Established in 2012, the Hansford M. Epes Distinguished Lecture Series in the Humanities celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Humanities Program at Davidson College.

The series honors Hansford Epes '61 who served in the program as Professor of German and Humanities for almost five decades before he retired in 2012.

March 31, 2022

William Deresiewicz: "Change Your Mind First: College and the Urge to Save the World"

William Deresiewicz has published 4 books and over 300 essays and reviews. He has won the Hiett Prize in the Humanities, the National Book Critics Circle’s Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing, and a Sydney Award; he is also a three-time National Magazine Award nominee. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Harper’s, The American Scholar, and many other publications. His best-known book,  Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life, reflects elegantly on the relationship between what colleges do and what they can and should do. More recently, The Death of the Artist: How Creators Are Struggling to Survive in the Age of Billionaires and Big Tech explores the many challenges artists face in our contemporary, tech-driven world.

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Past Lectures

2020-2021
"Into the Dark: Reading Hannah Arendt’s Poems"
Samantha Rose Hill, Bard College & Brooklyn Institute

2019-20
"Using Theater for Social Change"
Sarah Bellamy, Artistic Director Penumbra Theater Company

2018-19
"What Does Russia Want"
Julia Ioffe, Journalist

2017-18
"Permanent Crisis: The Humanities in a Disenchanted Age"
Chad Wellmon, University of Virginia

2016-17
"Black Music as Beautiful Noise, from Blues to Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar"
Bill Banfield, Berklee College of Music

2015-16
"The Uses and Abuses of Romanticism"
Larry Todd, Duke University

2013-14
"Reading with Hiccups: The Humanities, Climate Change, and You" 
Simon Richter, University of Pennsylvania

2012-13
"The Truth is Terrible: Nietzsche's Idea of an Aesthetic Justification for Existence"
Brian Leiter, University of Chicago

2011-12
"The Uses of the Past and the Humanist Tradition"
Carol Quillen, President, Davidson College