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Bishop C.C. McCabe Lectures

Bishop Charles Cardwell McCabe embodies the spirit of American University's founders. McCabe, Vice Chancellor and Chancellor of the university from 1899-1902, dreamt of an educational system unlike that of any other university of its time. He believed in building a lasting future for AU and began the first successful fundraising campaign with his call to action, "Five dollars each, from one million people," to foster the new university.

Under Bishop McCabe's leadership, American University's second building was constructed: the McKinley Memorial Building, created in honor of United States President William McKinley. McCabe himself laid the cornerstone for the building.

Filmmaker Alex Rivera: Artificial Intelligence, Science Fiction, and Rasquache Futures October 24, 2023

Alex Rivera

Named by Variety as one of “Ten Directors to Watch," award-winning filmmaker Alex Rivera will speak to American University's College of Arts and Sciences for the 2023-24 Bishop McCabe Lecture Series.

Rivera's work explores themes of globalization, migration, and technology. For over 25 years, Rivera has used science-fiction imagery to illuminate Latinx lives and politics. He will discuss how rhetoric and the recent and profound emergence surrounding ‘artificial intelligence’ have impacted his image-making and thinking about technology, labor, and power. Rivera will be joined by Professor David Vazquez and Professor Despina Kakoudaki for a panel discussion after his presentation.

About Alex Rivera

Rivera’s first feature film, Sleep Dealer, a cyberpunk thriller set on the US/Mexico border, won awards at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival and the Berlin International Film Festival, was screened at the Museum of Modern Art and had a commercial theatrical release in the US, France, Japan, and other countries. In The New York Times, A.O. Scott described Rivera as “a brilliant young director” and Variety named him one of “Ten Directors to Watch.”

Rivera’s second feature, The Infiltrators, won the NEXT: Audience Award and the Innovator Award at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. The Infiltrators uses documentary and scripted forms to tell the true story of Dreamers who ‘infiltrate’ a detention center to get immigrants out. The Hollywood Reporter raved “watching it is a thrill” and The New Yorker Radio Hour called the film “extraordinary and important.”

Alex Rivera is a 2021 MacArthur Fellow, Sundance Fellow, Creative Capital Grantee, and was The Rothschild Lecturer at Harvard University. He studied at Hampshire College, lives in Los Angeles, and is an Associate Professor of Filmmaking Practice at ASU's Sidney Poitier New American Film School.

The Bishop McCabe Lecture Fund

The Bishop C.C. McCabe Lecture Fund was established by the Board of Trustees in 1907 in memory of the Bishop and through his generous bequest to the College of Arts and Sciences. Although these funds help to offset the costs of producing the lecture series, they do not fully support its needs.

If you are interested in making a gift in support of the Bishop C.C. McCabe Lecture Series, please the Office of Development and Alumni Relations at 202-885-5900, or make your gift online.

Bishop McCabe's legacy can still be felt today. The Bishop McCabe Fund was established in 1906 through a bequest in the Bishop's will to create a lecture series in the College of Arts and Sciences. Today, the Bishop C.C. McCabe Lecture Series features prominent faculty members, notable alumni, and distinguished scholars from all disciplines within the college.


  • College of Arts & Sciences
  • Literature Department
  • Antiracist Research & Policy Center
  • Humanities Lab
  • Center for Latin American
    & Latino Studies
  • American University Library
  • AU Core
  • Latinx Studies Program
  • School of Communications

Past Lectures


Linda Villarosa and Dolen Perkins-Valdez:
The Road to Health Equity: Exposing the Toll of Racism
April 4, 2023


Chase Iron Eyes:
"The World Is Not Ending" (An Indigenous Metaphysics toward Salvation)
April 20, 2022


Nicki Washington:
"Look for Helpers: Creating and Maintaining a Culture of Allyship/Advocacy in Computing+Tech"
October 8, 2020


Deborah Lipstadt: “Israel: A Lightning Rod of Antisemitism”
February 19, 2020

Carmen Maria Machado
February 12, 2020

Angela Saini: “Superior: The Return of Race Science”
October 29, 2019

Nate Silver: “The Past, Present, and Future of Election Predictions and Data Analytics”
October 17, 2019


Alice Dreger: “Cultivating the Virtue of Disloyalty”

Teju Cole: "Blindspot"

Teju Cole: "Known and Strange Things: Art and Activism in the 21st Century"


Jelani Cobb: "The Half-Life of Freedom"

Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, "The Diversity Blues: Reframing the Diversity Agenda at HWCUs"


Amy Stolls 

Ta-Nehisi Coates


Nina Tandon: "Super Cells: Building with Biology"

Linda Daly: "The Problem and Pleasures of Writing from Life"


Ava Farmer Reading: Ava Farmer (nom de plume of Sandy Lerner) on her novel, Second Impressions, the first sequel to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice

Dean Hamer: "Out in the Silence: At the Forefront of LGBT Inclusion"

Writers in Motion: Reading the Fall, Writing the Recovery

  • Madeleine Thien
  • Vicente Groyon
  • Eduardo Halfón
  • Alice Pung
  • Christopher Merrill
  • Marjorie Ames
  • Jim Leach
  • Kyle Dargan

Health of the Economy / Economics of Health

Adam Davidson, David Kestenbaum, Rachel Louise Snyder


Sandow Birk: "Capturing Dystopia"

Allan Lichtman: "Seven Days until Tomorrow"

Dunya Mikhail & Bruce Weigl: "The Syntax of Wars"


Dr. Akasha Gloria Hull: "Fiction and Black Feminism"

Edward Hirsch: Poetry Reading

Making History / Shaping History

Lonnie Bunch: "The Power of Remembering: The Continuing Importance of Black History Month"

Natasha Trethewey: "A Remnant South: A Reading and Discussion"

American Identity

Charles Holt: A performance of Black Boy

Lillian Jiménez, Film Screening and Discussion:
"Antonia Pantoja: Forging a Path for Puerto Rican Civil Rights in the US"

Dr. Peter Selz: "Art of Engagement"

Fall 2005: Woman as Object, Subject, and Creator

Dr. Lisa Farrington: "Black Feminist Artists"

Ann Beattie: "Tribute to Dr. Frank Turaj"

Dr. Peter Dans: "Hollywood & Women Doctors"


Allan J. Lichtman: "Keys to the White House"

Paul R. Ehrlich: "One with Nineveh: Politics, Consumption, and the Human Future"

Richard D. Breitman: "US Intelligence and the Nazis"

Author wearing yellow jacket, speaking.

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