Environmental time and specters of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib will be topics of two lectures by New York Times Book Review contributors, Rob Nixon and Anne McClintock. November 5 & 6, 2008

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY — Accomplished authors and literary critics, Rob Nixon and Anne McClintock, will give lectures in November at Vassar College. Nixon’s lecture will be on Wednesday, November 5; McClintock’s on Thursday, November 6. Both presentations, which are free and open to the public, will begin at 5:30 pm in room 203 of Taylor Hall.

“Slow Violence, Gender, and Environmental Time,” will be the topic of Rob Nixon’s lecture that is sponsored by the English Department; Africana Studies and American Culture programs; Environmental Studies; and Religious and Spiritual Life Office in conjunction with the Office of the Dean of the Faculty.

A South African émigré, Nixon described his writing as portraying the “hidden histories and mobile geographies” of his life in an interview with Contemporary Literature. His latest book, Dreambirds was well received by critics, with the New York Times praising it as a “witty and informative ... memoir masquerading as a far-flung exercise in natural and social history.” Vassar professor of English Amitava Kumar similarly commended the book as “an extraordinary meditation on travel and migration that is also, at the same time, a terribly affecting memoir.”

Nixon fled South African apartheid in 1979, and spent some time in England before coming to the United States to pursue his graduate studies at the University of Iowa and Columbia University. He is now Rachel Carson Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and is a regular contributor to the London Review of Books, Chronicle of Higher Education, and New York Times. His book Slow Violence and Environmental Time is forthcoming from Harvard University Press.

Anne McClintock is Nixon’s colleague at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and will base her lecture, “Paranoid Empire: Specters of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib,” on her upcoming book of the same name.

McClintock is an accomplished gender, identity, and nationalism scholar. The Simon de Beauvoir Professor at Madison, she has received two MacArthur Fellowships and was described by as “a pioneer in gender studies.” Her 1995 book, Imperial Leather, is regarded as a seminal work in the study of Victorian sexuality.

McClintock’s work has been translated into Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, and Swedish, and she contributes regularly to the New York Times Book Review, Guardian, and Times Literary Supplement.

The English and History departments, Africana, American Culture, and Women’s Studies programs, in collaboration with the Office of the Dean of Faculty, sponsor McClintock’s lecture.

People with disabilities requiring accommodations should contact the Office of Campus Activities at (845) 437-5370. Directions to the Vassar campus are available at

Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.

Posted by Office of Communications Monday, October 13, 2008