Autumn Lecture Series Speakers Announced


Steven Johnson, author of Marist's 2014 First-Year Book, "The Ghost Map" part of six-speaker program


Image of Ross Douthat


Douthat is a leader of the new generation of conservative commentators, whose work has been recognized nationwide for his penetrating analysis of domestic and international politics and government. In his lecture, he will discuss his newest book, "Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics," which charts institutional Christianity’s decline from a mainstream, bipartisan faith through the culture wars of the 1960s and 1970s to today’s polarizing debates.

He is also the author of "Privilege: Harvard and the Education of the Ruling Class," a critique of the University as a world of privilege and complacency. Douthat is co-author of "Grand New Party: How Republicans Can Win the Working Class and Save the American Dream," widely praised for its thoughtful, moderate conservative approach to solving America’s social ills and reinvigorating the diminished Republican party in the age of Obama.

Formerly a senior editor at The Atlantic, Douthat is the youngest Op-Ed Columnist in the history of the New York Times.

Wednesday, Sept. 24: Author, Wired Contributing Editor and PBS host Steven Johnson on "London's Most Terrifying Epidemic and How it Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World." 11:30 a.m., McCann Center

Image of Steven Johnson

Steven Johnson is a leader in contemporary discussions of innovation. He was chosen by Prospect magazine as one of the "Top Ten Brains of the Digital Future." This Fall, Johnson will host a six-part PBS series, "How We Got to Now," exploring great ideas and their sometimes unintended results. Johnson is the author of many books, including Marist’s First-Year Book, "The Ghost Map: London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic and How it Changed the Way We Think About Science, Cities, and the Modern World," which is being read by all first-year students and discussed across disciplines. His other books include the bestselling "Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation," "The Innovator’s Cookbook," which he edited, "The Invention of Air," "Emergence," "Future Perfect," and "Everything Bad Is Good For You," one of the most discussed books of 2005. Johnson is a contributing editor at Wired magazine and has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Nation, among other publications. He has appeared on many television programs, including "Charlie Rose," "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," and "The PBS NewsHour."

Thursday, Oct. 9: The Third Annual Handel-Krom Lecture in Hudson River Valley History, author and scholar Russell Shorto on "From Amsterdam to New Amsterdam." 7 p.m., Nelly Goletti Theatre

What made the Netherlands unique in Europe was its battle against water. By following the Dutch to North America, Russell Shorto explores the fascinating connections among water, the Dutch communal sensibility, and the rise of liberalism and individualism.

Shorto is a senior scholar at the New Netherland Institute in Albany, N.Y. and a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine. He has also written for The New Republic, The Nation, GQ, The New York Times Book Review, and The New York Times Op-Ed Page. He is the former director of the John Adams Institute, an independent American culture center in Amsterdam. He has written extensively on Europe, history, politics, and the religious right in the U.S.

Shorto is the author of five books, including his most recent, "Amsterdam: A History of the World’s Most Liberal City," "Descartes’ Bones: A Skeletal History of the Conflict Between Faith and Reason," and the bestselling "The Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony that Shaped America."


Tuesday, Oct. 28: The 38th Annual William and Sadie Effron Lecture in Jewish Studies, Columbia University professor and author Ari L. Goldman on "Jewish Music: From the Synagogue to Hollywood." 7 p.m., Nelly Goletti Theatre.

Ari L. Goldman is a professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where he directs the Scripps Howard Program in Religion, Journalism and the Spiritual Life.

He is the author of four books, including the bestselling "The Search for God at Harvard." His new book, "The Late Starters Orchestra," was published by Algonquin in June 2014. Publisher’s Weekly has called it a "wise, candid, and inspiring true story about rediscovering your passion."

Goldman came to Columbia in 1993 after spending 20 years at The New York Times, most of it as a religion writer. His articles have also appeared in The Washington Post, Columbia Journalism Review, The Jewish Week, The Jerusalem Post, and the New York Daily News.


Friday, Nov. 7: Author, scholar, and consultant Bruce Bueno de Mesquita on "Bad Governance is Good Politics!" 7 p.m., Fusco Recital Hall

Image of Bruce de Mesquita

Bruce Bueno de Mesquita is the Julia Silver Professor of Politics and Director of the Alexander Hamilton Center for Political Economy at New York University and a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He is also a partner in Mesquita & Roundell, LLC, a New York-based consulting firm. Bruce Bueno de Mesquita

Dr. de Mesquita’s recent books include "Principles of International Politics," "The Strategy of Campaigning," and the award-winning "The Logic of Political Survival." He has written widely for academic journals and national publications such as The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and the International Herald Tribune. He has been the subject of feature stories in The New York Times Magazine, U.S. News & World Report, The Independent, The Financial Times, and a History Channel documentary. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Council on Foreign Relations, and a former Guggenheim Fellow.


Wednesday, Nov. 12: Columbia University Professor and author Todd Gitlin on "Where Did All the 'Occupy-ers' Go?" 11 a.m., Kondysar Presentation Room, Hancock Center

Image of Todd Gitlin

Todd Gitlin is professor of journalism and sociology and chair of the Ph.D. program in Communications at Columbia University. Professor Gitlin holds degrees from Harvard University (mathematics), the University of Michigan (political science), and the University of California, Berkeley (sociology).

Gitlin was the third president of Students for a Democratic Society, in 1963-64, and coordinator of the SDS Peace Research and Education Project in 1964-65, during which time he helped organize the first national demonstration against the Vietnam War and the first American demonstrations against corporate aid to the apartheid regime in South Africa. He has made frequent appearances on CBS, ABC, CNN, PBS and NPR.

He is the author of fifteen books, including "Occupy Nation: The Roots, the Spirit, and the Promise of Occupy Wall Street," as well as "Media Unlimited;" "Inside Prime Time;" winner of the Bay Area Book Reviewers nonfiction award, "Sacrifice;" winner of the Harold U. Ribalow Prize; and "The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage," finalist for the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award.

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