtynksy travels the globe photographing such sites of intensive industry—from quarries and nickel tailings in North America, to scenes of “shipbreaking” off the coast of Bangladesh, to his more recent work in China, the epicenter of global industrial expansion. Burtynsky is a master photo-colorist, and his large-format images mix beauty and terror in a unique and powerful way. Art is testimony, and Burtynsky is testifying, eloquently, to the world we live in. He makes us see.

Leading up to Burtynsky’s public lecture, the Grunwald Gallery will host an exhibition of projected images of his work from October 6-17, while the IU Cinema will screen Burtynsky’s film Manufactured Landscape on October 10 at 7pm. Burtynsky will also meet with students and faculty for a conversation about his work on October 14, the day of his public lecture, at 4pm (location TBA).

These events are sponsored in part by Themester 2015: “@Work: The Nature
of Labor on a Changing Planet,”
an initiative of the College of Arts & Sciences. Further assistance comes from the Center for Integrative Photographic Studies, with additional support from the Integrated Program in the Environment. Special thanks to the Grunwald Gallery and the IU Cinema for their contributions to this visit.

Dave Eggers

Memoirist, Novelist, Publisher, Activist, and Philanthropist

Public Conversation, Wednesday, October 7, 2015
IU Auditorium , 7:00 p.m.

Dave Eggers is one of the most significant cultural figures in America today. He is an acclaimed, innovative, and daring writer, author of unforgettable works such as A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (2000), What is the What (2006), Zeitoun (2009), A Hologram for the King (a finalist for the National Book Award in 2012), and most recently, The Circle (2013), a gripping take on our Googled world where information, surveillance, and money feed fantasies of liberation and control. Eggers is also an enormously influential publisher and editor, founder of McSweeney’s, an independent press which publishes the monthly magazine The Believer. An activist and philanthropist, Eggers publishes oral histories to spotlight human rights abuse around the world. He is also co- founder of 826 National, a network of eight tutoring centers around the country, and ScholarMatch, a nonprofit organization designed to connect students with resources, schools and donors to make college possible.

In addition to the public event at the IU Auditorium, Eggers will meet with students on at least two occasions to discuss his career as a writer as well as his publishing work and philanthropy. Undergraduates interested in a short extracurricular seminar on Eggers’ writing can contact Professor Walton Muyumba at wmuyumba@indiana.edu for details on how to participate.

CAHI is delighted to partner with the Kelley School of Business, for whose freshman class The Circle serves as the Common Read, the Kelley Institute for Social Impact, and the Media School @ Indiana University.

John Walters

Legendary Filmmaker and Provocateur

Friday, October 2, 2015
IU Cinema, 5:00 p.m.

William S. Burroughs once called John Waters “The Pope of Trash.” Pink Flamingos, the breakout 1972 vehicle for Divine, still has the power to offend. IU Cinema will be showing six of his unforgettable films, full of joyous thumb-nosing at the conventions of good taste, including Pink Flamingos, Polyester (1981)—which requires Odorama cards—and Cry-Baby (1990), starring Johnny Depp, Iggy Pop, and Traci Lords. Check the Cinema Guide or website (cinema.indiana.edu) for more details.

On October 2, Waters himself will be on campus to deliver a Jorgensen Guest Filmmaker Lecture. His one-man show, “This Filthy World: Filthier & Dirtier,” is a “vaudeville” monologue about his influences, obsessions, and career. After the show, he will be signing copies of his books Carsick and Role Model.

CAHI is the sole partner with IU Cinema on Waters’ visit and will have tickets to distribute to College faculty in the arts and humanities. Get a ticket for yourself or give one to a worthy student! Watch for an announcement on how to get these free CAHI tickets to what will doubtless be one of the most memorable events of the Fall. Visit www.cinema.indiana.edu for the full schedule of Waters’ films.

Kathleen Fitzpatrick

Director of Scholarly Publishing, Modern Language Association
Author of Planned Obsolescence: Publishing, Technology, and the Future of the Academy

Thursday, October 30, 2014
2:00pm (location to be announced)

This October, CAHI is teaming up with the Libraries and the Provost’s Office of Scholarly Publishing to host Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Director of Scholarly Communication at the Modern Language Association and author of Planned Obsolescence: Publishing, Technology, and the Future of the Academy (2011). Fitzpatrick is one of the best-informed and most creative minds tracking the transformations in scholarly publishing affecting us all.

Fitzpatrick will deliver a public lecture the afternoon of October 30 and will also help in the official opening of the new Scholars’ Commons in the Wells Library. The ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at 4:00pm that same afternoon.

Planned Obsolescence: Publishing, Technology, and the Future of the Academy was published by NYU Press in November 2011. Fitzpatrick is also the author of The Anxiety of Obsolescence: The American Novel in the Age of Television, published in 2006 by Vanderbilt University Press, and is a co-founder of the digital scholarly network MediaCommons. She has published articles and notes in journals including the Journal of Electronic Publishing, PMLA, Contemporary Literature, and Cinema Journal.

Katherine Boo

Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist and Author of Behind the Beautiful Forevers

Thursday, October 23, 2014
Alumni Hall, 7:00pm

The Kelley School of Business, the Media School, and the College Arts & Humanities Institute are proud to bring Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Katherine Boo to Bloomington to speak about her experiences writing her book Behind the Beautiful Forevers.

With over twenty-five years in the field, Katherine Boo has established herself as a fearless journalist dedicated to telling the stories of the poor and disadvantaged on the pages of many esteemed publications. Beginning her career at the alternative weekly Washington City Paper, she became a staff writer at The New Yorker and a reporter and editor for the Washington Post, after which she worked as a writer and co-editor of the Washington Monthly magazine. Over the years, her reporting from disadvantaged communities in the United States and abroad has been awarded a Pulitzer Prize, a MacArthur “Genius” Grant, and a National Magazine Award for Feature Writing.

Boo’s New York Times bestselling book Behind the Beautiful Forevers was a finalist for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize.

Ian Bogost

Video Game Designer and Critic

Wednesday, Mach 26, 2014
IU Cinema, 3:30pm

Ian Bogost is Ivan Allen College Distinguished Chair in Media Studies and Professor of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Founding Partner at Persuasive Games LLC. An award-winning designer and media philosopher, Bogost is author of Unit Operations: An Approach to Videogame Criticism, other books on videogames, as well as the recent Alien Phenomenology: What It’s Like to Be a Thing. His recent independent games include Cow Clicker, a Facebook game send-up of Facebook games. A Slow Year, a collection of videogame poems for Atari VCS, Windows, and Mac, was winner of the Vanguard and Virtuoso awards at the 2010 Indiecade Festival.

Alec Soth


Friday, February 7, 2014
Fine Arts 015

Alec Soth has compiled a body of work as a photographer—largely focused on people and places of the Midwest—that has been exhibited at the 2004 Whitney Biennial, the San Francisco Museum of Art, the Walker Art Center, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, and elsewhere. He has published several collections of his photographs, including Last Days of W (2008), about a country “exhausted by George W. Bush’s presidency,” and Sleeping by the Mississippi (2004), which has become a collector’s item. Soth also founded the publishing house Little Brown Mushroom.

Chris Ware

Award-winning Cartoonist and Author of Building Stories and Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth

A Ruth N. Halls Lecture

Tuesday, November 12, 2013
IU Cinema

Chris Ware is one of the most important graphic artists working today. His graphic novel Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth (Pantheon, 2000) received an American Book Award in 2000, the Guardian First Book Award in 2001, and the French comics award “L’Alph Art” in 2003. In 2009 Jimmy Corrigan was named as one of the “100 Best Books of the Decade” by The Times (London). Ware is also the author of The Acme Novelty Datebook Volumes 1 and 2 (Drawn & Quarterly, 2003, 2007), Quimby the Mouse (Fantagraphics, 2003), was the editor of the 13th issue of McSweeney’s (2005), and was the guest editor of Houghton-Mifflin’s Best American Comics 2007. He is a contributor to The New Yorker, and was the cartoonist chosen to inaugurate the New York Times Magazine’s “Funny Pages” section in late 2005. He is currently at work on a long-form graphic novel, Rusty Brown. His book Building Stories was released in October 2012. In December, 2012, Building Stories was named one of the New York Times “10 Best Books of 2012.”

This event sponsored by Themester 2013: “Connectedness: Networks in a Complex World,” an initiative of the IU College of Arts and Sciences.