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Official News From the Office of Communications

Belmont Celebrates Tenth Annual Humanities Symposium Sept. 14-21

Author/activist Dr. Maya Angelou to provide keynote address September 19

Belmont University is hosting its 10th annual Humanities Symposium this month, featuring keynote speaker and special guest Dr. Maya Angelou. Dr. Angelou is one of the most renowned and influential voices of our time. Hailed as a global renaissance woman, Dr. Angelou is a celebrated poet, memoirist, novelist, educator, dramatist, producer, actress, historian, filmmaker and civil rights activist.

Centered on the theme “Liberating Voices,” the 2011 Humanities Symposium will occur from Sept. 14-21 and parallels the 2011-12 university theme of “Belmont Questions: Wealth and Poverty.” The Humanities Symposium seeks to fulfill the classical definition of what a symposium should be: a gathering of friends for the purpose of intellectually stimulating conversation on a matter important to humanity, time and place. This year’s Symposium features 31 events, which together will engage in a week-long conversation about the ways in which the Humanities helps to liberate people by providing a space for them to tell their own stories while listening to others’ stories that are different from their own.

“We are very excited about the 31 events featured as part of this year’s symposium, and we believe that they will call us toward action and perhaps even liberation,” said Dr. Amy Hodges Hamilton, associate professor of English and a co-chair of the event. “As Dr. Angelou once explained, ‘There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.’”

Dr. Caresse John, assistant professor of English and the other co-chair, added, “The Humanities compel us to move beyond our individual selves and consider the human narrative, in all its complex beauty. What better way to celebrate the important insights the Humanities provide than by sharing our stories of oppression and, ultimately, of liberation.”

As with all Humanities Symposium events, “An Evening with Maya Angelou” on Mon., Sept. 19 will be free and open to the public. However, due to the anticipated interest, this will be a ticketed event, and Belmont’s Curb Event Center is expected to fill to capacity. A limited number of general admission tickets will be made available to the public both online and at the Curb Event Center box office tomorrow, Wed., Sept. 7 at 10 a.m. Click here to reserve tickets beginning at that time. Free parking and shuttle service will be available from Woodmont Baptist Church (2100 Woodmont Blvd.) to the Curb Event Center.

Author of more than 30 best-selling titles and a Pulitzer Prize nominee, Dr. Maya Angelou has served on two presidential committees, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Arts in 2000, the Lincoln Medal in 2008 and has received three Grammy Awards in addition to more than 30 honorary degrees. Her memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, was published in 1970 to international acclaim and enormous popular success.

Other featured speakers for the 2011 Humanities Symposium include TSU English professor and Women’s Studies Program coordinator Dr. Rebecca Dixon, poet and essayist Nancy Mairs, University of Texas Languages and Linguistics Chair Dr. Kirsten Nigro and Rafia Zakaria, the first Pakistani American woman to serve as a director for Amnesty International USA. All events are free and open to the public, though the “Evening with Maya Angelou” will require tickets.

For more information and to view the full program of events, visit www.belmont.edu/cas/humanities_symposium.