"Hope and Emergency": Jill S. Harris Memorial Lecture by Rebecca Solnit


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color photo of Rebecca Solnti
Rebecca Solnit, writer, historian, and activist
Event Date: 
February 20, 2017
Event Time: 
5:00pm to 7:00pm
Rackham Auditorium
Event Accessibility : 
ASL Interpretation provided, accessible seating and restrooms available. A ramp, leading to power doors, is located to the left of the stairs at the South (main) entrance. Gender inclusive restrooms on 1st and 3rd floors.
Event Tags: 
color photo of Rebecca Solnti

Writer, historian, and activist Rebecca Solnit will deliver the Jill S. Harris Memorial Lecture, followed by a question and answer period with the audience. ASL interpretation will be provided. Free and open to the public 

In her book "Hope in the Dark," Rebecca Solnit has written about hope as not optimism, the belief that everything will be fine, but as uncertainty: as an uncertain future that leaves us room to act, as the possibility that we can shape that future in some way. Drawing from histories of popular power and civil society, of forgotten victories and remarkable campaigns, she has made the case for remembering our power, for using it, and for not assuming we know what will happen—the case against the certainty that underlie both optimism and pessimism. In her book "A Paradise Built in Hell," she looked at how ordinary people are often resourceful, altruistic, and empathic in disaster, forming fleeting democracies and finding purpose and meaning. 

In this talk she will look at the state of hope in the present moment and what disasters like 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina can tell us about political crises and civil society, drawing on both books and more recent political events. 

About Rebecca Solnit: Writer, historian, and activist Rebecca Solnit is the author of eighteen or so books on feminism, western and indigenous history, popular power, social change and insurrection, wandering and walking, hope and disaster, including a trilogy of atlases and the books "Men Explain Things to Me"; "The Faraway Nearby"; "A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster"; "A Field Guide to Getting Lost"; "Wanderlust: A History of Walking"; and "River of Shadows, Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West" (for which she received a Guggenheim, the National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism, and the Lannan Literary Award). A product of the California public education system from kindergarten to graduate school, she is a columnist at Harper’s.

Presented by the Institute for the Humanities, with cosponsorship from the Institute for Research on Women and Gender, Women's Studies Department, Department of American Culture,  Department of History, and the Department of English Language and Literature.