Common Ground Lecture Series to Tackle Identity Politics, Inequality, and Community on College Campuses, Sept. 17

Common Ground Lecture Series to Tackle Identity Politics, Inequality, and Community on College Campuses, Sept. 17

Literary scholar and author William Egginton will share insights from his provocative new book, The Splintering of the American Mind, as part of the College of Arts and Sciences annual lecture series.

"We are living in fractured times, and I am reminded of the nursery rhyme, Humpty Dumpty... William Egginton’s book is an important attempt to explain the roots of our splintering and how we might piece ourselves together again."

— Richard Greenwald, PhD, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences

Johns Hopkins University literary scholar and philosopher William Egginton will investigate how the culture of higher education has contributed to the divisiveness of today’s political landscape in a provocative lecture at Fairfield University based on his critically-acclaimed book, The Splintering of the American Mind: Identity Politics, Inequality, and Community on College Campuses. The lecture will be held on Tuesday, September 17, 2019 at 7:30 p.m. in the Dolan School of Business Event Hall as part of the College of Arts and Sciences 2019-20 Common Ground Lecture Series, presented in partnership with the Center for Catholic Studies.

In his latest book, Egginton provides a timely and controversial look at how identity politics has come to dominate college campuses and higher education in America at the expense of a more essential commitment to equality. Though the civil rights movement, feminism, and gay pride led to profoundly positive social changes, Egginton argues that our culture's increasingly narrow focus on individual rights has put us in a dangerous place. While the goal of the education system, and particularly the liberal arts, was originally to strengthen community; Egginton contends that students have been taught to focus on the individual at the expense of the community, turning colleges into places that widen social rifts rather than foster civil discourse. In his lecture, the author advocates renewing liberal arts curricula as a way to foster a more expansive sense of community and sense of empathy, while heading off the further splintering of the American mind. 

“We are living in fractured times, and I am reminded of the nursery rhyme, Humpty Dumpty, where we are trying to put all the pieces back together,” explained Richard Greenwald, PhD, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and founder of the Common Ground Lecture Series. “William Egginton’s book is an important attempt to explain the roots of our splintering and how we might piece ourselves together again. As such, he raises important questions that are worth discussing at our University.” 

Eggington is a philosopher and literary scholar at Johns Hopkins University, where he is the inaugural director of the Alexander Grass Humanities Institute, holds the Andrew W. Mellon Chair in the Humanities, and chairs the department of German and Romance Languages and Literatures. He is the author, editor, or translator of more than a dozen books, including How the World Became a Stage (2003), Perversity and Ethics (2006), A Wrinkle in History (2007), The Philosopher's Desire (2007), The Theater of Truth (2010), In Defense of Religious Moderation (2011), and The Man Who Invented Fiction: How Cervantes Ushered In the Modern World (2016).

For more information on Egginton's upcoming lecture, contact program coordinator Elizabeth Hastings at ehastings@fairfield.edu.

The Splintering of the American Mind: Identity Politics, Inequality, and Community on College Campuses

Date: Tuesday, September 17, 2019
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Location: Dolan School of Business Event Hall

Additional Details:

Johns Hopkins University literary scholar and philosopher William Egginton will investigate how the culture of higher education has contributed to the divisiveness of today’s political landscape, in a provocative lecture at Fairfield University based on his critically-acclaimed book, The Splintering of the American Mind: Identity Politics, Inequality, and Community on College Campuses.

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Last modified: 09-04-19 12:00 AM

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