Mildred Fish-Harnack Human Rights and Democracy Lecture

The Mildred Fish-Harnack Human Rights and Democracy Lecture is an annual event designed to promote greater understanding of human rights and democracy, and enrich international studies at UW–Madison. The lecture brings to campus a person who contributes to the cause of human rights through academic scholarship and/or active leadership.

Upcoming Lecture

4 P.M., WEDNESDAY, APRIL 13, 2022

Pyle Center

Register to attend in person on Eventbrite. To view lecture virtually please register on Zoom.

Event is free and open to the public.

Rebecca Donner

Mildred Harnack: An American Graduate Student at the Center of Berlin’s Underground Resistance to Hitler

Rebecca Donner, author of All the Frequent Troubles of our Days, great-great grandniece of Mildred Fish-Harnack

Rebecca Donner is the author of the instant New York Times bestseller All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days, published by Little, Brown in the US and Canongate in the UK. A Hebrew translation is forthcoming in 2022 from Matar Publishing in Israel. All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days was selected as a New York Times Critics’ Top Book of 2021, a New York Times Notable Book, and a New York Times Editors’ Choice. It was also named one of the Best Books of 2021 by the Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, and The Economist.

All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days was recently longlisted for the 2022 PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography.

Born in Canada, Donner was educated at the University of California at Berkeley and Columbia University. She is the author of Sunset Terrace, a critically acclaimed novel, and Burnout, a graphic novel about ecoterrorism. Her essays, reportage, and reviews have appeared in numerous publications, including the New York Times and Bookforum.

Rebecca Donner was a 2018-19 fellow at the Leon Levy Center for Biography at the City University of New York, is a two-time Yaddo fellow, and has twice been awarded fellowships by the Ucross Foundation. She has also held residencies at Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and Vermont Studio Center. Donner is a member of the National Book Critics Circle, and has taught at Wesleyan University, Columbia University, and Barnard College.

Sponsored by the International Division, Human Rights Program, Global Legal Studies Center, and European Studies.

About the Lecture

The lecture is named after a Milwaukee native who was a UW–Madison student in the 1920s. While living in Germany, Fish-Harnack assisted in the escape of German Jews and political dissidents. She is the only American civilian executed under the personal instruction of Adolf Hitler, for her resistance to the Nazi regime. Established in 1994, the lecture is presently sponsored by the International Division, along with the Human Rights Program, Global Legal Studies Center, Center for Research on Gender and Women, and the 4W Initiative. Learn more about Mildred Fish-Harnack.

Past Speakers

2021: David Kaye, “From Monopoly to Autocracy: A Human Rights Agenda for the Global Internet”

2018: Navi Pillay, “Current Challenges and the Future of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights”

2017: Farhana Khera, “Upholding America’s Promise for All,”

2016: Viviana Krsticevic, “Judging and Gender in the International Realm”

2015: Obiora Chinedu Okafor, “The International Law of Secession and the Protection of the Human Rights of Oppressed Sub-State Groups: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow”

2012: Rashida Manjoo, “After the Violence: The Dream of Another Reality”