Assembly Series’ spring schedule begins Jan. 25 with Derrick Bell

Topics covered include sex, civil rights and science

Constitutional scholar Derrick Bell will present the first program in a very full schedule for the Assembly Series’ 2008 spring semester. Among the Series’ speakers are scientists, legal scholars, writers, sex experts and the St. Louis Symphony.

On January 25, the thirteenth Chancellor’s Fellowship Conference will feature Derrick Bell on the “Future of American Jurisprudence.” The talk will be at 11 a.m. in Graham Chapel, with a panel discussion beginning at 2 p.m. in the Women’s Building Lounge. Both events are free and open to the public.

Known for his theories on race that transcend the normal boundaries of liberal and conservative perspectives, Bell has championed the cause for civil rights and diversity in the workplace throughout his career. As the first tenured African American professor at Harvard University, he resigned on principle after determining that the institution was not trying hard enough to recruit minority female faculty. In many of his 10 published books, Bell explores the nature of discrimination and power, and examines racial issues within the context of their economic, social and political dimensions. Other titles include Faces at the Bottom on the Well: The Permanence of Racism, Confronting Authority: Reflections of an Ardent Protester, and Ethical Ambition: Living a Life of Meaning and Worth.

As a young civil rights attorney during the 1960s, Bell worked with many prominent African-American lawyers such as Thurgood Marshall. In 1969 he joined the Harvard Law School faculty. In 1980 he became dean the University of Oregon School of Law, but left after five years to protest what he considered a discriminatory move to block the hiring of a deserving Asian-American female.

Back at Harvard, Bell watched as other prestigious law schools hired women of color, but not his institution. In 1990, he took an unpaid leave of absence with the intention of staying away until Harvard hired minority women. After two years with no sign of progress, he resigned from Harvard and joined the law faculty at New York University as a visiting professor.

Bell received a bachelor’s degree from Duquesne University in 1952 and a law degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 1957.

The rest of the Assembly Series schedule follows. For additional information on any of these programs, please visit the Web site at, or call 314-935-5285.

St. Louis Symphony Concert

7:30 p.m., Monday, February 4. May Auditorium, Simon Hall

Two modern compositions will be performed by members of the renowned orchestra and conducted by David Robertson. The first will be “Voice of the Whale” composed by George Crumb, and the second piece will be “Different Trains” by Steve Reich.

George Whitesides

“Questions about Questions about the Origin of Life”

11 a.m., Wednesday, February 6. Graham Chapel

One of the most pre-eminent chemists working today, Whitesides’ achievements have led to significant breakthroughs and developments in academia, business and government. He holds more than 50 patents and helped found several biotechnology businesses.

Leon Kass

4p.m., Wednesday, February 6. Graham Chapel

“Brave New Biology: The Challenge for Bioethics”

Chairing the President’s Council on Bioethics from 2002 to 2005 placed Kass, who has a medical degree and a Ph.D. in biochemistry, at the forefront of modern bioethical debates. Through his teaching, research and writing, he continues to influence conservative philosophical thought. Currently he is a fellow in social thought at the American Enterprise Institute.

Fatemeh Keshavarz

11 a.m.,Wednesday, February 13. Graham Chapel

“Jasmine and Stars: Reading more than Lolita in Tehran”

In her recent book, “Jasmine and Stars,” the Iranian-born poet and professor breaks through pervasive Western stereotypes of Iranians to show the vitality that exists in her homeland. Keshavarz teaches Persian and comparative literature, and chairs WUSTL’s department of Asian and Near Eastern languages & literatures.

Drew Pinsky

6 p.m., Friday, February 15. (located to be announced)

“Loveline with Dr. Drew”

As Dr. Drew from his nationally-syndicated radio talk show, “Loveline,” the popular advice columnist helps guide young Americans through the complications of love, sex and relationships. As a practicing physician, he sees a great need for helping young people form stable and healthy relationships.

Charles Ogletree

noon, Tuesday, March 4. Graham Chapel

“Race and the Roberts Court”

Issues such as reparations and affirmative action are of major importance to Ogletree, whose trial experiences include serving as legal counsel to Anita Hill during the Senate confirmation hearings for Justice Clarence Thomas. The Harvard Law School scholar has penned several books on racial justice, including All Deliberate Speed: Reflections on the First Half-Century of Brown v. Board of Education.

Philip Clayton

4:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 5. Whitaker Hall Auditorium

“From Quantum to Consciousness: Does Emergence Support the Language of Spirit?”

Theologian Clayton works at the intersection of science, modern philosophy, metaphysics, and religion. Recently, he has employed the new paradigm of emergence as a way to discuss concepts such as spirituality, human freedom and moral responsibility..

S. Jocelyn Bell Burnell

11 a.m., Wednesday, March 19. Graham Chapel

In the late 1960s, the then Cambridge University graduate student was instrumental in discovering the existence of pulsars, which introduced a new branch of astrophysics. Throughout her career, Bell Burnell has been a champion for women in the sciences.

Carl Phillips

4 p.m., Tuesday, March 25. Umrath Lounge

With nine volumes of poetry published and several major literary awards, Phillips’ distinction as a great poet is firmly established. The professor of English and African and African0American studies at WUSTL has been twice nominated for the National Book Award.

Strobe Talbott

“The Great Experiment: The Old World Order, the New World Order, and the Next World Order”

4 p.m., Wednesday, March 26. Graham Chapel

Talbott is a statesman, diplomat, author, and current president of The Brookings Institution, With his sharp intellect, gifted writing, and wide-ranging experience, the former deputy secretary of state under President Clinton has written books that capture an insider’s view of the United States’ foreign policy and its relationship to other nations, especially Russia.

Ari Sandel

4 p.m., Tuesday, April 1. Graham Chapel

One of the most hopeful and humorous takes on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict was created by filmmaker Sandel in a live action short film called “West Bank Story.” The musical parody featuring two warring families in the falafel business won an Oscar in 2007, as well as the hearts of millions of viewers.

Calvin Trillin

4 p.m., Thursday, April 3. Steinberg Hall Auditorium

Combining a reporter’s eye with a wicked sense of humor, Trillin turns every subject into masterful pieces that unerringly connect with readers. With more than 30 years of writing books, essays, columns, articles, novels and poetry on an astounding array of topics, he is an extraordinary chronicler of American culture.

Glen Bowersock

4 p.m., Thursday, April 10. (Location to be announced)

“Globalization in Late Antiquity”

For more than four decades, the eminent scholar of ancient Greece, Rome and the Near East taught at Harvard and later at Princeton, retiring in 2006 as emeritus professor of ancient history. He is the author of more than a dozen books and 300 journal articles, including Fiction as History from Nero to Julian, and Martyrdom and Rome.

Helen Fisher

“The Drive to Love: The Biology, Evolution and Future of Romantic Love”

11 a.m., Wednesday, April 16. Graham Chapel

In the groundbreaking book, the Anatomy of Love, anthropologist Fisher laid out her theory of three main phases of romantic love, noting that at each stage different hormones are involved and different areas of the brain are activated. Her research, detailed in several books and numerous articles, indicate that when it comes to love, we are at the mercy of our biochemistry.