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How Words Make Things Happen

Monday, June 22, 2020

This talk is part of the Greenberg Distinguished Colloquium.


Monday, June 22th, 2020 8:00-9:30AM (EST)
Monday, June 22th, 2020 8:00-9:30PM (Beijing Time)

Participating Format

Registration is required to obtain a ZOOM Conference access link, which will be sent to your registration email or phone shortly. Please enter ZOOM room 15 minutes before the starting time. When the room is full, latecomers will not be able to access the ZOOM conference.

Registration and Fees

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Attention: Recording (audiotaping or videotaping) during the event is not allowed.


The language of the event will be English.

The Event

Words do make things happen. But they cannot be counted on to produce the result they intend. Sooner or later, our words take on meanings other than we intended. In this talk, David Bromwich, Sterling Professor of English at Yale University, will discuss two speeches in particular: Antony's address to the Roman crowd in Julius Caesar Act III scene 2 (; and Barack Obama's 2011 State of the Union Address( Exploring these ancient and modern speeches as attempts, respectively, to calm down and to arouse an audience about whose sentiments the speaker has many clues but can't be certain, we’ll discuss the relations between words and human action.

The Speaker


David Bromwich
Sterling Professor of English, Yale University

David Bromwich is Sterling Professor of English at Yale University. He has written extensively on British romanticism, modern poetry, and American literature and politics. At Yale, he has regularly taught seminars on Lincoln, Shakespeare, Wordsworth, and non-fiction writing. He co-edited the Yale University Press edition of Mill's On Liberty. Among his books are Hazlitt: the Mind of a Critic, The Intellectual Life of Edmund Burke, and most recently, American Breakdown and How Words Make Things Happen.

Greenberg Distinguished Colloquium

Thanks to the generosity of Mr. Maurice R. Greenberg, Chairman and CEO of C.V. Starr & Co. Inc. the Yale Center Beijing is pleased to host the Greenberg Distinguished Colloquium, which will convene thought leaders from all sectors who, in the spirit of Mr. Greenberg, play pivotal roles in building bridges among China, the U.S., and the rest of the world.

Mr. Greenberg has been a member of Yale Center Beijing’s Executive Council and retired as the Chairman and CEO of American International Group (AIG). In 2018, he was awarded the China Reform Friendship Medal.

This event is hosted by Yale Center Beijing.

Public Event