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The New Literary History of America

Stated Meeting, Cambridge, MA
Thursday, September 24, 2009

Click speaker names for individual audio.

Introduction: Emilil Bizzi (3 min.) is the 44th President of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and Institute Professor and Investigator at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He joined the MIT faculty in 1969 and has served as Director of the Whitaker College of Health Sciences and Technology and Chair of the MIT Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences. His research focuses on movement control and the neural substrate for motor learning. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a member of the Institute of Medicine, a member of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, and a member of the Harvard University Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. He was awarded the President of Italy’s Gold Medal for Scientific Contribution in 2005. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1980.
Speakers: Werner Sollors (15 min.) received his Ph.D. degree from the Freie Universität Berlin and holds the Henry B. and Anne M. Cabot Chair as Professor of English and Professor of African American Studies at Harvard University, where he joined the faculty in 1983. He served as chair of Afro-American Studies from 1984-1987 and from 1988-1990, of American Civilization from 1997-2002, and of Ethnic Studies from 2001-2004. Coeditor with Greil Marcus of A New Literary History of America (Harvard University Press, 2009), his major publications include Beyond Ethnicity: Consent and Descent in American Literature and Culture (1986), Neither Black nor White yet Both: Thematic Explorations of Interracial Literature (1997), and Ethnic Modernism (2008). He has written essays on ethnicity, pluralism, migration, multiculturalism, and numerous American authors. His edited books include The Return of Thematic Criticism (1993), Theories of Ethnicity (1996), Mary Antin’s The Promised Land (1997), Olaudah Equiano’s Interesting Narrative (2000), Charles W. Chesnutt’s Novels, Stories, and Essays (2002), An Anthology of Interracial Literature (2004), and Alexandre Dumas’s Georges (2007). A corresponding member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and of the Bayerische Amerika-Akademie, he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2001.
Greil Marcus (14 min.) is an author and critic. He began a career-long relationship with Rolling Stone in 1969, where he became the magazine’s first record review editor. Book columnist from 1975 to 1980, he remains a contributing editor. He served as a member of the Board of Directors of the National Book Critics Circle Award from 1983 to 1989. His books include Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock ‘n’ Roll Music (1975), which connects rock ‘n’ roll to political and social history; and Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the Twentieth Century (1989, 20th anniversary edition 2009), which follows anarchistic naysayings from the Dadaists to the Situationist International to the Sex Pistols. Among his numerous other books, The Shape of Things to Come: Prophecy in the American Voice was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2006; and he is coeditor with Werner Sollors of A New Literary History of America (Harvard University Press, 2009). He currently also writes about music and popular culture for The Believer, Artforum, Black Clock, and Threepenny Review. Since 2000 he has taught at Berkeley, Princeton, Minnesota, and the New School in New York and lectured throughout the United States and Europe. He lives in Berkeley.

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