Penn “Thinking With the Past” Lectures Move to Philadelphia Central Library

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Media Contact:Jacquie Posey | | 215-898-6460November 27, 2012

PHILADELPHIA –- The University of Pennsylvania “Thinking With the Past” lecture series has returned with a fresh lineup of speakers in a new home, the Parkway Central Library at 1901 Vine St.

The series, sponsored by the History Department at Penn, debuted last spring. It features Penn historians discussing their recent books. All lectures are free and open to the public. Each talk will begin at 7 p.m. in Room 108 of the Library.  The Penn Book Center will provide books for sale.  Online registration is available at

Eve Troutt Powell, associate professor of history at Penn, will kick off the lecture series on Wednesday, Dec. 12, with a talk titled, “Other People's Help: Studying Slavery in Cultures Not Your Own.”

Troutt Powell, a recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship, will will address themes in the film “The Help” and representations of black women in the movie, the legacies of slavery in the Middle East and the pitfalls of research she conducted for her most recent book Tell This in My Memory: Stories of Enslavement from Egypt, Sudan and the Ottoman Empire.

She’ll tackle questions about how societies outside the United States integrate the experience of slavery in their histories and how their constructions of racial or ethnic identity differ from how Americans have identified connections between race and slavery.

The second lecture, on March 20, will feature history Professor Kathy Peiss. The final installment of the series will feature history Professor Jonathan Steinberg on April 10.