Barlow Lecture in the Humanities

A thought-provoking talk about the human experience

The John D. Barlow Lecture in the Humanities brings experts from around the world to IUPUI to discuss interesting and important topics in the humanities.

Held every other fall, the Lecture is free and open to the public.

The John D. Barlow Lecture in the Humanities will be held in Fall 2020.

Past Lectures

Previous Barlow Lectures have addressed topics like the humanities and democracy, how to create good and fair communities, the future history of the book, and reinventing Shakespeare for the twenty-first century.

Provocative and challenging discussion on the ways authority, technology, and civic society intersect.

  • Zeynep Tufekci is a techno-sociologist who focuses on social movements and civics,privacy and surveillance, and social interactions. Tufekci’s latest book, Twitter and Tear Gas, thoughtfully examines both the positive and negative ways digital platforms support the work of social change.
  • Increasingly, Tufekci is also seen as a leading expert on algorithmic decision-making. She has become an influential voice in pushing Facebook, Google, Twitter, and others to address the moral and political implications of their creations. (Think: Facebook and Cambridge Analytic.) Tufekci does not believe these platforms are neutral players and should be held accountable for the spread of false information. In a recent TedTalk she argues, "We need a digital economy where our data and our attention is not for sale to the highest bidding authoritarian or demagogue.”

Spirit and Place Festival’s Twenty-First Annual Public Conversation, in conjunction with the John D. Barlow Lecture in the Humanities, on the theme of “Home”

  • Matthew Desmond, John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard University and author of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City
  • Timothy Schmalz, sculptor
  • Allison Luthe, executive director, Martin Luther King Community Center
  • Terri Jett, associate professor of political science and special assistant to the provost for diversity and inclusivity, Butler University

The Future History of the Book: Time, Attention, Convention

Kathleen Fitzpatrick, director of scholarly communication, Modern Language Association

Watch the 2014 lecture

“Cry the Cosmos”: Ray Bradbury and the American Imagination

Jonathan R. Eller, professor of English and director of the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies, IUPUI

Watch the 2012 lecture

Imagining Slaves as Loyal Confederates: A Dangerous and Enduring Fantasy

Peter S. Carmichael, Robert C. Fluhrer Professor of Civil War Studies and director of the Civil War Institute, Gettysburg College

Watch the 2010 lecture

Reinventing Shakespeare for the Twenty-First Century: Keeping the Bard Relevant on Stage, on Page, and in Film

Tim Hardy, London Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts

The Evolution of Public History in America

Joseph Brent, professor emeritus at the University of the District of Columbia and president of the Semiotics Society of America and the Charles S. Peirce Society

Scholarship and Citizenship: The Humanities and Democracy

Bruce Cole, chair, National Endowment for the Humanities

September 11 and the Four Modern Waves of Terror

David Rapoport, professor emeritus of political science, UCLA

Frost: A Personal Reminiscence

Robert W. Hill Jr., Henry Norman Hudson Professor of English, Middlebury College

About John Barlow

John Barlow was a faculty member and administrator at Indiana University for more than 30 years. He was among the founding faculty of IUPUI and the School of Liberal Arts, and later served the school as associate dean and dean. He is a professor emeritus of English and German, and he had appointments in philanthropic studies, women’s studies, and communication studies.

Colleagues, friends, family, and students of Barlow founded the Lecture to honor him when he retired.

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