Press Releases

Global Studies Program presents inaugural lecture

Alfred University | 11/08/19

Suzy Hansen (center) discusses her work in a question-and-answer session at Herrick Library.
Suzy Hansen (center) discusses her work in a question-and-answer session at Herrick Library.

Alfred University’s Global Studies Program this week welcomed journalist Suzy Hansen, author of "Notes on a Foreign Country: An American Abroad in a Post-American World," as Hansen delivered the inaugural Global Studies Lecture at Alfred University.


Alfred University’s Global Studies Program this week welcomed journalist Suzy Hansen, author of "Notes on a Foreign Country: An American Abroad in a Post-American World," as Hansen delivered the inaugural Global Studies Lecture at Alfred University.

Hansen’s lecture, “Seeing America from a Distance,” was a reflection on her years living in Istanbul and drew from "Notes on a Foreign Country." The book was named winner of the Overseas Press Club of America’s Cornelius Ryan Award, as well as a New York Times Book Review Notable Book and a Finalist for the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction.

Hansen also met with students and faculty member during classes and a panel discussion Thursday, engaging them in dialogues that built on her earlier remarks.

Her well-attended lecture in Nevins Theater summarized challenges she faced after settling in Istanbul to work as an American journalist. As she writes in her introduction:

“My learning abroad was threefold: I was learning about foreign countries; I was learning about America’s role in the world; I was also slowly understanding my own psychology and temperament and prejudices – the very things that had made it so impossible to acquire worldly knowledge in the first place.”

Alfred University Associate Professor of Political Science Jeff Sluyter-Beltrao, who introduced Hansen, said the issues she examines in "Notes on a Foreign Country" pose key questions for Americans living in a post-Cold War world.
"What makes her book unique is the way it weaves in her personal story of relentless self-examination and soul-searching,” Sluyter-Beltrao says, “as she interacts with people from many different countries from her home base in Istanbul.  And that personal dimension enables the reader to grasp how incredibly important it is that we Americans question and overcome our limited understandings of the wider world.”

Hansen is an ASU Future Security Fellow at New America, a Practitioner-in-Residence at New York University’s Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies, and in 2020 will serve as a Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton University. 

Hansen’s lecture was organized by the Global Studies Program with support from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Alfred University’s Provost’s Office, and the Divisions of Social Sciences, Human Studies and Psychology and Communications. In introducing Hanson, Director of Global Studies Dr. Meghen Jones noted the program offers a unique cross-disciplinary major as well as a minor.