Keywords Distinguished Lecture Series

Forty years ago, cultural studies founder Raymond Williams’ Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society addressed a characteristically human dissensus. He provided a cultural analysis of how, in the modern world, the meanings of important words, like democracy, family, education, science, technology, or work, have been contested, and how those unstable meanings have changed over time through the friction of history. Keywords became Williams’ most popular and enduring work, perhaps because it summoned the cultural studies approach to advance widespread understanding of everyday terms used across the humanities and social sciences, but also in law (Ross 1998; Garner 2011), education (Roman 1996), and medicine (Epstein 2009; Jordanova 2004).

This series will bring to campus three renowned thinkers to discuss how keywords play today globally: Stephen Heath (Professor of English and French Literature and Culture, Jesus College Cambridge), Harriet Ritvo (Arthur J. Conner Professor of History, MIT), and Alan Durant (Professor of Communication in the School of Law, Middlesex University, London). Acting as interlocuters will be Pitt Professors of English Jonathan Arac and Colin MacCabe. On April 21, there will also be a Keywords fair featuring food, drinks, a poster competition, and more.

This event is also sponsored by the Cultural Studies Program and Professor Jonathan Arac's research fund. For more information on the lecture series, click here. For more information on the fair, click here or contact Ronald Zboray at


Wednesday, April 20, 2016 to Thursday, April 21, 2016

Location and Address

4th and 5th Floors, Cathedral of Learning