Davis, Markert, Nickerson Lecture on Academic and Intellectual Freedom: "Fragility of Our Freedoms"


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Participants : 
  • Natalie Zemon Davis, Henry Charles Lea Professor of History Emerita, Princeton University: "Experiencing Exclusion: Scholarship in the Wake of Inquisition"
  • Joan Wallach Scott, Professor Emerita, School of Social Science, Institute for Advanced Study; Adjunct Professor of History, Graduate Center, City University of New York: "Civility and Academic Freedom" 
Event Date: 
October 8, 2015
Event Time: 
Honigman Auditorium, 100 Hutchins Hall
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Natalie Zemon Davis is a social and cultural historian of early modern times.  She has written on peasants and artisans in early modern France; on women in Germany, France, the Netherlands and Québec; on criminality and storytelling in sixteenth-century France; on forms of gift-giving in early modern times; and on Muslims and Christians in sixteenth-century Europe.  She is the author of eight books, all of them translated into various foreign languages: Society and Culture in Early Modern France; The Return of Martin Guerre (she was also historical consultant for the film Le Retour de Martin Guerre); Fiction in the Archives: Pardon Tales in Sixteenth-Century France; Women on the Margins: Three Seventeenth-Century Lives; The Gift in Sixteenth-Century France; Slaves on Screen: Film and Historical Vision; A Passion for History. Conversations with Denis Crouzet; Trickster Travels. A Sixteenth-Century Muslim between Worlds.  Together with Arlette Farge, she was co-editor of volume 3 (Renaissance and Enlightenment Paradoxes) of A History of Women, edited by Michelle Perrot and Georges Duby.
She has taught at the University of Toronto, the University of California at Berkeley, and Princeton University, where she was Henry Charles Lea Professor of History and Director of the Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies.  A former president of the American Historical Association and vice-president of the International Commission of Historical Sciences, she is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a corresponding fellow of the British Academy, and Chevalier de l’Ordre des Palmes Académique.
She is the recipient of various international prizes (including the 2010 Ludwig Holberg International Prize and the 2012 National Humanities Medal in the United States) and honorary degrees from Harvard University, the University of Toronto, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Cambridge University, Université de Lyon, Université de Toulouse, and Oxford University.  In 2012 she was made a Companion of the Order of Canada.  Emerita from Princeton University, Natalie Zemon Davis is currently Adjunct Professor of History and Anthropology, Professor of Medieval Studies, and Senior Fellow in Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto.  Her present research is on slavery and forms of sociability in 18th-century Suriname, including the study of a slave family over four generations, starting with its African past, and of a Jewish settler family over six generations.
Joan Scott received her PhD in History from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.  She has taught at the University of Illinois, Chicago; Northwestern University; the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; and Brown University, where she was the founding director of the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women.  Since 1985, she has been a professor in the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study.
Joan Scott’s work has challenged the foundations of conventional historical practice, including the nature of historical evidence and historical experience. Drawing on a range of philosophical thought, as well as on a rethinking of her own training as a labor historian, she has contributed to the formulation of a field of critical history. Written more than twenty years ago, her now classic article, "Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis," continues to inspire innovative research on women and gender.  In her latest work she has been concerned with the ways in which difference poses problems for democratic practice. She has taken up this question in her recent books: Only Paradoxes to Offer: French Feminists and the Rights of Man (1996); Parité: Sexual Equality and the Crisis of French Universalism (2005); and The Politics of the Veil (2007). She has extended her work on the veil to examine the relationship between secularism and gender equality. She has also prepared a collection of her essays that deals with the uses of psychoanalysis, particularly fantasy, for historical interpretation, The Fantasy of Feminist History (2011).  Scott is a founding editor of History of the Present, a journal of theoretically-informed history.
Scott has been recognized with honorary degrees from a number of academic institutions, including Brown, Harvard, and the University of Bergen (Norway).  In May, 2009, she received an honorary doctorate from the University of Wisconsin, where she earned her PhD. Several of Scott’s books have won prizes from the American Historical Association (AHA), which also awarded her the Nancy Lyman Roelker prize for graduate mentoring in 1995. At its meeting in January, 2009, the AHA presented her with an award for Scholarly Distinction, the culmination of more than 40 years of research and writing in her chosen fields of French history, women’s and gender history, and feminist theory.  In June 2012, Scott received an honorary doctorate from Princeton University.
The 2015 Davis, Markert, Nickerson Symposium on Academic and Intellectual Freedom is sponsored by the Academic Freedom Lecture Fund, American Association of University Professors University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Chapter and Michigan Conference, University of Michigan: Office of the President, Office of the Provost, Office of the Vice-President for Government Relations, Law School, Medical School, Women's Studies, the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs and an Anonymous Donor. This lecture is free and open to the public.