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Author of "Full Body Burden" will Kick Off U of M’s Orr Center Lecture Series September 13

For release: August 23, 2012
For press information, contact Curt Guenther, 901-678-2843

Kristen Iversen
Kristen Iversen

The first of five events to be presented this fall by the University of Memphis’ Marcus W. Orr Center for the Humanities will be Thursday, September 13, in the IMAX Theatre at the Memphis Pink Palace Museum.  Kristen Iversen, director of the MFA Program in Creative Writing at the U of M, will discuss her blockbuster new book, Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats.

Full Body Burden is Iversen's memoir about the unspoken troubles that plagued her family, but it is also the story of the nuclear site at Rocky Flats, Col., which turned out to be a much greater public health hazard than the federal government was willing to admit.  The book is an amazing feat of investigative journalism, which tells the story of the grassroots movement to make the government recognize the injustice. 

Iversen’s presentation and the remainder of the Orr Center events are free and open to the public.  All events will feature a reception at 6 p.m. followed by a program at 6:30, with a book-signing immediately afterward.  With the exception of Iversen’s talk, they will take place in the University Center Theater at the University of Memphis. 

The schedule of other Orr Center events this fall is as follows:

Thursday, September 27, Karlyn Campbell, professor of Communication Studies at the University of Minnesota, will deliver a timely lecture called “Partisanship and the Presidency,” tracing the historical growth of executive power through American military engagements.  She will also look at how these issues are influencing the 2012 presidential candidates.

Thursday, October 18, Katherine Bassard, professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University, will speak about her latest book, Transforming Scriptures: African American Women Writers and the Bible.  She will examine how the Bible initially inscribed black women as “cursed” victims, and how black female writers have recast the Bible into an instrument of “blessing.” 

Thursday, November 1, Deborah Gray White, Board of Governors Professor of History and Women’s Studies at Rutgers University, will deliver a talk entitled, “Brown Sugar Melts: African American Women at the Turn of the Millennium.”  Analyzing such public events as the Million Man March, she will explore the opinions and feelings of ordinary black women about such topics as marriage, family, gun control, and men.

Wednesday, November 14, Valerie Hudson, the George H.W. Bush Chair at The Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University, will discuss “Sex and World Peace.”  She argues that the very best predictor of a state's peacefulness is not its level of wealth, its level of democracy, or its ethno-religious identity; instead, the best predictor of state security is its treatment of women.

The Marcus W. Orr Center for the Humanities is dedicated to bringing together students, graduates, faculty, and the broader Memphis community for events that promote richer, deeper conversations about the issues that matter to us all. More information is available online at www.memphis.edu/moch or from Dr. Aram Goudsouzian at agoudszn@memphis.edu or 901-678-2520.
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