The Annual W. Averell Harriman Lectures were inaugurated in 1989 to honor the memory of our principal benefactor by making a special intellectual contribution to the University community and to our field. We do this by each year inviting a preeminent scholar, political figure, or cultural luminary related in some way to our area of study to deliver a major address for the entire University community and many other guests.
Andrei Sinyavsky (1925-97), one of the great writers in Russian literature of the last half of the twentieth century, was arrested and tried together with Yuly Daniel for publishing "anti-Soviet" works abroad. The trial became a milestone in the Russian dissident movement. Sinyavsky and his family moved to Paris in 1973, where he lectured at the Sorbonne until his retirement in 1994.
Ernest Gellner, sociologist, philosopher and social anthropologist, delivered the fifth annual W. Averell Harriman Lecture, "The Meaning of the Century," on October 25, 1994. Gellner has written extensively on teh anthropology of the Islamic world, nationalism, and the politics of Eastern Europe. Since 1993 he has been research professor at the Central European University in Prague and Director of its Center for the Study of Nationalism. He is also a professional fellow at King's College, Cambridge.
The Fourth Harriman Lecture wsa delivered by Alec Nove, Professor Emeritus and Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the University of Glasgow, and Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and of the British Academy. Professor Nove used the occasion to look back on the Soviet system and on the legacy it has granted the world.
Alexander Yakovlev, the "architect" of Gorbachev's policies of perestroika and glasnost, delivered the Third Harriman Lecture.
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