The Distinguished Speaker in the Humanities Series was inaugurated in 2000 to emphasize the humanities as a critical component of a meaningful education.

A committee of faculty from the School of Humanities and Sciences works to identify scholars, artists, and interdisciplinary intellectuals whose work has contributed to illuminating the interplay of human thought, history, emotion, and expression and its significance in understanding the world and our selves.  

Each Distinguished Speaker in the Humanities engages a small group of students in a master class specific to the speaker's field. This interaction with the campus community is then extended to the larger regional community through a lecture that is free and open to the public. 

The series was inaugurated by Robert Pinksy, then poet laureate of the United States. The series has brought an impressive array of internationally known artists and intellectuals to Ithaca College, including writer Salman Rushdie, philosopher Peter Singer, and playwright Tony Kushner, among others. 

The Distinguished Speaker in the Humanities for 2019 is Jacquelyn Dowd Hall.

For more information, see the Events page.

2019 Distinguished Speaker in the Humanities Series: Jacquelyn Dowd Hall

Lecture Topic:

Sisters and Rebels: A Struggle for the Soul of America
National Humanities Medal-winning historian Jacquelyn Dowd Hall weaves together the stories of Elizabeth, Grace, and Katharine Du Pre Lumpkin, three sisters who were born into a former slave owning family and steeped in devotion to white supremacy and the Confederacy’s “Lost Cause.” Combining biography with history, she also spirals outward, gathering and illuminating larger stories of the movements, networks, and events in which these women were involved. Elizabeth, the eldest, never strayed far from her upbringing.  But in lives lived on both sides of the Mason Dixon line, Grace and Katharine fought to break free. SISTERS AND REBELS combines an intimate consideration of the fraught ties of sisterhood with the recovery of an embattled progressive tradition organic to the South, a tradition that included both expatriates and people who never left the region. Telling a story about the past that is also a story for our time, Hall joins an ongoing conversation about how white Americans can face up to a legacy of slavery and segregation—our country’s original sin.