Public Humanities Initiative

  • Mary Grace Albanese, PhD candidate in English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University

What is the stuff of history? Who writes it, who is allowed to speak in it - and in what language? Heyman Center Public Humanities Fellow Mary Grace Albanese will speak on a nascent oral history project that aims to gather, publish, and translate Haitian and Haitian-American narratives. The talk will focus particularly on the role of oral history in a Kreyol-French-English linguistic context and, more broadly, on the challenge of translation to the historian.

  • John Lucas, Filmmaker
  • Jamal Joseph, Professor of Professional Practice, School of the Arts, Columbia University
  • Jason Pollard, Film Editor
  • Sam Pollard, Producer, Director and Film Editor

The Heyman Center for the Humanities and the Center for Justice at Columbia present a film screening and discussion of the documentary film "The Cooler Bandits."  Over twenty years ago, four men committed a series of restaurant robberies during which they locked the restaurant employees in the walk-in coolers, gaining them the moniker "the Cooler Bandits." Although no one was physically injured, the group received collective prison sentences of up to 500 years. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with the Director, John Lucas, along with two of “the Cooler Bandits,” Donovan Harris and Richard Roderick. Joining them will be the film’s producer and editor, Sam and Jason Pollard, respectively. The discussion will be moderated by Columbia School of the Arts Professor Jamal Joseph.

  • Claudia Rankine, Poet
  • Dawn Lundy Martin, Essayist and Poet
  • Messiah Ramkissoon, Poet, Emcee, and Youth Activist
  • Timothy Donnelly, Author, Chair of the Writing Program, Columbia University School of the Arts
  • Monica Miller, Associate Professor of English, Barnard College

An evening of justice poetry featuring Claudia Rankine, award-winning poet and author of Citizen, finalist for the 2014 National Book Award; along with Dawn Lundy Martin, award-winning poet and activist, and Messiah Ramkissoon, poet, emcee, youth activist, and three-time winner at The Apollo. Joining the dialogue is Columbia School of the Arts Professor Timothy Donnelly, award-winning poet and Poetry Editor of Boston Review.

  • Fania Davis, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth (RJOY)
  • Danielle Sered, Director, Common Justice at the Vera Institute of Justice
  • John Valverde, Associate Executive Director for Program Operations, Osborne Association
  • Michelle Fine, Distinguished Professor, The Graduate Center, City University of New York
  • James Gilligan, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, New York University

There is a growing consensus across the country about the devastating consequences of mass incarceration and criminal justice policy. Increasingly, scholars, clinicians, educators, politicians and activists are examining the ways in which punishment is used in many facets of our society including schools, courts, jails and prisons. Many have found that the use of punishment as the core of the criminal justice system is more damaging than useful. This roundtable brings together scholars, educators, clinicians, activists and community members to critically examine the utility of punishment in our society and discuss alternative approaches to justice, accountability and safety.

Bryonn Bain: “Lyrics From Lockdown”

Wednesday, November 19, 2014
  • Bryonn Bain, Poet and Artist in Residence, New York University Gallatin
  • Jamal Joseph, Professor of Professional Practice, School of the Arts, Columbia University
  • Soffiyah Elijah, Executive Director, Correctional Association of New York
  • Asha Rosa Ransby-Sporn, Student, Columbia College

One man. One mic. 40 characters. Two unbelieveable true stories of wrongful imprisonment. Written and performed by Bryonn Bain. Tickets for this event have sold out.

  • Geraldine Downey, Professor of Psychology, Columbia University
  • Frances Negrón-Muntaner, Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University
  • Robin McGinty, Doctoral Canidate , CUNY Graduate Center’s Earth and Environmental Sciences (Geography)
  • Carl Hart, Associate Professor of Psychology, Columbia University

How do we change the current criminal justice system, one defined by mass incarceration, a paradigm of punishment, and racial discrimination? Changing how we achieve justice through policing, courts, jails, prisons and reentry must include changing the public narrative about people who become involved with the criminal justice system.

Dan Hoyle’s “Each and Every Thing”

Wednesday, October 15, 2014
  • Dan Hoyle, Actor, Playwright, and Writer
  • Pratim Sengupta, Assistant Professor, Learning Sciences & Science Education

"Each and Every Thing" is the newest solo show from award-winning actor/playwright Dan Hoyle about how we experience the world in the digital age. From a showdown with a violent felon in small-town Nebraska, to a childhood listening to anti-conformist rants in San Francisco; from the hard-scrabble corner boys of Chicago to the intellectual temple of Calcutta’s famed coffeehouse; from a Digital Detox retreat in remote Northern California to an intimate confession in Manhattan, join Dan in his search for true community, spontaneity and wonder in our fractured and hyper-connected world.


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