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2016-17 Academic Year


Block 1: Opening Convocation

Opening Convocation marks the beginning of Colorado College’s academic year and helps to welcome new students, the Class of 2020 


Block 2: Marlon James

Marlon James won the 2015 Man Booker Prize for Fiction for A Brief History of Seven Killings, making him the first Jamaican author to take home the U.K.’s most prestigious literary award. In the work, James combines masterful storytelling with brilliant skill at characterization and an eye for detail to forge a bold novel of dazzling ambition and scope. He explores Jamaican history through the perspectives of multiple narrators and genres: the political thriller, the oral biography, and the classic whodunit confront the untold history of Jamaica in the 1970’s, with excursions to the assassination attempt on reggae musician Bob Marley, as well as the country’s own clandestine battles during the cold war. James cites influences as diverse as Greek tragedy, William Faulkner, the LA crime novelist James Ellroy, Shakespeare, Batman and the X-Men. Writing for The New York Times, Michiko Kakutani said of A Brief History of Seven Killings, “It’s epic in every sense of that word: sweeping, mythic, over-the-top, colossal and dizzyingly complex. It’s also raw, dense, violent, scalding, darkly comic, exhilarating and exhausting—a testament to Mr. James’s vaulting ambition and prodigious talent.” In addition to the Man Booker Prize, A Brief History of Seven Killings won the American Book Award, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Prize, the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, the Minnesota Book Award, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.


Block 3: Marc Hetherington

Marc Hetherington is a Professor of Political Science at Vanderbilt University. He studies the American electorate, with a particular focus on the polarization of public opinion. He is the author of three scholarly books, the most recent of which is titled Why Washington Won’t Work: Polarization, Political Trust, and the Governing Crisis (University of Chicago Press, 2015), co-authored with Thomas J. Rudolph. This book won the Alexander George Award from the International Society of Political Psychology, as the best book in the field of political psychology published in the previous year. In addition, Marc has published numerous articles in a wide range of scholarly journals and won several college and university teaching awards.


Block 4: Richard Ross

Ross will examine the conditions for juvenile prisoners in the United States and discuss how the Juvenile in Justice project has raised awareness of these conditions. He writes, “So often art that speaks to social justice issues is simply looked at, provoking brief contemplation among the audience. While awareness is certainly great, this exhibition turns the gallery into a laboratory for social change: photographic evidence of a problem hangs on the walls, while the people among the artwork to alleviate it,” His ongoing mission is to instigate policy reform. A companion book is also available, which compiles nearly 150 images from the collection with essays by Ira Glass of National Public Radio’s “This American Life” and Bart Lubow, director of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Juvenile Justice Strategy Group.

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Block 5: Russell Rickford

"Black Lives Matter as a People's Democracy: Beyond the Farce of Electoral Politics."
In this talk, Rickford will present Black Lives Matter as a movement that signals the rebirth of deeply democratic forms of mass participation. By contrasting the movement's most egalitarian activities with the corporate spectacle that is American electoral politics, Rickford advocates a grassroots redefinition of democracy based on everyday practices of anti-racism and anti-capitalism. Dr. Russell Rickford specializes in the black radical tradition and black political culture after WWII. He is dedicated to helping young people think independently and critically about the political discourses and ideologies that shape our lives and configure power relations. We Are an African People: Independent Education, Black Power, and the Radical Imagination--his intellectual history of Pan Africanist schools from the 1960s to the present--was released by Oxford University Press in January 2016. He is currently working on a book about Guyana and radical African-American politics in the 1970s.


Block 6: A.O. Scott

“Better Living Through Criticism” is composed of six chapters and four dialogues. It opens with an imaginary (or perhaps not so imaginary) interviewer asking the critic: “What’s the point of criticism? What are critics good for?” And it says, just before it closes, that where criticism is concerned, “nobody has ever figured out where to begin, or what to conclude.” Does this mean we have gotten nowhere? Come hear more about this fascinating speaker. Sponsored by the Sociology Department, Film and Media Studies, and the NEH Professorship.

CC-FirstMondays-Block 7-CriticalKaraoke-2017 Block 7: Critical Karaoke: A Day in the Life with Ryan Banagale and Steven Hayward
Block 8: Honors Conovation