Purchase College-SUNY has announced that Manohla Dargis, co-chief film critic for The New York Times, will be the college’s 2015-16 Durst Distinguished Chair in Literature. On Monday, Sept. 28, 2015, from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m., Dargis will present a panel discussion on “The Role of the Critic Today” with three other leading critics. The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place at the Recital Hall of the Performing Arts Center at Purchase College (735 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase, NY).
The Durst Distinguished Lecture Series and Durst Distinguished Chair in Literature are funded by the Roy and Shirley Durst Distinguished Chair in Literature Endowment. The mission of the Durst programs is to infuse the experience and intellect of leading writers into the Purchase community, while providing diverse opportunities for these writers to interact with students and influence campus life.
Manohla Dargis, who graduated from Purchase College with a degree in literature in 1985, went on to become a film critic at the Village Voice and the Los Angeles Times. Widely acclaimed as a preeminent critic, she is now co-chief film critic (with A.O. Scott) for The New York Times. She has won numerous awards for her work and was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Criticism.
“We are especially delighted to welcome Manohla Dargis, who graduated from Purchase College, as our Durst Distinguished Chair in Literature,” says Louise Yelin, professor of literature. “It is so inspiring to our students and faculty that she is acknowledged as one of the most influential critics writing today—and now she is returning to Purchase to share her expertise.”
Yelin explains, “The panel discussion on the role of the critic today explores a topic of particular interest to Purchase students and faculty in B.A. and B.F.A programs alike, as well as many people in the local community. Manohla has selected as participants three compelling critics who represent a range of venues and vantage points: Wesley Morris, staff writer at Grantland, Emily Nussbaum, television critic for The New Yorker, and Amy Taubin, contributing editor at Film Comment and Sight and Sound.”
Anthony Domestico, assistant professor of literature at Purchase College, comments, “Good criticism—criticism that passionately celebrates what went right in a work and persuasively points out what went wrong—is crucial to the continuing life of any art form. Manohla Dargis writes good criticism. When she loves a movie, whether it be a blockbuster or a quiet indie film, she makes you want to love that movie, too, and love it more intelligently. When she loathes a movie, her criticisms are sharp and often hilarious.”