5. PRESIDENTIAL LECTURES SERIES, OCT. 12: HENRY LOUIS GATES, JR.
Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Chair of the Afro-American Studies Department and Director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for Afro-American Studies at Harvard University, will give a public lecture on Monday, October 12 at 7 p.m. in Kresge Auditorium. Gates' lecture marks the beginning a second set of Presidential Lectures and Symposia in the Humanities and Arts. Gates will also sign copies of his books at the Stanford Bookstore (4 p.m. on October 12) and participate in a discussion at the Humanities Center Annex (Tuesday, October 13, 4 to 6 p.m.).
A new section dealing exclusively with Henry Louis Gates' life and works has been added to the Presidential Lectures Web site.
The Web site includes an extensive bibliography of works by and about Gates, summaries of and excerpts from six of his best-known books, and links to related Internet sites. The Gates site was compiled by Tomas Jaehn, Curator for American and British History, and edited by Adán Griego, Curator of Latin American and Iberian Collections.
Gates is a prolific writer who has authored or edited several books and written numerous articles for magazines such as The New Yorker, Time, and The New Republic. He has contributed to the establishment of African and African American literary tradition by publishing bibliographies of noted writers like Nigeria's Wole Soyinka and republishing historical texts like Harriet Wilson's "Our Nig; or Sketches from the Life of a Free Black" (1854). He is also well-known for his role in editing works such as "The Oxford-Schomburg Library of Nineteenth-Century Black Women Writers" and the "Norton Anthology of Afro-American Literature."
Gates champions the importance of an African American literary canon, but does not neglect tolerance and understanding of other cultures. Society, Gates claims in "Loose Canons: Notes on the Culture Wars," "...simply won't survive without the values of tolerance. And cultural tolerance comes to nothing without cultural understanding." Gates has explored African American lives from expatriates in France to politicians at home. He tackles issues from arts and AIDS to religion and censorship. A keen observer of current events, he never neglects the importance of values and traditions in forming a cultural environment.
His work has widened the acceptance of African American Studies and has given it greater recognition and respectability as a serious field of study. It should not come as a surprise that Gates' visibility has been accompanied by increased national interest in African American Studies.
For a complete schedule of lectures and events to be held as part of this quarter's Stanford Presidential Lectures and Symposia in the Humanities and Arts, see the Web.