Humanities Symposia

Presented by the Department of Humanities and Communication
3:30 Taylor Hall 112 – Wells Theater
See our past speakers for the Humanities Symposia

Fall 2015 Speakers

Being Stephen King/Becoming Richard Bachman
Alison Witte, Ph.D.
Tuesday, September 29 // 3:30 PM

Dr. Witte will explore the life and works of Stephen King, one of the most prolific and celebrated writers of our time. She will focus on the ways he incorporates his experiences and interests into his writing. She will also examine King’s reasons for inventing his alter-ego, Richard Bachman, and writing books, including this year’s Freshman reading pick, The Running Man, under that name.
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Wrestling with Reality: The Genesis and Lasting Appeal of The Running Man
Justin Young
Tuesday, October 13 // 3:30 PM

When Stephen King’s The Running Man was adapted into a film in 1987, it was not done so in a bubble. A swirl of reality television, movies, pro wrestling, and more would affect the final product and its legacy in the years to come. In this talk, Professor Young examines how those influences converged to create a film quite distinct from the novel it’s based upon.
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The Olympics in the Ancient World
Mike Blaz, Ph.D.
Tuesday, October 20 // 3:30 PM

To prepare for the Rio 2016 Olympic games next year, Dr. Blaz looks back at the origins of the Olympics in Ancient Greece. He will discuss what brought them about, how long they lasted, and what events were included in the competition. He will also review the Babe Ruths and Muhammed Alis of the ancient world, and discuss what made a great (ancient) Olympian.
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Poe: The Man Behind the Mustache
Lou Ann Homan
Tuesday, October 27 // 3:30 PM

Just in saying the name Edgar Allan Poe we conjure up shadows in moonlit cemeteries, beating hearts, and morbid lurking figures. But who was the man behind the mustache? From her firsthand experiences celebrating Poe’s birth in Baltimore and visiting his childhood home in Richmond, storyteller Lou Ann Homan will show you Poe as you have never seen him before. But don’t worry, you will still be looking over your shoulder as you leave.
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Liberal/Conservative Polarization: The Moral Dysfunction in America Today
William Argus, M.D.
Tuesday, November 3 // 3:30 PM

Economic ideas evolve over time. The economy is constantly changing and so are our notions about what constitutes a healthy economy. In this talk, Dr. Argus will argue that economic regulations are expressions of our deepest moral beliefs, including our attitudes about how societies should be organized. He will discuss how extreme polarization represents a failure of morality and of the human imagination.
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Queen Bess and the Bard: The Curious Relationship of Shakespeare and Elizabeth I
Amy Nicholls
Tuesday, November 10 // 3:30 PM

We know that Queen Elizabeth I was a patron of William Shakespeare and The Lord Chamberlain’s Men, but is there more to the story than that? For years, scholars have speculated about the pair’s relationship. Were they friends? Secret lovers? Was Shakespeare her illegitimate son? Did she write some of his plays? Drawing from the book, Shakespeare and Elizabeth by Helen Hackett, Professor Nicholls will discuss both the history and the myths of this powerful British duo.
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History of Program

The Humanities Symposia is a series of presentations followed by discussions about a range of academic subjects related to the humanities. It was developed in response to many professors presenting at academic conferences but not having a university outlet for presenting this research. Since many professors’ research interests lie outside their normal course load, the Symposia allow them to share their research with both the university and local community.

Talks usually last about thirty minutes and are followed by a time for questions. The entire time is generally under one hour, and talks are open to the public If you are interested in presenting, please contact Professor Sarah Young.