Lubbock Electric

Anne Elezabeth Pluto, a faculty member in the Woods College of Advancing Studies, has published a book of poetry, Lubbock Electric (Nixes Mate Books, 2018). According to fellow poet Gene Barry, “Annie Pluto has an inbuilt ability to poetically emote a specific feeling, situation or scene with admirable craft. Between the lines of the poem, ‘Love Letter to Lubbock,’ the poet has placed a seat for every reader. This heartfelt and warm, cleverly woven tapestry delivers wishes, regrets, celebrations, acknowledgments and love with extraordinary economy.” Pluto is  an alumna of Shakespeare & Company, and has been a member of the Worcester Shakespeare Company since 2011. She is the artistic director and one of the founders of the Oxford Street Players.

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Samantha Power

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power will present “America’s Foreign Policy and the State of the World” at Boston College on March 22 at 4 p.m. in the Heights Room of Corcoran Commons. One of TIME’s “100 Most Influential People,” Power has been called “a powerful crusader for U.S foreign policy as well as human rights and democracy” by Forbes and been named one of Foreign Policy’s “Top 100 Global Thinkers.” As U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Power became the public face of U.S. opposition to Russian aggression in Ukraine and Syria, negotiated the toughest sanctions in a generation against North Korea, lobbied to secure the release of political prisoners, and helped mobilize global action against ISIL. She won a Pulitzer Prize for her non-fiction book, “A Problem From Hell”: America and the Age of Genocide. She is currently the Anna Lindh Professor of Practice at Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Law School where she is writing a book, The Education of an Idealist, which will chronicle her years in public service and reflect on the role of human rights and humanitarian ideals in contemporary geopolitics. Sponsor: Winston Center for Leadership and Ethics Clough Colloquium, with the Women’s Collaborative and the Women’s Center.

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Viet Thanh Nguyen

Pulitzer Prize winner Viet Thanh Nguyen will talk about his best-selling novel, The Sympathizeron Mar. 21 at 7:00 p.m. in Gasson Hall, Room 100. In addition to the Pulitzer, The Sympathizer has been awarded the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, the Edgar Award for Best First Novel, the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, a Gold Medal in First Fiction from the California Book Awards, and the Asian/Pacific American Literature Award, among other honors. A black comedy, historical novel, and literary thriller, The Sympathizer follows a nameless spy who has infiltrated the South Vietnamese army and flees with its remnants to America. His mission: report on their efforts to continue their lost war. Nguyen’s other books include Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War (a finalist for the National Book Award in nonfiction) and a short story collection, The Refugees. He is a University Professor, the Aerol Arnold Chair of English, and a Professor of English, American Studies and Ethnicity, and Comparative Literature at the University of Southern California. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Time, The Guardian, The Atlantic, and other venues. Sponsors: Lowell Humanities Series, Asian American Studies, the English Department, and the Institute for the Liberal Arts. | NPR interview, Late Night with Seth Meyers

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Lessons from Piers Plowman

Higher education has become a polarizing topic in U.S. politics, but the underlying issues—who should be taught, what should be taught, and to what end—stretch back to the Middle Ages, according to Assistant Professor of English Eric Weiskott. In a piece for the Winter issue of Boston College Magazine, Weiskott considers the timeliness of the message in English writer William Langland’s epic poem Piers Plowman. “In the late 14th century, as in the early 21st century, everyday people felt the chasm between the haves and have-nots widening,” writes Weiskott, adding “Langland wondered whether education was living up to its promises.” Weiskott is the author of the book English Alliterative Verse: Poetic Tradition and Literary History (Cambridge University Press). He recently talked about his book in this video from BC Libraries.

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Savage’s book on the shortlist

Boston College Robert Savage’s book The BBC’s ‘Irish Troubles’: Television, Conflict and Northern Ireland has been named to the shortlist for the 25th Christopher Ewart-Biggs Literary Prize. The winner of the prize, named for the British ambassador to Ireland who was murdered by the IRA in 1976, will be announced on April 11 in Belfast. The objective of the prize is to honor works that align with the ideals of Christopher Ewart-Biggs–promoting and encouraging peace and reconciliation in Ireland, a greater understanding between the people of Britain and Ireland, and closer co-operation between the partners of the European Community. Savage’s book focuses on the BBC and how its broadcasts complicated the “Troubles” by challenging decisions, policies and tactics developed by governments trying to defeat a stubborn insurgency that threatened national security. More from the Irish Times.

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Shariah, the Islamic canonical law based on the teachings of the Koran, is a complex concept that has been interpreted in many ways over time and around the world. It plays a vital role in the lives of Muslims around the world, offering guidance on everything from personal morality to ritual practices, family life, and finance. But for many outside the Islamic world, Shariah is a misunderstood concept susceptible to media manipulation. In their new book, Shariah: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford University Press, 2018), Natana J. DeLong-Bas of Boston College and John Esposito of Georgetown University provide clear and even-handed answers to a wide range of questions, covering the history, development, content, and practice of Shariah. According to Publishers Weekly, “the clear writing and solid scholarship make [Shariah: What Everyone Needs to Know] a valuable reference work.” DeLong-Bas is an assistant professor of the practice in the Theology Department & Islamic Civilization and Societies program. She is also the author of Wahhabi Islam: From Revival and Reform to Global Jihad.

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Beyond Katrina

Award-winning poet Natasha Trethewey will discuss her nonfiction book, Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, on March 14 at 7:00 p.m. in Gasson Hall, room 100. A Pulitzer Prize winner and former U.S. Poet Laureate, Trethewey spent her childhood in Gulfport, where her mother’s family extended family lived. In Beyond Katrina, Trethewey melds her memories of the Mississippi Gulf Coast — complete with letters, poems, and photographs — with the experiences of family, friends, and neighbors to trace the erosion of local culture, the rising economic dependence on tourism and casinos, and to unveil a life on the margins for Gulf Coast whose citizens—particularly African Americans—well before the storm hit. Trethewey is the author of four collections of poetry: ThrallNative Guard Bellocq’s Ophelia; and Domestic Work. She is Robert W. Woodruff Professor of English and Creative Writing at Emory University.  Sponsors: Park Street Corporation Speaker Series and Lowell Humanities Series.

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