Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor, "Witness: De Profundis?"

Saturday, April 30, 2022, 12 - 1:30pm

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Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor Out of the Depths

Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor, the author of Dust (Knopf, 2014), and The Dragonfly Sea (Knopf, 2019), gives a free, virtual lecture as part of Spring 2022 Intra-Disciplinary Seminar series on 'De Profundis,’ the first two words of Psalm 130, a most poignant song that is a call for help from out of the depths of ruins. Is the world in trouble? Yes. Are we caught up in the roiling and churning? Indeed. So many of the old demons, including the threat of nuclear annihilation, are roaming the earth again. What do we do when confronted by immense forces that are likely to engulf us? Among the many options, is that of witness. We witness to the ways the world's forces array themselves in some intense battle against truth and reality. What do we trust? How do we act? In the aftermath of a world determined on a course of ruin, what endures? This reflection explores the idea of what and how we see, or choose to see and act in a world now marked by doubt, fear, mistrust, and cynicism. What edifices of being will a surviving generation inherit, and what will they note about those who extended to them an inheritance of brokenness?

Registration is required.

The Kenya-born writer obtained a B.A. from the Kenyatta University, an M.A. from the University of Reading, UK, and an M.Phil. (Creative Writing) from the University of Queensland, Brisbane. From 2003 to 2005, she was the director of the Zanzibar International Film Festival. Her story, “The Weight of Whispers”, earned her the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2003. Her other works are to be found in different publications, including National Geographic. For her artistic achievements, Owuor, in 2016 was awarded the (Kenya) Head of State Commendation. Yvonne is active in the Kenya conservation and environmental sector. She is currently a DAAD artist-in-residence in Berlin working on a new project.

The IDS public lecture series is part of the Robert Lehman Visiting Artist Program at The Cooper Union. We are grateful for major funding from the Robert Lehman Foundation. The IDS public lecture series is also made possible by generous support from the Open Society Foundations.

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.