Henry Louis Gates and Ilan Stavans: Culture Wars and the Canon

THU, DEC 16, 2010 (1:06:24)

Two leading cultural thinkers, Ilan Stavans and Henry Louis Gates, Jr., discuss Latino and African American relationships in the U.S.

Ilan Stavans is Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture at Amherst College, and general editor of the newly published Norton Anthology of Latino Literature.

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and the director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University, and general editor of the Norton Anthology of African American Literature.

+ BIO: Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Henry Louis Gates Jr., is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and the Director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University. Professor Gates is Editor-in-Chief of the Oxford African American Studies Center, the first comprehensive scholarly online resource in the field of African American Studies and Africana Studies, and of The Root, an online news magazine dedicated to coverage of African American news, culture, and genealogy.

He is the co-author, with Cornel West, of The Future of the Race (1996), and the author of a memoir, Colored People (1994), that traces his childhood experiences in a small West Virginia town in the 1950s and 1960s. Among his other books are The Trials of Phillis Wheatley: America's First Black Poet and Her Encounters with the Founding Fathers (2003); Thirteen Ways of Looking at A Black Man (1997); and Loose Canons: Notes on the Culture Wars (1992). He is completing a book on race and writing in the eighteenth century, entitled Black Letters and the Enlightenment.

Professor Gates earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in English literature from Clare College at the University of Cambridge, and his B.A. summa cum laude in History from Yale University, where he was a Scholar of the House, in 1973. Before joining the faculty of Harvard in 1991, he taught at Yale, Cornell, and Duke. In his career he has received nearly 50 honorary degrees, from institutions including the University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, New York University, University of Massachusetts-Boston, Williams College, Emory University, Howard University, University of Toronto, and the University of Benin.

+ BIO: Ilan Stavans

Ilan Stavans is the Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture at Amherst College and a native of Mexico City. His best-selling memoir, On Borrowed Words, recounts the way various periods in his life have been shaped by languages: Spanish, Yiddish, Hebrew, and English.

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