Humanities Center Director: Thomas Wilson

Michael Bérubé

Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Literature and Director of the Institute for the Arts and Humanities, Penn State University

“The Value - - and the Values - - of the Humanities”

Monday, September 23, 2013 • 4:10pm • Taylor Science Center G027

Covering the past thirty years of work in interpretive theory, this talk will discuss how the disciplines of the humanities create and challenge our definitions of “universalism” and “the human”– an ancient question, of course, but one that has been reinvigorated in recent years by the advent of disability studies. The study of disability has profound implications for our understanding of the universalist project and its discontents, insofar as it brings new perspectives to the study of literature, history, philosophy, and society. Those new perspectives, in turn, both challenge and extend the promise of Enlightenment universalism, by challenging and extending our understanding of the human.

Michael Bérubé is Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Literature and Director of the Institute for the Arts and Humanities at Pennsylvania State University. He is the author of seven books to date, including Public Access: Literary Theory and American Cultural Politics (Verso, 1994); Life As We Know It: A Father, A Family, and an Exceptional Child (Pantheon, 1996; paper, Vintage, 1998); and What’s Liberal About the Liberal Arts? Classroom Politics and “ Bias” in Higher Education (W. W. Norton, 2006). Life As We Know It was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year for 1996 and was chosen as one of the best books of the year by Maureen Corrigan of National Public Radio. He is also the editor of The Aesthetics of Cultural Studies (Blackwell, 2004) and, with Cary Nelson, of Higher Education Under Fire: Politics, Economics, and the Crisis of the Humanities (Routledge, 1995).

Sponsored by the Dean of Faculty and the Hansmann Lecture Fund