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Harvard professor and award-winning author Matthew Desmond to present in Humanities Lecture Series

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

LAWRENCE — Matthew Desmond, professor of sociology at Princeton University and award-winning author, will speak at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14, in Woodruff Auditorium in the Kansas Union. “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City” is free and open to the public. A reception and book signing will occur after the lecture. This lecture is supported by the Sosland Foundation of Kansas City, Missouri.

There also will be a free, public Breakfast and Conversation session with Desmond at 9 a.m. Nov. 15 in the Hall Center Conference Hall. RSVP is required today, Nov. 8, by emailing hallcenter@ku.edu or calling 785-864-4798. The breakfast is sponsored by the Friends of the Hall Center.

Even in the most desolate areas of American cities, evictions used to be rare. But today, most poor renting families are spending more than half of their income on housing, and eviction has become ordinary, especially for single mothers. In "Evicted," Desmond provides a ground-level view of one of the most urgent issues facing America today. As we see families forced into shelters, squalid apartments or more dangerous neighborhoods, we bear witness to the human cost of America’s vast inequality — and to people’s determination and intelligence in the face of hardship. Based on years of embedded fieldwork and painstakingly gathered data, this masterful book transforms our understanding of extreme poverty and economic exploitation while providing fresh ideas for solving a devastatingly, uniquely American problem.

"Evicted" won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction, the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction, the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction and the Barnes & Noble Discover New Writers Award, and is a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Current Interest.

Founded in 1947, the Humanities Lecture Series is the oldest continuing series at KU. More than 150 eminent scholars from around the world have participated in the program, including author Salman Rushdie, poet Gwendolyn Brooks and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. Recent speakers have included Junot Diaz, Jeffrey Toobin, and Sarah Vowell. Shortly after the program’s inception, a lecture by one outstanding KU faculty member was added to the schedule. For information on the series, visit the Hall Center website.

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