During the course of three lectures, acclaimed author, critic, and photographer Teju Cole explores what it means to be a sensing being. Through personal accounts and literary examples, Cole will examine how the physical senses—and not only the traditional five of sight, smell, sound, taste, and touch—inform our experiences, open us up to epiphany, and shape our ethics.
Lecture 1 on April 8, 6-7:30 p.m.: Experience
Register for the first lecture.* As sensing beings, how do we experience our own senses? Cole draws on his personal stories of the senses, examples in literature, and built and natural environments to describe the universal experiences of our senses.
Lecture 2 on April 15, 6-7:30 p.m.: Epiphany
Register for the second lecture.* How does literature help inspire epiphany? Using examples from Romantic, modern, and contemporary literature, including his books Open City and Blind Spot, Cole explores how writing about the senses leads to epiphany.
Lecture 3 on April 22, 6-7:30 p.m.: Ethics
Register for the third lecture.* How do our senses foster our moral understanding and ethical obligations to others? By thinking through how our senses can help us understand the plight of travelers and migrants, Cole implores us to recognize the mutual and unshirkable responsibilities that bind all human beings.
The Berlin Family Lecture series are sponsored by Randy L. and Melvin R. Berlin, Chicago philanthropists and longtime supporters of the University of Chicago. Randy Lamm Berlin, AM’77, is a former lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School and a member and past chairperson of the Humanities Council at the Division of the Humanities. Melvin R. Berlin is Chairman Emeritus and founder of Berlin Packaging, LLC. The Randy L. and Melvin R. Berlin Family Lectures are named in honor of their gift to the Division of the Humanities.
* Attendees must register for each of the three lectures separately. Registration is free and open to the public.
Since 2014, the Randy L. and Melvin R. Berlin Family Lecture Series has brought to campus individuals who are making fundamental contributions to the arts, humanities, and humanistic social sciences. Each visitor offers an extended series of lectures and develops a book for publication with the University of Chicago Press. The Berlin Family Lectures are sponsored by UChicago’s Division of the Humanities.
Free and open to the public. Registration required.
More information on Cole’s lectures and the Berlin Family Lecture Series is available at berlinfamilylectures.uchicago.edu.