Skip to main content






A Conversation with Carol Ventura, Professor Emerita of Art at Tennessee Technological University, whose work focuses on craft history, tapestry crochet, and photography in Mesoamerica. This program was sponsored by the RPW Center’s GuateSeminar. (Note that recording starts a few minutes into the talk.)

“To Care for the Sick and Bury the Dead: African American Lodges and Cemeteries in Tennessee” Conversation between Author Leigh Ann Gardner and Writer Natalie Bell. Gardner is the author of “To Care for the Sick and Bury the Dead.” Bell is a writer, educator, and board member of the Nashville Chapter of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society.

Reading and Discussion with Natalie Diaz,” author of the poetry collection “Postcolonial Love Poem” (2020), winner of the Pulitzer Prize, and “When My Brother Was an Aztec” (2012). Moderated by Rob Sánchez Nelson, Chief Diversity Officer, San Francisco Ballet. 

Humanities 20/20 Conference: “What Matters? Who Counts?” by keynote speaker Kathleen Fitzpatrick (Professor of English and Director of Digital Humanities, Michigan State University), author of Generous Thinking: A Radical Approach to Saving the University.  

Telling Stories / Stories That Tell is a collaborative project between the 2017-18 Faculty Fellows and Nashville artist Britt Stadig, who represented each fellow—their lives, work, and disciplines—in a series of unique, large-format 3D “pages.” Freely crossing borders between sculpture, painting, collage, photography, video, print, and sound, the pages combine into a single volume exploring how our individual projects investigate or reflect human experiences. 

Video of a Vanderbilt University anthropology class doing an archaeological dig behind the Warren Center, located in the Vaughn home.

Polarization and the Polls: How Consumer Choices Affect Our Politics,” at the 2018 Southern Festival of Books. Panelists: Ken Blake (Associate Professor in the School of Journalism, Middle Tennessee State University), John Geer (Dean, College of Arts and Science, Vanderbilt University), and Marc Hetherington (Raymond Dawson Professor of Political Science, University of North Carolina). Moderator: Mona Frederick (Executive Director, Warren Center).  

Video created by Krista Castillo (Museum Coordinator, Fort Negley Visitors Center and Park) during the 2016 Mellon Institute in Digital and Public Humanities for Early-Career Scholars. 

Danielle Allen, James Bryant Conant University Professor at Harvard, presented the 2017/2018 Harry C. Howard Jr. Lecture, “‘Cuz: The Life and Times of Michael A.,” on August 30, 2018.  

“What Are the Humanities and Why Are They Important?” Video with Warren Center Executive Director Mona Frederick. 

Stella Vaughn was the first woman hired in a professional position by Vanderbilt University. The daughter of one of Vanderbilt’s first faculty members, William J. Vaughn, she was hired in 1896 as the women’s P.E. coach. This short video, produced through Story Center by Mona Frederick and Laura Carpenter, shares part of Stella’s story. 

I Am Not Your Negro: Race, Identity, and Baldwin” with Raoul Peck, Academy award-nominated director of the documentary I Am Not Your Negro based on James Baldwin’s unfinished manuscript. 

The Alison Piepmeier Memorial Lecture: “Accessible Words: Alison Piepmeier and the Boundaries of Disability,” delivered by George Estreich,  author of Textbook Illustrations of the Human Body, a collection of poetry, and The Shape of the Eye, a memoir about raising his daughter Laura, who has Down syndrome. 

Video created by Juliet Larkin-Gilmore (History) during the 2016 Mellon Institute in Digital and Public Humanities for Early-Career Scholars. 

Video created by Alejandro Arango (Philosophy) during the 2016 Mellon Institute in Digital and Public Humanities for Early-Career Scholars. 

Video created by Langston Wilkins (Humanities Tennessee) during the 2016 Mellon Institute in Digital and Public Humanities for Early-Career Scholars. 

Video created by Brendan Weaver (Anthropology) during the 2016 Mellon Institute in Digital and Public Humanities for Early-Career Scholars. 

Video created by Tatiana McInnis (English) during the 2016 Mellon Institute in Digital and Public Humanities for Early-Career Scholars. 

Video created by Don Rodrigues (English) during the 2016 Mellon Institute in Digital and Public Humanities for Early-Career Scholars. 

Video created by Tim Foster (Spanish and Portuguese) during the 2016 Mellon Institute in Digital and Public Humanities for Early-Career Scholars. 

Video created by Angela Sutton (History) during the 2016 Mellon Institute in Digital and Public Humanities for Early-Career Scholars. 

Quiara Alegría Hudes, Pulitzer Prize-winning Playwright, presented the 2016/2017 Harry C. Howard Jr. Lecture, “A Writer’s Many Selves,” on February 2, 2017.  

Scholarship in the Public Square: A Conversation with The Atlantic’s Yoni Appelbaum. Yoni Appelbaum earned his Ph.D. in U.S. history and taught at Harvard before becoming Senior Editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees the politics section. In this conversation with fellow historian Heath W. Carter, he discusses his journey to The Atlantic and the role of the public intellectual in today’s America. This program was held on January 30, 2017. 

The Banjo: A Conversation with Laurent Dubois and Dom Flemons. Dubois, the Marcello Lotti Professor of Romance Studies and History at Duke University, is the author of The Banjo: America’s African Instrument (Harvard University Press, 2016). Flemons, a noted musician as well as a co-founder of the Grammy Award-winning group Carolina Chocolate Drops, pulls from traditions of old-time folk music to create new sounds. The event was co-sponsored by the Africa at a Crossroads: Challenges and Prospects Program and the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities on January 26, 2107. 

Recovering Lost Voices: Robert Penn Warren and the U.S. Civil Rights Movement,” a panel discussion in honor of Vanderbilt alumnus Robert Penn Warren’s 1965 publication Who Speaks for the Negro? Speakers included two civil rights activists who were interviewed by Warren for the volume, Ruth Turner Perot and Robert Moses, as well as Reverend Kelly Miller Smith, Jr., whose father was interviewed by Warren. This panel was presented on February 10, 2016.  

William Adams, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, presented the 2015/2016 Harry C. Howard Jr. Lecture, “The Common Good and NEH at 50” on October 27, 2015. (video) 

Interview conducted at the Robert Penn Warren Birthplace Museum in Guthrie, KY with Guthrie residents Jeane Moore and Melba Smith. (video) 

Earl Lewis, President, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, presented the 2013/2014 Harry C. Howard Jr. Lecture, “Three Cents, Three Senses: Philanthropy, Higher Education, and the Future,” on February 20, 2014. (video) 

2013 Southern Festival of Books panel. The Warren Center sponsored this panel, broadcast on CSPAN2, discussing the current state of mental health issues.  It was led by Gregory Barz, Associate Professor of Musicology at Vanderbilt. 

Robert Penn Warren Center 25th anniversary conference panels. Four interdisciplinary panel discussions were held on September 20, 2013 as part of the Warren Center’s 25th anniversary celebration. Panelists were all former William S. Vaughn Visiting Fellows, and each spoke about was that humanistic discourse has changed over the past quarter century. 

“Speaking for the Humanities” documentary film. This film, directed and edited by Rosevelt Noble of Vanderbilt’s Department of Sociology and produced by Mona Frederick, Executive Director of the Warren Center, premiered at the Warren Center’s 25th anniversary celebration on September 19, 2013. It highlights the role of the Warren Center in fostering interdisciplinary scholarship and also discusses the contributions to the humanities made by Robert Penn Warren himself. 

Putin, Pussy Riot, and the Art of Resistance. The Warren Center co-sponsored this round-table conversation on April 3, 2013 at Vanderbilt University; the conversation was the capstone of a three-day event that included music and film. 

Early Modern Spanish Theater: Text and Performance. This symposium took place April 2-4, 2012. The event featured talks by four distinguished scholars and theater practitioners, as well as several short dramatic performances by Vanderbilt students. 

  • An Evening of Cervantes’s Theater, including “The Cave of Salamanca: A Dramatic Interlude,” and “Crossing the Line: A Quixotic Adventure” (selected scenes). (video) (video) 
  • Mar Zubieta, “Texto y representación de los clásicos del Siglo de Oro: Lope de Vega y Cervantes.” (video) 
  • José Luis Raymond, “Del teatro barroco a la escenografía de concepto.” (video) 
  • Valerie Hegstrom, “Tragedy or Comedy?: The Results of Rash Young Love in Lope de Vega’s El caballero de Olmedo and Los Castelvines y Monteses.” (video) 
  • Vincent Martin, “Stages of Illusion: The Social Imaginary in the Interludes of Cervantes and Calderón.” (video) 
  • Ana Caro, Valor, agravio y mujer (closing scene), directed by Rosie Seagraves and presented by graduate students in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. (video) 

David W. Blight, Class of 1954 Professor of American History and Director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale University, presented the 2010/2011 Harry C. Howard Jr. Lecture, “’Gods and Devils Aplenty’: Robert Penn Warren’s Civil War,” on March 24, 2011. (video) 

Adam Hochschild, author and journalist, presented “’Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch . . .’: What Scholars Can Learn from Novelists—and Journalists — about Storytelling,” on February 24, 2011. Hochschild is an award-winning author of six books, including King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa and Bury the Chains: Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire’s Slaves. (video) 

Rosanna Warren, Emma Ann MacLachlan Metcalf Professor of the Humanities, and Professor of English and Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures at Boston University, presented the Harry C. Howard, Jr. Lecture, “Poems and Poem-Talk: A poetry reading and informal chat by Rosanna Warren,” on October 29, 2009. (video)

Black Europe Documentary Film Debut. The 2007-2008 Fellows of the Warren Center met for a year-long program on “Black Europe, or Diaspora Studies In/On Europe.” Their weekly meetings and lectures by visiting speakers were recorded by documentary filmmaker Lyle Jackson, and have been compiled into a short educational film on Black Europe. On Wednesday, March 18, 2009, the Warren Center hosted the premier screening of the film at the Black Cultural Center as the capstone project of the Black Europe Fellows. (video)

Roy Blount Jr., acclaimed author, humorist, and Vanderbilt alumnus (B.A. 1963) presented the Harry C. Howard, Jr. Lecture, “Through Is Thoroughly Throughsome, Go Is Wide Open, and Wince Makes You Wince: On the Non-Arbitrariness of Words,” on October 30, 2008. (video) 

Peter Applebome, writer and editor for The New York Times, presented a lecture entitled “All the News That’s Fit to Blog: Old Media, New media, and the Brave New World of Election 2008” on October 13, 2008. (video)

Susan J. Carroll, Professor of Political Science and Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers University, presented a lecture entitled “Gender and Hillary Clinton’s Campaign: The Good, The Bad, and the Misogynic” on September 22, 2008. (video) 

Bruce Cole, Chairman of the National Endowment of the Humanities, presented a lecture entitled, “The State of the Humanities,” on September 5, 2008. (video) 

The Appalachian Celebration: A Place for the Humanities, a concert of music featured in The Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, organized by Dale Cockrell, professor of musicology, Blair School of Music. (audio) 

We Speak for Ourselves: A Poet, a Prophet, and Voices for the 21st Century, a conference in honor of the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Warren Center. (multiple videos) 

Mona Frederick, Executive Director of the Warren Center, discusses the availability of Robert Penn Warren’s original audio interviews with Civil Rights leaders through a new Vanderbilt Library web archive. These interviews were conducted in preparation for Warren’s 1964 volume Who Speaks for the Negro? (audio) 

Helen Vendler, the A. Kingsley Porter University Professor at Harvard University, presented the 2006-2007 Harry C. Howard Jr. Lecture, “The Yeatsian Sequence: ‘Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen’ and ‘Blood and the Moon’” on January 18, 2007. (audio) 

Craig E. Colten, Carl. O. Sauer Professor of Geography at Louisiana State University, gave a lecture entitled “Race and Relief in New Orleans: A Hazardous Topography” on January 26, 2006. (audio)