Visiting Speakers

Shamil Jeppie

Associate Professor
University of Cape Town

Shamil Jeppie is an associate professor in the Department of Historical Studies at the University of Cape Town. He was educated at the universities of the Western Cape, Cape Town and Princeton. A recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship, he also held a Chevening Scholarship while at Oxford University and has been a fellow of the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research.He is author of Language, Identity, Modernity (2007) and also has numerous publications to his name, and is editor of the journal History in Africa, The Struggle for District Six (1990), Towards New Histories for South Africa (2004) and The Meanings of Timbuktu (2008).

Kelly Baker Josephs

Associate Professor, English
City University of New York

Kelly Baker Josephs, Associate Professor of English, specializes in World Anglophone Literature with an emphasis on Caribbean Literature. She teaches courses in Anglophone Caribbean Literature, Postcolonial Literature and Theory, Literatures of the African Diaspora, and Gender Studies. Her book Disturbers of the Peace: Representations of Insanity in Anglophone Caribbean Literature (U of Virginia P, 2013), considers the ubiquity of madmen and madwomen in Caribbean literature between 1959 and 1980. Professor Josephs is Director of the York College Honors Program and Editor for sx salon: a small axe literary platform.

Amy King

Associate Professor, English
St. John's Unviersity

Amy King teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in nineteenth-century British literature, including Victorian Literature, Romantic Literature, and the Nineteenth-Century Novel. Dr. King has published widely in the field of the nineteenth-century novel, with a particular emphasis on the relationship between literature and science in the period. Dr. King is the author of Bloom: The Botanical Vernacular in the English Novel (Oxford University Press, 2007, 2003).  Her current book project, “Reverent Form: Natural History and Natural Theology in the British Novel, 1789-1867,” examines the relationship between natural history and the early-Victorian novel. Her essays most recently have appeared in Victorian Studies and Literature Compass.

Peter Koechley


Peter Koechley is the co-founder of Upworthy, a media company on a mission to draw mass attention to the stories that matter most. Before Upworthy, he produced viral videos for the advocacy organization and served as managing editor of The Onion, America’s finest news source™.

Ivan Krastev

Centre for Liberal Strategies, Bulgaria

Ivan Krastev is one of the most visible public intellectuals in Europe today and an expert on Eastern European democracy. The Chairman of the Centre for Liberal Strategies in Sofia, Bulgaria, and Permanent Fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna, Austria, he is a founding board member of the European Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the Board of Trustees of the International Crisis Group (2016-2018). His books in English include Democracy Disrupted: The Politics of Global Protest (U Penn Press, 2014), In Mistrust We Trust: Can Democracy Survive When We Don't Trust Our Leaders? (TED Books, 2013), The Anti-American Century (CEU Press, 2007), and Shifting Obsessions: Three Essays on the Politics of Anticorruption (CEU Press, 2004). Krastev is a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times. He is currently working, in collaboration with Stephen Holmes, on a book on Russian politics. 

Kai Kresse

Associate Professor, African Studies, Swahili Studies
Columbia University

Kai Kresse is an anthropologist and philosopher with an area specialization in East Africa and the Swahili coast. He received his PhD in Anthropology and African Studies from SOAS (2002) and a Master’s degree in Social Anthropology from LSE (1997), both University of London, and a Magister degree in Philosophy from the University of Hamburg (1996). He has held appointments as Lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of St Andrews (2002-2009), Research Fellow and Vice Director for Research at the Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO) in Berlin ( (2006-2012), and has affiliations to the Berlin Graduate School for the Study of Muslim Cultures and Societiesand the Department of Anthropology, at the Free University Berlin. In 2005, he was Evans-Pritchard Lecturer at All Souls College, Oxford.

Mattias Kumm

Inge Rennert Professor of Law
New York University

Mattias Kumm is the Inge Rennert Professor of Law and has joind NYU in 2000. His research and teaching focuses on basic issues and contemporary challenges in Global, European and Comparative Public Law. He also holds a Research Professorship on "Global Public Law" and is Managing Director of the Center for Global Constitutionalism at the WZB Social Science Research Center in Berlin as well as Professor of Law at Humboldt University. He has taught at leading universities wordwide, and has held professorial appointments at Harvard, Yale, and the EUI. He is on the Board of various International Journals and Professional Societies and is Founding Co-Editor in Chief of "Global Constitutionalism" (CUP). Kumm holds a JSD from Harvard Law School and has pursued studies in law, philosophy and political sciences at the Christian Albrechts University of Kiel, Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and Harvard University before he joined NYU.

Peter L’Official

Assistant Professor of Literature
Bard College

B.A., Williams College; M.A., New York University; Ph.D., Harvard University. Areas of specialization include African American literature and culture, 20th- and 21st-century American literature, 20th- and 21st-century American art and architecture, and urban history, and his scholarly interests include cultural studies and art criticism. He has been an occasional contributor to Grantland, The Los Angeles Review of Books,, and elsewhere. His book, Urban Legends: The South Bronx in Representation and Ruin, is in progress. Fellow at the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History at Harvard University in 2014-15. At Bard since 2015.