Pulitzer Prize-winning writer speaks on the ethics and aesthetics of cultural criticism
“How do we bring all the traditions that have shaped us—intellectual, social, and cultural—to complex questions of identity and community? How do we find language that gives them specificity and subtlety; that honors contradiction?” These are some of the questions Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, cultural critic, journalist, and professor Margo Jefferson, will address as this year’s Kritikos Professor in the Humanities. Jefferson will speak on “The Ethics and Aesthetics of Cultural Criticism” on Wednesday, May 10th at 7:30 p.m. in 182 Lillis Hall on the UO campus, and again on Thursday, May 11th at 7:30 p.m. at the UO in Portland, 70 NW Couch Street.
Jefferson goes on to say, “We speak, for example, of class, race, gender, and intersectionality; how do we live them and question their boundaries? How do we teach ourselves to go beyond the limits of our own experience? What intellectual, emotional, and imaginative tools do we need?”
The daughter of a prominent physician and social worker-turned-socialite mother, Jefferson grew up in an upper-middle class black neighborhood of Chicago in the 1950s and ‘60s. She writes about her experiences growing up in post-war America as a member of a privileged African American family in her memoir, Negroland, which won the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography, The International Bridge Prize, and The Heartland Prize.
Jefferson currently teaches writing at Columbia University School of the Arts. Her previous book was On Michael Jackson. She has been a staff writer for The New York Times and Newsweek, and has published in New York Magazine, The Nation, The Washington Post, The Believer, Guernica, Bookforum, O, the Oprah Magazine, Vogue, and Grand Street. Her essays have been anthologized in: The Best American Essays, 2015; The Inevitable: Contemporary Writers Confront Death; What My Mother Gave Me; The Best African-American Essays, 2014; The Mrs. Dalloway Reader; Black Cool; and The Jazz Cadence of American Culture. She also wrote and performed a theater piece, Sixty Minutes in Negroland, at The Cherry Lane Theater and The Culture Project.
Both lectures are free and open to the public. The Eugene lecture will be followed by a book sale and signing. For disability accommodations (which must be made by May 3) or for information, call (541) 346-3934, or email@example.com