Debt Dialogues 2016-17

debt dialogue series graphic

What does it mean to be indebted—politically, economically, artistically, or ethically?

The 2016-2017 Humanities Dialogue: "Debt"

In partnership with two dozen departments and programs across Northwestern, the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities will present a year-long series of conversations around the theme of DEBT in 2016-2017. Distinguished scholars and artists from across humanities fields will explore financial debt; the ethics and politics of obligation; cultural and artistic indebtedness; religious and environmental responsibilities; indebtedness to sources; the psychology of debt; labor and slavery; liability and dependency; human burdens, protests and narratives.

Made possible in part by the generous support of the Harris Lecture Fund, the Debt Dialogues are free and open to the public.


The Debt Dialogue Lineup

—FEATURED EVENT—

Anna Deavere Smith (Actor, playwright and professor), Founder and Director, Institute on the Arts and Civic Dialogue at NYU, will present "Doing Time in Education: The School-to-Prison Pipeline" as the 2017 Leon Forrest Lecturer. Co-presented by the Department of African American Studies, Black Arts Initiative, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program, and Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. April 24, 2017. Details here.

—FALL QUARTER—

Yates McKee, art critic and author of Strike Art: Contemporary Art and the Post-Occupy Condition, will present "Contemporary Art, #BlackLivesMatter, and the Decolonization of Debt Resistance." Co-presented by the Department of Art History. October 5, 2016. Details here.

Louis Hyman (Labor Relations, Law and History/Cornell), author of Debtor Nation: The History of America in Red Ink, will present "From Personal Credit to Market Debt: How Loans Became Commodities." Co-presented by The Chabraja Center for Historical Studies. October 20, 2016. Details here.

Boyd Cothran (History/York University), Amy Lonetree (History/UC-Santa Cruz), Dian Million (American Indian Studies/Washington), and Kelly Wisecup (English/Northwestern) will participate on the panel "Historical Debts: Trauma, Memory, and Decolonization." Co-presented by the Indigenous Studies Research Initiative; the Native American and Indigenous People's Steering Group; the Colloquium on Indigeneity and Native American Studies; the Chabraja Center for Historical Studies; and the Department of History. October 27, 2016. Details here.

Aaron Schuster and Eric Santner (Germanic Studies/University of Chicago), will present "The Debt Drive, Between Philosophy, Psychoanalysis, and Neoliberalism.” Co-presented by the Critical Theory Cluster and the Center for Global Culture and Communication (CGCC). November 1, 2016. Details here.

Elizabeth J. Chin (Art Center College of Design, Pasadena), professor and author of My Life With Things: The Consumer Diaries, will present "Where Credit Is Due." Co-presented by the Department of Anthropology and the Gender and Sexuality Studies Program. November 3, 2016. Details here.

Ayad Akhtar, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, playwright, and screenwriter, will discuss his world-premiere play, JUNK: The Golden Age of Debt. He will be joined in conversation with Jeff Award-winning director Kimberly Senior, who will direct Northwestern theatre students in readings from the play and discuss indebtedness to family roots, inherited identities, and what we might owe to our countries of origin and citizenship. Co-presented by Northwestern's Arts Circle. November 7, 2017. Details here.

Annie McClanahan (English/UC Irvine), currently at work on a project entitled Dead Pledges: Debt, Crisis and Twenty-First Century Culture, will present "The Culture of Secular Stagnation." Co-presented by the American Cultures Colloquium. November 15, 2016. Details here.

Anthea Kraut (Dance/UC Riverside) will present "Choreographing Copyright: Race, Gender, and Intellectual Property Rights." Co-presented by Mellon Dance Studies, the Departments of Art History and Performance Studies, the Program in American Studies, the Dance Program, Global Avant-Garde and Modernist Studies, and the Interdisciplinary PhD Program in Theatre and Drama. November 28, 2016. Details here.

—WINTER QUARTER—

Eula Biss (English/Northwestern) and Maryann Bylander (Sociology/Lewis & Clark College) will present "Merchants of Debt: A Collaboration." Co-presented by The Center for the Writing Arts and Department of English. January 12, 2017. Details here.

Robert Sullivan (Poet and Head of Creative Writing/Manukau Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand) will present "Journey Through an Indigenous Archive." Co-presented by the Colloquium on Indigeneity and Native American Studies, the Buffett Institute for Global Studies, the Native American and Indigenous Peoples Steering Group, the Center for the Writing Arts, and Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. February 2, 2017. Details here.

Daniel Borzutzky (Winner of the 2016 National Book Award for Poetry) will present "The Performance of Becoming Broke," a reading and conversation. Co-presented by the Poetry and Poetics Colloquium. February 3, 2017. Details here.

DEBT-RELATED CAMPUS EVENT: Hollian Wint, Buffett Institute postdoctoral fellow, will present "From Slaves to Debtors? The Politics of Credit in Abolition-Era East Africa." Presented by the Buffett Institute Faculty & Fellows Colloquium. February 24, 2017. Details here.

Craig Calhoun, sociologist and President of the Berggruen Institute, will present "Debt and the New Populisms." Co-presented by the Center for Global Culture and Communication (CGCC). March 3, 2017. Details here.

Clara Han (Anthropology/Johns Hopkins), author of Life in Debt: Times of Care and Violence in Neoliberal Chile, whose research studies violence, affliction, care and the precariousness and achievements of everyday life, will present "A Life in Debt to the Dead: Learning Kinship in a Setting of Pervasive Death." Co-presented by the Science in Human Culture program and Department of Anthropology. This event has been postponed. Details here.

—SPRING QUARTER—

Toni Jensen (Métis; English/University of Arkansas), author of the short story collection From the Hilltop, published through the Native Storiers Series at the University of Nebraska Press, will present "Cowboyistan:The Social Costs of Fracking." Co-sponsored by English, the Creative Writing program, the Indigenous Studies Research Initiative, and the Native American and Indigenous Peoples Steering Group. March 31, 2017. Details here.

Debt and Promise: Puerto Rican Performance in Times of Crisis, artists' residency with conversations, workshops, and a performance showcase with Las Nietas de Nonó (Lydela and Michele Nonó), Arnaldo Rodríguez Bagué, and Pepe Álvarez. Co-presented by the Department of Performance Studies, the Center for Global Culture and Communication, and the Black Arts Initiative. April 3-7, 2017. Details here.

Susie Phillips (English/Northwestern), currently working on Polyglots and Pocketbooks, will present "Dallying with Debt: Credit Hijinks in Premodern England." Co-presented by the Early Modern Colloquium. April 13, 2017. Details here.

Anna Deavere Smith (Actor, playwright and professor), Founder and Director, Institute on the Arts and Civic Dialogue at NYU, will present "Doing Time in Education: The School-to-Prison Pipeline" as the 2017 Leon Forrest Lecturer. Co-presented by the Department of African American Studies, Black Arts Initiative, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program, and Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. April 24, 2017. Details here.

Astrid Deuber-Mankowsky (Ruhr-Universität Bochum) will present "Why is Niobe Punished? Notes on the Concept of Schuld, the Doctrine of the Will to Power, and the Critique of Violence." Discussion participants will include Sam Weber and Peter Fenves (both in German and Comparative Literary Studies/Northwestern). Co-presented by the Department of German, Comparative Literary Studies program, and the Critical Theory Cluster. April 25, 2017. Details here.

Kristine Aono (Chicago-born, Maryland-based artist), Laura Fugikawa (Women and Gender/Smith), Kelly Wisecup (English/Northwestern) and Ji-Yeon Yuh (History/Northwestern) will discuss "Reparation in the Native American and Japanese American Context." Co-presented by the Block Museum of Art. April 26, 2017. Details here.

Jenny Adams (English/UMass Amherst), currently working on Unlocking St. Frideswide’s Chest: Student Debt and University Life in Medieval Oxford, will present "Degrees of Collateral: Medieval Academic Loans and Life in the Early University." Co-presented by the Medieval Colloquium. April 27, 2017. Details here.

Madhavi Sunder (Law/UC Davis) in dialogue with Chidi Oguamanam (Law/Ottawa), "Intellectual Property, Debt, and Traditional Knowledge." Co-presented by the Science in Human Culture program as part of its "Medical Cultures, Traditions, and Law" conference. May 5, 2017. Details here.

Morton Schapiro (President of Northwestern) and Bruce Carruthers (Director of Northwestern's Buffett Institute) will discuss "Student Debt in the American University" with moderator Casey Caldwell (Kaplan Franke Fellow and graduate student in English). May 10, 2017. Details here.