Visiting Speakers

Denis Hollier

Professor of French Literature, Thought and Culture
New York University

20th-century literature; narration and the media; literature and politics; the avant gardes; theory of literary history

David Hollinger

Preston Hotchkis Professor of American History Emeritus
UC Berkeley

David A. Hollinger is the Preston Hotchkis Professor of American History Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley. His books include After Cloven Tongues of Fire: Protestant Liberalism in Modern American History and Science, Jews, and Secular Culture: Studies in Mid-Twentieth-Century American Intellectual History (both Princeton).

Siri Hustvedt


Siri Hustvedt was born February 19, 1955 in Northfield,a small town in southern Minnesota, to a Norwegian mother, Ester Vegan Hustvedt, and an American father, Lloyd Hustvedt. Most of her early life was spent in Northfield with her parents and three younger sisters, Liv, Asti [the scholar and author of Medical Muses], and Ingrid. She and her sisters attended local public schools. Ester stayed home with her children but later worked as a French instructor and in the library at St. Olaf College. Lloyd Hustvedt taught Norwegian language and literature at St. Olaf and was the first King Olav V professor of Norwegian Studies. He became Executive Secretary of The Norwegian American Historical Association, an unpaid position, to which he devoted four decades of his life. The Association was a repository for a vast archive of immigrant letters, documents, diaries, newspapers, recipes, and books, few of which had been put into order when Lloyd took over the job. He spent countless hours in Rolvaag Library at St. Olaf, documenting the archive materials. In 1966, he won the McKnight Prize for Literature for his biography of Rasmus Björn Anderson, a Norwegian American scholar and publisher. In 1980 he was awarded the Order of St. Olav, Knight First Class by the King Olav V. In 1985, he was the first American to be recognized by the America-Norway Heritage Fund for his contributions to Norwegian American understanding and for preserving the history of Norwegian immigrants in the United States. He died February 2, 2004. Ester still lives in Northfield.

Turkuler Isiksel

James P. Shenton Assistant Professor of the Core Curriculum
Columbia University

Turkuler Isiksel (Ph.D., Yale) works in contemporary political theory and is particularly interested in political institutions beyond the nation-state.

Vijay Iyer

Franklin D. and Florence Rosenblatt Professor of the Arts
Harvard University

Vijay Iyer's wide-ranging creative work and research has spanned the arts, the humanities, and the sciences. An active pianist, recording artist, bandleader, composer, improviser, and scholar, he has has released twenty-three albums of his original music on ECM Records, ACT Records, Sunnyside Records, Savoy Music, Pi Recordings, Artist House, and Asian Improv Records. His writings have appeared in Journal of Consciousness Studies, Wire, Music Perception, JazzTimes, Journal of the Society for American Music, Critical Studies in Improvisation, and in the anthologies Arcana IV, Sound Unbound, Uptown Conversation, The Best Writing on Mathematics: 2010, and The Oxford Handbook of Critical Improvisation Studies. His concert works are published by Schott Music. His recent honors include the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, a MacArthur Fellowship, a United States Artist Fellowship, the Alpert Award in the Arts, and the Downbeat Critics' Poll award for Jazz Artist of the Year in 2016, 2015, and 2012. He has served as Director of The Banff Centre’s International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music since 2013. He was the 2015-16 Artist-in-Residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, 2017 Jazz Artist in Residence at Wigmore Hall in London, and Musical Director for the 2017 Ojai Festival in Southern California. In 2014 Iyer joined the Harvard faculty as the Franklin D. and Florence Rosenblatt Professor of the Arts in the Department of Music, where he founded its doctoral program in Cross-Disciplinary Music Studies and offers courses in critical studies and creative music-making.

Ray Jackendoff

Seth Merrin Professor of Philosophy; Emeritus Co-director, Center for Cognitive Studies
Tufts University

Ray Jackendoff received his Ph.D. in linguistics from MIT in 1969. His research centers around the system of meaning in natural language, how it is related to the human conceptual system, and how it is expressed linguistically. This has led him to a cognitive approach to traditional philosophical issues of inference and reference, embodied in his theory of Conceptual Semantics. In developing this approach, he has worked on the conceptualization of space, on the relationship between language, perception, and consciousness, and, most recently, on the conceptualization of such socially grounded concepts as value, morality, fairness, and obligations. In addition, in exploring how concepts are expressed in language, he has developed new models of the architecture of the human language faculty and its evolution.

Janet Jakobsen

Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies
Barnard College

Janet R. Jakobsen is Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies and Director of the Center for Research on Women at Barnard College, where she has also served as Dean for Faculty Diversity and Development.  She studies ethics and public policy with a particular focus on social movements related to religion, gender and sexuality.  She teaches courses on social ethics, feminist theory, queer theory, activism, religion and violence. She is the author of Working Alliances and the Politics of Difference: Diversity and Feminist Ethics.  With Ann Pellegrini she co-wrote of Love the Sin: Sexual Regulation and the Limits of Religious Tolerance and co-edited Secularisms, and with Elizabeth Castelli she co-edited Interventions: Academics and Activists Respond to Violence.  She has held fellowships from the American Association of University Women, the Center for the Humanities at Wesleyan University and the Center for the Study of Values in Public Life at Harvard Divinity School and has also taught as a Visiting Professor at Harvard University and Wesleyan University. Before entering the academy, she was a policy analyst and organizer in Washington, D.C.

Joy James

Francis Christopher Oakley Third Century Professor of Humanities
Williams College

Joy James holds a Ph.D. from Fordham University and is currently Francis Christopher Oakley Third Century Professor of Humanities at WIlliams College. James is author of: Shadowboxing: Representations of Black Feminist Politics; Transcending the Talented Tenth: Black Leaders and American Intellectuals; Resisting State Violence: Radicalism, Gender and Race in U.S. Culture. Her edited books include: Warfare in the American Homeland; The New Abolitionists: (Neo) Slave Narratives and Contemporary Prison Writings; Imprisoned Intellectuals; States of Confinement; The Black Feminist Reader (co-edited with TD Sharpley-Whiting); and The Angela Y. Davis Reader. James is completing a book on the prosecution of 20th-century interracial rape cases, tentatively titled “Memory, Shame & Rage.” She has contributed articles and book chapters to journals and anthologies addressing feminist and critical race theory, democracy, and social justice.