Spoken Word

“The famous high school question of whether we identify with the predicament of the hero or heroine is not really the central question. It is rather we who live our life as if it were a story, constantly reaching for meaningfulness.”
Angela Moger, literature faculty1

All human beings smile; I would call that a universal. All babies eventually smile, but what that smile ends up meaning, and what it looks like, might vary enormously from culture to culture.”
Nancy Baker, philosophy faculty2

“What humans have been selected to do is to learn, and that is why we have a large brain. We do not come with many innate, already-shaped behaviors. We’ve been selected to use learning to guide our behavior. As a consequence of that, we are able to learn diverse things from the environment that may, in fact, lead to the cultural differences that we see.”
Leah Olson, biology faculty2

“One of the things the United Nations system has never committed itself to is tackling the law—tackling police, jails. No donor country wants to touch police or jails, for understandable reasons. We’ve never really been serious, in the developing world, about bringing about more lawful conditions for the way ordinary people live.”
Samantha Power, foreign policy columnist at Time3

“Many people imagine that the Saddam capture was some instant thing; that it was the result of lofty intelligence handed down, or CIA operatives, or overhead satellites that pinpointed his location, and troops just happened to be there to go get him. Nothing could be farther from the truth. It was the result of six months of very hard work.”
Lt. Col. Steve Russell, whose Army unit captured Saddam Hussein 4

“In order to write about power truly, you have to show not only how it was used, but also its effect on the people. Political power shapes peoples’ lives, and I don’t think there’s a better example of that than Robert Moses.”
Robert Caro, author of The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York 5

“One of the purposes of stereotypes is not only to simplify a group and make it a nice, clean package for you to understand, but also to alienate those other groups, to define ourselves by pointing out what we are not.”
Ryan Takemiya ’05, anti-racism educator 6

  1. “A Life of Learning” Senior Lecture, May 20, 2008
  2. “Human Universals: Fact and/or Fiction?” Inaugural year symposium, April 22, 2008
  3. “American Foreign Policy and the 2008 Election” April 1, 2008. Sponsored by the Donald C. Samuel Fund for Economics and Politics and the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation Chair in Middle Eastern Studies and International Affairs. Power is the Pulitzer-prize winning author of “A Problem from Hell”: America and the Age of Genocide.
  4. “Tracking and Capturing Saddam Hussein: A Report from the Field,” April 15, 2008. Sponsored by the Adda Bozeman Lecture Fund. Now retired, Russell was the commander of the 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry, during the Iraq War.
  5. Brendan Gill Lecture, February 8, 2008. Sponsored by the Office of the President and the Bronxville Historical Conservancy. Moses shaped New York City over 44 years of urban design. Caro won two Pulitzer Prizes for his biographies of Lyndon Johnson.
  6. “How to Spot a Stereotype” March 12, 2008. Sponsored by the Offices of Multicultural and International Affairs and Diversity and Student Engagement, as well as Common Ground.