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MillerComm Lectures feature civil rights leader, Pulitzer winner, Nobelist

Craig Chamberlain, News Editor


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Mary Frances Berry, a former chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and Seymour Hersh, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter, will present the first and last in a series of five lectures during April and May at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Berry will discuss the past and current struggles of blacks for equal opportunity, and Hersh will discuss his Abu Ghraib prison torture stories and other work for The New Yorker magazine. Other lectures will deal with the mystery behind a map claimed as evidence of Viking travels to North America prior to Columbus, the Mayan conflict in the Chiapas region of Mexico, and the consequences of differences between lived and remembered experience, as presented by a Nobel laureate in economics.

The lectures are part of the Center for Advanced Study/MillerComm series, begun in 1973 and supported with funds from the George A. Miller Endowment and various co-sponsoring campus units and community groups. The MillerComm lectures provide a forum for discourse on topics spanning the university’s many disciplines.

All of the lectures are free and open to the public.

Mary Frances Berry, the Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought at the University of Pennsylvania, will talk on April 4 on the title of “New Challenges, New Opportunities: For African-Americans the Struggle Continues.” She will discuss the historical challenges faced by blacks in achieving equality of opportunity, and how those challenges are multiplied as other populations arrive in the United States with hopes of attaining the same goal. Her lecture begins at 4 p.m. on the third floor of the Levis Faculty Center, 919 W. Illinois St., Urbana.

Subsequent CAS lectures and presentations:

• April 12, “Before Columbus? The Mystery of the Vinland Map,” by Garman Harbottle, senior chemist at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York.

Harbottle will discuss evidence for the authenticity of a parchment map dated to 1434 and discovered in Europe in the 1950s. The map appears to be evidence of Viking travels to a coastal area near present-day Newfoundland. The map has been the subject of intense controversy. Some scientists say it is fake. Harbottle’s lecture begins at 4 p.m. in the Knight Auditorium of the Spurlock Museum, 600 S. Gregory Drive, Urbana.

• April 14, “The Celebration of the Word: Maya Confront the Military as They Define Their Future,” by June Nash, Distinguished Professor Emerita of anthropology at the City University of New York.
Nash will talk about her study of Mayan activists and leaders in Chiapas, one of the poorest states in Mexico. Her lecture begins at 7:30 p.m. on the third floor of the Levis Faculty Center.

• April 19, “Living and Thinking About It: Experience, Memory and Well-Being,” by Daniel Kahneman, the Nobel laureate in economics in 2002 and the Eugene Higgins Professor of Psychology at Princeton University.

Kahneman will discuss how our later recall of experiences often differs from the original, influencing how we evaluate our lives and sense of well-being, and many of the choices we make. His talk begins at 8 p.m. in Foellinger Auditorium, 709 S. Mathews Ave., Urbana.

• May 10, “The Chain of Command: From 9/11 to Abu Ghraib,” by Seymour Hersh, reporter.
Hersh will discuss his work, as well as the state of American journalism in an age of media consolidation. His talk begins at 5 p.m. in Foellinger Auditorium.