‘Dangerous’ academic to give Summers Memorial Lecture

March 24, 2009 | Events
By Vicki L. Kroll

Dr. Michael Bérubé has quite a sense of humor. Take a look at the scholar’s blog at www.michaelberube.com.



“I teach American literature and cultural studies at Penn State University. And I have been certified as dangerous by the David Horowitz Center for Freedom Fries and Apple Fritters,” he posted.

The Paterno Professor in English Literature and Science, Technology and Society is referring to when the conservative commentator labeled him one of the “101 most dangerous academics in America” in 2006.

On his blog, Bérubé shares his opinions on liberal politics, cultural studies, disability rights, hockey and music.

He will discuss “The Pursuit of Literature” at the 20th annual Richard M. Summers Memorial Lecture Friday, March 27, at 4 p.m. in Memorial Field House Room 2100 on UT’s Main Campus.

“We’re very excited about Michael’s visit because he has the ability to appeal to both the scholar and the layman on a variety of subjects: from the importance of studying the humanities to disability rights, from the pursuit of literature to liberal politics,” said Dr. Tim Geiger, UT associate professor of English.

“Michael’s ability to express himself crosses the boundaries of all intellectual levels and appeals to that which, at its most basic level, is simply what makes us human,” Geiger said.

Bérubé has written several books, including Rhetorical Occasions: Essays on Humans and the Humanities (2006), What’s Liberal About the Liberal Arts? Classroom Politics and “Bias” in Higher Education (2006) and The Employment of English: Theory, Jobs and the Future of Literary Studies (1998).

In his 1996 book, Life As We Know It: A Father, a Family and an Exceptional Child, he wrote about his son, Jamie, who has Down syndrome.

“His concerns, and the way he is able to write about them, demonstrate the perfect merger of compassion with the intellect,” Geiger said.

The Richard M. Summers Memorial Lecture was established by Marie Summers to honor her son, a member of the UT Department of English from 1966 until his death in 1988. The lecture is designed to bring a distinguished literary scholar, critic or writer to the University.

Before the lecture, Bérubé will participate in a colloquium on disability studies at 1 p.m. in Memorial Field House Room 1460.

“The colloquium will be an opportunity for faculty, staff, students and other interested people to talk with Dr. Bérubé about his writing on citizenship and disability,” said Dr. Jim Ferris, Ability Center of Greater Toledo Endowed Chair in Disability Studies, director of the UT Disability Studies Program and associate professor of communication. “We’ll focus on his article, ‘Citizenship and Disability,’ published in Dissent in 2003 and available online at www.dissentmagazine.org/article/?article=506].

For more information on these free, public events, call Geiger at 419.530.4415 or Ferris at 419.530.7245.

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