Dean’s Lecture and Concert Series

Lectures are free and open to the public and are followed by a question-and-answer period.

"Living Well: Aristotle, on Democracy, Equality, and the Politics of Life"
Friday, April 10, 7:30 p.m.
Great Hall, Peterson Student Center
Walter Brogan of Villanova University, Department of Philosophy, presents this installment of the Dean's Lecture and Concert Series, which will focus primarily on Book One and Three of Aristotle'sPolitics and the chapters on friendship in his Nichomachean Ethics.Brogan will show how Aristotle deploys fundamental metaphysical distinctions in distinguishing the human community of free and equal citizens from associations founded in nature. Along these lines, he will discuss Aristotle's views on slavery, on gender equality, and on commercialism. Finally, Brogan will examine his portrait of the free citizen and of taking turns between ruling and being-ruled in the ideal human community, and conclude with a question about whether Aristotle's depiction of living well necessarily entails the exclusionary political practice that he described in the first part or how we might think otherwise about the relationship of mere life and living well.

Brogan is a professor of philosophy at Villanova University, and specializes in ancient Greek philosophy and contemporary continental philosophy. He is the author of Heidegger and AristotleThe Twofoldness of Being, several edited volumes, and many articles focusing on ancient Greek philosophy and contemporary European thought.He has been a member of the executive committee of the American Philosophical Association and the director of the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy, the Ancient Philosophy Society, and the Collegium Phaenomenologicum in Italy.  

An Evening with Azar Nafisi, author of Reading Lolita in Tehran and The Republic of the Imagination: America in Three Books
Friday, April 17, 7:30 p.m.
Great Hall, Peterson Student Center

Annual Worrell Lecture
Azar Nafisi will read selections from her work in this installment of the Dean's Lecture and Concert Series, which is also the Annual Worrell Lecture.

Nafisi is the critically acclaimed author of Reading Lolita in Tehran, a long-running number-one New York Times bestseller published in 32 languages, and Things I’ve Been Silent About, also a New York Times bestseller. A fellow at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, she has taught at Oxford University and several universities in Tehran.


When a Body Moves a Body
Wednesday, April 22, 3:15 p.m. 
Junior Common Room, Peterson Student Center
Free Admission

Howard Fisher, a tutor at St. John’s College will discuss the ability of bodies to move one another by contact and, more generally, the ability of any agent to exert physical power in the world. 

"Shakespeare's Sonnets 1-22: A Fully Fashioned Introduction to 'Shakespeare's Sonnets'"
Friday, April 24, 7:30 p.m.
Great Hall, Peterson Student Center

Richard Levin of the University of California-Davis English Department delivers this installment of the Dean's Lecture and Concert Series, which is also part of the Carol J. Worrell Annual Lecture Series on Literature.

Are “Shakespeare’s Sonnets” a designed work of art? Though several outstanding editions of the “Sonnets” establish subtle connections that link one sonnet to another in sequences of varying length, these editions stop well short of interpreting the “Sonnets” as a unified whole. Though the unity cannot be fully described in terms of an unbroken succession from sonnet 1 to sonnet 154, the opening sonnets form a unit constituting the introductory phase of the “Sonnets”. Sonnets 1 to 22 set up a complex relationship between the speaker and a young man of high birth. In urging him to procreate, the speaker is not giving disinterested advice. Nor is the speaker’s passionate interest in the young man a simple matter, as both the young man and the speaker may have sexual interest in women–or in a woman. Finally, the apparent focus on the young man and on praise for him is in tension with the speaker’s regard for himself and his poetic ability. The “Sonnets” are riddling and elusive. We must grab help when it is offered, as it is in the gateway sonnets.  

Professor Levin joined the UC Davis faculty as assistant professor in 1974. Previously, he taught at Louisiana State University, New Orleans (now the University of New Orleans). His areas of research and teaching include Renaissance literature and drama. He has published Love and Society in Shakespearean Comedy and articles on the works of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. Shakespeare's Secret Schemers: The Study of An Early Modern Device was published by the University of Delaware Press in 2001. He is an associate editor of The Upstart Crow.

"Some Socratic Aspects of Wittgenstein"
Friday, May 1, 7:30 p.m.
Great Hall, Peterson Student Center
James Conant is Chester D. Tripp Professor of Humanities, Professor of Philosophy, and Professor in the College at the University of Chicago. He received both his BA (1982) and PhD (1990) from Harvard University. He was assistant, then associate, and then full professor, over a period of nine years, at the University of Pittsburgh, before moving to Chicago in 1999. He works broadly in philosophy and has published articles in philosophy of language, philosophy of mind,aesthetics, German idealism, and history of analytic philosophy, among other areas, and on a wide range of philosophers, including Kant, Emerson, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Josiah Royce, William James, Frege, Carnap, Wittgenstein, Putnam, Cavell, Rorty, and McDowell, among others.