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Meet the Author Series


About - Meet the Author Series

This program is offered in partnership with the Friends of Fondren Library. Each semester a Rice alumni or faculty member discusses a book they have written followed by a reception where guests can meet the author.

Upcoming Meet the Author Event

John B. Boles ’65, Ph.D., William P. Hobby Professor of History

Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017
6–7 p.m. talk and discussion 
7–8 p.m. reception

CLICK HERE to register for this event.

Join Rice alumni and friends for a special event featuring John B. Boles '65, the William P. Hobby Professor of History at Rice University and the former editor of the Journal of Southern History, who will discuss his book "Jefferson: Architect of American Liberty." A question-and-answer session and casual reception will follow. Co-sponsored by the Association of Rice Alumni (ARA), Friends of Fondren Library and the Susanne M. Glasscock School of Continuing Studies, the Meet the Author series features books written by Rice alumni, faculty and staff. 

The Book

Not since Merrill Peterson’s "Thomas Jefferson and the New Nation" has a scholar attempted to write a comprehensive biography of the most complex Founding Father. In this book, Boles plumbs every facet of Thomas Jefferson’s life, all while situating him amid the sweeping upheaval of his times. We meet Jefferson the politician and political thinker, as well as Jefferson the architect, scientist, bibliophile, paleontologist, musician and gourmet. We witness him drafting the Declaration of Independence, negotiating the Louisiana Purchase and inventing a politics that emphasized the states over the federal government — a political philosophy that shapes our national life to this day.

Boles offers new insight into Jefferson’s actions and thinking on race. His Jefferson is not a hypocrite, but a tragic figure — a man who could not hold simultaneously to his views on abolition, democracy and patriarchal responsibility. Yet despite his flaws, Jefferson’s ideas would outlive him and make him into nothing less than the architect of American liberty.

The Author

Professor Boles has been with Rice University since 1981, serving as the Allyn R. and Gladys M. Cline Chair in History from 1991–1997 and the William P. Hobby Professor of History since 1997. A professor for 30 years, teaching at Towson State College and Tulane University before coming to Rice, Professor Boles was the NEH Fellow in Anthropology at Johns Hopkins University from 1976–1977. He received his bachelor of arts from Rice in 1965 and his doctorate from the University of Virginia in 1967.

A renowned expert on U.S. Southern history, especially as it relates to antebellum social, cultural, religious, women's and African American history, Professor Boles has authored seven books, 10 editing projects, 35 scholarly articles and over 100 reviews. The managing editor of Journal of Southern History since 1983, Boles has served in editorial positions for several scholarship journals.

Past Speakers

Scott Solomon, PH.D., Professor in the Practice in the Department of Biosciences 

Scott Solomon teaches ecology, evolutionary biology, and scientific communication as a Professor in the Practice in the Department of BioSciences. He received a doctorate in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior from the University of Texas at Austin where his research examined the evolutionary basis of biological diversity in the Amazon Basin. As a postdoc he was a visiting researcher with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC and the Universidade Estadual Paulista in Rio Claro, Brazil. His writing and photography have appeared in publications such as Slate, Aeon, Nautilus, and and his first book, Future Humans: Inside the Science of Our Continuing Evolution was published by Yale University Press in October, 2016. He is a Baker Institute Civic Scientist, a Fellow of the Center for Teaching Excellence, and a Resident Associate at Baker College where he lives with his wife, Catharina, their three children, and a one-eyed dog.

Arnaud Chevallier '98, '01, Associate Vice Provost and Instructor of Strategic Thinking

Arnaud Chevallier '98, '01, Associate Vice Provost and instructor of strategic thinking in the George R. Brown School of Engineering at Rice University, researches tools to help people solve complex, ill-defined problems. A Rice graduate (MS ’98 and PhD ’01 in Mechanical Engineering), he is a former strategy consultant. He is currently an associate vice provost at Rice, where he teaches in the engineering school.  He spoke about his book "Strategic Thinking in Complex Problem Solving" which provides practical ways to develop problem solving skills, such as investigating complex questions with issue maps, using logic to promote creativity, leveraging analogical thinking to approach unfamiliar problems, and managing diverse groups to foster innovation. 

Anthony Pinn, Agnes Cullen Arnold Professor of Humanities and professor of religion

Anthony PinnProfessor Anthony Pinn spoke in Spring 2016 about his book "Humanism: Essays on Race, Religion and Popular Culture," which provides a humanities-based analysis and description of humanism in relation to these cultural markers. The book explores humanism in relation to how life is arranged, socialized, ritualized and framed. In addition to his role as professor, Pinn is the founding director of the Center for Engaged Research and Collaborative Learning (CERCL) at Rice. CERCL uses curricular innovation and imaginative research agendas to enhance models of leadership within the urban context.

Scott Dodson '96

Scott DodsonLovett College alumnus Scott Dodson '96 spoke about his book "The Legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg." The book chronicles and evaluates the remarkable achievements Ginsburg has made over the past half century and includes chapters written by prominent court watchers and leading scholars from law, political science and history. Dodson is currently the Harry and Lillian Hastings Research Chair and Professor of Law at the University of California Hastings College of Law.


Friends of Fondren

Co-sponsored by the Association of Rice Alumni (ARA) and the Friends of Fondren Library, the Meet the Author series features books written by Rice alumni, faculty and staff.

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