Mandel Lectures in the Humanities

  • An image of houses in a city
  • An image of people of different ages

The goal of the Mandel Lectures in the Humanities is to promote the study of the humanities at Brandeis University. The series launched in 2011, following the 2010 opening of the Mandel Center for the Humanities.

Each year, prominent scholars deliver a series of three lectures and conduct an informal seminar during their stay on campus. The series is unique in its rotation of disciplines or fields within the humanities and humanistic social sciences. Following the completion of each year's lectures, the talks are published in book form for Brandeis University Press. The resulting series of books reflects both the interdisciplinary mission of the Mandel Center, and the wide range of extraordinary work being done in the humanities today.

2022 Mandel Lectures

Colm Tóibín

Colm Tóibín, Irene and Sidney B. Silverman Professor of the Humanities
Columbia University


"Between Heaven and Harlem: James Baldwin's Beginnings"

March 30, 2022


Open to the public.


Lunch Symposium

March 31, 2022


MCH 303, Mandel Reading Room

Open to the public.


"Stranger in Each Village: James Baldwin in the World"

March 31, 2022


Open to the public.

Past Lectures


Daphne Brooks

"We the People": Protest Music in America and the Black Freedom Struggle

Daphne A. Brooks, William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of African American Studies, Music, American Studies, and Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies
Yale University

  • Lecture 1: "Invisible Music: The Sonic Idea of Black Revolution from Captivity to Reconstruction"
  • Lecture 2: "Solidarity in Sound: Grassroots Arrangements & Civil Rights Transformation"
  • Lecture 3: "'Scratching the Celluloid': Sonic Plotting & Planning while Facing the 21st Century Catastrophe"

Nancy LangstonEnvironmental Humanities and the New Mobilities of the Anthropocene: Climate Change and Animal Migrations in the North

Nancy Langston, Distinguished Professor of Environmental History, Member of the Great Lakes Research Center
Michigan Technological University


David Der-Wei WangThe Alien, The Ghost, The Post-human: Why Fiction Matters in Contemporary China

David Der-Wei Wang, Edward C. Henderson Professor of Chinese Literature
Harvard University

Resulting Book Publication: “Why Fiction Matters in Contemporary China” (forthcoming October 2020)


Dipesh ChakrabartyProvincializing Europe in a Warming World: On the Relevance and Limits of Postcolonial Criticism

Dipesh Chakrabarty, Lawrence A. Kimpton Distinguished Service Professor of History, South Asian Languages and Civilizations, and the College
University of Chicago


Wendy DonigerMemoirs of a Jewish Girlhood

Wendy Doniger, Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of the History of Religions
University of Chicago Divinity School
also in the Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations, the Committee on Social Thought, and the College

Resulting Book Publication: “The Donigers of Great Neck: A Mythologized Memoir” (2019)


Ingrid RowlandDivine Spark of Syracuse

Ingrid Rowland, Professor of Classical and Renaissance Architecture
University of Notre Dame

Resulting Book Publication: “The Divine Spark of Syracuse” (2018)


James WoodLetters to a Young Writer

James Wood
Professor of the Practice of Literary Criticism
Harvard University

Resulting Book Publication:The Nearest Thing to Life” (2015)


David NirenbergJudaizing Aesthetics: Painting, Poetry, Politics

David Nirenberg, Deborah R. and Edgar D. Jannotta Distinguished Service Professor of Social Thought, Medieval History, Fundamentals, Middle East Studies, Romance Languages and Literatures, and the College
University of Chicago

Resulting Book Publication: “Aesthetic Theology and its Enemies: Judaism in Christian Painting, Poetry, and Politics” (2015)