Events & exhibitions
event • Conferences & Symposia

Siting Julia

  • Friday, September 21, 2012
  • Radcliffe Gymnasium
    10 Garden Street
    Cambridge, MA 02138
Mark DeVoto (left), Dorothy Zinberg, Michela Larson, and Jane Thompson sit at a panel table in front of an audience. A screen above them displays a photo of Julia Child and reads, "Siting Julia."
Mark DeVoto (left), Dorothy Zinberg, Michela Larson, and Jane Thompson discussed Julia Child's life in Cambridge, MA at "Siting Julia." Photo by Tony Rinaldo

The Schlesinger Library at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, which houses Julia Child's extensive papers, is sponsoring this symposium to mark the centenary of her birth.

Distinguished speakers will focus on three "sites" that Julia Child inhabited, learned from, and influenced:

  • Post–World War II Paris
  • Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • National Television

The event is free and open to the public.

Explore the Julia Child Papers at the Schlesinger Library online.

Event Videos

Laura Shapiro speaks at a podium in front of an audience.

Welcome and Keynote


Lizabeth Cohen, Dean, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study; Howard Mumford Jones Professor of American Studies, Department of History, Harvard University


Nancy F. Cott, Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Foundation Director of the Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America; Jonathan Trumbull Professor of American History, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University


Laura Shapiro, author of Julia Child and Perfection Salad who has also written for the New York Times, Rolling Stone, Granta, and Gourmet

Alex Prud'homme speaks at a podium in front of an audience. Philadelphia Cousins and John H. Musser sit at an adjacent panel table.

Panel 1: France

Introduction by Philadelphia Cousins, a trustee of the Julia Child Foundation and a niece of Julia Child

Alice Kaplan, John H. Musser Professor of French at Yale and the author of Dreaming in French, French Lessons: A Memoir, The Collaborator, and The Interpreter

Bob Spitz, author of the biography Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child and The Making of Superstars, Barefoot in Babylon, Dylan, and Shoot Out the Lights

Alex Prud'homme, coauthor with Julia Child of My Life in France, trustee of the Julia Child Foundation and grandnephew of Paul and Julia Child

Q&A moderated by Philadelphia Cousins

Dorothy Zinberg speaks at a podium.

Panel 2: Cambridge

Introduction by Mark DeVoto, musicologist, composer, and professor emeritus of music at Tufts University; his mother, Avis DeVoto, worked extensively with Julia Child and was a close friend of hers

Dorothy Zinberg, lecturer in public policy and faculty associate at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School and a longtime neighbor of the Childs in Cambridge

Michela Larson, longtime restaurateur in Cambridge and Boston

Jane Thompson, an urbanist, designer, and planner with Thompson Design Group who, with her husband Ben Thompson, equipped Julia Child's television kitchen and came to know her well

Russell Morash speaks at a podium in front of an audience. Lisa Abend and Dana Polan sit at an adjacent panel table.

Panel 3: TV

Introduction by Lisa Abend, TIME correspondent in Spain whose writing about food has appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Slate, and the Christian Science Monitor

Dana Polan, professor of Cinema Studies at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and author of numerous books, including The Sopranos, Scenes of Instruction: The Beginnings of the U.S. Study of Film, and, most recently, Julia Child's "The French Chef"

Russell Morash, a television producer and director at WGBH of many PBS television shows—including The French Chef and other Julia Child series

Q&A moderated by Lisa Abend

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