Category Archives: Lecture

Fallon-Marshall Lecture set for March 28

By Heather Rodriguez, College of Liberal Arts

“I am going on a journey now.”

That’s the last thing celebrated Jewish novelist Irène Némirovsky said to her two daughters in 1942, as she was led away by police. Not long after, she was sent to Auschwitz, followed months later by her husband Michel Epstein. They both perished.

Yet Némirovsky’s legacy lives on, through her family, her literary work, and scholars such as Susan Suleiman, who will be discussing Némirovsky at the College of Liberal Arts’ Fallon-Marshall Lecture on March 28 in Rudder Theatre at 3:30 p.m. The lecture is co-sponsored by the Texas A&M University Institute for Advanced Study (TIAS).

“Choices and Choicelessness in Wartime France: Irène Némirovsky’s Final Journey” will cover the decisions that Némirovsky and her family faced during World War II under Nazi-occupied France.

“Like those of other Jews in France at the time, their choices—and eventually their choicelessness—can only be understood in the larger historical context,” Suleiman said.

Némirovsky was born in 1903 in Kiev, in what was then the Russian Empire. She and her family fled at the start of the Russian revolution, first to Finland and then settling in Paris. She later attended the Sorbonne, and began her writing career at the age of 18. She and Epstein married in 1926, and had their daughters Denise (1929) and Élisabeth (1937). Two years later, Némirovsky and Epstein converted to Roman Catholicism.

As the Nazis advanced on Paris, Némirovsky and Epstein moved their family to Issy-L’Evêque, a small village in Burgundy. They thought they were safe.

Yet despite spending over half her life in France as a successful writer, she and her husband never received French citizenship despite several attempts; and due to anti-Semitic laws under the Vichy regime, she was arrested as a “stateless person of Jewish descent,” and sent to her death.

“In Europe, Jews have always been the ultimate outsiders, having been expelled from many countries over the centuries. Anti-Semitic myths have portrayed them on one had as wretched and subhuman, and on the other hand, as powerful enough to take over the world–a contradiction that never bothered anti-Semites,” Suleiman said.

Némirovsky’s daughters, Denise and Élisabeth, only survived due to the courageous woman who had worked for the family and who kept the girls hidden after their parents were deported.

“After the war, she and her works were largely forgotten,” Suleiman said. “Decades later, her older daughter decided to publish an old unfinished manuscript she’d found in a suitcase.”

The manuscript Denise found, which she’d originally thought was her mother’s diary, contained two out of an intended five novellas that portrayed life in German-occupied France from 1940-1941. In 2004, the novellas became Suite Française, an international bestseller that led to a resurrection of Némirovsky’s career.

“Her previous works were re-issued, and she became quite well-known again. She was re-discovered; for some, she was discovered for the first time,” Suleiman said.

Élisabeth had already published a book about her mother in 1992, written in her mother’s voice. A few years later, shortly before she died of lung cancer, she wrote a moving autobiographical novel about a girl whose parents are deported.

“Her daughters were instrumental in bringing their mother back to life,” Suleiman said. “The books they published were a kind of gift to their mother, and in a way, their mother gave them the gift of changing their lives.”

Suleiman, the C. Douglas Dillon Research Professor of the Civilization of France and Research Professor of Comparative Literature at Harvard and a TIAS Faculty Fellow, is considered one of the leading scholars of 20th century French literature and Holocaust studies.

She was born in Budapest in 1939, and has vague memories of 1944, when the Nazis occupied Hungary and began rounding up Jews for deportation. She and her parents survived thanks to false papers, and left Hungary in 1949. They arrived in New York a year later, and she didn’t return to Budapest until 1984–a journey with her children that triggered those memories and influenced the body of her scholarly work, which began to focus more on memory and on Jewish identity.

“I discovered this family’s story while writing my book called Crises of Memory in the Second World War, in which I mentioned Élisabeth’s novel. I became fascinated,” Suleiman said.

Her latest book, The Némirovsky Question, will be published this fall by Yale University Press.

On March 29, the day after the lecture, Suleiman will be joined by author Oliver Philipponnat and Department of International Studies professor Nathan Bracher for a roundtable discussion of Irene Némirovsky’s life and writings at 4 p.m. in room 311 of the Glasscock Building. The reception will begin at 3:30 p.m.

Student Research Week Glasscock Award Winner to Present Research on 3 April 2015


Dr. Sarah M. Misemer and Crystal Dozier

Crystal Dozier, PhD student in the Department of Anthropology and a winner of the Glasscock Award at Student Research Week 2015, will be presenting her research in an oral presentation on Friday, 3 April 2015 from 10:45-11:05 a.m. in 237 Anthropology Building. The Glasscock Award is meant to acknowledge exceptional interdisciplinary projects in the humanities. Awards for both oral and poster presentations are provided to undergraduate and graduate students.

Concepts of race and ethnicity are undeniably some of the most important ideas confronted in anthropology. The American Anthropological Association, among many institutions, has publicly denounced race as a biological fact, yet this concept remains normative for large parts of the United States. Proper instruction in the concept of race as a historical and cultural construct can help combat implicit and explicit discrimination. This research project aims to assist collegiate instructors in choosing teaching methods that result in high retention of anthropological understandings of race. Presented here are the patterns in six sections of an introductory anthropology course, ANTH205: Peoples and Cultures of the World. Student learning was assessed through pre- and post-instruction questionnaires; students were asked basic questions about the nature of race as well as how they related to race in their own lives. Each course was taught by a different graduate instructor, who also reported their teaching methods. We compare the learning outcomes for the different class sections in order to understand what instructional methodologies, class formats, and demographics impact student learning. Analysis of over 200 student responses shows perceptions of race after instruction moved towards more anthropological conceptions in small, but significant, ways. Although our results are preliminary, classes that employed video within their lecture strategy, as well as classes that used a weekly reading quiz, had significantly more student change than those sections that did not. These results are consistent with current educational theory about student engagement and a reminder of the importance of reflective teaching practices.

Dialogues in Philosophy and Religion Annual Lecture by Helen De Cruz

Dialogues in Philosophy and Religion Annual Lecture by Helen De Cruz featuring Helen De Cruz, Department of Philosophy, VU University Amsterdam, with commentary by Charity Anderson, Baylor University.

DeCruz_02-27-15Under what circumstances does religious experience provide support for religious belief? Philosophers of religion have commonly taken ordinary perception as a relevant model for the epistemology of religious experiences, in particular mystical perception. For instance, Alston uses the term “doxastic practices” for forms of mystical perception analogous to ordinary sense perception. However, recent cognitive psychological and anthropological research shows that many instances of religious experience are more akin to skilled perception (as displayed by scientists and art connoisseurs) than they are to ordinary perception. In order to gauge the epistemology of religious experience, a closer examination of such skilled practices is in order. I discuss two cases—the practices of Evangelical Christians and of Latina Catholics—and examine how their religious practices are conducive to religious experiences. I argue that these practices exhibit some features characteristic of epistemically virtuous skills; however, the fact that religious skilled perception can support a very wide variety of religious experiences presents a challenge.

Co-sponsored by the Religious Studies Program and the Department of Philosophy.

Event flyer →

The College Station Society of the Archaeological Institute of America to Host Lecture

“Archaeologist Spies: the Truth behind the Myth”

Dr. Susan Heuck Allen
Brown University
2013-2014 Richard H. Howland Lecturer for the Archaeological Institute of America

Tuesday, March 18, 2014
J. Wayne Stark Galleries
Memorial Student Center
Texas A&M University

This lecture is free and open to the public. All are welcome to attend.

For more information, contact: Prof. Kevin Glowacki, Texas A&M University (

*Dr. Allen’s visit to College Station is co-hosted by the College Station Society of the Archaeological Institute of America, the J. Wayne Stark Galleries, and the Melbern G. Glasscock Center for Humanities Research at Texas A&M.

Lecture Abstract: Archaeologist Spies: the Truth behind the Mythallen_classical_spies
I offer a unique perspective on an untold story, the first insiders’ account of the American intelligence service in WWII Greece.  Archaeologists in Greece and the eastern Mediterranean drew on their personal contacts and knowledge of languages and terrain to set up spy networks in Nazi-occupied Greece. While many might think Indiana Jones is just a fantasy character, American archaeologists with code-names like Thrush and Chickadee took part in events where Indy would feel at home: burying Athenian dig records in an Egyptian tomb, activating prep-school connections to establish spies, and organizing parachute drops into Greece. These remarkable men and women, often mistaken for mild-mannered professors and scholars, hailed from America’s top universities and premier digs, such as Troy and the Athenian Agora, and later rose to the top of their profession as AIA gold medalists and presidents. Relying on interviews with individuals sharing their stories for the first time, previously unpublished secret documents, diaries, letters, and personal photographs, I share an exciting new angle on archaeology and World War II.

Dr. Allen’s book:
Classical Spies: American Archaeologists with the OSS in World War II Greece

About the Speaker:
Susan Heuck Allen is Visiting Scholar in the Department of Classics at Brown University. She received her Ph.D. in Classics and Classical Archaeology from Brown University, after earning degrees from the University of Cincinnati and Smith College. Her areas of expertise – Troy and the history of archaeology – were combined in her book, Finding the Walls of Troy: Frank Calvert and Heinrich Schliemann at Hisarlik (University of California Press — Berkley, 1999). She is also the author of Excavating Our Past: Perspectives on the History of the Archaeological Institute of America, which is a part of the 2002 AIA Monograph Series, and recently published Classical Spies: American Archaeologists with the OSS in World War II Greece (University of Michigan Press, 2011).  Dr. Allen has held positions at Smith College, and Clark and Yale Universities, and has done fieldwork in Cyprus, Israel, and Knossos. She was named a Mellon Fellow in 2008, and has held a number of other fellowships.

About the Richard H. Howland Lectures:
Richard H. Howland, an acclaimed scholar and preservationist of classical archaeology and art history, established The Richard H. Howland Lectureship in 2007. Originally from Providence, Rhode Island, Dr. Howland received his undergraduate degree from Brown University in 1931. He went on to complete his master’s degree in art history from Harvard University in 1933 and his doctorate from Johns Hopkins in Classical Archaeology in 1946.

Dr. Howland taught art history at Wellesley College and held the same position at Johns Hopkins until 1956. Starting in the 1930’s and continuing through the 1970’s Dr. Howland participated in excavations and research in Athens and Corinth, making a name for himself at the American School for Classical Studies in Athens. In 1958 he published one of his more well known works, “Greek Lamps and Their Survivals.”

An accomplished scholar and author, Dr. Howland was more concerned with his work in preservation. Throughout his career he held the position of President of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Chairman of the Department of Civil History at the Smithsonian Institute, founder of the Society for the Preservation of Greek Antiquities, and co-founder of the Preservation Roundtable. He was also a trustee of the Archaeological Institute of America and a Franklin Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in London.

Richard H. Howland leaves a long legacy of dedication and service to classical archaeology and art history. His generous contributions will support The Howland Lecturer, who is chosen by the AIA Lecture Program Committee, visits two local societies annually.

"Soviet Society at War" by Nicolas Werth


© Olivier Dion

On Wednesday, 20 February 2013, at 4 p.m., Glasscock Center Visiting Scholar Nicolas Werth will present a public lecture entitled “Soviet Society at War.” Werth is Research Director at the Institute for Contemporary History (IHTP), Paris. Lecture is free and open to the public, and reception begins at 3:30 p.m. in room 311 of the Glasscock Building at Texas A&M University. Continue reading