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Issues of Identity: In Conversation with Hilton Als

In celebration of Black History Month, the UC San Diego Department of Theatre and Dance is pleased to announce Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and critic Hilton Als in a public event on Monday, Feb. 5 from 6 to 7 p.m. in the Mandell Weiss Theatre. The conversation will be between Mr. Als and Dr. Gentry Patrick, UC San Diego professor of neurobiology, with opportunities for questions and observations from the public.

The conversation will be framed by the Department of Theatre and Dance's new production of Lorraine Hansberry's classic "A Raisin in the Sun." Produced on Broadway in 1959, the play explores issues of identity that still resonate. The conversation will focus on issues of racial identity, gender and access to the American dream.

With roots in Barbados and Brooklyn, Mr. Als has been a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1994 and is currently their lead theater critic. His writing is known for a rigorous, sharp and lyrical perspective on the theater arts as well as a deep knowledge of the history of performance in music, visual arts and dance.

Among his books is the award-winning "White Girls" (2014), "a mesmerizing and varied collection of essays . ... His eponymous white girls include Louise Brooks, Flannery O'Connor, Truman Capote, Riclilard Pryor, Malcolm X, Michael Jackson, Eminem, and others" (Publishers Weekly). His writing defies categories, rich in humor and unexpected observations, layered and spiked in complexities about identity and cultural constructs.

Dr. Gentry Patrick, professor of neurobiology in the Division of Biological Sciences, comes to UC San Diego by way of South Central Los Angeles. Dr. Patrick has degrees from UC Berkeley and Harvard University, and maintains an active neuroscience research laboratory that investigates synaptic plasticity and neurodegenerative disease.

As Director of Mentorship and Diversity for the division, Dr. Patrick is a strong and energetic advocate for initiatives concerning access for underrepresented communities on campus, within the local community and beyond. He is spearheading PATHways to STEM through Enhanced Access and Mentorship (PATHS), a groundbreaking new initiative with a mission to improve the success of UC San Diego's underrepresented students in STEM.

This event will be held in the Mandell Weiss Theatre within the theater district of UC San Diego. The event is free and preregistration is requested.

This event is made possible by support from the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion; Division of Arts and Humanities; Division of Biological Sciences; Division of Social Sciences; Jacobs School of Engineering; Office of the Provost of Thurgood Marshall College; Institute of Arts and Humanities; Black Staff Association; and UC San Diego Extension. We would like to extend a special thank you to Phyllis Epstein for her generous underwriting support.

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