Save the Date! Author Naomi Klein to Discuss New Book about Capitalism, Climate Change

image of author Author Naomi Klein will give a public lecture on Nov. 11, 7-9 p.m. at the LBJ Library, Lady Bird Johnson Auditorium. The event is part of the Humanities Institute’s 2015-16 theme of Imagined Futures.

Naomi Klein Klein’s first two books, No Logo (1999) and The Shock Doctrine (2007), were international hits, with each book being translated into dozens of languages and selling over 1 million copies. The Shock Doctrine exposes the ulterior motives of the neoliberal economic paradigm—not to bring freedom and democracy to developing countries, but to exploit their labor and resources through austerity politics. Often, the imposition of this neoliberal paradigm occurs in places recently impacted by disasters, whether natural or purposely instigated. Thus, Klein’s neologism of “disaster capitalism.”

Klein’s most recent book, This Changes Everything (2014), argues that Capitalism cannot carry on with business as usual. Something beyond its power demands that be replaced with something else—Climate Change. Do not expect to find doom and gloom, however, in Klein’s book. Indeed, Climate Change is our “civilizational wake-up call.” First exposing the climate denial of the right and the ideology campaigns of wealthy, vested interests, Klein quickly moves into visiting small revolutions across the world, where people are responding to Climate Change in a way that benefits the economy, the people, and the planet. Reviewing these empowering movements, we feel compelled to answer “Yes” to Klein’s question: “History is knocking on our door; Are you ready to answer?”

Klein is the Humanity Institute’s eighth C.L. and Henriette Cline Visiting Professorship in the Humanities. Visit her website to learn more about her work.

Author and Scholar, Elaine Scarry, Examines Beauty and Fairness

scarryHarvard University professor and award-winning author, Elaine Scarry, will share insight into how society thinks and talks about beauty and social justice at an event hosted by the Humanities Institute. The talk will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 28 at 7 p.m. in ACES, AVAYA amphitheater, room 2.302.

In her book, “On Beauty and Being Just,” (Princeton University Press, 2001) Scarry not only defends beauty from the political arguments against it but also argues that beauty does indeed press us toward a greater concern for justice. Taking inspiration from writers and thinkers as diverse as Homer, Plato, Marcel Proust, Simone Weil, and Iris Murdoch as well as her own experiences, Scarry offers up an elegant, passionate manifesto for the revival of beauty in our intellectual work as well as our homes, museums and classrooms.

j6675Scarry teaches in the Department of English at Harvard University, where she is the Walter M. Cabot Professor of Aesthetics and General Theory of Value. She has received many accolades, including the Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism and honors from the American Academy of Science, National Humanities Center, Guggenheim Foundation and the Berlin Institute for Advanced Studies. Her essays have been included in Best American Essays three times, in 1995, 2003 and 2007. In 2005, Foreign Policy and Prospect named her as one of the world’s 100 leading intellectuals.

She has published seven books, two edited volumes, and numerous essays. Her first book, “The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World,” highlights the impossibility of expressing pain through words. This important book went beyond an analysis of classic literary texts to examine philosophy, medical case studies, personal injury trial transcripts, and documents of torture compiled from Amnesty International. Fore more about her work, visit this website.

The event is sponsored by the Viola S. Hoffman and George W. Hoffman Lectureship in the Colleges of Liberal Arts and Fine Arts.

Mayor Picks “The Septembers of Shiraz” for Book Club

Mayor Will Wynn has chosen “The Septembers of Shiraz” (HarperCollins, 2008) by Dalia Sofer for the 2009 Mayor’s Book Club. The club is cosponsored by the Austin Public Library and the Humanities Institute at The University of Texas at Austin.

Sofer’s debut novel is based on her childhood in Iran during the revolution and flight from the country after her father was imprisoned. It was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year for 2008.

The Humanities Institute invites all of Austin and the campus community to read the book in February and March, and then participate in special events in April, culminating in a reading with the author at 6:30 p.m., April 24 at City Hall.

Stay tuned for more details about book discussions and other special book club events scheduled for April.

Mayor Picks "The Septembers of Shiraz" for Book Club

Mayor Will Wynn has chosen “The Septembers of Shiraz” (HarperCollins, 2008) by Dalia Sofer for the 2009 Mayor’s Book Club. The club is cosponsored by the Austin Public Library and the Humanities Institute at The University of Texas at Austin.

Sofer’s debut novel is based on her childhood in Iran during the revolution and flight from the country after her father was imprisoned. It was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year for 2008.

The Humanities Institute invites all of Austin and the campus community to read the book in February and March, and then participate in special events in April, culminating in a reading with the author at 6:30 p.m., April 24 at City Hall.

Stay tuned for more details about book discussions and other special book club events scheduled for April.