Public Program- Jim Leach and Jill Lepore

Lectures and Performances
Wednesday, April 14, 2010 - 7:30pm

Uncivil Discourse: A Conversation with Jim Leach and Jill Lepore

Jim Leach, the chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), will join historian and essayist Jill Lepore for a public discussion on the state of political discourse in America, past and present.This program is part of a fifty-state American Civility Tour that Leach is conducting to raise awareness of how divisive and potentially dangerous harsh and hateful language can be. Leach believes that the exchange of ideas and the consideration of other viewpoints are central to the humanities and that we need to bring this spirit of reason back into politics.

This event is sponsored by the NEH in partnership with the American Antiquarian Society and Mass Humanities, the state-based affiliate of the NEH. This program was filmed by WCCA-TV.

Jim Leach, NEH photo by Greg Powers and Audrey Crewe
Jim Leach is the ninth Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Nominated by President Barack Obama on July 9, 2009, and confirmed by the Senate in early August, Leach began his four-year term as NEH Chairman on August 12, 2009. Leach previously served 30 years representing southeastern Iowa in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he chaired the Banking and Financial Services Committee, the Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Affairs, the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, and founded and co-chaired the Congressional Humanities Caucus. After leaving Congress in 2007, Leach joined the faculty at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School, where he was the John L. Weinberg Visiting Professor of Public and International Affairs until his confirmation as NEH chairman. In September 2007, Leach took a year's leave of absence from Princeton to serve as interim director of the Institute of Politics and lecturer at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Leach graduated from Princeton University, received a Master of Arts degree in Soviet politics from the School of Advanced International Studies at The John Hopkins University, and did additional graduate studies at the London School of Economics.

Jill Lepore
Jill Lepore is the David Woods Kemper '41 Professor of American History at Harvard University and chair of Harvard's History and Literature Program. She is also a staff writer at The New Yorker. Her most recent book, New York Burning: Liberty, Slavery and Conspiracy in Eighteenth-Century Manhattan (Knopf, 2005), was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in History; winner of the New York City Book Prize and the Anisfield-Wolf Award; and an ALA Notable Book. She is also the author of A is for American: Letters and Other Characters in the Newly United States (Knopf, 2002); Encounters in the New World: A History in Documents (Oxford University Press, 1999); and The Name of War: King Philip's War and the Origins of American Identity (Knopf, 1998), winner of the Bancroft Prize, the Ralph Waldo Emerson Award, and the Berkshire Prize. She is also co-author with Jane Kamensky of the novel, Blindspot (Spiegel and Grau, 2008).

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