Visiting Speakers

Hugh Raffles

Professor of Anthropology
The New School

Hugh Raffles grew up in London, England. He has been an ambulance driver, a nightclub DJ, a theater technician, a busboy, a cleaner, and a scrap metal yard worker. He lives in New York City and teaches anthropology at The New School. Hugh's writing has appeared in academic journals and more popular venues, including the New York Times, Granta, Natural History, Orion, and The Best American Essays. His first book, In Amazonia: A Natural History (Princeton University Press, 2002) was awarded the Victor Turner Prize for Ethnographic Writing and selected by the American Library Association as an Outstanding Academic Title. In 2009, he received a Whiting Writers' Award.  

Messiah Ramkissoon

Poet, Emcee, and Youth Activist

Messiah Ramkissoon is a poet, emcee, and youth activist who has garnered national recognition. Messiah was granted the Emerging Leader Award from the National Institute of Caribbean Studies; the Youth of The Year in 1999/2000 for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Annapolis, Greater Washington and the State of Maryland. As a result, he was awarded a $25,000 scholarship from Oprah Winfrey, which he used to attend Howard University. As a performing artist, he has have won 3 consecutive shows at Showtime At The Apollo; a legendary show/stage for black artists including the Jackson 5, James Brown, Lauryn Hill and countless others. Messiah has been awarded a Certificate from the Howard University Alumni Association recognizing him for the "Gift of Poetry." In 2008, he won a BET Hip-Hop submission contest which led him to perform in Los Angeles at the 2008 pre-event for the BET Awards; opening for Janelle Monae. Messiah has gone on to win numerous annual poetry/spoken word slams including the National Capital Jazz Fest, HBCU Battle of the Schools, etc. He is a native of Trinidad but moved to New York City at the age of 11, where he has spent most of his life.

Claudia Rankine is the author of five collections of poetry: Citizen: An American Lyric (Graywolf Press, 2014); Don’t Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric (Graywolf Press, 2004); PLOT (Grove Press, 2001); The End of the Alphabet (Grove Press, 1998); and Nothing in Nature is Private (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 1995), which received the Cleveland State Poetry Prize. She is the Henry G. Lee Professor of English at Pomona College. Her latest book, Citizen, was nominated for a 2014 National Book Award. It also won the 2014 National Book Critics Circle Award for poetry.

Kriss Ravetto

Co-Director and Associate Director of Cinema and Technocultural Studies
UC Davis

Kriss Ravetto-Biagioli is a film and media scholar whose work focuses on representations and theorizations of violence in film, media, and online. Nation building, ethnocentric and sexual violence in the Balkans and Eastern Europe; Nazism, Facism and the Holocaust

Matthew Rendall

Lecturer in Politics and International Relations, Faculty of Social Sciences
University of Nottingham

Matthew Rendall is Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at the University of Nottingham, and holds a PhD in Political Science from Columbia University.

Michael Renov

Professor
University of Southern California

Michael Renov, professor of Critical Studies and Vice Dean for Academic Affairs at the University of Southern California, is the author of Hollywood's Wartime Woman: Representation and Ideology and The Subject of Documentary, editor of Theorizing Documentary, and co-editor of Resolutions: Contemporary Video Practices, Collecting Visible Evidence, The SAGE Handbook of Film Studies and Cinema’s Alchemist: The Films of Peter Forgacs. In 1993, Renov co-founded Visible Evidence, a series of international and highly interdisciplinary documentary studies conferences

Ann Reynolds

Associate Professor, Art History
University of Texas at Austin

Ann Reynolds is an Associate Professor in the Department of Art and Art History and the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. In her research and teaching, she focuses on twentieth and twenty-first century art and visual culture in the United States and Europe.

Marilynne Robinson is the recipient of a 2012 National Humanities Medal, awarded by President Barack Obama, for “her grace and intelligence in writing.” In October 2014, she published Lila, praised by Michiko Kakutani in The New York Times as posessing "the high loneliness of an old bluegrass tune....Ms. Robinson renders [Lila’s] tale with the stark poetry of Edward Hopper or Andrew Wyeth." Lila won the 2014 National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction.