URI announces humanities speaker series

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KINGSTON, R.I. –February 4, 2010—The University of Rhode Island’s Center for Humanities spring lecture series opened today with a lecture by URI Professor of Classics Ann Suter who spoke about ancient obscenity and its relationship to the sacred.

The theme for the series, Responsibilities in Public, reflects the current research of recent faculty winners of humanities grants and fellowships and addresses urgent and pressing questions of public ethics. Speakers are also drawn from URI faculty participating in humanities research groups.

All events, free and open to the public, are held on the Kingston campus.

Those who attend can expect to hear lively presentations on topical subjects in the contemporary humanities and have the opportunity to ask questions. The receptions that follow the talks provide another opportunity to interact with the speakers.

The series continues Feb. 22 with visiting scholar Duane Davis, professor of philosophy at the University of North Carolina-Asheville.

“Duane Davis’ lecture will begin from a discussion of Pruitt-Igoe, the large urban skyscraper housing project in St. Louis built in 1955 and designed by architect, Minoru Yamasaki, who also designed the World Trade Center Towers,” said Galen Johnson, Honors professor of philosophy and director of the humanities center. “Pruitt-Igoe was demolished by the federal government beginning in 1972 due to its inhumane, cruel, and impoverished living arrangements. Pruitt-Igoe has become a symbol for the end of modernity and transition to postmodernity in architecture.

Davis’ lecture discusses more humane ways of building, living, and working together grounded in the recent philosophical thought of the French philosopher, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and German philosopher, Martin Heidegger.”

Here is the schedule:

Mon, Feb. 22, 4:30 to 6 p.m. Philosophy Professor Duane Davis, University of North Carolina-Asheville, Lippitt Hall Auditorium, Rm. 402, 5 Lippitt Road.

“Dwelling and Dwellings in the Face of Modernity: On Merleau-Ponty and Heidegger.” Co-Sponsored with URI Departments of Philosophy and English

Thursday, March 4, 4:30 to 6 p.m. URI History Professor Marie Jenkins Schwartz, University Club, 95 Upper College Road, Kingston.

“Slaves in the First Family: The Washingtons.”

Monday, April 5, 4:30 to 6 p.m.URI English and Women’s Studies Professor Karen Stein, “Reading, Learning, Teaching Toni Morrison.”

Co-Sponsored with URI Department of Women’s Studies.

Lippitt Hall Auditorium, Rm. 402, 5 Lippitt Road.

Thursday, April 22, 4:30 to 6 p.m. URI History Professor Evelyn Sterne, University Club, 95 Upper College Road.

“Blue State Bible Belt: Evangelical Protestantism in 20th Century New England.”

URI’s Center for the Humanities is designed to foster intellectual exchange and independent inquiry, analysis, and interpretation of the humanities in research, teaching, and learning. Its activities include a speaker series, research grants, and fellowships for faculty and graduate students.

For questions, up-to-date information, and directions go to www.uri.edu/artsci/cfh/index.html.