The University of Miami College of Arts & Sciences Center for the Humanities announces that Anna Deavere Smith will be the first Stanford Distinguished Professor in the 2010-2011 academic year. Playwright, actor, and professor Anna Deavere Smith, hailed by Newsweek as “the most exciting individual in American theatre,” will present “The Changing Landscape of Doctor-Patient Relationships” on Monday, September 13th at 7:00 pm in Gusman Concert Hall on the Coral Gables campus of the University of Miami.

Anna Deavere Smith is University Professor at New York University Tisch School of the Arts, and is affiliated with the NYU School of Law. She has held appointments at Stanford and at the Yale School of Medicine. She was recently commissioned by the Stanford University Medical School to create a project on diversity in the medical school. She was awarded the prestigious MacArthur Foundation “genius” Fellowship for creating “a new form of theatre — a blend of theatrical art, social commentary, journalism and intimate reverie.”

Smith has a recurring role on the Showtime series Nurse Jackie, played National Security Advisor Nancy McNally on NBC’s The West Wing, and has appeared in such films as Rachel Getting Married, Philadelphia, and The American President. She is perhaps best known as the author and performer of two one-woman plays about racial tensions in America — Fires in the Mirror (Obie Award-winner and runner-up for the Pulitzer) and Twilight: Los Angeles 1992 (Obie-winner and Tony Award nominee). Interviewing subjects from all walks of life, Smith recreates their words in performance, transforming herself into an astonishing number of characters.

Her latest book is Letters to a Young Artist: Straight-up Advice on Making a Life in the Arts. Her most recent play, Let Me Down Easy, which explores the resilience and vulnerability of the human body, opened on Off-Broadway’s Second Stage Theatre last fall.

Registration is required for Professor Smith’s presentation. Tickets are free of charge. There will be advance registration for the UM Community from August 23rd to September 1st.  Tickets will be available to the public beginning September 2nd.  For further information and to register please visit

In addition to Professor Smith, the Stanford Distinguished Professors for 2010-2011 include best-selling author of Graceland and Professor of Creative Writing at University of California-Riverside, Chris Abani, who will present three public lectures and two creative writing workshops on October 25-29. Catherine Hall, Professor of History at University College London, will lecture on her work on slavery and empire, and will hold graduate seminars during November  8-12. On February 10, 2011, Martha Nussbaum, Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago, about whom Bill Moyers stated, “When Martha Nussbaum thinks out loud, people listen,” will speak on “Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities.”

The College of Arts and Sciences Center for the Humanities at the University of Miami is dedicated to supporting humanities, arts, and interpretive social science research and teaching, as well as to presenting public programs to enrich Miami’s intellectual culture. For further information, please call 305.284.1580, or visit

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