Overthrown Hawaiian queens, religious zealots, swindlers, cranky cartographers, presidential assassins, and the people who visit their memorials on vacation are all fodder for historian and humorist Sarah Vowell. Vowell’s seven nonfiction books, many of which have topped the New York Times’ best sellers list, explore America’s not-so-squeaky-clean past and creates a framework for understanding our modern day values. Vowell brings her wit to the MIT Communications Forum for a moderated discussion with MIT Graduate Program in Science Writing director Seth Mnookin on what makes the past so funny, the connections between historical research and modern journalism, and much more.
Sarah Vowell is a contributing editor for public radio’s This American Lifeand has written for Time, Esquire, GQ, Spin, Salon, McSweeneys, The Village Voice, and the Los Angeles Times. She is the author of seven books including Assassination Vacation, Take the Cannoli, and The Partly Cloudy Patriot. She lives in New York City.
Moderator: Seth Mnookin is the director of the MIT Communications Forum and director of MIT’s Graduate Program in Science Writing. His most recent book, The Panic Virus: The True Story Behind the Vaccine-Autism Controversy, won the “Science in Society” award from the National Association of Science Writers.
This event is sponsored by the MIT de Florez Fund for Humor and is free for the MIT community and the general public.