Despite the tumult of midterms the week of March 12 and spring break the following week, Princeton University is still home to an array of events. Below are just a few of the many activities scheduled in the next few weeks on campus — events that would not normally be included in the day-by-day listings of U.S. 1. To see a complete schedule of on-campus public events, visit www.princeton.edu/events for the university’s online calendar. All events listed below are free, unless otherwise noted.
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Thursday, March 8, 4:30 p.m. “A Conversation with Daniel Ellsberg: ‘Secrets, Lies and Leaks: From the Pentagon Papers to Wikileaks.’” Hear Daniel Ellsberg, former consultant to the White House and Department of Defense, discuss how government secrecy not only violates public trust, but sparks key questions about one of the basic principles of First Amendment rights. Where does national security end and accountability to the public begin?
The choice of Ellsberg as speaker is a monumental one, for he was at the very heart of the Pentagon Papers scandal of the early ’70s. Meant to detail the history of the 20-year war in Vietnam, the Papers revealed government conclusions that there could be no American victory in Vietnam and provided evidence that the estimated casualties of the conflict were higher than publicly reported.
In 1971 Ellsberg created political controversy on a national scale when he gave the media access to the Pentagon Papers. By opening up the research of that study to public scrutiny, Ellsberg exposed how the U.S. government had not made crucial information public. As a result of a supposed breach of national security, Ellsberg was brought to trial in 1973 on 12 felony counts.
In the wake of Wikileaks and the information it uncovered about the conflict in the Middle East, the question of the limits of freedom of speech is as pressing as ever. Sponsored by the Woodrow Wilson School and the Princeton University Committee on Public Lectures. 609-258-2943. Dodds Auditorium, Robertson Hall.
Friday and Saturday, March 9 and 10; Wednesday through Friday, March 14 to 16, 8 p.m. “Woyzeck.”
In her adaptation and direction of 19th century German playwright Georg Buchner’s “Woyzeck,” Princeton senior Cara Tucker will bring to light the final, uncompleted work of a writer whose fame once rivaled that of Goethe.
The play, loosely based on a highly controversial murder of the 1820s, explores mental illness, morality and, ultimately, human frailty and tragedy, as it documents the undoing of its protagonist, Franz Woyzeck. In a bid to support his lover, a former prostitute, Woyzeck supplements his income by submitting to questionable medical experiments. Psychosis soon overtakes Woyzeck, who is overcome by disturbing hallucinations.
Tucker’s adaptation of “Woyzeck” is unconventional. “We’ve explored what Woyzeck says he sees and hears in the original script onto the stage. The (hallucinations) are real, present, and powerful to him. The exhaustion and effort of his daily routine is not just something to know about going into the play, it’s something the audience witnesses,” says Tucker. $15; $10 for students and seniors. 609-258-2787. They can also be purchased before each performance. Sponsored by the Program in Theater at the Lewis Center for the Arts. Berlind Theater at McCarter Theater .
Wednesday, March 14, 4:30 p.m. “Shakespeare and the Shape of a Life: The Uses of Life Stories.” Harvard University’s Stephen Greenblatt asks: “How did William Shakespeare understand ‘self’”? The 21st century offers numerous self-help books to address that very question, but was it understood in the same way centuries ago?
Greenblatt has authored numerous articles and books, most recently “Swerve,” which garnered the National Book Award in 2011.
In his lecture, he will probe the meaning of Shakespeare’s use of the phrase “in my life.” As he uncovers how the phrase surfaces in Shakespeare’s plays, Greenblatt will invite us to think about how we can understand what “self” signifies, not just within Shakespeare’s plays, but how Shakespeare’s understanding impacts how we understand ourselves today. Greenblatt will continue his discussion on Thursday, March 15, 4:30 p.m., with “Shakespeare and the Shape of a Life: The End of Stories.” Sponsored by the University Center for Human Values. 609-258-4798. Both lectures will be held at 101 McCormick Hall.
Saturday, March 17, 5 p.m. Opening lecture and reception for the Princeton Art Museum’s new exhibition, “John Constable: Oil Sketches from the Victoria and Albert Museum.”
Although Constable never left England, the groundbreaking work of this 19th century painter influenced later artists — particularly the Impressionists — and even contributed to the rise of Romanticism. He was one of the first painters to work outdoors, or “en plein air.” This exhibition assembles 85 of Constable’s oil sketches and offers a rare insight into the development of this pioneering artist.
The March 17 event begins with a lecture, “Conservative Revolutionary: John Constable and Art History,” by Mark Evans, senior curator of paintings at the Victoria and Albert Museum, who will describe just how dramatic Constable’s break with tradition was, helping us understand more of Constable’s impact not just on individuals, but on the practice of painting itself. A reception follows. 609-258-3788. Lecture, McCosh Hall 10; Reception, Princeton Art Museum.
Monday, March 12, 4:30 p.m. Brooksley Born, former chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), will speak on economic crisis in his lecture, “Financial Regulatory Reform: Imperative for Our Future.” Dodds Auditorium, Robertson Hall.
Thursday, March 15, 4:30 p.m. CUNY’s Darren Staloff will speak on how pleasure met and even shaped politics in early America. Staloff’s lecture, “Progress and Pleasure: Clubbing in the American Enlightenment,” will explain how social clubs modeled the republican ideals crucial for the development of the Enlightenment in the United States. Lewis Library 120.
Alana Shilling, a Princeton resident and the author of several articles on the relationship between poetry and memory, recently earned her Ph.D. in comparative literature from Princeton University.