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Distinguished lecturers to appear for annual MillerComm series

1/31/2013 |Dusty Rhodes, Arts & Humanities Editor | 217-333-0568;

[ Email | Share ] CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Royal residences, racial stereotypes, social activism and international terrorism are among the topics to be addressed by the spring 2013 Center for Advanced Study/MillerComm lectures. The annual series, begun in 1973, is supported by the George A. Miller Endowment along with several University of Illinois units.

The lectures, which are free and open to the public, will be in the Knight Auditorium at the Spurlock Museum, 600 S. Gregory St., Urbana.

  • Feb. 7 (Thursday) at 4 p.m.: Todd Gitlin holds degrees in mathematics, political science and sociology. He is the author of 15 books, including three novels and a book of poetry, and has been a regular contributor to The Chronicle of Higher Education, The New Republic, the Columbia Journalism Review and the Huffington Post. His resume in social activism dates back to the early 1960s, when he served as third president of the Students for a Democratic Society; he was on the board of directors for Greenpeace USA from 2003 through 2006. He is a professor of journalism and sociology and the chair of the Ph.D. program in communications at Columbia University. His latest book is “Occupy Nation: The Roots, the Spirit, and the Promise of Occupy Wall Street.” In his lecture, titled “Social Media May Be Media but They Are Not a Society,” Gitlin will examine the role of social media in recent social movements in Greece, Egypt, Spain and Tunisia, along with the Occupy movement.

  • March 1 (Friday) at 4 p.m.: Lynne Rudder Baker is a distinguished professor of philosophy at the University of Massachusetts and the author of six books, most recently “The Metaphysics of Everyday Life: An Essay in Practical Realism.” Her seventh book, “Naturalism and the
    First-Person Perspective” is scheduled for publication in May. Her MillerComm lecture, “Human Beings: What Sets Us Apart?” is designated as the annual philosophy department lecture.

  • March 5 (Tuesday) at 7:30 p.m.: Timothy Snyder, the Housum Professor of History at Yale University, is the author of five books, most recently “Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin,” which has been translated into 20 languages and achieved best-seller status in four nations. His lecture, “Brotherlands: A Family History of the European Nations,” will outline a new theory of nationalism that incorporates the personal into the impersonal and helps explain why certain nations exist.

  • March 7 (Thursday) at 7:30 p.m.: Charles D. Ferguson, the president of the Federation of American Scientists and a co-chair of the U.S.-Japan Nuclear Working Group, will discuss expanding the concept of security from military defense to the assurance of adequate energy, food and water around the world in a lecture titled “Leveraging Science and Technology to Transform International Security: The Social Responsibility of Engineers and Scientists.” Ferguson is the author of four books, most recently “Nuclear Energy: What Everyone Needs to Know.” In 2008, he made Wired magazine’s “Smart List” as one of the “Fifteen People the Next President Should Listen To.”

  • March 26 (Tuesday) at 4 p.m.: Martha Crenshaw, a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation and the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, is one of the handful of scholars who was investigating terrorism long before 9/11. Her latest book, “Explaining Terrorism: Causes, Processes and Consequences,” documents the development of her research on this topic through essays she wrote over the past three decades. Her lecture, “Responding to Global Terrorism: Provocation, Retaliation, and Deterrence,” will focus on her current research into the varied responses of governments to terrorist attacks and an evaluation of their effectiveness.

  • April 11 (Thursday) at 7:30 p.m.: Tom Burrell, the author of “Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority,” will present examples of media messages that reinforce racial biases and strategies to combat such preconceptions in his lecture, “Sex, Lies and Stereotypes.” Burrell is the founder and chairman emeritus of the Chicago marketing firm Burrell Communications and a 2005 inductee into the Advertising Hall of Fame. Advertising Age magazine named him to its lists of the “50 Who Made a Difference” and “Top 100 Advertising People.”

  • April 25 (Thursday) 4 p.m.: Michael Day is the chief executive of Historic Royal Palaces – the independent charity that oversees the preservation, public experiences and educational offerings of the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace and several other historic landmarks of British royalty. In his lecture, titled “Reinvigorating Kensington Palace: Creating ‘A Place for Everyone,’ “  Day will discuss the recently completed $18 million renovation of the home of Diana, the late princess of Wales.
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