Assembly Series

Oct. 1: Author, critic Ehrenreich

Prolific author and social critic Barbara Ehrenreich will give the Olin Fellows Conference Lecture at 11 a.m. Oct. 1 in Graham Chapel as part of the Assembly Series.

The Olin Fellows Conference theme is “Walking the Poverty Line.” The lecture is free and open to the public; however, seating may be limited.

Concerned and curious about whether President Clinton’s “Welfare To Work” program was successful, Ehrenreich spent two years trying to support herself on the wages of unskilled workers. After waiting tables, cleaning houses, assisting Alzheimer’s patients in a nursing home and stocking shelves at a Wal-Mart, Ehrenreich concluded that a serious mistake had been made.

The details of her two-year odyssey and her insights into the problems of the working poor in America are found in Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By In America, one of a dozen books she has published covering a wide range of subjects such as health care, class, families, sex and gender politics.

In addition, she is a contributing writer for a host of national magazines, including Time, for whom she has been a regular essayist since 1990, The Nation, Atlantic Monthly, The New Republic, The Progressive, Harper’s Magazine and The New York Times Magazine.

Ehrenreich has taught at the graduate school of journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, and at Brandeis University.

Among her many honors are the Sydney Hillman Award for Journalism, a Ford Foundation Award for Humanistic Perspectives on Contemporary Society, a Guggenheim Fellowship and a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. In addition, Ehrenreich shared the National Magazine Award for Excellence in Reporting.

Because of the anticipated interest in Ehrenreich’s lecture, seating for the general public may be limited. Go online to or call 935-5285 for updates.

The Olin Conference will continue with a panel discussion at 2 p.m. in the Women’s Building Formal Lounge. Call Nancy Buchanan at 935-6818 for information about the panel discussion.

— Nadee Gunasena

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