Wittenberg has announced that it will offer a special spring session of talks and performances as part of its Wittenberg Series’ programming.
Following a two-year hiatus, the Series will welcome successful Hollywood producer Lauren Schmidt Hissrich; environmental historian Matthew Morse Booker of the National Humanities Center; and Grammy Award-winning quartet Third Coast Percussion.
All Wittenberg Series events are free and open to the public. Please note that doors open 30 minutes prior to the beginning of each lecture or performance.
A member of the Wittenberg class of 2000, Hissrich will serve as the keynote speaker for the Allen J. Koppenhaver Literary Lecture at 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 17, in Bayley Auditorium of the Barbara Deer Kuss Science Center. Hissrich is the creator, showrunner, and executive producer for the highly acclaimed Netflix show, The Witcher S1-S3, based on the Polish book series of the same name. She also served as producer on the anime spin-off The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf and executive producer on the prequel The Witcher: Blood Origin. Before that, she was a co-executive producer on Defenders for Marvel/Netflix and on Daredevil for Marvel/Netflix.
Hissrich previously worked as a co-executive producer on Power at Starz, a supervising producer on both Do No Harm and Parenthood for NBC, as well as on Private Practice for Touchstone/ABC for two seasons. She has also developed multiple pilots for CBS, NBC, and Bravo after starting her career as a writer for Aaron Sorkin and John Wells on The West Wing for NBC where she spent multiple seasons.
Hailing from Westerville, Ohio, Hissrich majored in English literature and creative writing with a minor in women’s studies. She originally came to Wittenberg to study psychology, but with some encouragement from Professor of English Robin Inboden, she switched to English her second year and never looked back. She was also a member of Chi Omega sorority, worked in the Writing Center, and was fortunate to study abroad her entire junior year at Lancaster University in England.
The William A. Kinnison Endowed Lecture will be the second event of this special Wittenberg Series and will take place on Monday, Feb. 20, at 7 p.m. in Bayley Auditorium. The keynote speaker will be Matthew Morse Booker, vice president for scholarly programs at the National Humanities Center in North Carolina. His address is titled “What role can the humanities play in addressing climate change?”
Booker, also associate professor of environmental history at North Carolina State University where he serves as director of the Science, Technology & Society program and the Visual Narrative research cluster, examines the intersection between human beings and the natural world in North America in his research while studying the boundaries of history, ecology, law and food production in urban and coastal spaces, using archival, digital humanities, and public history methods. In 2020, he was appointed by the National Humanities Center to serve as vice president for scholarly programs.
Booker holds a B.A. in Latin American history from the University of California, Berkeley, an M.S. in environmental studies from the University of Oregon, and received his Ph.D. in American history from Stanford University. He has published in a wide variety of forums on the interrelations between human beings and the natural world, with an emphasis on coastal cities in North America. He also regularly collaborates with K–12 teachers, museum curators, natural scientists, and others who love the humanities. His current research explores the rise and fall of food production within American industrial cities, and his most recent book, with Chad Ludington, Food Fights: How History Matters to Contemporary Food Debates, pairs essays debating food safety, agricultural and food subsidies, GMOs, and other urgent disputes.
The third Wittenberg Series event will take place on Saturday, April 1, at 7 p.m. in Weaver Chapel featuring a concert by Third Coast Percussion. A Grammy Award-winning quartet of classically-trained percussionists, Third Coast Percussion, founded in 2005, has performed hundreds of concerts across the country. Based out of Chicago, the group regularly presents an annual concert season at home and has played in 39 of 50 states, Washington, D.C., as well as international tour dates across four continents.
In addition to its own performances, the quartet teaches musicians of all ages and experience levels, and has commissioned dozens of new works by composers including Glenn Kotche, Chris Cerrone, Donnacha Dennehy, Timo Andres, David T. Little, Ted Hearne, and Augusta Read Thomas. The ensemble has forged a unique path in the musical landscape with virtuosic, energetic performances that celebrate the extraordinary depth and breadth of musical possibilities in the world of percussion. Their current album, Perspectives, has been nominated for a Grammy in two categories.
The four members of Third Coast are also accomplished teachers and currently serve as the ensemble-in-residence at Denison University. Members include David Skidmore, Robert Dillon, Peter Martin, and Sean Connors – all of whom met while studying percussion music at the Northwestern University.
To make special arrangements or become a friend of the Wittenberg Series, contact Katie Warber at firstname.lastname@example.org.