In a time of abysmal polarization in America and the world, when even finding a common language seems elusive at times, the need to engage in discussions across the ideological divide is crucial. The words we use are weapons and expressions of deeply-rooted discontent. This virtual lecture series examines our current crossroads, both nationally and globally, from the perspective of opinion writers, poets, activists, linguists, and historians.
Have we lost the capacity to appreciate the humanity of others? Are nations fractured because they no longer see a unified future? How must our words change in order to open new horizons? What kind of political power have poets exerted throughout the centuries? What role do they play in democracy, particularly in a time of such intense polarization?
Ilan Stavans, the Lewis-Sebring Professor of Humanities and Latin American and Latino Studies, will delve into these topics in this semester’s Point/Counterpoint series. The series is connected to a spring 2021 colloquium course taught by Stavans titled Point/Counterpoint: Politics and Poetry (COLQ-344). His most recent books are The Seventh Heaven: Travels through Jewish Latin America (2019), How Yiddish Changed America and How America Changed Yiddish (2020), and Selected Translations: Poems 2000-2021 (2021). The recipient of numerous international awards and honors, his work, translated into twenty languages, has been adapted into film, radio, TV, and theater. He is the publisher of Restless Books.
This event is made possible by the Seminars on Opposing Views Fund, established by members of the Class of 1970, with continuing support from individual alumni and parents.