Featured Conference Speakers

Friday, November 11

Dr. Danielle Allen
2016 Capps Lecturer, 5:15 pm

This year’s distinguished Capps Lecturer is Dr. Danielle Allen, Director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University as well as professor in Harvard’s Department of Government and Graduate School of Education. Allen received a PhD in Classics from the University of Cambridge in 1996 and a PhD in Government from Harvard University in 2001. Known for her research in democratic theory and political sociology, Allen is the author of The World of Prometheus: The Politics of Punishing in Democratic Athens (Princeton University Press, 2000), Talking to Strangers: Anxieties of Citizenship since Brown vs. Board of Education (University of Chicago Press, 2004), Why Plato Wrote (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality (Norton/Liveright, 2014), and Education and Equality (2016). She is also a co-editor on a number of projects, including the award-winning Education, Justice, and Democracy (University of Chicago Press, 2013, with Rob Reich) and From Voice to Influence: Understanding Citizenship in the Digital Age (University of Chicago Press, 2015, with Jennifer Light). Allen has served as chair of a number of boards, including past chair of the Pulitzer Prize Board and current chair of the Mellon Foundation Board.

About the Capps Lecture: The Walter H. Capps Memorial Lecture was established by the Federation Board of Directors in 1999 to honor the memory of Congressman Walter H. Capps – teacher, writer, public servant, and humanist. A member of the California state humanities council for six years, and its chair for three, Congressman Capps was also the Federation board chair from 1983 to 1985.

Saturday, November 12

Dr. William D. Adams
Breakfast with the NEH Chair, 8:45 am

Join Dr. William D. Adams, the tenth chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), on Saturday morning for breakfast as he addresses conference attendees. Chairman Adams has overseen the NEH’s 50th anniversary events and launched The Common Good initiative, which includes eight programs ranging from Humanities in the Public Square to Latino Americans. Adams earned his undergraduate degree in philosophy at Colorado College and a PhD from the University of California at Santa Cruz History of Consciousness Program. Prior to serving as the NEH Chairman, Adams studied in France as a Fulbright Scholar and held teaching appointments in political philosophy at Santa Cruz University in California and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also served as vice president and secretary of Wesleyan University before he became president of Bucknell University in 1995 and president of Colby College in 2000.

Dr. Elizabeth Fenn
Closing Event, 5:30 pm

Dr. Elizabeth Fenn, the third and final featured speaker at the 2016 National Humanities Conference, is the chair of the History Department at the University of Colorado Boulder, where she is the Walter and Lucienne Driskill Professor of Western American History. Her Yale University dissertation, Pox Americana: The Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1775-82, was published by Hill and Wang in 2001. More recently, she completed Encounters at the Heart of the World: A History of the Mandan People, which won the 2015 Stubbendieck Great Plains Distinguished Book Prize, the 2015 Colorado Book Award in History, the 2015 Albert J. Beveridge Award, the 2015 Caroline Bancroft History Prize, and the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for History. Fenn is now at work on a biography of Sakagawea.