Summer 2014 Lecture Series

Join us this summer for a series of informal lectures, sponsored by the Graduate Institute.


Wednesdays at 3:15 p.m., Junior Common Room


What Hegel’s Reading of Newton

Teaches us About Newton,

Nature and Spirit

Wednesday, June 18 John Anders, Economics Department, Texas A&M


Nagarjuna’s Imperishable Promissory Note

Wednesday, June 25 April Olsen, Tulane University


A Benign Self-Portrait

Wednesday, July 2 N. Scott Momaday, Novelist, Poet, Essayist,

and Artist in Residence, Santa Fe

Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist N. Scott Momoday will read some of his poems as well as selected autobiographical passages.

Of Kiowa-Cherokee heritage, N. Scott Momaday has long been respected for his varied oeuvre, which both celebrates and preserves Native American oral tradition and art.  His first novel, House Made of Dawn, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1969.  Since then he has published more than a dozen works, including novels, children’s stories, poetry, essays, and a memoir.  In the mid-1970s, Momaday took up drawing and painting.  His art has been exhibited widely in the United States, and his drawings and etchings illustrate his newer books.

Raised first on the Kiowa Indian Reservation in Oklahoma and then in Arizona, where he was exposed to the Navajo, Apache, and Pueblo Indian cultures of the Southwest, Momaday developed an abiding interest in literature, especially poetry.   After graduating from the University of New Mexico, he won a poetry fellowship to Stanford University’s creative writing program, earning a doctorate in English literature in 1963.  He subsequently taught at the University of California-Santa Barbara and then at U.C-Berkeley, where he was professor of English and comparative literature and also designed a graduate program of Indian studies. Professor Momaday also taught for years at the University of Arizona.  Momaday received the first Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas and was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 2007.  He was the Oklahoma Centennial State Poet Laureate from July 2007 to January 2009 and has been artist in residence at St. John’s college since February.

Forbidden Fruit: The Banning of

The Grapes of Wrath in Kern County

Wednesday, July 9 Marci Lingo, Professor of English, Reference Librarian, Bakersfield College

John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath has been banned throughout its 75-year history; even today it continues to be challenged for its realistic description of the plight of the Okie migrants’ life in California, its political ideology, and its graphic language. One of the first and most famous incidents of banning occurred in 1939, a few months after its publication in Kern County, California, a setting in the novel. The county had experienced explosive population growth due the influx of the Dust Bowl migrants, and the novel describes both their destitution and exploitation. The Kern County Board of Supervisors and the powerful business interests that controlled it resented Steinbeck’s depiction of the treatment the migrants received at the hands of farmers and government officials. The ban was both controversial and unprecedented; it exposed the economic, social, and political power of business organizations like the Associated Farmers. It also revealed the fragility of the public library’s power to defend its patrons’ right to read and the precarious nature of intellectual freedom of libraries at this point in American history.

Marci Lingo just retired last month as professor of English and reference librarian at Bakersfield College. She received her bachelor of arts degree in English from the University of the Pacific, her master of arts degree in English from California State University, Bakersfield, and her master of library and information services degree from San Jose State University. Lingo spent her early career in the Kern County Library system, where The Grapes of Wrath had been banned.

"Bare ruin'd quires": Language, Figure and Death in Shakespeare's Sonnet 73

Wednesday, July 16 Jacques Duvoisin, Tutor, St. John’s College, Santa Fe

Jacque Duvoisin will discuss Shakespeare's Sonnet 73 (“That time of year thou mayst in me behold”), with special attention to the rhetorical structure of the poem--its use of tropes to work through the various ways death inhabits life. The sonnet speaks of “bare ruin'd quires,” of “death's second self,” and “the ashes of his youth”--in each case, enacting an ambiguity between the written word and the reality it names, as if to say that the reality of death is inseparable from our ability (or inability) to name it.

Jacques Antoine Duvoisin received a bachelor of arts degree in 1980 from St. John’s College, Annapolis, and went on to earn a master of arts and a doctorate in 1984 and 1992, respectively, from The Catholic University of America.  Before joining the faculty of St. John’s College, Santa Fe, he was a Knights of Columbus Fellow (1981-1984) and a visiting fellow in the University of London’s School for Advanced Studies, Institute of Philosophy.

What is Socrates’ Question?

Wednesday, July 23

John Bova, Philosophy Department, Villanova University

What is the signature question asked by Plato’s Socrates in what are sometimes called his elenctic, or refutational, conversations? This question apparently answers itself! We all know, on the authority of Aristotle, that Socrates, question is none other than this very ti esti, or What is...? question that we have used in posing this or any problem of essence. Nevertheless, I suggest that Plato’s dialogues show a different answer--that the ti esti defines only one pole of a dual Socratic question.

John Bova earned a B.S. in philosophy and mathematics from Towson University in 2002, an M.A. in Eastern Classics at St. John’s College in 2003, and an M.A. in philosophy at Villanova University in 2009. He is a doctoral candidate in the philosophy department at Villanova University, where he has taught courses in logic, philosophy of mind, and, at neighboring West Chester University, ancient Greek thought. Since 2012 he has been an affiliated researcher in the philosophy department of the University of New Mexico. At the time of writing, he is in development to co-teach a graduate seminar on formalization and contemporary thought at the Global Center for Advanced Studies (GCAS). The title of his forthcoming dissertation is The Idea of the Good: Metalogic is Ethics.


Beyond Fate, Fortune and Providence

Wednesday, July 30 Jay Smith, Tutor, St. John’s College, Santa Fe

Starting from an understanding of the increased scope of human action as transformed by technology, Jay Smith will examine some of the ethical and education implications of this increase.  Hans Jonas’s seminal work, “The Imperative of Responsibility,” will be the source text for the examination of the increased and accumulating effects of human actions, especially as regards life possibilities of future generations. 

Jay Smith earned his bachelor of arts degree from St. John's College, Santa Fe, in 1977, a master of arts degree in philosophy from Marquette University in 1979, and a doctorate in philosophy from Fordham University in 2002. Before joining the St. John’s faculty in 2001, Smith worked for the Environmental Protection Agency and also as an environmental consultant. 

Bread Loaf Lectures

The Bread Loaf School of English, a graduate program of Middlebury College, has been offering courses in literature, writing, and the teaching of writing at St. John's College for more than a dozen summers. The courses are augmented by lectures by distinguished artists and writers, which are free and open to the public.

Luci Tapahonso, Navajo Poet Laureate

Tuesday, June 24, 7:00 p.m.
Junior Common Room
Peterson Student Center

Kylene Beers, Former President
National Council of Teachers

Tuesday, July 1, 7:00 p.m.
Junior Common Room
Peterson Student Center



"Make a virtue of necessity."
- Chaucer