Hall Center For The Humanities


Susan Harris
Susan Harris
Hall Distinguished Professor of American Literature and Culture

"Mark Twain and the Philippine-American War: 'Hogwash' and 'Pious Hypocrisy'"
Public Symposium – (KU in Wichita)

Thu., Apr. 19, 2012, 7:00pm - 8:30pm
This event is made possible by the generous support of the Lattner Family Foundation, and is co-sponsored by the KU Alumni Association and its Wichita Chapter.
Location: Wichita Museum of Art

Mark Twain did not take kindly to the U.S. annexation of the Philippines in 1899. Supporters of the project to colonize the Filipinos spoke of it as "benevolent assimilation." Twain called that "hogwash" and "pious hypocrisy."


In this lecture, Susan K. Harris examines the rarely seen political side of Twain, a man deeply engaged by world events and deeply disturbed by his country's foray into global imperialism. The questions that Twain posited publicly about America's role in the world remain as relevant in 2012 as they were in 1900.


A specialist in 19th-century American literature, Dr. Harris is both a Twain scholar and a scholar of women's writings. Her most recent publication is the Oxford University Press title God's Arbiters: Americans and the Philippines, 1898-1902 (2011), which was received to great acclaim. As The New Yorker notes, Harris "focuses on rhetorical rather than on physical battles, and casts this early colonial adventure as a precursor to present-day conflicts." Christian Century calls the book an "intriguing study of America's rise as an imperial power."


Harris is Hall Distinguished Professor of American Literature and Culture at the University of Kansas and author of several publications, including Annie Adams Fields, Mary Gladstone Drew, and the Work of the Late 19th-Century Hostess (2002); The Courtship of Olivia Langdon and Mark Twain (1996); Nineteenth-Century American Women's Novels: Interpretive Strategies (1990); and Mark Twain's Escape from Time: A Study of Patterns and Images (1982). Dr. Harris is the recipient of the Henry Nash Smith Award, an honor bestowed upon one scholar every four years for their contributions to the study of Mark Twain.


We are grateful to the Hall Center Advisory Board members in Wichita for their assistance with this program: Dana Hensley, Carol Nazar, and Martha Selfridge Housholder.

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