Arizona State University: Award-winning writer and researcher Clint Smith to speak at ASU’s Marshall Distinguished Lecture Series


September 21, 2021

Arizona State University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences will host the annual Jonathan and Maxine Marshall Distinguished Lecture Series with award-winning writer, poet, scholar and editor at The Atlantic.

The talk, “A Conversation with Clint Smith,” will take place at 6:30 pm on Tuesday, October 19 at ASU’s Tempe campus in Armstrong Hall. The conference will be the flagship event of the College’s inaugural Humanities Week – a series of special events that will run from October 18-22 to highlight how students and faculty explore human adventure through time, culture and place.

Smith is the author of the non-fictional narrative book “How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning With the History of Slavery Across America”, which was a # 1 New York Times bestseller, and of the poetry book “Counting Descent ”, which won the 2017 Literary Award for Best Poetry Book of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association and was a finalist for a NAACP Image Award.

He has received scholarships from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, New America, Emerson Collective, Art For Justice Fund, Cave Canem, and the National Science Foundation. His essays, poems and scholarly writings have been published in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The New Republic, Poetry Magazine, The Paris Review, Harvard Educational Review and elsewhere.

Smith is a 2014 National Poetry Slam Champion and a 2017 recipient of the Jerome J. Shestack Award from the American Poetry Review. His two TED talks, “The Danger of Silence” and “How to Raise a Black Son in America”, have collectively been viewed over 9 million times.

Previously, Smith taught high school English in Prince George County, Maryland, where in 2013 he was named Christine D. Sarbanes Teacher of the Year by the Maryland Humanities Council. He currently teaches writing and literature at the DC Central Detention Center. He is also the host of the YouTube series “Crash Course Black American History”.

Smith received his BA in English from Davidson College and his Doctorate in Education from Harvard University. Born and raised in New Orleans, he currently lives in Maryland with his wife and their two children.

The conference is free and open to the public. Visitor car parks are available in several car parks and car parks near the site. Face covering is mandatory for the duration of this event. Due to room capacity limitations, seating will be limited and RSVPs are required.

The Jonathan and Maxine Marshall Distinguished Lecture Series brings together nationally recognized academics concerned with promoting culture through the humanities and a better understanding of issues of democracy at ASU. This free annual public conference is funded by a donation from Jonathan and Maxine Marshall.

This year, Arizona State University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences will host the first Humanities Week – a series of special events to highlight the ways in which students and faculty are exploring the human adventure through time, culture and place.

The events, which include a mix of virtual and in-person programs, will take place October 18-22 and will be led by units, centers and institutes in the College’s Humanities Division. Schools from the new ASU College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences and the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts will also participate.

The week-long calendar of events will cover a wide range of topics related to the humanities, including history, literature, culture, racial representation, social justice and climate change. Every day a number of open classes, department open days, hands-on activities, public lectures, crafts and food will be offered with the mission of sharing new and worldly perspectives.

“Humanities Week is about many things – a celebration of all we do and achieve in the humanities, a chance to showcase our bright and creative faculty and staff – but most of all, an opportunity to students get to see an overview of all the humanities division has to offer, ”said Jeffrey Cohen, dean of humanities at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The College’s Distinguished Marshall Lecture will be a flagship event of the week, featuring Clint Smith, editor at The Atlantic and author of New York Times bestselling “How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning With the History of Slavery Across America. “.

Loot of the Humanities Week and information kiosk: Stop by the Humanities Week Info and Loot Kiosk for free loot and details on the activities happening throughout the week.

Teaching about genocide in a comparative way: Join Associate Professor Jason Bruner, Assistant Professor Volker Benkert and Sheryl Bronkesh, President of the Phoenix Holocaust Association, for a talk on the comparative study of genocide in public high schools.

Showcase of digital humanities: Attend this showcase showcasing the work of digital humanities and digital scholarships at ASU to see how digital humanities methods can augment and support the work of academics and introduce undergraduates to the field of digital humanities.

African Futurism and the Construction of the World in Science Fiction: Award-winning writer and practice professor Nnedi Okorafor joins Associate Professor Matt Bell’s “Writing Science Fiction” class for a conversation about his acclaimed novel “Lagoon,” as well as world-building issues in science fiction and fantasy, African futurism and other genres. Together, they will discuss how imagining fictional worlds could make new possibilities available in our own future.

Deconstructing the cinema race: Fred Kuwornu’s documentary “Blaxploitalian 100 Years of Blackness”: Join the Humanities Lab, Deconstructing Race and Italian-Ghanaian filmmaker / producer Fred Kuwornu for an evening of music videos and an open discussion on Kuwornu’s film, “Blaxploitalian 100 Years of Blackness in Italian Cinema”.

ASU Common Read: A Virtual Tour with Michael Eric Dyson: Attend this virtual tour with Michael Eric Dyson, author of “Long Time Coming: Reckoning With Race in America”, where he will discuss his work and answer questions. The conversation will be facilitated by two new ASU faculty members: Pulitzer Laureate Mitchell Jackson; Dean John O. Whiteman’s Distinguished English Professor; and Whiting Prize winner Safiya Sinclair, Associate Professor of English.

Visit to see the full schedule of events or to find out more.

This press release was produced by Arizona State University. The opinions expressed here are those of the author.

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