Barbara Ehrenreich, Nickel and Dimed author, to give Olin Fellows Lecture for Assembly Series

Prolific author and social critic Barbara Ehrenreich will give the Olin Fellows Lecture at 11 a.m. on Wed., Oct. 1 in Graham Chapel for the Assembly Series. This year’s Olin Conference theme is “Walking the Poverty Line.” The talk is free and open to the public, however, seating may be limited. Graham Chapel is located just north of Mallinckrodt Center (6445 Forsyth Blvd.) on the Washington University campus.

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

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 healthcare, class, families, sex and gender politics. Her earlier books include The American Health Empire: Power, Profits and Politics, Fear of Falling: The Inner Life of the Middle Class (nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award); Blood Rites: Origins and History of the Passions of War; and The Worst Years of our Lives (also a New York Times bestseller) and many others.

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

Ehrenreich received a bachelor’s degree from Reed College and a doctoral degree in biology in 1968 from Rockefeller University. She has taught at the graduate school of journalism at the University of California, Berkeley and at Brandeis Univiersity in Philadelphia.

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 in 1980.

Because of the anticipated interest in Ehrenreich’s lecture, seating for the general public may be limited. Please consult the Assembly Series website ( or call 314-935-5285.

The Olin Conference will continue with a panel discussion at 2 p.m. in the Women’s Building Formal Lounge. Please contact Nancy Buchanan at 314-935-6818 for information on the panel discussion.