Exploring themes of personal identity, families, immigration, and social and cultural history

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Nadia Owusu with Aftershocks: A Memoir

Virtual Event: Tuesday, January 19 at 6 PM

Moderator: Author Jessica Shattuck

Presented in partnership with GBH Forum Network

The daughter of a U.N. official from Ghana and an Armenian-American looks back at her nomadic and tragic family life in order to move forward.

When Nadia Owusu moved to New York City at age 18, she had already lived in five countries outside the United States and her parents’ homelands of Ghana (her father’s) and Armenia (her mother’s family). She grew up disconnected, without a culture she called her own. In Aftershocks she shares her jarring story of being state-less and, ultimately, parent-less, as the survivor of trauma; she describes the heart and will it takes to pull though. Don’t miss hearing about her life and enthralling memoir looking at race identity and immigration, the seismic emotional toll of family secrets, and the push and pull of belonging in the United States.

Nadia Owusu is a Brooklyn-based writer and urban planner. She is the recipient of a 2019 Whiting Award. Her lyric essay So Devilish a Fire won the Atlas Review chapbook contest. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in the New York Times, the Washington Post’s The Lily, Literary Review, Electric Literature, Epiphany, and Catapult.

Jessica Shattuck is the New York Times best-selling author of the novels The Women in the Castle, The Hazards of Good Breeding, a New York Times Notable Book and finalist for the PEN/Winship Award, and Perfect Life. Her writing has appeared in such publications as the New Yorker, Wired, New York Times, and Glamour.

Family History Benefit Event Honoring Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham

Virtual Event: Thursday, January 28 at 5:30 PM EST

With special guest moderator Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Hosted by D. Brenton Simons and Ryan J. Woods

Join us for our Winter Family History Benefit honoring Harvard historian Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, a renowned expert in African American studies. Following an illustrated presentation, History in the Face of Slavery: A Family Portrait, she will be in dialogue with Finding Your Roots host Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham is the Victor S. Thomas Professor of History and of African and African American Studies at Harvard University. Chair of the Department of History from 2018 to 2020, she is the first African American to hold this position. She is the National President of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. She is the recipient of numerous awards and honors for her historical writings. Most notably, she received the 2014 National Humanities Medal from President Barack Obama at the White House in September 2015 for “illuminating the African American journey.” In March 2019 she received the John Hope Franklin Award sponsored by Diverse magazine and the TIAA Institute.

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University. An Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, literary scholar, journalist, cultural critic, and institution builder, he is the celebrated author of books and creator of documentary films that “educate millions of Americans about the histories and cultures of our nation and the world.” Finding Your Roots, his groundbreaking genealogy series now in its sixth season on PBS, has been called “one of the deepest and wisest series ever on television.”

Janice P. Nimura with The Doctors Blackwell: How Two Pioneering Sisters Brought Medicine to Women—and Women to Medicine

Virtual Event: Thursday, February 4 at 6 PM EST

Moderator: Perri Klass, M.D., columnist and author
Presented in partnership with Boston Public Library and GBH Forum Network

A history of medicine in the biography of two remarkable woman—the first to receive M.D.s in the United States

Join us for a discussion about women in medicine revealing the remarkable lives of Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman in America to receive an M.D. in 1849, and her younger sister Emily, an even more brilliant physician. Exploring their allies, enemies, and enduring partnership, Janice P. Nimura presents their story of trials and triumph. From Bristol, Paris, and Edinburgh to the rising cities of antebellum America, this richly researched new biography celebrates these two complicated pioneers who exploded the limits of possibility for women. Don’t miss hearing about America’s first female doctors “resurrected in all their feisty, thrilling, trailblazing splendor" (Stacy Schiff).

Janice P. Nimura is the winner of a 2017 Public Scholar award from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the author of Daughters of the Samurai: A Journey from East to West and Back, a New York Times Notable Book.

Perri Klass, M.D., a Professor of Journalism and Pediatrics at New York University, writes weekly for the New York Times Science Section. She attended Harvard Medical School and completed her residency in pediatrics at Children’s Hospital, Boston. Her new book, A Good Time to Be Born, traces how history, culture, and parenting have been transformed by the radical decline of infant and child mortality.

Richard Thompson Ford with Dress Codes: How the Laws of Fashion Made History

Virtual Event: Thursday, February 18 at 6 PM EST

Moderator: Petra Slinkard, curator of fashion and textiles at Peabody Essex Museum
Presented in partnership with the Peabody Essex Museum

A Stanford law professor and critic specializing in social and cultural issues explores fashion through the ages

Dress codes are as old as clothing itself. For centuries, clothing has been a wearable status symbol, and changes in fashion have marked historic social and political movements. Join us for a discussion with law professor and cultural critic Richard Thompson Ford about his latest work. Dress Codes provides an insightful and entertaining history of the laws of fashion, from the middle ages to the present day. This walk down history’s red carpet will uncover and examine the canons, mores, and customs of clothing. Moderator Petra Slinkard will enrich the evening with insight on the intersection of fashion and art.

Richard Thompson Ford is a Professor at Stanford Law School. He has written about law, social and cultural issues and race relations for such publications as The Washington Post and San Francisco Chronicle. The author of the New York Times notable books The Race Card and Rights Gone Wrong: How Law Corrupts the Struggle for Equality, he appears often on broadcast news shows.

Petra Slinkard is Director of Curatorial Affairs and The Nancy B. Putnam Curator of Fashion and Textiles at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA. She oversees the museum’s newly opened Fashion and Design gallery and recently opened PEM's latest exhibition Made It | The Women Who Revolutionized Fashion, on view through mid-March 2021.

Anna Malaika Tubbs with The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation

Virtual Event: Tuesday, February 23 at 6 PM EST

Presented in partnership with Boston Public Library, State Library of Massachusetts, and the Museum of African American History

A scholar shares stories of motherhood and the making of American history

In this groundbreaking and essential debut work, scholar Anna Malaika Tubbs celebrates Black motherhood by telling the stories of the women who raised and shaped three remarkable, heroic Americans: Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin. Don’t miss this discussion about The Three Mothers, described by Yale University historian Elizabeth Hinton as “a profound reflection on the contours of Black freedom in the twentieth century and beyond…an essential celebration of Black women, one that illuminates the history of racism and resistance in critical new ways. A timely and important book."

Anna Malaika Tubbs is a PhD candidate in Sociology at Cambridge University, where she also earned an MA in Multidisciplinary Gender Studies. Her undergraduate degree in Anthropology is from Stanford University. A passionate writer and speaker on issues of gender and race, Tubbs is an educator and a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion consultant. Her work has been published in For Harriet, Darling Magazine, Huffington Post, and Blavity. As the first partner of Stockton, California (2016–2020), she co-authored the first Report on the Status of Women in Stockton.


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