Civility and American Democracy:
Forum Speakers and their Biographies
Professor of Comparative Religion and Indian Studies at Harvard University and chair of the Religion Department. Eck's academic work has a dual focus India and America and in both cases she is interested in the challenges of religious pluralism in a multi-religious society. Her work on India includes studies of popular religion and pilgrimage including Banaras: City of Light, Darsan: Seeing the Divine Image in India, and India: A Sacred Geography (forthcoming). Since 1991, she has headed the Pluralism Project, a student and faculty think-tank that explores and interprets the religious dimensions of America's new immigration. The Pluralism Project looks especially at the growth of Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh, and Jain communities in the United States and the new issues of religious pluralism and American civil society.
Goodman has spent most of her life chronicling social change and its impact on American life. As a Pulitzer Prize winning columnist, she was was one of the first women to open up the oped pages to women’s voices and became, according to Media Watch, the most widely syndicated progressive columnist in the country. Ms. Goodman's career experience includes research and columinst positions at Newsweek, Detroit Free Press, and The Boston Globe. Her books include Turning Points (Doubleday, 1979), Close to Home (Simon & Schuster, 1979); At Large (Summit Books, 1981); Keeping in Touch (Summit Books, 1985); Making Sense (Atlantic Monthly Press, 1989); and Value Judgments (Farrar Straus Giroux, 1993) and Paper Trail: Common Sense in Uncommon Times (Simon & Schuster, 2004). She is also co-author with Patricia O’Brien of I Know Just What You Mean: The Power of Friendship in Women’s Lives (Simon & Schuster, 2000).
Michael R. Klein Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. His research focuses on the intersection of racial conflict and legal institutions in American life. He is the author of Interracial Intimacies: Sex, Marriage, Identity and Adoption; Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word; Race, Crime, and the Law; and Sellout: The Politics of Racial Betrayal. Additionally, Kennedy has published numerous collections of shorter works. Many of his articles can be found in periodicals and newspapers such as: The American Prospect and The Nation, where he also served on the editorial boards, as well as The Atlantic Monthly, Georgetown Law Journal, Harvard BlackLetter Journal, and The Boston Globe. His book Race, Crime, and the Law won the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award.
Joe Klein is Time Magazine's political columnist and author of six books, most recently Politics Lost. His weekly Time column, “In the Arena,” covers national and international affairs. In 2004, he won the National Headliner Award for best magazine column.
David Woods Kemper '41 Professor of American History and chair of the History and Literature Program at Harvard University. Lepore is also a staff writer at The New Yorker and one of the country's leading public historians. Her first book, The Name of War, won the Bancroft Prize; her most recent non-fiction book, New York Burning, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. She is an elected member of the Society of American Historians and a Distinguished Lecturer of the Organization of American Historians. She serves on the Board of Commissioners of the National Portrait Gallery. A co-founder of the magazine, Common-place, Lepore has also served as a consultant for the National Parks Service and for many other public history projects. Her scholarship focuses on language, cruelty, and race, and has been funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Pew Foundation, and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation.
Mark Lilla is an essayist and historian of ideas at Columbia University. A frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books, The New Republic, and the New York Times, he is best known for his books, The Reckless Mind: Intellectuals in Politics and The Stillborn God: Religion, Politics, and the Modern West. After holding professorships at New York University and the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago, he joined Columbia University in 2007 as Professor of the Humanities. He lectures widely and has delivered the Weizmann Memorial Lecture in Israel and the Carlyle Lectures at Oxford University. His work ranges widely in the history of ideas, though his central concerns have been the relation between religion and politics and the legacy of the modern Western enlightenment
William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science at Amherst College. He has written, co-written, or edited more than 75 books in the fields of law and political science. Sarat's primary research interest is the use of the death penalty which, he believes, provides a unique opportunity to examine American values and beliefs and how they are manifested in the American legal system. His most recent book, Mercy On Trial: What it Means to Stop an Execution, investigated the use of executive clemency. His research more broadly studies the intersection of law and culture and the ways in which law may be said to be socially organized. Sarats seminar, Murder, has been profiled in the New York Times.
John W. Chandler Professor of English and former Dean of Faculty and Chair of African-American Studies at Williams College. He has received many awards and fellowships for his scholarly work, and has served as a consultant for the Smithsonian Institution, the Folger Shakespeare Library, and the Southern Humanities Media Fund, and on the boards of the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities and The Mark Twain House in Hartford. Smith’s scholarly interests include Mark Twain, Southern Literature, Nature Writing, and the Black Arts Movement. He is editor, with Jack Salzman and Cornel West, of The Encylopedia of African American Culture and History, a 5-volume work from Macmillan. As the poet D. L. Crockett-Smith, Smith has published Cowboy Amok and Civil Rites, both from The Black Scholar Press. His work has appeared in many magazines and anthologies, including The Oxford Anthology of African American Poetry. He translates the works of Spanish and Latin American poets, specializing in Federico Garcia-Lorca and Pablo Neruda.
Chair of the History of American Civilization Program and Professor of English and African and African American Studies at Harvard University. Among the leading scholars of the Civil War era, antislavery in particular, Stauffer is the author or editor of eight books and more than 50 articles. His most recent books are GIANTS: The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln (2008), which was a Boston Globe and Amazon.com bestseller, a History Book Club featured selection, and the winner of the Iowa Writers Award and a Boston Book Club prize; and The State of Jones (Doubleday, 2009), co-authored with Washington Post columnist Sally Jenkins, which was a New York Times bestseller and nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. He is currently an advisor for The American Experience at WGBH, which is working on a documentary film on abolitionism that features Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison.
Lewis-Sebring Professor of Latin American and Latino Culture and Five College 40th Anniversary Professor. Stavans is a Mexican-American essayist, lexicographer, cultural commentator, translator, short-story author, TV personality, and teacher known for his insights into American, Hispanic, and Jewish cultures. His work is wide-ranging, and includes both scholarly monographs such as The Hispanic Condition (1995) and comic strips in the case of Latino USA: A Cartoon History (with Lalo Alcaraz, (2000). Stavans is editor of several anthologies including The Oxford Book of Jewish Stories (1998). A selection of his work appeared in 2000 under the title The Essential Ilan Stavans. In 2004, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Pablo Neruda's birth, Stavans edited the 1,000 page-long, The Poetry of Pablo Neruda. The same year he edited the three-volume set of Isaac Bashevis Singer: Collected Stories for the Library of America.
Professor of Political Science and Director of the Boisi Center for Religion and Public Life at Boston College. Wolfe is widely recognized for his studies and observations on American politics and religion; the intersection of religion, morality and public policy; and cultural issues. He is author and/or editor of more than 20 books including Does American Democracy Still Work?, Return to Greatness: How America Lost Its Sense of Purpose and What It Needs to Do to Recover It and One Nation After All, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. His essays and criticism appear regularly in the New York Times, the New York Review of Books, The Atlantic Monthly, and other venues.