Thursday, October 17, at 4.15 pm in Beckham Hall,
the History Department is hosting its annual Distinguished Lecture,
being delivered this year by
Professor Natalie Zemon Davis,
Henry Charles Lea Professor of History Emerita, Princeton University
A pioneering feminist historian who taught one of the earliest courses in North American on the history of women and became the second woman elected as president of the American Historical Association, Prof.
Davis broke new ground in the historical study of early modern European women’s lives and experiences in the 1970s, and shortly after began to develop new ways of thinking about gender and sexuality as categories of intersectional analysis in historically changing systems of power and meaning. Natalie Zemon Davis has received honorary degrees from numerous universities in the United States and Europe.
In recognition of her pathbreaking historical work, in 2010 she was awarded the Holberg International Memorial Prize, and in 2012 she received the National Humanities Medal. Her many books and articles include The Return of Martin Guerre (1983), Fiction in the Archives (1987), Women on the Margins: Three Seventeenth-Century Lives (1995), The Gift in Sixteenth-Century France (2000), Slaves on Screen: Film and Historical Vision (2002), and Trickster Travels (2006).
Tomorrow, Thursday, Oct. 17 at 4.15 pm, Professor Davis will be presenting a talk from her current research, “Leo Africanus” Discovers Comedy: A Mediterranean Adventure. This talk stages a dialogue between two theatrical traditions at the end of the Middle Ages: the popular theater of the Arabic and Islamic world and the theater of Christian Europe. It does so through the adventures of Hasan al-Wazzan (“Leo Africanus”), a Moroccan traveler and diplomat, who was captured by Christian pirates in 1518 and spent several years in Italy as a seeming convert before returning to North Africa. Her talk reflects on possible limits to cultural exchange and on the continuing vigor of alternate cultural traditions.
Her talk will be followed by a question and answer period and a campus wide reception with light refreshments and beverages.