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Common Hour

Spring 2014

Common Hour is held on select Fridays from 12:30-1:30 p.m., during which time no classes or committee meetings are scheduled. Open to Bowdoin students, faculty, and staff. Common Hour statement of purpose.

Ingrid Nelson, Karofsky Faculty Encore Lecture

Ingrid Nelson,

Friday, January 31
Kresge Auditorium, Visual Arts Center

Ingrid Nelson, Assistant Professor of Sociology, came to Bowdoin in 2010. She teaches courses on educational inequality, race and ethnicity, and research methods. Her current research focuses on the ways that families, schools and community-based organizations influence disadvantaged young people as they transition from high school to college. A graduate of Wellesley College, Professor Nelson earned her M.A. and Ph.D. from Stanford University.


Benjamin Jealous, Former CEO and President of the NAACP

Benjamin Jealous,

Friday, February 21
Pickard Theater, Memorial Hall

"That One Big Thing"

Benjamin Jealous stepped down from his post as CEO and president of the NAACP in December. The youngest president in the organization’s history, he has been a leader of successful state and local movements to ban the death penalty, outlaw racial profiling, defend voting rights, secure marriage equality, and free multiple wrongfully incarcerated people. A Rhodes Scholar, Jealous is a graduate of Columbia and Oxford universities. He has been named to the “40 under 40” lists of both Forbes and Time magazines, and labeled a Young Global Economic Leader by the World Economic Forum.

Tickets are free but required.   Tickets available beginning Monday, February 3, at the David Saul Smith Union Info Desk.


Dan M. Kahan, Professor of Law and Professor of Psychology at Yale Law School

Dan M. Kahan,

Friday, April 4
Kresge Auditorium, Visual Arts Center

Dan Kahan is the Elizabeth K. Dollard Professor of Law and Professor of Psychology at Yale Law School. In addition to risk perception, his areas of research include science communication and the application of decision science to law and policymaking.  He is a member of the Cultural Cognition Project, an interdisciplinary team of scholars who use empirical methods to examine the impact of group values on perceptions of risk and related facts. In studies funded by the National Science Foundation, his research has investigated public disagreement over climate change, public reactions to emerging technologies, and conflicting public impressions of scientific consensus.


Student Chamber Ensembles Concert 

Student Chamber Ensembles Concert

Friday, April 11
Studzinski Recital Hall

Please join us for a relaxing afternoon of wonderful music performed by students in the Bowdoin Department of Music.


Museum Pieces 

Museum Pieces

Friday, May 9
Museum of Art Terrace

Museum Pieces, a Bowdoin tradition for more than twenty years, will conclude the 2013-2014 Common Hour series. The annual event celebrates the arrival of spring through dance and music provided by the Department of Theater and Dance, class projects, and independent student work.


Past Common Hour Speakers

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Sen. George Mitchell '54

Former Senate Majority Leader, negotiator of the Northern Ireland Peace Accord and chair of the investigation into illegal steroid use in Major League Baseball.

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Eve Ensler

Eve Ensler is an internationally acclaimed playwright and author of The Vagina Monologues.

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Salman Rushdie

One of the most successful, controversial novelists of his generation, his work includes Midnight's Children and The Satanic Verses.

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Dina Temple-Raston

Adding to the coverage of NPR's national security team, Dina Temple-Raston is the FBI correspondent for NPR News.

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Robert Kennedy, Jr.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. brought the audience to its feet with a speech that swayed between preaching politics and just plain preaching.

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Marjora Carter

Marjora Carter founded Sustainable South Bronx in 2001 to achieve environmental justice through economically sustainable projects informed by community needs. 

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Tony Kushner

American playwright and screenwriter, Tony Kushner received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for Angels in America.

Nominate a Speaker

Do you have a great idea you'd like to see realized?  Did you know that Bowdoin students, faculty, and staff can nominate someone at any time of the year?  It's extremely easy and only takes a minute.  Nominate a Common Hour speaker now!  Your feedback is much appreciated and any nominations you submit help drive the content of the program.

Common Hour
Common Hour aims to provide an occasion for faculty, students, and staff to absent themselves from daily concerns, gather in common spaces, and engage in the ideas of speakers and the presentations of artists, and with each other in discussion of shared interests and concerns. The hour will seek to bring into the public Bowdoin forum the best of what happens in our academic departments, student groups, and the wider world: political commentary; discussion of scientific and technological issues; the work of writers, poets and journalists; philosophical ideas; the visual and performing arts; sports; business; and international affairs. 

· All speakers' books available at the Bowdoin Bookstore
· Browse the  Common Hour Archives
· Listen to Podcasts of past speakers' talks

Contact Common Hour at CHour@bowdoin.edu