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The Graduate School

G-1 Communications Building
Box 353770
Seattle, Washington 98195-3770

Phone: 206.543.5900
Fax: 206.685.3234

Jill Lepore

Walker Ames Endowment

  • Professor of American History, Harvard University

October 10, 2013   |   6:30 p.m.
Kane Hall, Room 220

You do not need to be an alum of the University of Washington to attend or register.
Powered in partnership with the UW Alumni Association

Unseen: A History of Privacy

In this illustrated lecture, Harvard historian Jill Lepore considers the strange history of the relationship between the unseen and the unknown. Moving from the mysteries of the medieval church to the privacy settings on Facebook, Lepore argues that what was once mysterious became secret and, finally, private.

About Jill Lepore

Jill Lepore is the David Woods Kemper '41 Professor of American History at Harvard. She is also a staff writer at The New Yorker.

Lepore received a B.A. in English from Tufts University in 1987, an M.A. in American Culture from the University of Michigan in 1990, and a Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale University in 1995. She came to Harvard in 2003. She became chair of Harvard's History and Literature program in 2005. In 2012, she was named Harvard College Professor, in recognition of distinction in undergraduate teaching.

Lepore has been a contributor to The New Yorker since 2005 and a staff writer since 2008. Her essays and reviews have also appeared in the New York Times, the Times Literary Supplement, American Scholar, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Smithsonian Magazine, the Journal of American History, American Quarterly and Common-place, a magazine she co-founded. Her work has been widely reprinted, including in anthologies of the best technology writing and the best legal writing, and has been translated into Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, and Latvian. Lepore's research focuses on the histories of war and violence and of language and literacy. Much of her writing explores absences and asymmetries of evidence in the historical record. Lepore's biography of Benjamin Franklin's sister, Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin, will be published in October 2013. Her previous books include The Mansion of Happiness: A History of Life and Death (Knopf, 2012), a finalist for the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction; The Story of America: Essays on Origins (Princeton, 2012), shortlisted for the PEN Literary Award for the Art of the Essay; The Whites of Their Eyes: The Tea Party's Revolution and the Battle for American History (Princeton, 2010), a Times Book Review Editors' Choice; New York Burning: Liberty, Slavery and Conspiracy in Eighteenth-Century Manhattan (Knopf, 2005), winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Award for the best nonfiction book on race and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; The Name of War: King Philip's War and the Origins of American Identity (Knopf, 1998), winner of the Bancroft Prize, the Ralph Waldo Emerson Award, and the Berkshire Prize; and Blindspot (Spiegel and Grau, 2008), a novel written jointly with Jane Kamensky, also a Times Book Review Editors' Choice.

In 2012-13 Lepore was a Visiting Scholar of the Phi Beta Kappa Society; in 2013-16 she is a Distinguished Lecturer of the Organization of American Historians. In 2013, she delivered "Hidden: The History of Mystery, Secrecy, and Privacy," as the Joanna Jackson Goldman Memorial Lectures on American Civilization and Government at the New York Public Library. In 2015, she will deliver "Foolproof: A History of Evidence," as the Mandel Lectures in the Humanities at Brandeis. Lepore's research has been funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Pew Foundation, the Gilder Lehrman Institute, the Charles Warren Center, and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. Her honors and awards include the Sarah Josepha Hale Medal for Distinction in Literature and the Kidger Award for service to the historical profession.

Lepore currently serves on the boards of the National Portrait Gallery and the Society of American Historians. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Sponsoring Departments:

  • UW Graduate School
  • UW Alumni Association
  • Department of History
  • Department of Political Science
  • Department of English
  • Walter Chapin Simpson Center for the Humanities