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FJI Author Series: “Cuz – The Life and Times of Michael A.”

Wednesday, May 23, 2018 | 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

A Reading Discussion for Judges with the Author, Professor Danielle Allen

From the publisher: “First appearing in The New Yorker, Danielle Allen’s Cuz announced the arrival of one of our most gifted literary memoirists. In this “compassionate retelling of an abjectly tragic story” (New York Times), Danielle Allen—a prize-winning scholar—recounts her heroic efforts to rescue Michael Alexander Allen, her beloved baby cousin, who was arrested at fifteen for an attempted carjacking. Tried as an adult and sentenced to thirteen years, Michael served eleven. Three years later, he was dead. Why did this gifted young man, who dreamed of being a firefighter and a writer, end up murdered? Why did he languish in prison? And why at fifteen was he in an alley in South Central Los Angeles, holding a gun while trying to steal someone’s car? Hailed as a “literary miracle” (Washington Post), this fierce family memoir makes mass incarceration nothing less than a new American tragedy.”

About the Author: Professor Danielle Allen

Danielle Allen, James Bryant Conant University Professor at Harvard University, and Director of Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, is a political theorist who has published broadly in democratic theory, political sociology, and the history of political thought. Widely known for her work on justice and citizenship in both ancient Athens and modern America, Allen is the author of The World of Prometheus: The Politics of Punishing in Democratic Athens (2000), Talking to Strangers: Anxieties of Citizenship since Brown vs. the Board of Education (2004), Why Plato Wrote (2010), Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality (2014), Education and Equality (2016), and Cuz: The Life and Times of Michael A. (2017). She is the co-editor of the award-winning Education, Justice, and Democracy (2013, with Rob Reich) and From Voice to Influence: Understanding Citizenship in the Digital Age (2015, with Jennifer Light). She is a Chair of the Mellon Foundation Board, past Chair of the Pulitzer Prize Board, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.

Allen is also the principal investigator for the Democratic Knowledge Project, a distributed research and action lab at Harvard University. The Democratic Knowledge Project seeks to identify, strengthen, and disseminate the bodies of knowledge, skills, and capacities that democratic citizens need in order to succeed at operating their democracy. The lab currently has three projects underway: the Declaration Resources Project, the Humanities and Liberal Arts Assessment Project (HULA), and the Youth and Participatory Politics Action and Reflection Frame.


Please note: Program participants will have the opportunity to read and discuss Cuz: The Life and Times of Michael A. with the author in an informal round table setting. Participation will be limited, so please register early. A complimentary copy of the book will be distributed prior to the program. A light dinner will be available at the program.