The School of Liberal Arts’ Bobby Yan Lectureship in Media and Social Change welcomes Vann R. Newkirk II for a lecture and conversation on Wednesday, Feb. 16, at 6 p.m. in Kendall Cram Lecture Hall on the second floor of the Lavin Bernick Center for University Life.
Newkirk is a senior editor at The Atlantic, and the host and co-creator of the 2021 Peabody Award-winning podcast “Floodlines,” an eight-part narrative series about Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, released in March 2020.
“Floodlines” was named the top podcast of 2020 by NPR, The New Yorker and New York Magazine. For years, Newkirk has covered voting rights, democracy and environmental justice, with a focus on how race and class shape the country’s and the world’s fundamental structures. He was also a 2020 James Beard Award Finalist, a 2020 11th Hour Fellow at New America, and a 2018 recipient of the American Society of Magazine Editors’ ASME Next Award.
Newkirk’s talk, tentatively titled “Storytelling Against the Crisis,” will address the dual threats of climate crisis and racial inequality and the way they have affected the history of African Americans, as well as how storytelling is an underused tool against these threats. He will discuss specifically how journalism, oral history, documentary and photography—by and in vulnerable communities—will be critical in changing the narrative of who African Americans are, and how these communications will also be essential in slowing the onslaught of climate change that affects marginalized people most.
Newkirk will spend part of the lectureship in conversation with associate professor of history Andy Horowitz, who won a Bancroft Prize for his book Katrina: A History, 1915-2015.
“Vann Newkirk is a brilliant observer and analyst,” Horowitz said. “His writing is at once so sophisticated and so humane, especially on topics like the dispossession of farmers across the South, the poisoning by lead of children who live here in New Orleans, and other situations where it is essential to understand how historical structures of inequality, particularly racism, impinge on the lives of individuals today. I’m grateful for the opportunity to get to be in conversation with him.”
This event is free and open to the public. For more information and to RSVP, click here.
Presented by the School of Liberal Arts, this annual lectureship is named after Tulane Trailblazer and alumnus Bobby Yan.