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2018 Lectures


January 25, 2018

alexander-beecroft

Featuring John Walbridge, Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at Indiana University
"Did Something Go Wrong? Science, Philosophy, and the Fate of Reason in Islam"
Location: 5:30pm, Escondido Theater, Located in the Student Union Building 

A major question in the historiography of the Scientific Revolution is why a scientific did not occur in the Islamic world. Scholars who have dealt with the question have generally pointed to one or another cause for the disappearance of science and rationality in the Greek tradition by the 12th century. Unfortunately for such accounts, more recent research has shown that that science in the Greek tradition, philosophy, and logic continued to be cultivated in the Islamic world into modern times. What was different was a focus on mysticism and related issues in later Islamic philosophy and the dominance of legal and linguistic concerns in logic. Moreover, there was no sharp cultural break in the Islamic (or Chinese) world comparable to the Protestant Reformation. 

Professor Walbridge's research interests include Islamic philosophy, studies, intellectual history (emphasis on the cultural role of philosophy and science), and Baha'i studies.


February 8, 2018

morson

Featuring Peter Dear, Professor of Science & Technology at Cornell University
"Who Cares About the Scientific Revolution?"
Location: 5:30pm, Human Sciences Room 169, Located in the Student Union Building 

The term "the Scientific Revolution" became popular among historians following the Second World War.  Although talk of a "revolution" in science in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries had become common in the eighteenth century, many twentieth-century historians took to the new term for a variety of reasons that do not now always seem as persuasive as they once did.  In recent decades academic historians of science have come to doubt the coherence of the concept itself, seeing it as something applied only in retrospect to a miscellany of different developments in the making of natural knowledge associated with famous names like Galileo and Newton.  But in the last five or so years, several books have been published that attempt to restore the Scientific Revolution to its former place as a crowning achievement of European culture.  This talk examines why a controversy exists over the matter, and what might be at stake for people (not just historians) in calling an entire period by such a name.

This event is the featured lecture of the Institute's highly anticipated "Science Week." In the days leading up to Dear's talk, several faculty members of Texas Tech will address the main topic of his lecture with their classes in various departments.


February 15, 2018

morson

Featuring Price Fishback, Thomas R. Brown Professor of Economics at Arizona State University
"War: What is it Good For?"
Location: 6:00pm, Rawls College of Business, Room 105

Is war good for the economy? Many people seem to think so, and they often cite the American experience during World War II as an example: “World War II brought us out of the Great Depression.” “Americans never had it so good, producing more guns and more butter.” We fought the War to prevent the Axis from establishing fascism throughout large parts of the world. But make no mistake; to fight the War, Americans had to sacrifice. This presentation talks about both the amazing output of the war effort and how much Americans sacrificed in the process. It is also important to remember, however, that Americans were the lucky ones because so little fighting took place on American soil. The sacrifices in the rest of the world were much larger. 

Price Fishback is a special guest of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. This event is hosted by the Texas Tech Phi Beta Kappa Chapter, of which ISWC Director Steve Balch is also president. 


February 22, 2018

morson

Featuring Lawrence M. Mead, Professor of Politics and Public Policy at New York University
"Burdens of Freedom: Cultural Roots of American Power"
Location: 5:30pm, Escondido Theater, Located in the Student Union Building

Professor Mead's lecture, "Burdens of Freedom," presents a radical argument that America's world dominance and also its chief challenges are rooted in cultural differences. The United States became rich and powerful largely because of an individualist culture, but it faces problems integrating the poor and immigrants largely because most of them lack that temperament. Individualism also promotes stronger government than in the non-West, so America must succor poor countries there. Thus freedom entails burdens. It becomes obligation. The world's freest country has become the most responsible.


March 22, 2018

alexander-beecroft

Featuring Alexander Beecroft, Professor in the Classics and Comparative Literature Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at the University of South Carolina
Location: 5:30pm, Escondido Theater, Located in the Student Union Building

Professor Beecroft teaches courses in Greek and Latin language and literature, ancient civilizations, literary theory (ancient and modern), and the theory and practice of world literature. His major areas of research interest are in the literatures of Ancient Greece and Rome, pre-Tang Chinese literature, and current debates about world literature.


April 5, 2018

alexander-beecroft

Featuring Paul Cantor, Clifton Waller Barrett Professor of English at the University of Virginia
"William Shakespeare and the Roots of Western Civilization"
Location: 5:30pm, Escondido Theater, Located in the Student Union Building

Professor Cantor specializes in comparative literature, Renaissance, and Romanticism. He has published extensively on Shakespeare and is well known for his writings on popular culture.

This event is the featured lecture of the Institute's highly anticipated "Shakespeare Week." In the days leading up to Dear's talk, several faculty members of Texas Tech will address the main topic of his lecture with their classes in various departments.


April 19, 2018

alexander-beecroft

Featuring James Ceaser, Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia
"James Madison: The Founder of American Founding"
Location: 5:30pm, Senate Room, Located in the Student Union Building

Professor Ceaser has written several books on American politics and political thought, including Presidential Selection, Liberal Democracy and Political Science, Reconstructing America, and Nature and History in American Political Development. He has held visiting professorships at Universities of Florence, Basel, Oxford, Bordeaux, and Rennes.


September 12, 2018

alexander-beecroft

Featuring William B. Allen, Professor of Political Philosophy at Michigan State University
"Conscience: The Basis of Liberty, Character, and Civilization"
Location: To be determined

In the beginning, Americans got it right. They did not fall for the false choice between the comfort of the least and the potential of the best, sometimes posed as a choice between the common good and individualism. Instead, the founders envisioned a productive people who were at the same time a caring people. They identified social progress with realizing the potential of the best. Lately social progress tends to be identified with the comfort of the least. As a result, many have turned away from relying upon creative and productive individuals to advance society and first of all look at citizens as wards of the state (the disadvantaged) and secondly as lucky (the advantaged; “you didn't build that”). The problem is, a society can care for the least of its members only when it fosters the productivity of the best of its citizens. An upside down view of praiseworthy character threatens to undermine the foundation of social progress in good character. Good character in turn builds upon conscientious self-reliance.  

This event is the featured lecture of the Institute's highly anticipated "Constitution Week." In the days leading up to Dear's talk, several faculty members of Texas Tech will address the main topic of his lecture with their classes in various departments.


November 12, 2018

alexander-beecroft

Featuring Jay Winter, Professor of History Emeritus at Yale University
"Great War Week"
Location: To be determined

Professor Winter is a specialist on World War I and its impact on the 20th century. In addition to writing and co-authoring numerous books, Dr. Winter was also co-producer and writer of the award-winning PBS/BBC documentary series, The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century.

This event is the featured lecture of the Institute's highly anticipated "Great War Week." In the days leading up to Dear's talk, several faculty members of Texas Tech will address the main topic of his lecture with their classes in various departments.


The Institute for the Study of Western Civilization