The Provost hosted the lecture series from 2005 through the spring of 2011. Information on the series topics and speakers appears below.
Provost's Lecture Series FY 2010/11
Natural Disasters and Human Responses
The Provost announces the sixth year of an annual series of related lectures on a topic of major campus and broader societal importance.
The list is endless: Southeast Asian Tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, Sichuan Earthquake, Haiti Earthquake, and now the tragedy in Japan. All of these conjure images of human suffering, shattered lives, broken communities and heroic rebirths. With burgeoning global populations and increasing residential densities in hazard prone areas, the frequency and seeming enormity of recent disasters has had a horrific toll.
Historically, how have we addressed disasters? What are the ethical dilemmas and responsibilities that we face in the midst of an emotionally, physically, and logistically demanding trauma? How do our political and social institutions respond and why do they respond as they do? How do we process through the disaster and then develop a collective memory of the tragedy in the media, art, literature and history? What are the current logistical, political, and human ramifications associated with how we respond to disasters? Should the way we prepare and respond be altered?
The speakers of the Provost's series, drawn from experts in the media, government, arts, and other fields, will explore questions concerning planning, response, ethics, memorialization, history, literature, logistics, and most of all, human impacts related to mitigating and responding to these recurrent tragedies.
The lecture series brings the University's research and teaching mission to bear on some timely societal issues. While the campus community is its core audience, it is directed as well to the Durham, national, and international audiences. The substance of the lecture series is developed with input from an appropriate committee of faculty. In addition to giving a public lecture, speakers are invited to meet with students and faculty in smaller group activities.
The Provost wishes to thank the following Lecture Series Advisors for their work in helping to design this year's series: David Boyd (Duke Global Health Institute), Guy-Uriel Charles (School of Law), Sandy Darity (Sanford School of Public Policy), Laurent Dubois (Romance Languages), Deborah Jenson (Romance Languages), Tim Lenoir (Arts & Sciences), Angela O’Rand (Dean of the Social Sciences), David Schaad (Pratt School of Engineering), Gennifer Weisenfeld (Art, Art History and Visual Studies).
Chief of Staff, Federal Emergency Management Agency
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
5:00 – 6:30 p.m.
Room 130, Zener Auditorium
Building the Emergency Management Team
Mr. McNamara’s presentation will focus on FEMA’s attempts to plan for the community as a whole, and to build the nation’s resilience to all hazards. His background includes experience in emergency management legislation, policy, planning, and operations. He has worked on the Federal Response Plan, served on the National Emergency Support Team following the 9/11 attacks, and as a liaison officer to the US Capitol Policy Board in response to the Anthrax attack on the US Senate. He was also the Advisor to the Chair of the President’s Council on the Year 2000 (Y2K) and liaison to the State Government Y2K Coordinators and the National Governors’ Association.
Audio of lecture available here.
Associate Professor of American Studies, Smith College
November 18, 2010
Room 130, Zener Auditorium
Catastrophes Of Progress: Disaster And Innovation In America
This lecture analyzes the close, perhaps co-dependent, relationship between disasters and innovation - political, economic, technological, and cultural – in American history. Arguing that American notions of progress have emerged paradoxically out of encounters with disasters, to the point that destruction features in dominant ideologies as an instrument of renewal, an agent of reform, as the mother of invention (from capitalist theories of creative destruction to the Protestant refrain that adversity brings out the best in us), the lecture examines the proposition that recent experiences with Hurricane Katrina, the Haiti earthquake, and the BP oil spill, have finally ruptured the relationship between calamity and progress. Disaster still figures as opportunity (the premise of Naomi Klein’s provocative work on “disaster capitalism” is that there is money, and political advantage, to be made from chaos), but disasters more often now seem to advertise the shortcomings than the resilience and resourcefulness of customary business and development practices, raising critical questions about the meaning and function of disasters in our turbulent and anxious times.
Audio of lecture available here.
NOTE NEW DATE - Tuesday, December 7, 2010 at 5:15 p.m.
(This lecture was previously scheduled for December 9)
'The Garage' - Smith Warehouse, C105 Bay 4, first floor
This lecture is co-sponsored with the Franklin Humanities Institute Haiti Lab and the Vice Provost for the Arts
Haiti: History Embedded in Amber
Haitian-born artist Edouard Duval-Carrié leapt into action after the January 12, 2010 earthquake in Haiti, establishing the Haitian Art Relief Fund and curating exhibits of Haitian art. He also further integrated disaster into his own widely exhibited art. For his Provost’s Lecture, Duval-Carrié suggested bringing the Duke community together around the idea of disaster in Haiti through a collaborative artwork with students and faculty, completed at the Franklin Humanities Institute’s Haiti Lab over the course of the semester. In “Haiti: History Embedded in Amber,” Edouard Duval-Carrié presents the story and documentary video of this collective response to disaster in Haiti. A reception following the talk features an exhibit of the work.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
The Garage, C105 Bay 4 (first floor)
Writing Tragedy, Writing Hope: Haitian Writers At Home and Abroad Respond to The January 12, 2010 Earthquake
Edwidge Danticat will examine ways in which writers both in Haiti and in the Haitian dyaspora have responded creatively to the earthquake and will also read excerpts from her own work. Copies of two of Ms. Danticat’s books, Brother, I'm Dying and Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work, will be available on site for purchase.
Monday, April 11, 2011
5:00 – 6:30 p.m.
Social Sciences Building, room 139
Three years after covering Iraq at the height of its sectarian war, Damien Cave found himself amidst the countless dead of Haiti’s disastrous earthquake. He will discuss how reporters tackle the challenges of traumatic stories – how they get to where they need to be, how they choose which stories to tell, and how they are impacted by what they experience.
After the Storm: Post-Katrina Photographs by Alex Harris
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Sanford School of Public Policy
Rubenstein Hall, Room 153
Six months after Hurricane Katrina, Alex Harris, Duke University professor of the practice of public policy and documentary studies, drove to New Orleans hoping to capture images of spring. The devastation that persisted required a different response, inspiring this series of triptychs of the abandoned and battered Gulf Coast.
“Policymakers and photographers have at least one problem in common: how to engage the imaginations of our fellow citizens, to focus on places and problems they might otherwise turn away from?” Harris says.
Harris will give an artist's talk about the exhibit on March 23. The exhibit will be on display on the first floor of Rubenstein Hall February 21 through August 12, 2011. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Provost’s Lecture Series is pleased to be part of Duke University’s “A World Together Initiative.”