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Feinstein College of Arts & Sciences

President's Distinguished Speakers Series: Lawrence Lessig

In a conversation titled "Equal Citizens," preeminent scholar, attorney and activist Lawrence Lessig will explore the issue of political funding and its effect on equality in America.  

Lawrence Lessig is the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School, and director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University. He is an expert on intellectual property and Internet policy, and a watchdog on government corruption. He’s also an acclaimed free thinker and visionary, and one of the more captivating voices in America today.

In this presentation, Professor Lessig will discuss how political campaign funding has fundamentally distorted the commitment to equality instilled by our framers more than two centuries ago.

A book signing will immediately follow the event.

This event is free and open to the public; no tickets are required. For more information, call 401-254-3166.

RWU students will receive a 1/3 merit lottery point for attending this event.

Photo credit: Yanai Yechiel

Birss Memorial Lecture Series: Reading "Native Son" in the 21 Century

The 15th Annual Professor John Howard Birss, Jr. Memorial Lecture Series celebrates the 75th anniversary of Richard Wright's Native Son (1940), one of the first major works of literature by an African-American writer about African-Americans. 

Birss Memorial Library Exhibition: Richard Wright's "Native Son"

The 15th Annual Professor John Howard Birss, Jr. Memorial Lecture Series celebrates the 75th anniversary of Richard Wright's Native Son, one of the first major works of literature by an African-American writer about African- Americans. As part of the lecture series, a special library exhibition, “Richard Wright’s Native Son: Then and Now,” will be open daily during library hours from February 1 through March 31.

Featured in the library exhibition will be first edition of Native Son, along with photographs of Richard Wright and a controversial unpublished essay by Wright entitled “I Chose Paris.” The exhibition also juxtaposes photographs of South Side Chicago in the 1930s, which is the novel’s setting, and contemporary photographs of protests in response to recent events in Ferguson, Missouri and New York City.

Washington and Lee University Singers in Concert

The Washington and Lee University Singers have a long tradition of excellence, dating to the 19th century. Under the direction of Dr. Shane Lynch since 2009, the choir has become one of the top college/university choral ensembles in the east. As part of their 2015 tour, they will appear here at Roger Williams for a special concert. The program will feature both traditional and contemporary selections from the rich choral repertoire.

Talking in the Library: Paul Harding, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author and Bermont Distinguished Visitor

Paul Harding will be the guest speaker. The event is free and open to the public.

Talking in the Library: An Uighur Daughter Fights for her Father’s Freedom

The guest speaker will be 20-year-old Jewher Ilham, the daughter of imprisoned Uighur scholar, Ilham Tohti. In 2013, while accompanying her father for a visit to the U.S., Jewher took an Indianapolis-bound flight by herself when Chinese authorities detained Tohti, who will be tried for a life sentence on a charge of separatism. It was the last time they would see each other. As she made a new home in America, Jewher began advocating for her father, who is recognized worldwide as a moderate voice for ethnic Uighurs in Northern China. 

Currently an undergraduate in Indiana, Jewher Ilham has testified before a Senate hearing on human rights in China, written an editorial for the New York Times, and has been featured in numerous media stories, including an interview on NPR's All things Considered. She has worked closely with the RWU-SAR (Scholars at Risk) Advocacy Seminar students around her father's case.

Presented in association with the Spiegel Center for Global and International Programs. The event is free and open to the public.

Talking in the Library: An Alumna Celebrates Her Ninth Book

A graduate of RWU’s BFA in Creative Writing program and acclaimed author of fiction and nonfiction novels and books of short stories and poetry, Maria Flook will discuss her 2014 novel, "Mothers and Lovers." Author of the New York Times best-selling novel "Invisible Eden: A Story of Love and Murder on Cape Cod," Flook is the distinguished writer-in-residence at Emerson College. The event is free and open to the public.

Great Films Series: "Sunset Boulevard"

Gloria Swanson gives a career-defining performance as faded silent screen star Norma Desmond in this dark and masterful classic. William Holden plays Joe Gillis, the young down-on-his luck screenwriter whom Norma drafts to help create a workable script for her planned return to the screen. Erich von Stroheim as her devoted servant and chauffeur, who harbors a few personal revelations of his own.

Directed by Billy Wilder. 110 min. Black and White, USA, 1950.

Great Films Series: "Ninotchka"

Greta Garbo earned a best actress Oscar nomination for her portrayal of a disturbed Soviet official whose dark heart warms after she meets a Frenchman in Paris. Also starring Melvyn Douglas and Bela Lugosi, in his most likeable and relaxed performance.  

Directed by Ernst Lubitsch. 110 min. Black and White, USA, 1939.

Great Films Series: "North By Northwest"

Alfred Hitchcock at his most effervescent in a romantic comedy-thriller featuring Cary Grant as Roger O. Thornhill, an advertising executive who is mistaken by enemy spies for a U.S. undercover agent.  Roger flees and meets a sexy stranger on a train (Eva Marie Saint), with whom he engages in one of the longest, most convolutedly choreographed kisses in screen history.

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. 139 min. Color/Vistavision, USA, 1959.