Lectures / Conferences / Events


Upcoming Events


Fall 2017

Rashid Ali and Ubah Cristina Ali Farah

Monday, October 16th at 6:00 p.m. - Suzy Newhouse Center Lounge, Green Hall

In 1960 when Mogadishu became the capital of the new state and the icon of Somali cosmopolitanism, modernity and unity, popular theatre and songs were one of the main sources of national expression and urban leisure. Through texts, newspapers, broadcasted interviews and oral accounts, this talk will analyse how modernity was conceptualized in this period and describe the ways in which new popular cultural expressions shaped the everyday life of urban youth and eventually reconfigured the physical space of the city.

Ubah Cristina Ali Farah is a Somali Italian novelist, essayist, and short-story writer. She studied in Rome, taught Somali language and culture at Roma Tre University, and in 2016 completed a Ph.D. in African Studies at the University of Naples-L'Orientale, with a dissertation about Somali plays in the period 1955-1990.  She is also the author of two novels. Madre piccola (2007), translated into English as Little Mother (Indiana University Press, 2011), Il Comandante del fiume (The Commander of the River) published in Rome in 2014. Both novels are set in Italy and deal with the challenges and victories of first- and second-generation Somali refugees.  

Rashid Ali is a Somali-British architect and principal of London based studio Rashid Ali Architects. He is a Senior Lecturer in Architecture at the University of East London. Ali is the co-editor of Mogadishu: Lost Moderns, published to accompany the exhibition Mogadishu-Lost Moderns at the Mosaic Rooms, London and Dak’art (Biennale of Contemporary African Art) in Dakar, 2014. For more on the book, click here.




Recent Events

Spring 2017

Jhumpa Lahiri

In Conversation with Carlos Ramos, Professor of Spanish

Monday, January 30th at 7:00 p.m. - Suzy Newhouse Center Lounge, Green Hall

Jhumpa Lahiri is an award-winning author born in London and raised in Rhode Island. Her collection of stories, Interpreter of Maladies, received multiple awards, including the Pulitzer Prize, the PEN/Hemingway Award, and The New Yorker Debut of the Year Award. In 2004, she wrote The Namesake, her first novel and a New York Times Notable Book, a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist, and one of the best books of the year selected by USA Today and Entertainment Weekly.  She is the recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship, Addison Metcalf Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award. Her other award-winning books include Unaccustomed Earth and The Lowland.


Photo Credit: Liana Miuccio






Eugenia Cheng


How to Bake π

Wednesday, March 1st at 5:00 p.m. - Science Center 277


Dr.​​ Eugenia Cheng is Scientist In Residence at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She won tenure in Pure Mathematics at the University of Sheffield, UK, where she is now Honorary Fellow. She has previously taught at the universities of Cambridge, Chicago and Nice and holds a PhD in pure mathematics from the University of Cambridge. Alongside her research in Category Theory and undergraduate teaching​,​ her aim is to rid the world of "math phobia". Her first popular math book, How to Bake Pi, was published by Basic Books in 2015 to widespread acclaim including from the New York Times, National Geographic, Scientific American, and she was interviewed around the world including on the BBC, NPR and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.   Eugenia was an early pioneer of math on YouTube and her videos have been viewed over a million times to date. Her next popular math book, "Beyond Infinity", will be published in 2017.  Eugenia is also a concert pianist.




Emmanuel Akyeampong - Cornille Lecture


Global Health and the Politics of Medical Citizenship: Madness in Contemporary Africa

Tuesday, March 7th at 4:30 p.m.- Suzy Newhouse Center Lounge, Green Hall


Emmanuel Akyeampong is Professor of History and African American Studies and the Oppenheimer Director of the Center for African Studies at Harvard University. He serves as the President of the African Public Broadcasting Foundation and is a co-founder of the International Institute for the Advanced Study of Cultures, Institutions, and Economic Enterprise based in Accra, Ghana. Amongst his publications are Drink, Power, and Cultural Change: A Social History of Alcohol in Ghana, c.1800 to Recent Times (Heinemann, 1996) and Between the Sea and the Lagoon: An Eco-Social History of the Anlo of Southeastern Ghana (Ohio, 2001). He teaches a range of courses and advises within and beyond the university on African history, political economy and trade, the African diaspora, ecology, disease and law, and mental illness.




Saikat Majumdar

Reading and Conversation

Monday, March 13th at 6:00 p.m. - Suzy Newhouse Center Lounge, Green Hall


Saikat Majumdar, a specialist in modern and contemporary world literature, is Professor of English and Creative Writing at Ashoka University. He is the author of three books, most recently, the novel The Firebird, which was one of The Telegraph’s Best Books for 2015 and a finalist for the Bangalore Literature Festival Fiction Prize and the Mumbai Film Festival Word-to-Screen Market. The novel will be released in the US in April 2017 as Play House. Saikat is also the author of Prose of the World (2013), which received Honorable Mention in the Modernist Studies Association’s Annual Book Prize, 2014, and an earlier novel, Silverfish(2007). He is currently at work at a new novel, a book of criticism titled The Amateur, and a nonfiction book on higher education in India, forthcoming in 2017. 




Opera Cabal - Panel

Tuesday, April 4th at 4:30 p.m. - Suzy Newhouse Center Lounge, Green Hall



A panel discussion and conversation on operatic collaboration in the 21st century,

featuring the Suzy Newhouse Center’s Mellon Artists in Residence Ken Ueno (UC Berkeley),

Thomas Tsang (University of Hong Kong) and Majel Connery (Stanford University) with

Wellesley College Music faculty Jenny Johnson and Kariann Goldschmitt.









Ato Quayson - Jordan Lecture

On the Affliction of Second Thoughts: Doubt and Epistemological Crises in Postcolonial Tragedy

Friday, April 7th at 6:30 p.m. - Suzy Newhouse Center Lounge, Green Hall


Ato Quayson is a Professor of English and the Director of the Center for Diaspora and Transnational Studies at the University of Toronto.  He publishes widely on African literature, postcolonial studies, and literary theory. He is the recipient of fellowships from Harvard University, the Royal Society of Canada, and the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences.  During his residency at the Newhouse Center for the Humanities, he taught at Wellesley College as the Mary L. Cornille Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Humanities. His works include Oxford Street, Accra: Urban EvolutionStreet Life and Itineraries of the Transnational, Labour MigrationHuman Trafficking and Multinational Corporations, and Postcolonialism: Theory, Practice or Process?












Ken Liu

Science Fiction for Chine and USA

Wednesday, May 3rd at 3:30 p.m. - Suzy Newhouse Center Lounge, Green Hall

Ken Liu is a Boston-based Chinese American writer. He is the winner of Hugo and Nebula Awards. He broke several records in the history of science fiction: His short story "The Paper Menagerie" is the only fiction, of any length, to win Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Awards in the same year;  His translation of Liu Cixin's The Three-Body Problem won the first Hugo Award for Best Novel for a novel that was not originally written in English. Ken Liu will come to Wellesley to talk about The Three-Body Trilogy, his translation, and his opinions on science fiction in China and USA.     






Fall 2016

Walter Mignolo
Thursday, September 22nd, 2016 at 6 p.m.

Walter Mignolo is an Argentine semiotician and William H. Wannamaker Professor of Literature at Duke University. He has published extensively on semiotics and literary theory, and focuses on concepts of the modern and colonial world, such as global coloniality, transmodernity, and border thinking. Walter Mignolo is also the Director of Duke in the Andes program and the Center for Global Studies and the Humanities at Duke University. His publications include The Idea of Latin AmericaLocal Histories/Global Designs: Coloniality, Subaltern Knowledges and Border Thinking, and The Darker Side of the Renaissance: Literacy, Territoriality, Colonization.






Ananda Devi
Friday, September 23rd, 2016 at 4:30 p.m.



Ananda Devi is a novelist and scholar born in Trois-Boutiques, Mauritius in 1957. She has lived in Ferney-Voltaire, France (near Geneva) since 1989, after having spent some years in Congo-Brazzaville. As an ethnologist and a translator, Devi is sensitive to the interconnection between identities and languages. Choosing to write in French, her novels and short stories also incorporate Creole and Hindi. Her incisive, lyrical and shrewd style offers the French language new cultural and linguistic scope linked to her native island.

Co-sponsored by the NHC,  the French House and the Cultural services of the French Consulate in Boston.



Elisabeth Mudimbe-Boyi
Wednesday, October 12th, 2016 at 12:30 p.m.


Elisabeth Mudimbe-Boyi is a Professor of French and Comparative Literature at Stanford University who researches cultural relations among Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean, twentieth-century French literature, and Francophone literature from Africa and the Caribbean. Born in Zaire, Elisabeth has taught at universities in the Congo and Burundi as well as Haverford College and Duke University. She has served as a Fellow at the Stanford University Humanities Center, President of the African Literature Association, and a member of the Executive Council of the Modern Language Association. Her works include "Post-Colonial Women Writing in French," Empire Lost: France and Its Other Worlds, and Remembering Africa.







Derek Attridge
Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016 at 12:30 p.m.


Derek Attridge.JPG

Derek Attridge is a Professor of English at the University of York as well as an author and editor of twenty-one books on literary theory, poetic form, South African literature, and James Joyce. Born in South Africa, he previously taught at Rutgers University until 1998 as Leverhulme Research Professor. He is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Camargo Foundation, the Leverhulme Trust, and the British Academy. His works include The Singularity of LiteratureWriting South Africa: Literature, Apartheid and Democracy, 1970-1995, and Moving Words: Forms of English.