The online home for the Humanities Forum at The University of Scranton through the Gail and Francis Slattery Center for Humanities

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John Fletcher, “Real Trouble: Performing Irony and Identity in a Deepfake World,” 2/19

On Wednesday, February 19 at 5:30pm in Pearn Auditorum (BRN 228), Dr. John Fletcher will kick off the Spring 2020 Humanities Forum with his talk “Real Trouble: Performing Irony and Identity in a Deepfake World.”

Deepfakes have become a part of our contemporary lives. These algorithmically-generated manipulations of images and videos have been profiled by Reset, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, and recently in The Atlantic as ways that disinformation and misinformation proliferates online.

John Fletcher is the Billy J. Harbin Associate Professor of Theatre at Louisiana State University. He studies social change performance, evangelical Christianity, and online disinformation/misinformation. His work appears in journals such as Theatre Journal, Theatre Topics, Theatre Survey, Text and Performance Quarterly, and Performance Matters as well as in anthologies such as Theatre, Performance, and Change (Palgrave 2018), Performing the Secular: Religion, Representation, and Politics (Palgrave 2017), and Theatre Historiography: Critical Interventions (Michigan 2010). His monograph Preaching to Convert: Evangelical Outreach and Performance Activism in a Secular Age was published in 2013 by Michigan. He serves as the co-editor of Theatre Topics. Current research projects involve investigating the endpoints of activist performance and theorizing irony/mendacity in online performance.

We hope you will join us for Dr. Fletcher’s talk.

Announcing the Fall 2019 Humanities Forum!

We are pleased to announce the lineup for this semester’s Humanities Forum. Featuring an award-winning author, acclaimed researcher in disability studies, noted scholar of masculinity and migration in Italy, as well as a major contributor to the world of modern philosophy, this semester’s forum will enliven The University of Scranton campus through lively discussion and debate.

Building upon last years wildly-successful Humanities Forum, this year’s offerings will feature 8 events curated by faculty members for the students, staff, and faculty at The University of Scranton. The Humanities Forum is a place where the campus and greater Scranton community can come together to engage with important topics brought to campus from speakers from across the humanistic disciplines.

We look forward to seeing you at our events. All events are free and open to the public.

Today! Catherine Cornille on Interreligious Empathy at 7pm in Brennan 228

Tonight at 7pm, Catherine Cornille will be presenting on interreligious empathy and dialogue at 7pm in Brennan 228.

Catherine Cornille is the Newton College Alumnae Chair of Western Culture and professor of comparative theology at Boston College. From 2008-2013, she organized the Boston College Symposia on Interreligious Dialogue, bringing together scholars from different religions and various parts of the world to focus on fundamental questions in Interreligious Dialogue. Her research interests include the Theology of Religions and concrete questions in the Hindu-Christian and Buddhist-Christian dialogues. She is the author of The Im-Possibility of Interreligious Dialogue, the founding and managing editor of the book series Christian Commentaries on Non-Christian Sacred Texts, and the editor of The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Inter-Religious Dialogue. She holds a licentiate in theology, a B.A. in Philosophy, and a Ph.D in Religious Studies from the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium), as well as an M.A. in Asian Religions from the University of Hawaii.

Today! James Miller on Democracy at 5:30pm in the Heritage Room

Today, James Miller will present “Can Democracy Work? A Short History of a Radical Idea, from Ancient Athens to Our World,” at 5:30pm in the Heritage Room on the 5th floor of the Weinberg Memorial Library. This event is co-sponsored by the Humanities Initiative and the Schemel Forum.

James Miller is Professor of Politics and Liberal Studies, and Faculty Director of the MA in Creative Publishing and Critical Journalism at The New School for Social Research. His latest book, Can Democracy Work? A Short History of a Radical Idea from Ancient Athens to Our World, has just been published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

He is the author of six other books, including Flowers in the Dustbin: the Rise of Rock & Roll, 1947-1977, winner of an ASCAP-Deems Taylor award and a Ralph Gleason BMI award for best music book of 1999; The Passion of Michel Foucault (1993), an interpretive essay on the life of the French philosopher and a National Book Critics Circle Finalist for General Nonfiction, which has been translated into nine languages; “Democracy is in the Streets”: From Port Huron to the Siege of Chicago (1987), an account of the American student movement of the 1960s, also a National Book Critics Circle Finalist for General Nonfiction and recently recommended by Michael Kazin as one of the 5 essential books to understand the roots of the Occupy Wall Street movement (to read the article, please click here); Rousseau: Dreamer of Democracy (1984), a study of the origins of modern democracy; and History and Human Existence – From Marx to Merleau-Ponty, an analysis of Marx and the French existentialists.

The original editor of The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock and Roll (1976), he has written about music since the 1960s, when one of his early record reviews appeared in the third issue of Rolling Stone magazine. Subsequent pieces on music have appeared in The New Republic, The New York Times and Newsweek, where he was a book reviewer and pop music critic between 1981 and 1990. Pieces on philosophy and history have appeared in The London Review of Books, The New York Times Book Review. In 2000, the magazine Lingua Franca published his best-known essay, “Is Bad Writing Necessary? George Orwell, Theodor Adorno, and the Politics of Language.”

Besides publishing in such peer-reviewed academic journals as History and Theory and Political Theory, he has contributed to a variety of reference works, from Encyclopedia Britannica and A New Literary History of America, published by Harvard in 2009, to the Dictionnaire de philosophie morale edited by Monique Canto-Sperber in 1996.

From 2000 to 2008, he edited Daedalus, the journal of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow, an NEH Fellow twice, and in 2006-2007 he was a Fellow at the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library. A native of Chicago, he was educated at Pomona College in California, and at Brandeis University, where he received a Ph.D. in the History of Ideas in 1976.

American Creed Community Conversation with Dr. Adam Pratt

This Thursday, March 28, H.I. Executive Committee member and Assistant Professor of History, Dr. Adam Prat, will host a community conversation following screening of the documentary film “American Creed” at 6:30 p.m. in the Albright Memorial Library’s Henkelman Room.

In the documentary film, former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David M. Kennedy come together from different points of view to investigate the idea of a unifying American creed. Their spirited inquiry frames the stories of citizen-activists striving to realize their own visions of America’s promise across deepening divides. At the heart of this film, Rice and Kennedy lead a moving discussion with first-generation college students about the question: what does it mean to be American today?

American Creed Community Conversations are film screenings and scholar-facilitated discussions that mirror the type of conversation Rice and Kennedy have in the film and are designed to engage Americans in reflection and dialogue about their own part in the American story and in acting to shape that story for the better.

Registration is free and required for all events. To register online, visit or call Jessica Serrenti at the Albright Memorial Library at 570-348-3000 ext. 3023.

The events are made possible through a partnership with the University and the American Library Association’s American Creed: Community Conversations grant program, in partnership with Citizen Film, WTTW Chicago, Corporation of Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment of the Humanities and the National Writing Project. This event is supported by the Humanities Initiative.


Today, UNC professor Juan Carlos González Espitia will giave a talk on syphilis and literature at 5pm in Leahy 235. Dr. González Espitia is an Associate Professor of Spanish and affiliated faculty in Comparative Literature. From a literary and historical perspective, his work is a diachronic approach to Latin American and Spanish literary production in dialogue with critical medical humanities and questions of public health from the eighteenth century to the present, with a strong focus on the associations between the discourses of disease, literature, and public policy. He is the editor of the established North Carolina Studies in the Romance Languages and Literatures book series as well as the editor of the journal Hispanófila.

González Espitia teaches courses and guides doctoral candidates in multiple periods and through an array of disciplinary perspectives, from Spanish American and Peninsular literature of the Enlightenment to Avant-Garde literary production, to LatinX literature, and from seminars on cultural representations of disease and (dis)ability to courses on the theory of poiesis or literary creation. His research focuses on non-canonical, heterodox, or otherwise hidden literatures, ideas and authors that, although oftentimes absent from the canons, reveal profound trends in culture and society. More pointedly, his work deals with representations of disease, forms of writing that challenge the status quo, and nation building, including the complex dynamics from a colonial condition to one of budding independence.

Cinzia Arruzza – “What’s the Need for Shame?: Plato on Shamlessness and Injustice”

The University of Scranton Humanities Initiative is proud to welcome Cinzia Arruzza to campus on Wednesday, February 27. Her talk will be at 5:30 in the 5th floor of the Weinberg Memorial Library.

Dr. Arruzza is the author of several books and co-editor of the forthcoming Feminism for the 99% (Verso Books). She currently teaches at The New School and is a member of the editorial collective for Viewpoint Magazine.

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