It’s Complicated: 375 Years of Women at Harvard

April 23, 2012
Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz

Historian Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz explores Harvard University’s relationship with women, which she describes as complicated. Her review begins with the University’s founding 375 years ago, when Harvard excluded women as students and teachers. For 200 years, the University conveyed education and prestige to a ministry and a rising merchant class. Beginning in the 19th century, women found innovative ways to attain higher education, but the terms of access required accommodation—even invisibility. Horowitz contends that the fight for equity began more than a century ago and remains a work in progress today. Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust offers brief welcoming remarks.

Women Making Democracy | Representing Women: Culture, Religion, and Revolution

March 30, 2012
Women Making Democracy Representing Women video still

This discussion presents a dialogue among activists, scholars, and cultural analysts. They reflect on cultural practices and iconic representations of women as they play out in democratizing movements, with a particular interest in the place of religion in democratic politics.

Women Making Democracy | Welcoming Remarks and Keynote Address

March 30, 2012
Women Making Democracy, Shahira Amin keynote address

Activists, journalists, and academics from different fields and disciplines will examine and analyze recent events in countries affected by the democratizing efforts often described as “Arab Spring” and compare women’s experiences of these events with those of women in other moments of democratic change around the world, including Eastern Europe, South Africa, and Latin America.

Women Making Democracy | Public Places, Alternative Spaces

March 30, 2012
Women Making Democracy Public Places, Alternative Spaces video still

This discussion illuminates the ways that women's presence has democratized uses of space. It also questions the connection between revolution and the street by exploring virtual spaces such as the blogosphere and women's hidden activism in crevices of the city, where every space may be reenvisioned for its mobilizing potential.

Women Making Democracy | Women, Rights, and Power

March 30, 2012
Women Making Democracy Women, Rights, and Power video still

Given that demands for democratization are typically framed in universalistic language, this panel considers ways in which women take important roles in making demands for democratization or for participation in newly democratic governments. It also examines how gender-specific issues become a central component of demands on newly democratized governments.

Women Making Democracy | Rapporteur Discussion and Closing Remarks

March 30, 2012
Women Making Democracy Rapporteur and Closing Remarks video still

Two rapporteurs highlight the major themes of the conference, tying together issues raised across panels. They  compare different countries and moments of democratic change to help participants understand what is distinctive about "Arab Spring" and what is universal about women making democracy.

Women Making Democracy | Commedia Al-Ahzaan (Comedy of Sorrows)

March 29, 2012
Commedia Al-Ahzaan (Comedy of Sorrows) video still

Written in direct response to the ongoing revolution in Egypt, Ibrahim El-Husseini's Commedia Al-Ahzaan (Comedy of Sorrows) follows a young university-educated Egyptian woman through a series of encounters with different members of society. Through these encounters, she comes to realize how little she understands her own country.

Approaching Midnight: Taking Midnight's Children from Book to Film

March 22, 2012
Deepa Mehta, Rama S. Mehta Lecture video still

Director and screenwriter Deepa Mehta discusses her recent work with Salman Rushdie to adapt his 1981 novel Midnight's Children for the screen—they collaborated closely as he wrote the screenplay—including the challenges of casting 30 principal actors in India and spending days and nights in intensive workshops inspired by the ancient Indian performing arts treatise, the Natya Shastra. Mehta shares her philosophy of filmmaking and how she walks the fine line between conventional storytelling and pure instinct. Following the lecture, she is joined by Bapsi Sidhwa, who wrote the novel on which Mehta's 1998 film Earth was based, to discuss the relationship between author and filmmaker and the evolution of story from print to film.

Constructing the Head and Brain of Vertebrates

March 5, 2012
Nicole Le Douarin Deans Lecture video still

Nicole Le Douarin (Honorary Professor, Collège de France) explores the neural crest, an important embryonic structure that appeared in primitive vertebrates.

How Jesus Celebrated Passover: Early Modern Views of the Last Supper

February 13, 2012
Anthony Grafton Dean's Lecture video still

Anthony Grafton (Princeton University), a leading cultural and intellectual historian of Renaissance Europe, speaks about important historical developments in the understanding of the Last Supper. He posits that the Christian discovery of a Jewish Jesus began not in the 19th century but in the Renaissance.

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