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Friday 7 October 2011

Mark Smith
Camille, 1969: Histories of a Hurricane

In a lively and topical kick-off to Series III, Mark Smith proposed that simply "looking" back is not enough if we are to understand people and past events. Focusing particularly on Hurricane Camille, which devastated the Mississippi Gulf Coast in 1969, he will examine how hearing, touch, taste, and the senses of smell and, of course, sight, shape historical experience.

Mark M. Smith is Carolina Distinguished Professor of History at the University of South Carolina, an acknowledged pioneer in the field of "sensory history", author and editor of a dozen books, frequent media commentator, and winner of the Avery O. Craven Prize from the Organization of American Historians and a Choice Book Award. Featured in publications as varied as the New York Times, The Times of London and Science, he has lectured throughout the United States, Australia, and China and in Europe and is one of USC students' most popular history lecturers.

He serves as the General Editor of the Southern Classics Series, as co-editor of Liverpool University's Studies in International Slavery and of Cambridge Studies on the American South, and General Editor of the University of Illinois Press' Studies in Sensory History. Professor Smith is the current President of The Historical Society and is currently at work on a sensory history of the American Civil War.

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Wednesday 19 October 2011

Susan Kinsolving
Among Flowers and Poems

Poet Susan Kinsolving will explore many common garden flowers through botanical history, myth, fact, and fable. Her program, designed for readers and gardeners, offers information, humor, and poetry. She is the author of four poetry collections.

Susan Kinsolving's books of poems are The White Eyelash, Dailies & Rushes, a finalist for The National Book Critics Circle Award, Among Flowers, and forthcoming My Glass Eye.

Her books have been critically acclaimed by The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, Poetry, Publishers Weekly, Vanity Fair, Kirkus, among others. She received The Lyric Award from The Poetry Society of America.

As a librettist, she has had works performed by the Glimmerglass Opera, The Marin Symphony, and The Baroque Choral Guild in The Netherlands, Italy, New York, and California.

She has taught at colleges and universities. Poetry fellowships from New York, Illinois, France, Italy, Scotland, and Switzerland have been awarded to her. This year she is the Poet-in-Residence at The Hotchkiss School in Connecticut.

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Thursday 3 November 2011

John Simpkins
Africa's Third Wave: Democracy and Constitution-Building in the 21st Century

In the aftermath of the "Arab Spring," is Africa undergoing its own season of democratic change? How have recent democratic transitions, such as that in South Africa, fared? Standing on the cutting edge of legal practice and theory, John L.S. Simpkins offers first-hand insights into an exciting new phase of African nationhood. A frequently called-upon expert in constitutional design of countries in Africa, Prof. Simpkins is a Fellow of Comparative Constitutional Law at the Charleston School of Law and of counsel to Wyche, P.A., in Greenville, SC, as well as a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network and the fourth class of the Liberty Fellowship.

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Thursday 10 November 2011

Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts
Harlem is Nowhere: a Journey to the Mecca of Black America

Rhodes-Pitts' first book, Harlem is Nowhere, is a beautiful contemplation and sharp-eyed observation of the past and present of this mythical part of Manhattan. With a population composed of so many former Southerners, it was perhaps inevitable that Harlem would lead Rhodes-Pitts into some memorable encounters with South Carolinians, and these will form the backbone of her talk. A writer whose work has appeared in Transition, The New York Times, Harper's, Vogue, and Essence among others, Texas-born Rhodes-Pitts has received awards from the Rona Jaffe Foundation, the Lannan Foundation, and the New York Foundation for the Arts.

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Friday 18 November 2011

Edward Ball
Eadweard Muybridge: A Gilded Age Murder and the Birth of Moving Pictures

In the late 1800s, in California, the photographer and inventor Edward Muybridge and the railroad tycoon Leland Stanford created a new way of seeing - they invented moving pictures, the basis of our culture of screens. There was another uncommon thing about Muybridge and Stanford, and that is that one of them was a murderer. Edward Ball tells their story.

Edward Ball is the author of four books of history and biography, including Slaves in the Family, which won the National Book Award for nonfiction. He teaches writing at Yale. His book about Muybridge, The Inventor and the Tycoon, will be published by Doubleday in Spring 2012.

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Thursday 1 December 2011

Tara FitzGerald
Man and the Sea: Dispatches from Central Asia's Aral

The Aral Sea, formerly one of the world's four largest inland bodies of water, lies in today's Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Diversion of rivers under the Soviet regime depleted it by ninety per cent. and agricultural pollution, climate change and economic decline have left the remainder in a sorry state - many experts say, one of the world's worst environmental disasters.

Former Reuters correspondent, writer and translator Tara FitzGerald has been traveling among the peoples of the region and will give Wide Angle Lunches an exclusive preview of her upcoming nonfiction book based upon their stories. After reporting for Reuters in London, Frankfurt, Bonn, Dubai and Moscow, FitzGerald spent six years in Mexico City as a radio commentator and freelance travel, lifestyle and culture writer. She is Columbia University's 2011–2012 Nonfiction Editor of Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art.

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Thursday 8 December 2011

Shannon Smith
Why Climate Change is not a Left-Wing Issue

The association of figures such as Al Gore with the man-made climate change camp have created a peculiarly American myth: that people whose political beliefs generally fall on the "Left" agree with him on environmental issues, while any "Right"-thinking person must doubt man's impact on global warming. Shannon Smith is the founder and President of the Charlotte-based Abundant Power Group, which seeks to bring private capital solutions to clean energy initiatives and has advised Charleston and the State of SC on funding a green building program in Charleston county. Previously Managing Partner and founder of Blue Point Capital Partners, a $1bn private equity company, his membership of the board of the Clean Economy network and the Southeast Board of Environmental Defense Fund, co-chairmanship of CleanPac, a bi-partisan political action committee, and seat on the Leadership Council of the American Council on Renewable Energy, put him in a unique position to explain how we might repair this Right/Left climate change dichotomy.

Charleston Library Society: The South's oldest cultural institution, founded 1748