SPRINGFIELD, Ohio - One of Columbia University's most popular teachers, Edward W. Said, an internationally acclaimed literary theorist who is recognized as a founder of post-colonial studies, will discuss "Changing Bases of Humanist Practice" in his address to the Wittenberg University community at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 23, in Weaver Chapel on campus. Said's visit to Wittenberg is part of The William A. Kinnison Endowed Lecture in History and concludes the 2002-03 Wittenberg Series.
An historian and philosopher, Said is a professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University. He is the author of 17 books, including "Culture and Imperialism" and "Orientalism." He is equally well known for his championing of Palestinian causes. Faced with a diagnosis of leukemia in the early 1990s, he decided to write a "subjective account" of his upbringing and formative years in the Middle East, Europe and America.
In "Out of Place: A Memoir," Said describes his sense of not belonging, which grew out of his education in a series of schools. He also discusses the pervasive influence of a devoted mother and demanding father, and his family's dispossession and exile from Palestine after 1948. The book also serves as an "unofficial personal record" of Palestinian life in the years immediately before and after the establishment of Israel.
The New York Times notes that "Said writes to the photos so assiduously and with such effect as to make one powerful essay."
The Guardian calls "Out of Place" a "very personal text, and a very moving one, about an internal struggle: the anguish of living with displacement, with exile. The most beautiful piece of prose . . . about what it means to be a Palestinian."
Said's presentation brings to a close the 21st season of the Wittenberg Series. "This is one of the most outstanding Series we have ever presented," said Gwendolyn Scheffel, Wittenberg Series coordinator and a member of the music faculty. "From start to finish, the programs have reinforced the mission of the university and the goals of the programmers, which is to bring to campus and to Springfield nationally and internationally recognized performers and scholars."
Scheffel is most pleased that these events are made available without admission charge year after year to the community and noted that attendance for all the events this season have exceeded the previous five years.
"The support of the Springfield community and foundations, notably the Freeman Foundation and the New England Foundation for the Arts, has been particularly gratifying," she said. "We are most appreciative to all who support us, and I'd imagine those who come to the events are grateful as well."
For more information regarding the Wittenberg Series, call Scheffel at (937) 327-7918.
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