UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State Humanities Institute will sponsor its inaugural event on March 29, featuring a lecture by Michael Roth, president of Wesleyan University, at 4 p.m. in the Alumni Lounge of the Nittany Lion Inn, University Park.
Roth’s lecture is titled “On the Use and Abuse of the Humanities for Life: Protection or Connection in the Age of Cynical Unreason.” The event also will include opening remarks by Penn State President Eric Barron and Susan Welch, dean of the College of the Liberal Arts. A reception will follow the lecture.
Roth is a widely known historian, curator, and public advocate for liberal education and has served as President of Wesleyan since 2007. He is the author of numerous scholarly works, including “Psycho-Analysis as History: Negation and Freedom in Freud” (Cornell, 1995), and “Memory, Trauma and History: Essays on Living with the Past” (Columbia, 2012). His most recent book, “Beyond the University: Why Liberal Education Matters” (Yale, 2014), was granted the Association of American Colleges & Universities’ Frederic W. Ness award for a book that best illuminates the goals and practices of a contemporary liberal education.
Roth has also curated art exhibitions connected to his scholarship at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles and the Library of Congress. His work spans numerous topics and forms, from psycho-analysis, public memory, art and film, and the role of humanities scholarship and education in contemporary society. He regularly contributes essays to various news outlets, journals, and on-line publications, including The Chronicle of Higher Education and The Huffington Post.
His work promoting liberal arts education and scholarship in the humanities has had a powerful impact on the public conversation about these issues.
This occasion marks the first anniversary of the Humanities Institute. Building on the more than 50 years of operation of the Institute for Arts and Humanities, the Humanities Institute offers research support to faculty and graduate students, organizes focused workshops and conferences, and promotes the public value of research and teaching in the humanities.