Thursday, December 7, 2017
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Wednesday, December 13, 2017
4:30 p.m.
Frist 302
FREE & open to the public

Renowned scholar Burl Kylen will present a lecture in three parts entitled, “The Last Lecture Before Kingdom Come: A Brief Genealogy of Sunset Studies”

In “The Last Lecture before Kingdom Come,” Kylen will reflect on the significance of the as yet obscure intellectual tradition sometimes referred to as “Sunset Studies.” Long considered among the field’s most erudite practitioners, Kylen will offer an overview of the field as he offers his legendary unique perspective on why Sunset Studies matters today, perhaps more than ever before.

Each of the lecture’s three parts will be offered as a stand-alone presentation. Participants are welcome to attend any or all of the presentations. No prior exposure to Sunset Studies is necessary. Attendees are also encouraged to reconvene on Thursday, December 14, at 4:30pm in Frist 302 for a community discussion of the implications of the questions raised by Kylen’s presentation.

Professor Kylen was among the first names that came to mind when I decided to launch “The Creative Intellect” series, mostly because his early work had such an impact on my generation. And his decision to work mostly in seclusion (especially since his controversial stance on Y2K) has only amplified the legend of Burl Kylen. It is my extraordinary privilege to introduce a scholar of Kylen’s stature to a new generation, especially in such uncertain times as these.

— Professor Brian Herrera

This lecture in three parts is presented by Princeton’s Program in Theater and as the inaugural presentation in Professor Brian Herrera’s new series, “The Creative Intellect,” which will invite notable scholars, performers and activists to reflect publicly on the analytic tools, techniques and modes that have most guided their artistic and/or intellectual practice.

I’ve long admired Professer Kylen from afar. He doesn’t allow his lectures to be taped, so I’ve only heard by word of mouth—and, I’m embarrassed to admit, a few illicit recordings—how mind-blowing they are. I’m impossibly excited to see him at Princeton, especially now.

— Kyle Berlin ’18


BURL KYLEN is the Rich E. White Endowed Professor in the Social Scientific Humanities at the American University of the Royal Empire. He is internationally acclaimed for his work in founding Sunset Studies, an interdisciplinary field that combines literature, environmental studies, philosophy, and actually useful quantitative analysis. His most recent book, It’s the End of the World as We Know It: Why You Shouldn’t Feel Fine (2009) won the Putzer Prize of Academic Distinction. His earlier work includes the seminal texts For Whom the Sun Sets (1989) and The Sun Also Sets (1999), one of which was widely praised and won the highly prestigious Ferdinand D. and Lucille P. Chauncey Prize for General Scientific Commentary. Kylen is also a three-time recipient of a McDonald’s Genius Grant and has been appointed as Distinguished Fellow for the Robert Charles Darwin Family Evolution Foundation. Kylen is a proud founding member of the Association of Secluded Scholars.


BRIAN EUGENIO HERRERA is, by turns, a writer, teacher and scholar — presently based in New Jersey, but forever rooted in New Mexico. Brian’s work, both academic and creative, examines the history of gender, sexuality, and race within and through U.S. popular performance. Brian holds degrees from Brown University, the University of New Mexico and Yale University, where he earned his PhD in American Studies. Brian’s scholarly work has been awarded fellowship recognition from the Ford Foundation, the Smithsonian Institute, and the John Randolph & Dora Haynes Foundation. He is the author of The Latina/o Theatre Commons 2013 National Convening: A Narrative Report and has been published in many scholarly journals including Modern Drama, Theatre Journal, Ecumenica, Comparative Drama and The Gay and Lesbian Review; he also served as Guest Editor for a special section of The Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism. Brian recently completed terms of service on the Executive Committee for the American Society for Theatre Research and on the Steering Committee for the American Theatre Archive Project. He currently serves as Chair of the Executive Committee for Modern Language Association’s Drama Division and as member of the Advisory Committee for the Latino/a Theatre Commons. Read more …

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  • Program in Theater