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closeup of a statue of Harold Stirling Vanderbilt with trees in the background, located on the Vanderbilt campus

Harold Stirling Vanderbilt Lectures

About the Harold Stirling Vanderbilt Lecture Series

The annual Harold Stirling Vanderbilt Lecture Series is named for the great-grandson of Vanderbilt University founder Cornelius Vanderbilt. Harold Vanderbilt was a longtime member of the Vanderbilt Board of Trust and served as its president from 1955 to 1968.

The lecture series is designed to spark conversations about new scholarship in literature and creative writing while also contributing to graduate student career development. Each fall, English department graduate students invite a prominent, early-career scholar to the Vanderbilt campus. The honoree leads a two-day sequence of events, including career-oriented graduate workshops, a public lecture on the honoree’s research, and outings with students.

Past Lectures

  • Professor Elleza Kelley, Yale University: “Train Songs: An Echolocology” (2023)
  • Professor Cristin Ellis, University of Mississippi: “Vegetal Sexuality in Thoreau: Toward an Ecoerotics” (2022)
  • Professor Emily Steinlight, University of Pennsylvania: “The Hidden Zone of Aesthetic Production: Fin de Siecle Fiction and the Afterlives of Autonomy” (2019)
  • Professor La Marr Jurelle Bruce, University of Maryland, College Park: “How to Go Mad Without Losing Your Mind: Toward a Mad Methodology” (2018)
  • Professor Mathias Nilges, St. Francis Xavier University:  “The Novel of the Long Now” (2017)
  • Professor Sami Schalk, State University of New York, Albany:  “Black Women’s Speculative Fiction and the Deconstruction of Able-Mindedness” (2016)
  • Professor Soyica Colbert, Georgetown University:  “Framing Black Women’s Performance:  Venus, Beyonce, and The Couple in the Cage” (2015)
  • Professor Eve Dunbar, Vassar College:  “Monstrous Work:  Zora Neale Hurston, Zombies, and the Art of Critiquing the Academy” (2014)