Scripps College Announces Spring 2017 Season of “Scripps Presents” Public Events Series

Featuring luminaries Anna Deavere Smith, Ralph Nader, Chris Hayes, Eugenia Cheng, plus extraordinary contemporary writers Sarah Manguso, Jade Chang, Elif Batuman, Jami Attenberg, and MacArthur Genius Fellow Maggie Nelson and the not-to-be-missed evocative performance of Manual Cinema

Scripps College announced today its spring public events season that features a series of lively discussions with some of today’s most compelling figures on topics at the heart of America’s public discourse. The spring 2017 Scripps Presents season will feature personalities such as playwright, professor and actress Anna Deavere Smithlegendary consumer activist, author and speaker Ralph Nader;  MSNBC news show host Chris Hayes on his new book A Colony in a Nation; and mathematics professor and author who spreads the magic of numbers through dessert recipes, Eugenia Cheng. Scripps also hosts contemporary writers whose range of acclaimed works presents both scintillating fiction and startling personal nonfiction, including Maggie Nelson, a MacArthur “Genius” from the 2016 class, and Jade ChangElif BatumanJami Attenberg, and Sarah Manguso. The Scripps Presents series on the Scripps College campus will also introduce local audiences to the mind-expanding entertainment of Manual Cinema that mixes puppets, live actors, projectors, and live music for an astonishing live theater experience.

Scripps Presents in its fourth season has already become known in the region for presenting up-close conversations with public figures and artists in a lineup of programming that rivals those of bigger colleges, and some longstanding, better known arts and culture venues.

“Each semester, and in the summer, we extend the offerings that our students get to experience for free to guests that visit our campus from surrounding communities—and they have been delighted, quite frankly, to discover the unparalleled access we offer to high quality arts programming so close to home,” Corrina Lesser, director of public events and community programs at Scripps College, said.  “We have seen returning patrons, as well as many new visitors, and have had capacity crowds at our most popular events.” Some of the events this spring, such as Anna Deveare Smith’s one-woman show, and Manual Cinema, are the single performance available in the Los Angeles region for the season, Lesser added.

Events take place on the Scripps College campus and are FREE and open to the public. For tickets, information, and directions, visit or call (909) 607-8508.


Highlights for Scripps Presents Spring 2017 Season:

 A-D-SmithAnna Deavere Smith
Thursday, February 2, 2017
6 pm, Garrison Theater

Blending journalism, commentary, and theater, Anna Deavere Smith is known for performances that explore complex and vital social issues. Her new work, Doing Time in Education: The School-to-Prison Pipeline, is no exception. Smith has spent the past year interviewing hundreds of people—students, teachers, police officers, community activists, and policy makers—in an attempt to understand the cycle that funnels vulnerable youth from school to incarceration.

A playwright, professor, and actress who has appeared on television shows including The West Wing and Nurse Jackie, Smith teaches at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and is the founding director of the Institute on the Arts and Civic Dialogue. Link: more information about The Pipeline Project.

This program is made possible by the Alexa Fullerton Hampton ’42 Endowed Speaker Fund.


 Manual-CinemaManual Cinema: Lula del Ray
Thursday, February 9, 2017
7 pm, Garrison Theater

“If you add up the two-dimensional and the three dimensional to create a new spatial entity, does that mean you’re in the fifth dimension? Whatever you choose to call it, such a perspective melting world is the realm in which the enchanting Lula del Ray takes place.” —The New York Times

A Manual Cinema production is a choreographic feat: Puppeteers move seamlessly between projectors, shadow puppets glide across large screens, encountering the live actors who bound between, doffing a cap here, lighting a cigarette there, as music swells from the orchestra. Lula del Ray is the story of one lonely but adventurous young woman trying to navigate the trials of adolescence as she flees her desert home with an eye toward the city. With original music inspired by the likes of Hank Williams and Patsy Cline, Lula del Ray is at turns moody and bittersweet, exquisite and melancholic.

This program is made possible by the Alexa Fullerton Hampton ’42 Endowed Speaker Fund.


 R-WilsonRoxane Wilson Fund for Women’s Leadership: Lisa Lucas
Thursday, February 16, 2017
6 pm, Balch Auditorium

For National Book Foundation Executive Director Lisa Lucas, reminding people just how much fun reading can be is a top priority. As the organization’s first female and African American in that role, she’s also committed to building readership and nourishing a literary ecosystem that represents American diversity in all of its guises. Join Lucas, for a conversation about the importance the written word.

Lucas is the executive director of the National Book Foundation. Prior to joining the foundation, she served as the publisher of Guernica, a nonprofit online magazine focusing on writing that explores the intersection of art and politics with an international and diverse focus. She has also served as director of education at the Tribeca Film Institute, on the development team at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, and as a consultant for the Sundance Institute, San Francisco Film Society, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, and ReelWorks Teen Filmmaking. Lucas also serves on the literary council of the Brooklyn Book Festival. Find her on Twitter at @likaluca.

The Roxane Wilson Fund for Women’s Leadership is a multiday program intended to bring to Scripps’ campus a woman who demonstrates leadership in both her professional life and volunteer service to her community and beyond.


 R-NaderRalph Nader in Conversation
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
6 pm, Garrison Theater

“Ralph Nader is the grand progressive of our time. We overlook his words at our own peril!” —Cornel West

Consumer protection, environmentalism, and government reform: Since the publication in 1965 of his bestselling critique of the car industry, Unsafe at Any Speed, Ralph Nader, activist, lawyer, and sometime politician has been agitating for causes near and dear to the progressive American agenda for the past 50 years. In the wake of an election season that has illuminated striking divisions within the American populace and prompted immense public reflection on what we believe to be our fundamental rights and freedoms, Nader reflects on his passions and life’s work as an activist now working in Trump’s America.

Named by The Atlantic as one of the hundred most influential figures in American history, and by Time and Life magazines as one of the most influential Americans of the 20th century, Nader has helped us drive safer cars, eat healthier food, breathe better air, drink cleaner water, and work in safer environments for more than four decades. Nader’s recent books include Unstoppable, The Good Fight, and the bestseller, Seventeen Traditions. Nader writes a syndicated column, has his own radio show, and gives lectures and interviews year round.

This program is made possible by the Alexa Fullerton Hampton ’42 Endowed Speaker Fund.



Chris Hayes in Conversation
Saturday, March 25, 2017
3 pm, Garrison Theater

“This is an essential and ground-breaking text in the effort to understand how American criminal justice went so badly awry.” —Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of Between the World and Me

In 2012, Chris Hayes published Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy, a prescient analysis of how Americans’ loss of trust in public institutions might lead to a political crisis. That same political and historical acumen informs Hayes’s latest book, A Colony in a Nation, which reveals that by every empirical measure—wealth, unemployment, incarceration, and school segregation—racial inequality hasn’t improved since 1968. Bringing his signature analysis to this essential issue, Hayes will be joined in conversation by Scripps politics faculty Vanessa Tyson.

Hayes is the host of All In with Chris Hayes on MSNBC and an editor-at-large at The Nation. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, daughter, and son.

Tyson is an assistant professor of politics at Scripps College. Her latest book, Twists of Fate: Multiracial Coalitions and Minority Representation in the U.S. House of Representatives, was released in September 2016 by Oxford University Press.


 E-ChengEugenia Cheng
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
6pm, Balch Auditorium

“A singular humanization of the mathematical project.” —Booklist, starred review

There are few who are brave enough to spar with Stephen Colbert, and even fewer who would proclaim to a decidedly numbers-averse populace that math is both fun and relevant. Eugenia Cheng is the brazen mathematician who has taken on both the king of late-night comedy and algebraphobics. In her book, How to Bake Pi, Cheng uses recipes for treats like chocolate brownies as an entry point to understanding what math is. She visits Scripps to reflect on the joy of bringing math to the masses.

Cheng is senior lecturer of pure mathematics at the University of Sheffield and is currently on sabbatical in the U.S., where she is scientist in residence at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her YouTube lectures, beginning in 2007, have been viewed over a million times to date. Her latest book, Beyond Infinity: An Expedition to the Outer Limits of Mathematics, will be published this year.

This program is made possible by the Alexa Fullerton Hampton ’42 Endowed Speaker Fund.



Maggie Nelson and Sarah Manguso: A Conversation
Tuesday, April 4, 2017
6pm, Garrison Theater

“[Nelson’s] is a radicalism that looks like the future of common sense…A singular book.” ―Vulture

Both Maggie Nelson and Sarah Manguso take on complex issues of gender, sexuality, family, and mothering by deploying forms and styles that are equal parts poetry and essay. In The Argonauts, Nelson examines pregnancy and new motherhood, her partner’s gender transition, and the loss of a parent; in Ongoingness: The End of a Diary, Manguso examines motherhood, a life’s record, and that record’s discontinuance. The two take the stage to discuss their creative practices and their work, both past and new.

Nelson is a poet, critic, and nonfiction author of books such as The Art of Cruelty: A ReckoningBluets, and Jane: A Murder. The recipient of the 2016 MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, she teaches in the School of Critical Studies at California Institute of the Arts and lives in Los Angeles.
is the author of seven books that vibrate between essay and poetry, most recently 300 ArgumentsOngoingnessThe Guardians, and The Two Kinds of Decay. Her writing has been supported by a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Rome Prize. She lives in Los Angeles.

This program is made possible by the Alexa Fullerton Hampton ’42 Endowed Speaker Fund.




Tuesday Noon with Sarah Manguso
January 24, 12:15pm
Hampton Room

“In her almost psychedelic musings on time and what it means to preserve one’s own life…She has written the memoir we didn’t realize we needed.” —The New Yorker

As some contemporary storytelling grows increasingly full or overfull of what we have come to call “content,” Sarah Manguso is crafting works that are at once smaller, airier, and more potent. Through books like The Two Kinds of Decay, The Guardians, and Ongoingness, which investigate time, memory, and human suffering, she is changing the way we think about what constitutes a worthwhile story. Join the 2017 Mary Routt Chair in Creative Writing for a reading and conversation about her creative process and her approach to autobiography. Manguso is the author of seven books that vibrate between essay and poetry, most recently 300 ArgumentsOngoingnessThe Guardians, and The Two Kinds of Decay. Her writing has been supported by a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Rome Prize. She lives in Los Angeles.

This program is in partnership with the Mary Routt Chair in Creative Writing.


C-Ramirez“Revitalize Not Militarize: The Struggle for Human Rights in the Southern Border”
January 31, 12:15pm
Hampton Room

The southern border region is home to some 15 million people living in border communities in California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. It is also one of the most militarized border regions in the hemisphere. In this talk, Christian Ramírez, Director of Human Rights for Alliance San Diego and Director of the Southern Border Communities Coalition, discusses how border communities are defying negative stereotypes about the borderlands and driving a solution oriented policy agenda in order to advance a vision for a better border.

This program is presented in partnership with the Scripps Humanities Institute, the Tuesday Noon Series, the Intercollegiate Department of Chicanx and Latinx Studies, and the Scripps Politics Department


M-Chancy“The Politics of Exclusion: Narrating Post-Earthquake Haiti”
February 14, 12:15
Hampton Room

In this reading from her novel-in-progress, “Douze,” Myriam J. A. Chancy â€“ author, Guggenheim Fellow, and HBA Chair of the Humanities at Scripps College – attempts to narrate a variety of points of view on the lived experience of the January 12, 2010 earthquake which devastated central parts of Haiti.  In this presentation, via text and photography, she will discuss why the post-earthquake situation should matter to all of us and what the consistent, historical disavowal of Haiti’s place in the development of the hemisphere (in terms of the creation of national borders and philosophical boundaries) has meant in terms of the current inability of the populace to recover from natural and man-made disasters. A discussion of the role fiction can play in the breaking down fences and walls (real and metaphorical) through empathy will also be engaged.

Presented in partnership with the Scripps Humanities Institute and the Tuesday Noon Series. 


J-ChangTuesday Noon with Jade Chang
February 28, 12:15pm
Hampton Room

“Bright and funny…when the Wangs take the world, we all benefit.” —USA Today

The Wangs vs. the World is a riches to rags story for our time. At its center are the fierce and funny Wangs—a Chinese American family who are down on their luck like never before. Their solution? A road trip in the great Kerouacian tradition. As they travel coast to coast, the Wangs take on art and assimilation, love and comedy. It’s messy and hilarious splendor. Jade Chang, is the witty writer behind this sometimes-farcical family. She shares her perspective on writing and exploring the (Asian) American Dream in literature.

Chang has covered arts and culture as a journalist and editor. She is the recipient of a Sundance Fellowship for Arts Journalism, the AIGA/Winterhouse Award for Design Criticism, and the James D. Houston Memorial scholarship from the Squaw Valley Community of Writers. The Wangs vs. the World is her debut novel. She lives in Los Angeles.



Tuesday Noon with Elif Batuman and Jami Attenberg
March 21, 12:15pm
Hampton Room

“[The Idiot] is self-aware, cerebral, and delightful.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“Hilarious, courageous, and mesmerizing from page one, All Grown Up…is that rare book I’m dying to give all my friends so we can discuss it deep into the night.” —Maria Semple, author of Where’d You Go, Bernadette?

The year is 1995, and Selin, the daughter of Turkish immigrants, is entering her first year at Harvard. She signs up for classes in unfamiliar subjects, befriends her worldly Serbian classmate, Svetlana, and, almost by accident, begins corresponding with Ivan, an older mathematics student from Hungary. This is life on the cusp of adulthood, and it’s also Elif Batuman’s novel, The Idiot. In All Grown Up, Jami Attenberg’s heroine, Andrea, is at the threshold of a different kind of reckoning; a 39-year-old, single, childfree woman, she is defying convention as she seeks connection. Batuman and Attenberg visit Scripps to share from their new books that reflect on the ways we invent and reinvent ourselves over time. Scripps faculty Kimberly Drake joins them for a conversation.

Batuman has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 2010. She is the author of The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them. The recipient of the Whiting Writers’ award, a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, and a Paris Review Terry Southern Prize for Humor, she also holds a PhD in comparative literature from Stanford University.

Attenberg is the New York Times bestselling author of five novels, including The Middlesteins and Saint Mazie. She has contributed essays about sex, urban life, and food to The New York Times Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, and Lenny Letter, among other publications. She divides her time between Brooklyn and New Orleans.


W-Cheng“‘Our Mutual L.A. Suburban Pasts’: Race and Cosmopolitanism in Greater Los Angeles”
March 28, 12:15pm
Hampton Room

Los Angeles’ San Gabriel Valley is the largest majority-Asian American and Latinx region in the United States. Scripps professor of American studies Wendy Cheng addresses the development of a distinct multiracial identity grounded in working- and middle-class, suburban spaces and how the formative histories and lived experiences of residents of multiracial suburbs enrich our understanding of racial formation.

Presented in partnership with the Scripps Humanities Institute and the Tuesday Noon Series.

PRESS CONTACT: Karen Bergh, 909-607-7177