category: Campus News

Renowned author, cultural critic and C-N alumnus Michael Eric Dyson to speak April 21

Dr. Michael Eric Dyson

(April 5, 2016) –Best-selling author Dr. Michael Eric Dyson will speak at Carson-Newman University, Thursday, April 21.

Dyson’s visit coincides with the University’s year-long observance “A Simple Justice: The Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act.” The celebration began last August.

I’m very excited about returning to my alma mater to share my ideas and perspectives about faith, culture, race and politics,” said Dyson. “I received a first-rate education at Carson-Newman, and I look forward to renewing acquaintance with some of the teachers who inspired me, and connecting with a student body that I remember as intelligent, curious and engaged.”

Dyson’s rise from humble roots in Detroit to his present perch as a world class intellectual, noted author of 18 books, prominent leader and national media fixture testify to his extraordinary talent.

A 1985 Carson-Newman alumnus and current sociology professor at Georgetown University, Dyson has won many prestigious honors, including an American Book Award and two NAACP Image Awards. “Ebony” magazine cited him as one of the 100 most influential African Americans, and as one of the 150 most powerful blacks in the nation. Noted for being a cutting edge historian, his approach to current, thought provoking topics bridges gaps between generations, connecting civil rights identity to hip-hop culture, while forging links between older and younger Americans, especially those in the black community.

“We are honored to have Dr. Dyson on campus,” said Dr. Kara Stooksbury, chair of the University’s History, Political Science and Sociology Department. “He is a leading scholar on the role of race in American politics and to have someone of his caliber on campus to provide insights on that topic is a tremendous opportunity for our students, campus, and community.”

Dyson’s influence has spread far beyond the academy in his roles of renowned orator, highly sought after lecturer, and ordained Baptist minister. For the last quarter of a century, Dyson has also enlivened public debate across the media landscape on every major television and radio show in the country, from “Good Morning America” to “The Today Show,” from NPR’s “All Things Considered” to the “Tavis Smiley Show.”

Dyson has been described by Vanity Fair as “one of the most graceful and lucid intellectuals writing on race and politics today,” and by writer Naomi Wolf as “the ideal public intellectual of our time.”

The award-winning author recently published “The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America.” His other books include “Is Bill Cosby Right”: Or Has the Black Middle Class Lost Its Mind?”, “Can You Hear Me Now? The Inspiration, Wisdom and Insight of Michael Eric Dyson” and “I May Not Get There with You.”

After graduating magna cum laude from Carson-Newman, Dyson continued his education at Princeton University earning both his master’s and doctoral degrees.

Carson-Newman is delighted to welcome home one of our most distinguished graduates,” said Carson-Newman President J. Randall O’Brien. “A public intellectual, Dr. Dyson is a powerful moral voice in the national conversation pertaining to culture and politics. His writings on race and religion register true North on our national moral compass.”

Dyson will speak at 6:30 p.m. in the University’s Gentry Auditorium, located in Henderson Humanities Building. The event is free and open to the public. The event will also include a book signing.

During his campus visit, he will also speak during Carson-Newman’s 9:30 a.m. chapel service, as well as visit classes to talk with students.

For more information or to inquire about reserved seating, contact Annie Hatfield at:, or call 865-471-3404.

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