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Last modified: Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Prestigious speakers of Patten Lecture Series for 2009–2010 announced

March 24, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The William T. Patten Lecture Series for 2009-2010 has been announced by the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs. The speakers are Henry Louis Gates Jr., Andrew H. Knoll and W. J. T. Mitchell.

Henry Louise Gates, Jr.

Henry Louis Gates Jr.

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Henry Louis Gates Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University professor and director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University, is scheduled to deliver the Patten Lectures on April 12 and 14, 2010.

Described by Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka as an "intellectual entrepreneur," Henry Louis "Skip" Gates is one of America's leading African American intellectuals. His charisma, creativity and commitment to African American studies has led him to author books, essays, documentaries and reviews on a broad range of issues, including African and African American identity, slavery, race, feminism and dialect.

Andrew H. Knoll, Fisher Professor of Natural History of the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard University, will lecture during the week of Feb. 8, 2010.

Knoll is a professor of natural history, principal investigator of the NASA National Astrobiology Institute team and, according to Time magazine, America's top paleontologist. Knoll is a leading authority on Proterozoic life (544 million-2,500 million years old), both on this planet and on others. His work on evolutionary biology has changed the way geologists view the environment, and the way biologists view early life.

W. T. J. Mitchell

Domenico Aronica

W. T. J. Mitchell

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W. J. T. Mitchell, Gaylord Donnelley Distinguished Service Professor of the departments of English and art history at the University of Chicago and editor of Critical Inquiry, will lecture during the week of March 29, 2010.

A leading figure in the interdisciplinary field known as visual culture, W. J. T. Mitchell has an international reputation for subtle yet clear scholarship on the interplay of vision and language in art, literature and media, addressing both the general problems in the theory of representation and the specific issues in cultural politics and political culture. His work includes tracing the fate of dinosaurs from natural extinction to their pop culture resurrection, the role of landscape in the creation of national and social identities, and analyzing contemporary issues through images in Cloning Terror: The War of Images, September 11 to Abu Ghraib.

The lectures, all open to the public, will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 7:30-8:30 p.m. Locations will be announced prior to the event.

The William T. Patten Foundation

The William T. Patten Foundation, endowed by a student of the Indiana University class of 1893, provides generous funds to bring to the Bloomington campus for a week people of extraordinary national and international distinction in the sciences, the humanities and the arts. Past lecturers have included Oscar Arias, Jorge Luis Borges, Noam Chomsky, Natalie Zemon Davis, Umberto Eco, Julian S. Huxley, Evelyn Fox Keller, Toni Morrison, Amos Oz, Helmuth Rilling, Edward Said, Amartya Sen, Wole Soyinka, Ren Thom, Lester Thurow, Strobe Talbott and Martha Nussbaum.

Inquiries about the Patten Foundation, the Patten Lecture Series, and future nominations may be directed to