Annual Lecture Series

George and Joyce Wein Lectures on African and African American Music

The George and Joyce Wein Lectures on African and African American Music bring an artist or scholar to Harvard to speak on issues pertaining to African, African American, and African Diasporic music. Established by George Wein, the founder of the Newport Jazz Festival, in honor of his late wife, Joyce, and co-sponsored with the Department of African and African American Studies, the series features lectures, master classes, and performances. Previous speakers include Robin D. G. Kelley, George E. Lewis, Ingrid Monson, Gary B. Nash, and Randy Weston.

  • 2016: Robin D. G. Kelley, Ingrid Monson, Gary B. Nash, and Randy Weston, Celebrating Randy Weston's Archive at Harvard
  • 2015: George E. Lewis, Black Liveness Matters: Tracing the Sounding Subject

Alain LeRoy Locke Lectures

The Alain LeRoy Locke Lectures are named after the godfather of the Harlem Renaissance, who, in 1918, became the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Harvard. These lectures honor the memory and contributions of this noted Harvard scholar who became the first and, until 1963, the only African American to be awarded a Rhodes Scholarship. This series brings a distinguished person to Harvard to deliver lectures on a topic related to the field of African American culture and history. Previous speakers have included David Adjaye, Hilton Als, Dwight Andrews, Holland Cotter, Manthia Diawara, Gerald Early, Paule Marshall, Elvis Mitchell, Walter Mosley, Paul Oliver, Darryl Pinckney, and Melvin Van Peebles.

  • 2013: Robert G. O'Meally, Black Art Demanded Action: Ralph Ellison, Romare Bearden, Duke Ellington, and the Jazz Shape of Modern Culture
  • 2013: Holland Cotter, Art in Africa and African America: An Art Critic's Tale
  • 2012: Hilton Als, The New York Black Avant-Garde's Contributions to Music, Theatre, and Performance from the 1960s-90s
  • 2011: Touré, I Would Die 4 U: Why Prince Became a Gen X Icon
  • 2011: Kimberly W. Benston, Black Hauntologies: Slavery, Modernity, Photography
  • 2009: Kobena Mercer, Recrossings: Three Nineteenth-Century Black Atlantic Artists
  • 2008: David Adjaye, Adjaye Associates Work
  • 2008: Deborah Willis, Concepts of Beauty
  • 2008: Anthony Davis, Deconstructing Opera, Creating Opera in a Post-Colonial World
  • 2007: Paul Oliver, Proto-Blues: Secular Black Music Recorded in the Field
  • 2006: Paule Marshall, People and Places in the Life of a Writer
  • 2006: Walter Mosley, Street Philosophy by Socrates Fortlow
  • 2005: Melvin Van Peebles, Connecting the Dots A La Barbershop
  • 2004: Dwight Andrews, Giant Steps: Formations of a Black Music Aesthetic
  • 2003: Gerald. L. Early, The Next Level of the Game: Cultural Observations on Three African American Athletes
  • 2002: Elvis Mitchell, African Americans in Cinema: From Pride to Rage
  • 2002: Manthia Diawara, Bamako
  • 2001: Darryl Pinckney, Out There: Mavericks of Black Literature

McMillan-Stewart Lectures

The McMillan-Stewart Lectures were established in 1996 to honor Geneviève McMillan of Cambridge and her colleague, Reba Stewart, who died tragically while working as a painter in Africa. Ms. McMillan endowed this lecture series in order to advance knowledge in the field of African Studies.

  • 2012: Frederick Cooper, Africa in the World
  • 2011: Tsitsi Dangarembga, Zimbabwe: Successes and Failures in Conflict Resolution
  • 2010: Photography & Diaspora: A Critical Discourse on Africa, Visual Culture & Modernity, Panel Discussion with Okwui Enwezor, Lyle Ashton Harris, Kobena Mercer, Renee Mussai, and Deborah Willis
  • 2008: Jean-Godefroy Bidima, Poetics and Politics of Hermeneutics: Crossings and Becomings in Ethics, Politics and Aesthetics in Africa
  • 2006: Maryse Conde, Rediscovering the Self in Francophone Literature: The Erasure of Memory and the Rebellious Presence of Africa
  • 2006: N'gugi wa Thiongo, Remembering Africa: Burial and Resurrection of African Memory
  • 2004: Emmanuel Obiechina, Africa in the Soul: Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century African Slave Narratives
  • 2003: Charlayne Hunter-Gault, New News Out of Africa
  • 2001: Francis Abiola Irele, Black Utopia: Diaspora Thought and African Renewal
  • 2000: Ali A. Mazrui, The African Predicament and the American Experience
  • 1998: Chinua Achebe, Home and Exile
  • 1995: Wole Soyinka, Nigeria: The Open Sore of a Continent

W. E. B. Du Bois Lectures

The W. E. B. Du Bois Lectures were established in 1981 with funding from the Ford Foundation. These lectures recognize persons of outstanding achievement who have contributed to the understanding of African and African American life, history, and culture. Previous speakers have included Danielle Allen, K. Anthony Appiah, Homi K. Bhabha, Hazel Carby, Stephen L. Carter, Stuart Hall, Michael Hanchard, Judge A. Leon Higginbotham, Glenn C. Loury, Julianne Malveaux, Manning Marable, John McWhorter, Sidney Mintz, Brent Staples, and Cornel West.

Order W. E. B. Du Bois Lectures Published by Harvard University Press

  • 2017: Michael A. Gomez, West Africa in the Age of Ascent
  • 2016: Danielle Allen, Cuz, or the Life and Times of Michael A (1979-2009)
  • 2015: Brent H. Edwards, Black Radicalism and the Archive
  • 2014: Hortense Spillers, Women and the Early Republics: Revolution, Sentiment, and Sorrow
  • 2014: Michael Hanchard, Race, Politics and the Constitution of Difference
  • 2012: Ernest J. Wilson III, Exclusion and Inequality in Digital Societies: Theories, Evidence, and Strategy
  • 2012: Sarah Tishkoff, The Genomics of African American Ancestry
  • 2011: Eddie S. Glaude, Jr., Pragmatic Reconstruction: The Prophetic, the Heroic, and the Democratic
  • 2011: Kimberlé Crenshaw, Racing to Postracialism
  • 2010: Condoleezza Rice, American Foreign Policy and the Black Experience
  • 2010: Kwame Anthony Appiah, The World, The Negro, and Africa: Themes in the Thought of W. E. B. Du Bois
  • 2010: W. J. T. Mitchell, Teachable Moments: Race, Media & Visual Culture
  • 2010: Martin L. Kilson, Jr., Transformational Dynamics in the 20th Century Black Intelligentsia
  • 2009: Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Du Bois at Large
  • 2009: Michael C. Dawson, Blacks In and Out of the Left: Past, Present and Future
  • 2009: Robert Stepto, Reading the Classics in the Age of Obama
  • 2009: Melissa Harris-Lacewell, Of the Meaning of Progress: Measuring Black Citizenship
  • 2009: Joseph Miller, African and World History
  • 2008: Mahmood Mamdani, Beyond Settlers and Natives
  • 2008: Michael Eric Dyson, Obama and the Presidential Election
  • 2007: Kenneth W. Warren, What Was African American Literature?
  • 2007: Robert Farris Thompson, The Grand Kongo Tradition: Art Histories of Ecstasy and Law
  • 2006: George Fredrickson, Big Enough to be Inconsistent: Slavery and Race in the Thought and Politics of Abraham Lincoln
  • 2006: Paul Gilroy, On The Moral Economy of Blackness in The Twenty-first Century
  • 2004: Manning Marable, Living Black History
  • 2003: Sidney W. Mintz, Three Ancient Colonies: Caribbean Themes and Variations
  • 2002: John H. McWhorter, African American Experience: Responses to Adversity, Then and Now
  • 2001: Brent Staples, Excavating Race in Mongrel America
  • 2000: Glenn Loury, The Economics and Ethics of Racial Classification
  • 1999: Homi Bhabha, "Quasi-Colonial": Reflections in the Spirit of W. E. B. Du Bois
  • 1998: Arnold Rampersad, Satan and The Souls of Black Folk
  • 1995: Barbara Fields, Humane Letters: The Arts and Duty of the Word
  • 1994: Stuart Hall, Race, Ethnicity, Nation: The Faithful/Fatal Triangle
  • 1993: Hazel Carby, Genealogies of Race, Nation, and Manhood
  • 1992: Cornel West, Being and Blackness: The Struggle Against Nobodiness
  • 1987: Ambassador Donald F. McHenry, The Great Powers and the Third World
  • 1986: Marian Wright Edelman, American Families in Crisis: What Can Be Done?
  • 1984: Judge A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr., The Legitimization of Racism
  • 1983: Mayor Maynard Jackson, Black Ballots and Southern Politics
  • 1982: Sir W. Arthur Lewis, Some Economic Aspects of Race Relations

Nathan I. Huggins Lectures

The Nathan I. Huggins Lectures were established by friends and colleagues of Nathan I. Huggins, the distinguished historian and first holder of the W. E. B. Du Bois Professorship at Harvard University. Professor Huggins served as Chair of the Department of Afro-American Studies and as Director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute from 1980 until his untimely death in 1989. This series brings to Harvard a distinguished scholar to deliver a series of lectures focusing on topics related to African American history and the history of African descendants in the Americas. Previous speakers have included Ira Berlin, David Brion Davis, George M. Fredrickson, Paul Gilroy, Lani Guinier, Darlene Clark Hine, Thomas Holt, Robin D. G. Kelley, Leon F. Litwack, Waldo E. Martin, Jr., Gary B. Nash, Gerald Torres, and Rebecca J. Scott.

This series is co-sponsored with the Department of African and African American Studies and Harvard University Press

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  • 2018: Tony Badger, Why White Liberals Fail: Southern Politicians and Race, 1933-2018
  • 2018: Earl Lewis, Exiting Slavery, Entering Reconstruction, and Enduring Jim Crow: Understanding Mental Illness and Mental Health in Black Communities from the Civil War to World War II
  • 2018: Glenda Gilmore, Romare Bearden, A Life in Art
  • 2017: David Bromwich, Nonconformity in Black and White: Douglass, Du Bois, and Ellison
  • 2016: Charles Bonnet, The Double Capital of Kush: Kerma and Dukki Gel
  • 2016: Ben Vinson III, Before Mestizaje: Race, Mixture, and Caste in Mexico
  • 2016: David Geggus, The Saint Domingue Slave Revolt and the Rise of Toussaint Louverture
  • 2015: Philippe Girard, Profiles in Courage: Four Forgotten Figures of the Haitian Revolution
  • 2015: Sean Wilentz, No Property in Men: The Origins of Antislavery Politics
  • 2015: Eric Foner, Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad
  • 2015: Jane Landers, A View from the Other Side: The Saint Domingue Revolution through Spanish Sources
  • 2014: Franklin W. Knight, The Revolutions behind the Creation of the Atlantic World
  • 2014: Ira Berlin, The Long Emancipation: Rethinking the Demise of Slavery in the United States
  • 2013: Rebecca J. Scott, Social Facts and Legal Fictions
  • 2013: Wilson J. Moses, Thomas Jefferson and the Notion of Liberty
  • 2012: George Reid Andrews, Envisioning Afro-Latin America
  • 2012: Allen C. Guelzo, Abraham Lincoln in 1862: The Year of Jubilee
  • 2011: Charles J. Ogletree, Understanding Obama
  • 2011: Tudor Parfitt, Fabricating Black Jews?
  • 2010: Harold Holzer, Abraham Lincoln and the Hand of Freedom: Maxim and Monument, Memory and Myth
  • 2009: Peter H. Wood, Into the Light: Liberating Winslow Homer’s ‘Near Andersonville’
  • 2009: Neil Foley, Jim Crow Good Neighbors: The Failed Promise of Black-Brown Solidarity
  • 2009: Paul Finkelman, The Supreme Court and the Peculiar Institution: Marshall, Story, Taney and the Defense of Slavery
  • 2008: Richard Alba, Blurring the Color Line: Possibilities for Ethno-Racial Change in Early Twenty-first Century America
  • 2007: Steven Hahn, The Political Worlds of Slavery and Freedom
  • 2007: Darlene Clark Hine, Rehearsal for Freedom in Black Country: Three Women Performing Race, Class, Gender in South Carolina, 1870-1954
  • 2004: Gary Nash, African Americans in the Age of Revolution
  • 2004: Leon F. Litwack, Stormy Monday: Black Southerners in the Twentieth Century
  • 2003: Robin D.G. Kelley, Speaking in Tongues: Jazz and Modern Africa
  • 2002: David Brion Davis, Challenging Boundaries: A Macro, Micro, Macro View of American Slavery
  • 2001: Waldo Martin, Black Liberation, Black Culture, and the Making of America: 1945-1980
  • 1999: Thomas Holt, The Problem of Race in the 21st Century
  • 1998: Lani Guinier and Gerald Torres, The Miner's Canary

Richard D. Cohen Lectures on African and African American Art

The Richard D. Cohen Lectures take up key issues in African and African American art, bringing to Harvard University thinkers and practitioners who focus on the vital ways in which art has shaped the rich landscape of African diasporic history, society, and thought across an array of artists, genres, periods, and critical issues. The series represents a unique opportunity to rethink vital questions of the past and to shape the related fields of scholarship anew. The series features scholars who address the vast expanse of African diasporic art communities through the study of contemporary works, specific historical concerns, or traditional art considerations in communities in Africa and elsewhere. Previous speakers have included Darby English, Jacqueline Francis, Kellie Jones, Steven Nelson, and Richard Powell.

  • 2018: Kobena Mercer, Alain Locke's Philosophy of Culture: Aesthetics and Afro-Modernity
  • 2017: Wole Soyinka, Beyond Aesthetics: Use, Abuse, and Dissonance in African Art Traditions
  • 2017: Jacqueline Francis, Real Talk: Why the History of Art and Visual Culture Studies Matters
  • 2016: Darby English, The Right to Reflect: Lectures at the Intersection of Art and Racial Terror
  • 2016: Richard Powell, Going "There": Considering Black Visual Satire
  • 2014: Kellie Jones, Art is an Excuse: Conceptual Strategies, 1968-1983
  • 2013: Steven Nelson, Mapping Blackness in African and Afro-Atlantic Art