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spacer spacer spacer spacer spacer spacer October 8, 1998
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Have you used your humanities today? October '98, State Humanities Month

by Wade Robison, Ezra A. Hale Chair in Applied Ethics, College of Liberal Arts

Celebrate the Humanities! is a series of talks and cultural events in October throughout New York funded by the New York Council for the Humanities to celebrate the humanities. RIT has received a Council grant for a series of talks in professional and business ethics. The College of Liberal Arts has added to this series to create a month-long celebration of the humanities that draws upon some of its disciplines.

Wade Robison
Wade Robison

To appreciate the humanities we need only imagine how barren the landscape of our emotional, intellectual and moral lives would be were there no literature, no history, no philosophy -- no attempt to understand how we as humans relate to and think about our world. The talks and events during the month of October provide examples of our attempts to understand our world -- to traverse its sometimes difficult terrain and also serve to celebrate the diversity of the humanities and the richness they give our lives.

The series of talks in professional and business ethics illustrates this diversity -- and how topical talks in the humanities can be. Joseph Dembo, who has been acting president of National Public Radio as well as vice president and news director at CBS, will speak on "Ethics in Broadcast Journalism." It would be difficult to imagine a more germane topic given the recent news headlines surrounding President Clinton's difficulties. Don Ihde, a philosopher at SUNY Stony Brook, will speak on "Imaging Technologies: Is Seeing Believing?" A photograph used to be worth a thousand words in part because we could believe what we saw. Now we cannot tell whether we have a counterfeit or the real coin of the visual realm. When you see that photo of Monica and the president, Ihde's talk will make you hesitate and investigate before believing what you see.

The College of Liberal Arts and the Gannett chair have added to the offerings from the humanities with two different series -- three talks in the Gannett Lecture Series on Citizenship and the Environment and three talks on The Sweet Hereafter, including one by its author, Russell Banks. In addition, the philosophy department has added a talk by Jo Wolff of University College, London, on the question, "Is Democracy Any Good?" This comes just in time for the November election

The talks are free and open to the public, and we welcome your participation in the celebration.

Here are Humanities Month talks not listed in prior or this News & Events:

  • "The Confiicting Themes of Russell Banks's The Sweet Hereafter" by Mary Sullivan, professor of language and literature; 1-2 p.m., Oct. 13, Webb Auditorium, James A. Booth Building
  • "Is Democracy Any Good?" by Jo Wolff, professor of philosophy, University College, London; 3-5 p.m., Oct. 29, Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science Auditorium
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