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Howard Graham
Office of First-Year Experience
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KU Common Book author Claudia Rankine to deliver lecture Sept. 7

Thu, 08/31/2017

LAWRENCE – Claudia Rankine, MacArthur Fellow and author of the 2017-2018 KU Common Book, “Citizen: An American Lyric,” will present the fall keynote lecture for the University of Kansas’ Common Book program at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 7, at the Lied Center.

In “Citizen,” Rankine combines text with photographs, works of art and video references to explore how micro-aggressions and institutional racism negatively shape interactions between people. Rankine’s poetry draws on her own experiences and those of others she knows, as well as examples from the popular media and sports, to illuminate how assumptions about others harm both individuals and society more broadly.

Chancellor Douglas Girod will give opening remarks, and Associate Professor of African & African-American Studies Cecile Accilien will introduce Rankine. As part of her time on campus, Rankine will also speak at 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 8, in Woodruff Auditorium of the Kansas Union.  At 11 a.m. Rankine will participate in a Lunch & Learn in the Sabatini Multicultural Resource Center.

In addition to Rankine’s visit, the Office of First-Year Experience in collaboration with partners offers other opportunities to engage with “Citizen.” 

  • From now through Sept. 10, “In Conversation with the 2017-2018 KU Common Book” will be on exhibit in the Jack and Lavon Brosseau Center for Learning at the Spencer Museum of Art. 
  • The Lawrence Public Library in collaboration with the Langston Hughes Center will host a panel discussion over the book for community partners as part of the Diverse Dialogues series at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 6, at Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vermont St. 
  • The Department of Film & Media Studies will screen the documentary film “Whose Streets?” at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 13 in the Spencer Museum of Art auditorium. 
  • On Oct. 25, the Office of Multicultural Affairs will present a panel discussion over “Citizen,” titled “Engaging ‘Citizen’ From the Margins,” at 6 p.m. in The Commons of Spooner Hall. 

The KU Common Book is designed to connect first-year students to the campus community through discussion and lectures. Additionally, “Citizen” is being used in more than 150 class sections at KU this fall. 

The keynote lecture Sept. 7 is open to the public. Tickets are not required, but space is limited. 

About ‘Citizen’

“Citizen: An American Lyric” was the winner of the 2015 Forward Prize for Best Collection, the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry (it was also a finalist in the criticism category, making it the first book in the award's history to be a double nominee), the NAACP Image Award, the PEN Open Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Award for poetry. “Citizen” was nominated for the Hurston/Wright 2015 Legacy Award, was a finalist for the 2014 National Book Award and was selected as an NPR Best Book of 2014. “Citizen” also holds the distinction of being the only poetry book to be a New York Times best-seller in the nonfiction category.

About Claudia Rankine

Claudia Rankine is the author of five collections of poetry, including “Citizen: An American Lyric” and “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely;” two plays, including “Provenance of Beauty: A South Bronx Travelogue,” and she is the editor of several anthologies, including “The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind.” She co-produces a video series, “The Situation,” alongside John Lucas, and is the founder of the “Open Letter Project: Race and the Creative Imagination.” Among her numerous awards and honors, Rankine is the recipient of the Poets & Writers’ Jackson Poetry Prize and fellowships from the Lannan Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.  She lives in New York City and teaches at Yale University as the Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry. In 2016 she was named a MacArthur Fellow.



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