News

February 4, 2008

Historian Simon Schama Will Speak about the End of the Slave Trade Feb. 11

Lecture will be part of Lives of Liberty series

As part of the College’s yearlong celebration of the 250th anniversary of the Marquis de Lafayette’s birth, art critic, historian, and award-winning author Simon Schama will speak 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 11 in Colton Chapel. The lecture is part of the celebration’s Lives of Liberty series. The talk is also supported under the auspices of the Thomas Roy and Lura Forrest Jones Visiting Lecturer Program.

A web site dedicated to the celebration and to the Marquis’ unique connection to the College provides information and updates
Remaining Lives of Liberty speakers will be Gloria Steinem (March 4) and Salman Rushdie (April 3)
Schama’s talk, “Remembering the Abolition of the Slave Trade, 200 Years On: British Eloquence and American Silence,” will focus on his latest book Rough Crossings: Britain, the Slaves and the American Revolution (2006). The book tells the story of tens of thousands of slaves, who during the Revolutionary War, escaped from American farms, plantations, and cities to fight for the British, as England was in the process of abolishing slavery. The work also chronicles the voyage many of the former slaves made to settlements in Nova Scotia and Sierra Leone.
Schama’s research and teaching focus on European cultural and environmental history and the history of art. He is a professor in the department of art history and archeology at Columbia University and received his B.A. and M.A. degrees from Cambridge University. In 2001, he was made a Commander of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II.
His first book, Patriots and Liberators: Revolution in the Netherlands 1780-1813 (1977), won the United Kingdom’s Wolfson Prize for History. Citizens. A Chronicle of the French Revolution (1989) received the UK’s NCR Book Award for non-fiction. In 1995, Landscape and Memory won the W.H. Smith Literary Award, which celebrates the most outstanding contributions to literature by a UK citizen.
He is also the author of Two Rothschilds and the Land of Israel (1979); The Embarrassment of Riches: An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age (1987); Dead Certainties (1991); Rembrandt’s Eyes (1999); the trilogy, A History of Britain vol I The Edge of the World (2000), volume 2 The British Wars ( 2001), and volume 3 The Fate of Empire (2002); and Hang-Ups: A Collection of Essays on Art (2004).
Schama has been a regular contributor to The New Republic; The New York Review of Books; The Guardian; and since 1994, art and cultural critic for The New Yorker, winning a National Magazine Award for his art criticism in 1996.
His television work as writer and host for the BBC includes Art of the Western World; Rembrandt: The Public Gaze and the Private Eye; a five-part series based on Landscape and Memory; an eight-part series, The Power of Art; and the award-winning, 15-part History of Britain, which also ran on the History Channel.

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