George Scialabba

George Scialabba

Public Intellectual and Social Critic

"Slouching Towards Utopia "

8:00 PM Monday, March 12, 2018
Dennison Theatre

"Last Men and Women "

3:00 PM Monday, March 12, 2018
GBB 123

Please join us for a seminar and lecture with George Scialabba. After studying history and literature at Harvard University (AB 1969) and intellectual history at Columbia University (MA 1972), he found employment as a substitute teacher, social worker, and a Harvard University building manager. His intellectual life for the past thirty-five years has been devoted to freelance book reviewing and political commentary. Scialabba’s reviews have appeared in Agni, The Boston Globe, Dissent, the Virginia Quarterly Review, The Nation, The American Conservative, Commonweal, The Village Voice, The Washington Post, The American Prospect, and many other publications. In 1991, he received the Nona Balakian Excellence in Reviewing Award from the National Book Critics Circle. In 2007 and 2008, he taught in the Bennington College Graduate Writing Seminars Program. Since retiring from Harvard, he has been writing a book column for The Baffler. When he retired, on August 31, 2015, the city of Cambridge, Massachusetts, declared the date “George Scialabba Day.” Speakers converged on Harvard Square to pay tribute to him, including Thomas Frank, Barbara Ehrenreich, and Noam Chomsky.

 A collection of Scialabba’s reviews appeared in his first book, Divided Mind (2006). William Corbett’s publishing house, Pressed Wafer, brought out four subsequent collections of his essays: What Are Intellectuals For? (2009), The Modern Predicament (2011), For the Republic (2013), and Low Dishonest Decades: Essays and Reviews, 1980-2015 (2016). In The New Yorker’s year-end roundup of the best books of the year for 2011, James Wood selected The Modern Predicament and said of Scialabba: “he has an enviably wide range: he writes superbly about D.H. Lawrence, the philosopher Charles Taylor, about Michel Foucault, Philip Rieff, Kierkegaard, and many others…. [He is] a shrewd, learned, undogmatic guide to contemporary debates about theology and postmodernity.” Historian Jackson Lears writes: “George Scialabba is one of a handful of public intellectuals who are keeping the critical spirit alive in a time of stupefying complacency. His essays are unfailingly fresh, provocative, and pleasurable.”

In addition, that evening at 8:00 in the Dennison Theatre, he will give the Ezio Cappadocia Memorial Lecture on Politics and History: “Slouching Towards Utopia.”