Announcing: Drury Debate Union

Announcing: Drury Debate Union

I’m pleased to announce the establishment of the Drury Debate Union. Collegiate debate has been a longstanding point of pride for the Drury community. Drury’s first debate team was organized more than 80 years ago and many students and coaches have participated in hundreds of local, national, and international debate tournaments. Now, after a brief transitional period,(…)

Why the N.E.H. is Important!

Why the N.E.H. is Important!

Many Americans don’t realize the importance of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). They fund all sorts of projects related to history, literature, and philosophy, among other things. Some funding builds buildings and puts on public programs; other funding supports the work of scholars. For the past week, I have been participating, along with(…)

Year in Review 2014-2015

Year in Review 2014-2015

Now that the dust has settled from another busy and successful year for Drury’s Humanities and Ethics Center, it seems a good moment to reflect on all that has happened over the last year and also to look ahead to next year. As in years past, the HEC kicked off the year’s activities with a(…)

The Robot Revolution . . . and the Humanities

The Robot Revolution . . . and the Humanities

The robots are coming! The robots are coming! A few weeks ago, I visited the exhibit “Robot Revolution” at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry. Scientists define robots as machines that can sense, plan, and act, and there were plenty of examples of robots in action on hand. The exhibit featured robots that could play tic-tac-toe(…)

Podcast: Do We Have Free Will?

Podcast: Do We Have Free Will?

Cory Bledsoe, a senior communications major, came to me a while ago with a great idea. She wanted to use the campus radio studio in Shoemaker to start a show called “The Complexities of Being Human.” Her ideas was to use the show to interview different people in the Humanities, for about 30 minutes at a(…)

It Sucks to be Born Ignorant

It Sucks to be Born Ignorant

I like to think that daydreaming isn’t always as bad people say it is. While, admittedly, a vast proportion of my daydreaming has to do with Skyrim modding, sometimes my predisposition to daydream actually yields up something useful. See, something has struck me while studying the Nicomachean Ethics for my Ancient Greek class and the(…)

Better Together Week: Jenay Lamy

Better Together Week: Jenay Lamy

Boy am I excited to share in a new and exciting idea! Better Together! Why Better Together? After letting the idea sink in last night, I’ve come to reflect on my own beliefs. Here’s what I’ve found; I have many friends that have different beliefs, but I can’t say that’s a hot topic of discussion(…)

Better Together Week: John Fritz

Better Together Week: John Fritz

We live in a world disparaged. Complicated issues that have no real answer get painted black and white. Those involved become too angry, too ridiculed by the opposition that they panic and scream and fight until nothing is left. When a system is to blame for great injustice, each individual must share the blame. Yet,(…)

Better Together Week: Hezekiah Harrison

Better Together Week: Hezekiah Harrison

Everyone has seen a firm stance on religion lead to awful things.  The Crusades, the Roman martyrs, violence in the Middle East today, and the Westboro Baptist Church all come to mind.  When people decide that those who think differently have to be hated, bad things happen.  After all the violence and oppression that has(…)

The Extraordinary Vision of Alexander Grothendieck

The Extraordinary Vision of Alexander Grothendieck

It’s tempting to think of Alexander Grothendieck, arguably the greatest mathematician of the 20th century, as the Syd Barrett of mathematics: a genius who saw too much, too fast – who reached for the secret too soon. You may have read at The Guardian or The New York Times that Grothendieck passed away last winter, having lived his last couple of decades(…)

Better Together Week: An Interfaith Pledge

Better Together Week: An Interfaith Pledge

This coming week Drury University will be participating in a national effort promoted by the Interfaith Youth Council (IYC).  It is called “Better Together Day.”  In our case, we will be having “Better Together Week” with the goal of nurturing interfaith dialogue on our campus.  In this coming week, selected students, staff, and faculty will(…)

Are We Hard-Wired for Compassion?

Are We Hard-Wired for Compassion?

After graduating from Emory University in the spring of 1982, I faced the usual anxiety and indecision that afflicts many recent college graduates. While I knew that I eventually wanted to go on to grad school, I thought it best to take a year or two off, make a little money, and perhaps do some(…)

Victorian “Matters”

Victorian “Matters”

As an undergraduate student at Bowdoin College in the 1990s, I was exposed to literary theory in the midst of what we now refer to as the “culture wars.” The question of how to go about reading and discussing literature was hotly contested. What were the political implications, we asked, of reading certain texts, and(…)

Go (cos)PLAY!

Go (cos)PLAY!

“We should live out our lives playing at certain pastimes” –Plato’s Laws, book 7, paragraph 803e.  I’ve been recently reminded of something that many of us forget: The importance of play. My head, like those of most modern adults (and children) is full of work and worry, deadlines and rubrics.  I spend my time fussing(…)

Video games and the Humanities, Part II: MMOs

Video games and the Humanities, Part II: MMOs

In my last post, I wrote about how video games, and especially RPGs (role playing games) could offer the same kinds of empathy-building experiences as conventional humanities media like literature. For this installment, I’ll focus instead on the younger sibling of RPGs, the MMORPG (with MMO meaning Massively Multiplayer Online), games like World of Warcraft,(…)

On Living in Springfield in the Wake of SOGI

On Living in Springfield in the Wake of SOGI

When I realized that I was slated to publish a blog post the Friday following the April elections in Springfield, I told myself that I was going to avoid current events and write about something unrelated. Even in the immediate aftermath of the repeal of the non-discrimination ordinance, I’m not sure what sort of analysis(…)

What We Talk about When We Talk about Sexual Assault

What We Talk about When We Talk about Sexual Assault

Studying the humanities reveals just how powerfully language can shape humans’ perspectives and behaviors—the way we talk and the way we listen to others molds what we think and do. I have become sensitive to this, paying careful attention to how I and those around me talk about things, especially complex or controversial issues. This(…)

It’s All Our World

It’s All Our World

Let’s try a quick exercise. Think of some unpleasant social situation going on in the world. Did you think of hunger? Poverty? War? Modern slavery? Now think about the people you were picturing involved in those situations. Was it in this country? Another country? On an entirely separate continent? What if you don’t necessarily know(…)

Lost in Translation: SOGI and the LGBT Evangelical

Lost in Translation: SOGI and the LGBT Evangelical

If you live in Springfield, Missouri, and if you have been paying any attention at all, you know that the city is divided over a ballot question concerning SOGI (sexual orientation and gender identity). And unsurprisingly, the rhetoric often settles upon interpretations of Biblical texts. The schism isn’t, of course, unique to Springfield; it is(…)

On Wearing Masks

On Wearing Masks

Shakespeare reminds me how exciting and terrifying it can be to play at who we are. In the theater, we try on a role – a persona, the Latin word for masks. Actors wear masks to become their characters, if only for a few hours. I am always alert to the possibilities in Shakespeare that(…)

Having Favorites

Having Favorites

Do you have a favorite movie? A favorite album? A favorite TV show? A favorite anything? The answer to all of these is probably yes though I would not expect all these favorite to hold the same weight. That is, I assume it is likely that one of these favorites ought to be more important(…)

A Ceasefire Proposal

A Ceasefire Proposal

Often, we in the Humanities worry about the future of the discipline. Between tightening university budgets for both private and public universities and public criticisms of the Humanities as “not practical enough” to get students jobs after graduation, it becomes more and more necessary to push back and put the Humanities in its rightful place(…)