CSU, Chico News

Pulitzer Prize-Winning War Correspondent to Lecture

Date: 09-29-2010

Kathleen McPartland

Chris Hedges, a foreign correspondent for almost two decades, will present the President’s Visiting Scholar/Hodgkins Lecture on Monday, Oct. 4. Hedges served as The New York Times bureau chief in the Balkans and the Middle East, and he and his team won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting on global terrorism. He also received the 2002 Amnesty International Global Award for Human Rights Journalism.

Hedges will deliver “Empire of Illusion” at 7:30 p.m. in PAC 134. His lecture is free and open to the public.

In 2003, after Hedges publicly denounced the Iraq war in a commencement address at Rockford College in Rockford, Illinois, he was criticized in a Wall Street Journal editorial. Shortly after the incident, Hedges was publicly reprimanded by the New York Times and left the paper to write, teach and serve as a senior fellow at the Nation Institute.

Hedges has written for numerous publications including The Nation, Foreign Affairs, Harper’s Magazine, The New York Review of Books, Granta Magazine, Mother Jones, New Humanist and Truthdig, where he currently writes a bi-weekly column. He has held professorships at Princeton University, Columbia University and New York University.

Hedges’ reflections on combat are widely recognized as groundbreaking. One of his seven books is “War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning,” a nonfiction book written in 2002. This account of the fatal attraction of combat contributed to the writing and staging of the Oscar-winning film “The Hurt Locker.” The film opens with a quote from the book: “The rush of battle is a potent and often lethal addiction, for war is a drug.”

In the book, Hedges wrote, “War and conflict have marked most of my adult life. I have been in ambushes on desolate stretches of Central American roads, shot at in the marshes of southern Iraq, imprisoned in Sudan, beaten by Saudi military police, deported from Libya and Iran and captured and held for a week by the Iraqi Republican Guard. I have seen too much violent death. I have tasted too much of my own fear. I have painful memories that lie buried and untouched most of the time. It is never easy when they surface.”

In his role as President’s Visiting Scholar, Hedges will meet with students, faculty and community members, and lecture in several classes. In his lecture, “Empire of Illusion,” he will talk about two societies: a minority that still functions in a print-based, literate world, and copes with complexity by separating illusion from truth; and a growing majority that retreats from reality into a realm of false certainty and magical thinking.

For more information on Hedges’ visit, contact Ron Hirschbein at hirschbein@sbcglobal.net