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Author Ta-Nehisi Coates to speak on campus

Leading voice on race and politics to engage in conversation with Professor Pattillo

A portrait of Ta Nehisi Coates
Photo by Eduardo Montes Bradley
  • Tickets for students, faculty and staff are required for the free event
  • One ticket per person can be picked up at Norris box office beginning Jan. 10
  • Student-run speaker series brings another thought-provoking conversation to campus

EVANSTON - Writer and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates, a leading voice on race and politics who was named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in 2016, will speak on Northwestern University’s Evanston campus, and tickets for the free event will be available beginning Jan. 10.

Hosted by the student-run Contemporary Thought Speaker Series (CTSS), the event will be held at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 31. A conversation with Coates will be moderated by Mary Pattillo, the Harold Washington Professor of Sociology and African American Studies in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. Coates will then answer questions submitted by students.

Tickets are required for the event and are available for pick-up in-person at the Norris Box Office starting at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 10.

To ensure an even distribution of tickets for Northwestern students, faculty and staff, tickets will be released in waves over the course of a week. Only one ticket will be given out per person, and a WildCard is required. Information on the ticket release dates will be available on CTSS’ Facebook page.

Coates is an award-winning author and journalist and a national correspondent for The Atlantic. His 2015 memoir “Between the World and Me” was a New York Times bestseller and won the National Book Award. Coates also is a recipient of a MacArthur “genius” grant.

“We could not be more excited about bringing Ta-Nehisi to Northwestern,” said CTSS co-chair Ben Zimmermann. “His ability to shed light on the intersection of race, politics and culture should generate a really important and thought-provoking conversation on our campus.”

Coates’ 2014 critically acclaimed article “The Case for Reparations” was described by New York Magazine as “probably the most discussed magazine piece of the Obama era.” His most recent piece is the cover story for the January issue of The Atlantic, titled “My President Was Black.”

Coates has written for The New York Times Magazine, Washington City Paper and The Village Voice, among others. He also is the author of Marvel’s current Black Panther comic series.

“The impact of Coates’ work on our country’s conversation about race and police brutality speaks directly to our mission of bringing thought leaders to campus to discuss topics that directly concern and interest the Northwestern student body,” said CTSS co-chair Samantha Rose.

Professor Pattillo, who will moderate the conversation with Coates, does research related to Chicago history, politics and social life. Her areas of research include race and inequality, housing and urban politics. She is the author of two award-winning books,  “Black Picket Fences: Privilege and Peril among the Black Middle Class” and “Black on the Block: The Politics of Race and Class in the City.” Both focus on class stratification, public housing, education, crime, urban planning, community organizing and youth culture in African-American neighborhoods in Chicago. 

The event is co-sponsored by the Office of the President, Weinberg College’s Simeon Leland Fund, the Office of Student Affairs, the Buffett Institute for Global Studies and the department of political science.

The conversation with Coates will be the Contemporary Thought Speaker Series’ first event of the year. Previous CTSS speakers include Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Junot Díaz, journalist Sarah Koenig, hip-hop artist Killer Mike, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and activist Angela Davis.

For more information, contact CTSS co-chairs Ben Zimmermann benzimm2185@gmail.com and Samantha Rose, samantharose2017@u.northwestern.edu.

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