Henry Louis Gates Jr., left, listens to his former student, Nadine Knight, now assistant professor of English, as she introduces him to a group of students who met with him in a classroom setting.

These speakers represent the broad spectrum of national figures who lectured on campus and interacted with students in the classroom this winter.

Henry Louis Gates Jr., Alphonse Fletcher university professor and director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University, engaged a crowded Cordiner Hall audience with lively discussion on genealogy and race in America during his January visit. Introduced by his former Harvard student Nadine Knight, Whitman assistant professor of English, Gates brought humor and an ardent sense of curiosity to the concept of heritage. Gates — author, producer and host of acclaimed PBS documentary series “African American Lives” — also met with Whitman students, drawn from different campus disciplines, for a more intimate discussion about his work.

French Sharon French

Sharon French, a professional actress born to an Anglo mother and a Navajo/Paiute/Anglo father, brought her unique blend of cultural experience to campus in February for her one-woman play titled “Black Shawl.”

The Third Annual Whitman College Global Studies Symposium, held in February, brought together three speakers over the issue of “Global Media, Global Spectacles.” Douglas Kellner, the George Kneller chair in the philosophy of education in the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at UCLA, along with Shiloh Krupar, assistant professor in the Culture and Politics Program at Georgetown University, and Salman Hameed, assistant professor of integrated science and humanities at Hampshire College, brought their respective expertise to the discussion. The symposium was moderated by Bill Bogard, DeBurgh chair of social sciences and professor of sociology. Whitman faculty discussants were Gaurav Majumdar, assistant professor of English, and Delbert Hutchison, associate professor of biology. Student commentators were sociology major Nigel Ramonz-Leslie ’11, politics major Gauri Mirashi ’11 and religion and geology major Kate Potter ’12. 

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