SOU’s ‘On Being Human’ Theme Continues with Spring Term Presentations

(Ashland, Ore.) – Southern Oregon University continues discussing this year’s campus theme, “On Being Human,” with more than a dozen spring term presentations. The featured speaker is Dr. Nel Noddings, Emerita Professor of Education at Stanford University, and the author of 17 books and more than 200 articles and chapters on various topics ranging from the ethics of care to mathematical problem solving.

Forum on World Religions

The Forum on World Religions will feature each week short presentations by representatives from various religions, followed by discussion. The Forum will be held Thursdays at noon beginning April 7 and will run through May 5.

Thursdays, April 7-May 5, noon-1:00 p.m., Meese Room 305, Hannon Library

Search for the Soul: The Quest for Human Essence

The question of what makes humans unique has captured the imagination of peoples across the world for centuries. Having a soul, it is often argued, is what makes the human different than everything else. From the ancient Greek notion of the psyche to modern cognitive science, a variety of answers have been given. In this presentation, Mitchell Frangadakis, philosophy instructor at SOU, will survey some of the philosophical, religious, and scientific answers to this question with the goal of clarifying and identifying the key issues involved.

Thursday, April 14, 7:00 p.m., Meese Auditorium, Art Building

People Helping People: Meeting Basic Needs in the Face of Scarce Resources

What does it mean to be human?  The School of Business will explore this question from a humanities perspective.  Recent financial events have resulted in a greater demand for services while resources are shrinking. A panel of local nonprofit leaders will examine the dual roles of responsibility and leadership required to serve our community.  Join us to find out what is happening locally and how you are involved in the process of People Helping People.  Moderator: Dee Anne Everson, United Way Executive Director –  Panel Members: Susan Harris, Ashland Food Bank Director; Brad Russell, Rogue Valley YMCA Executive Director; Ida Saito, La Clinica Chief Operating Officer;  and Dan Thorndike, Community Volunteer.

Tuesday, April 26, 4:00 p.m., Meese Room 305, Hannon Library

Reception to follow at 5:30 p.m. in Central Hall hosted by the School of Business Hospitality Club

Equality in American Schools: Should everyone be prepared for college?

How should we understand the concept of equality in a democratic society? Does a democratic conception of equality require us to provide the same education for all students? In this lecture, Dr. Nel Noddings, Emerita Professor of Education at Stanford University, will argue that providing the same preparation for all students may actually undermine our democracy. This is part of the 2011 Frank J. Van Dyke Lectures in Professional Ethics series.

Thursday, April 28, 7:00 p.m., Meese Auditorium, Art Building

The Maternal Factor: Two Paths to Morality

Morality is a uniquely human concern. Most moral philosophy over the centuries can be traced through male experience and is based on an evolutionary sense of fairness rooted in self-interest. An alternative based on female experience may be traced to maternal instinct. Dr. Nel Noddings’ lecture is based on her new book The Maternal Factor: Two Paths to Morality.

Friday, April 29, 4:00 p.m., Science Building 118

About Dr. Nel Noddings

Nel Noddings is Lee L. Jacks Professor of Education, Emerita, at Stanford University.   She is a past president of the National Academy of Education, the Philosophy of Education Society and the John Dewey Society. In addition to 17 books—among them, Caring: A Feminine Approach to Ethics and Moral Education, Women and Evil, The Challenge to Care in Schools, and Philosophy of Education—she is the author of more than 200 articles and chapters on various topics ranging from the ethics of care to mathematical problem solving.

Her latest books are Happiness and Education, Educating Citizens for Global Awareness, Critical Lessons: What Our Schools Should Teach, When School Reform Goes Wrong, and The Maternal Factor: Two Paths to Morality. Her work has so far been translated into 12 languages.

Noddings spent fifteen years as a teacher, administrator, and curriculum supervisor in public schools; she served as a mathematics department chairperson in New Jersey and as Director of the Laboratory Schools at the University of Chicago. At Stanford, she received the Award for Teaching Excellence three times.

She is a Laureate member of Kappa Delta Pi, and holds a number of awards, among them the Anne Rowe Award for contributions to the education of women (Harvard University); the Award for Distinguished Leadership in Education, Rutgers University; and honorary doctorates from Columbia College; Montclair State University; Queen’s University, Canada; Lewis and Clark College; and Manhattan College.

The Attraction of Argument and the Claims of Higher Education

To learn to reason well is to learn to imagine oneself in different social roles, to hear conflicting voices which call for new responses, and to imagine forms of conversation that are guided by respect and recognition. Students who are able to join the conversation of reason have begun an endless self-transformation, and it is the proper role of professors to be partners in this transformation. The process of communicative reason depends upon an imaginary ethical community driven by our moral imaginations and a commitment to letting ourselves be claimed by an ethical vision. The ethical and moral claims of reason should be the orienting idea of a liberal arts education. In this lecture, Dr. Bill Gholson, Professor of English at SOU, will outline the features of a curriculum built around communicative reason within the context of a culture of consumption and competition where powerful forces make claims on students to be career and consumer oriented.

Tuesday, May 3, 7:00 p.m. Meese Auditorium, Art Building

On Being Human: International Poetry Night

Sponsored by the SOU Department of Language, Literature, and Philosophy, international poetry night features poetry readings in various languages, followed by readings of the English translations of the poems.

Thursday, May 12, 2011 7:00 p.m. Meese Auditorium, Art Building

Southern Oregon Arts & Research (SOAR) Panel on Human Expression and Creativity

A SOU faculty panel will discuss the subject of human creativity from a variety of perspectives in the arts and humanities. Panelists include Dr. Paul French, Music; Dr. Miles Inada, Art; and Dr. Kasey Mohammed, Creative Writing. Each panelist will give a brief presentation on creativity and related concepts, such as expression, originality, and inspiration, as they apply to their specific field. Their presentation will be followed by a discussion with the audience.

Wednesday, May 18, 4:00 p.m., Meese Room 305, Hannon Library

Chess and Language: What Games and Language Tell Us about Being Human

Language and the creation and play of complex games distinguish humans from other living things. The ability to acquire, record, and disseminate knowledge through oral and written language, as far as we know, is unique to humans. SOU faculty members Dr. Ed Battistella, Professor of English and Writing, and Dr. Scott Rex, Associate Professor of Spanish, will discuss what language and games teach us about being human.

Wednesday, May 25, 4:00 p.m. Stevenson Union 319

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