Category Archives: The Future of Being Human

Ravven to Speak on Spinoza and The New Brain Sciences

RavvenBaruch Spinoza believed that a turn inward in conscious self-reflection in order to understand ourselves and our unique experiences within the entire universe offers the only possibility of freedom and transcendence. Recognizing ourselves in the world within us enables us to engage passionately in wider and wider domains that become dimensions of our very selves. As a result, our motives towards others and toward the wider world are transformed from self-serving to benevolent and responsible. Join us on Monday, February 22, 2016 at 5:30 p.m. in the Panasci Family Chapel on the Le Moyne College campus as Heidi Ravven, Ph.D. discusses how discoveries from the New Brain Sciences may be proving Spinoza right!

This lecture is the first this spring in the continuing lecture series entitled The Future of Being Human. It is being offered in conjunction with a class of the same name that examines the question of what it means to be human in the twenty-first century from a multi-disciplinary lens.

Heidi Ravven, Ph.D. is a professor of religious studies at Hamilton College and a fellow in neurophilosophy in the Integrative Neurosciences Research Program. A major grant from the Ford Foundation funded her work on The Self Beyond Itself: An Alternative History of Ethics, the New Brain Sciences, and the Myth of Free Will. A member of the Atrocity Prevention Study Group (Washington, DC.), Ravven has served on the Advisory Committee to Jeffrey Sachs, Chairman of the U.N. Sustainable Development Initiative, and as Advisor to Ambassador Prudence Bushnell for the International Conference reviewing the Rwandan Genocide Crisis.

For additional information on Dr. Ravven and her work, we suggest listening to this interview with Vox Tablet host Sara Ivry. Ravven discusses how the myth of free will took hold, what Spinoza had to say about it, and why if you want to be a moral person, the last thing you should do is surround yourself with like-minded people.

Dr. Ravven’s talk, Becoming at Home in the Universe as Well as in Our Own Skin: Insights from Spinoza and the New Brain Sciences, is free and open to the public. For more information please call 315-445-6200 or e-mail mcdevittcenter@lemoyne.edu.

Dr. Cathy Gutierrez to Speak on The Deviant and The Dead Tonight

Nineteenth-century Spiritualists assured the grieving that their loved ones were thriving in the afterlife. Spiritualists threw open the pearly gates to all humanity, admitting even criminals into heaven. At the same moment, the science of criminology was born, fathered by committed Spiritualist Cesare Lombroso. Investigations into deviance both here and in the hereafter required new techniques for detecting the deviant hiding in plain sight, inaugurating new thinking about human futures.

2015-07-14 14.37.55 (2)-2Join us tonight, Monday, November 9th at 5:30 p.m. in Le Moyne’s Panasci Family Chapel as Dr. Cathy Gutierrez discusses the implications of these new techniques in a lecture entitled The Deviant and the Dead: Incarnations of Crime.’’

This lecture is part of the McDevitt Center lecture series on the Future of Being Human and is being offered in conjunction with a class of the same name that examines the question of what it means to be human in the twenty-first century from a multi-disciplinary lens.

Dr. Cathy Gutierrez received her bachelor’s degree from Vassar College and her master’s and doctorate in religion from Syracuse University. She was a professor of Religion at Sweet Briar College for 18 years. The author of Plato’s Ghost: Spiritualism in the American Renaissance (Oxford University Press, 2009), she is the editor of several collections, most recently the Brill Handbook of Spiritualism and Channeling (2015).

This lecture is free and open to the public. For additional information please contact the McDevitt Center at mcdevittcenter@lemoyne.edu or (315) 445-6200.

A Reading By George Saunders: Monday, October 19th at Le Moyne College

gsaundersWorld-renowned author, George Saunders, will be reading from his work on Monday, October 19th at 5:30pm in the Panasci Family Chapel on the Le Moyne College campus. Saunders’ reading is part of the Future of Being Human initiative sponsored by the McDevitt Core Professor, Dr. Jennifer Glancy, and the McDevitt Center. This event is free and open to the public.

Saunders has written four collections of short stories, a novella, and a book of essays. His most recent collection, Tenth of December (Random House 2013), won the 2014 Story Prize and the 2014 Folio Prize. The recipient of a 2006 MacArthur Foundation Genius grant, his work appears regularly in The New Yorker, GQ, and Harpers Magazine, and has appeared in the O’HenryBest American Short StoryBest Non-Required Reading, and Best American Travel Writing anthologies. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World by TIME Magazine in 2013.

To learn more about George Saunders we recommend watching this short video produced by The New Yorker on December 4, 2013 in which Saunders discusses reading, writing, and teaching at Syracuse University.

We also recommend watching his inspirational 2013 Syracuse University Convocation Address that was later reprinted by The New York Times and eventually became the basis for Congratulations by the way: Some Thoughts on Kindness (Random House, 2014).

For more information on George Saunders’ talk please e-mail the McDevitt Center at mcdevittcenter@lemoyne.edu or call 315-445-6200.

Behuniak to Speak on The “Demented” and the Undead

The very human yearning for immortality helps explain pop culture’s obsession with vampires and zombies. Such fantasies allow us to grapple – from a safe distance – with pressing questions of mortality, meaning, and personhood. But casual references to the undead can also harm.

photo-7-1Join us on Monday, September 21st at 5:30 p.m. in Le Moyne’s Panasci Family Chapel as Dr. Susan Behuniak discusses the implications of applying the zombie trope to people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

This lecture is the first in this semester’s McDevitt Center lecture series on the Future of Being Human and is being offered in conjunction with a class of the same name that examines the question of what it means to be human in the twenty-first century from a multi-disciplinary lens.

Dr. Susan Behuniak is the author of A Caring Jurisprudence: Listening to Patients at the Supreme Court and the co-author of Physician Assisted Suicide: The Anatomy of a Constitutional Law Issue. She is a professor emerita of political science at Le Moyne College, where she served as the Francis J. Fallon Professor. She volunteered for years at Hospice of Central New York as an instructor and as a family caregiver, and is now a member of the Tidewell Hospice Bioethics Committee in Sarasota, Fla.

To learn more about Dr. Behuniak and her work, we suggest reading this brief article,“Semiprivate”(The American Journal of Nursing Volume Number 109 (February 2009):11), this slightly lengthier review of her book A Caring Jurisprudence, or this article entitled The living dead? The construction of people with Alzheimer’s disease as zombies.

This lecture is free and open to the public. For additional information please contact the McDevitt Center at mcdevittcenter@lemoyne.edu or (315)445-6200.

 

The Future of Being Human Fall Event Schedule

This fall, Dr. Jennifer Glancy, McDevitt-Core Professor, and the McDevitt Center will continue the lecture series entitled “The Future of Being Human.”  This series is being offered in conjunction with a class of the same name that examines the question of what it means to be human in the twenty-first century from a multi-disciplinary lens.

According to Glancy, “the experience of being human is haunted by specters of other metamorphoses, mutant, alienating, and dehumanizing.” The events this fall will examine a different side of the future of being human by exploring issues relating to immortality, meaning, and spirituality.

Schedule of events for Fall 2015:

photo-7-1A Monstrous Connection: The “Demented” and the Undead
Presenter: Susan Behuniak, Ph.D.
5:30 p.m., Monday, September 21

The very human yearning for immortality helps explain pop culture’s obsession with vampires and zombies. Such fantasies allow us to grapple – from a safe distance – with pressing questions of mortality, meaning, and personhood. But casual references to the undead can also harm. This talk focuses on one such instance: the implications of applying the zombie trope to people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

saunders2

A Reading and Book Signing by George Saunders
Presenter: George Saunders
5:30 p.m., Monday, October 19

2015-07-14 14.37.55 (2)-2

The Deviant and the Undead: Incarnations of Crime
Presenter: Cathy Gutierrez, Ph.D.
5:30 p.m., November 9

Nineteenth-century Spiritualists assured the grieving that their loved ones were thriving in the afterlife. Spiritualists threw open the pearly gates to all humanity, admitting even criminals into heaven. At the same moment, the science of criminology was born, fathered by committed Spiritualist Cesare Lombroso. Investigations into deviance both here and in the hereafter required new techniques for detecting the deviant hiding in plain sight, inaugurating new thinking about human futures.
All events will be held in the Panasci Family Chapel located on the Le Moyne College campus. All events are also free and open to the public.

For additional information please contact the McDevitt Center at 315-445-6200 or mcdevittcenter@lemoyne.edu.

A Reading By George Saunders: Tuesday, April 28th at Le Moyne College

gsaundersWorld-renowned author, George Saunders, will be reading from his work next Tuesday, April 28th at 5:30pm in Grewen Hall Auditorium on the Le Moyne College campus. Saunders’ reading is part of the Future of Being Human initiative sponsored by the McDevitt Core Professor, Dr. Jennifer Glancy, and the McDevitt Center. This event is free and open to the public.

Saunders has written four collections of short stories, a novella, and a book of essays. His most recent collection, Tenth of December (Random House 2013), won the 2014 Story Prize and the 2014 Folio Prize. The recipient of a 2006 MacArthur Foundation Genius grant, his work appears regularly in The New Yorker, GQ, and Harpers Magazine, and has appeared in the O’HenryBest American Short StoryBest Non-Required Reading, and Best American Travel Writing anthologies. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World by TIME Magazine in 2013.

To learn more about George Saunders we recommend watching this short video produced by The New Yorker on December 4, 2013 in which Saunders discusses reading, writing, and teaching at Syracuse University.

We also recommend watching his inspirational 2013 Syracuse University Convocation Address that was later reprinted by The New York Times and eventually became the basis for Congratulations by the way: Some Thoughts on Kindness (Random House, 2014).

For more information on George Saunders’ talk please e-mail the McDevitt Center at mcdevittcenter@lemoyne.edu or call 315-445-6200.

Denise Buell, Ph.D. to Speak at Le Moyne College

dbuellOn Tuesday, March 31st at 5:30 p.m. in the Panasci Family Chapel on the Le Moyne College campus, Denise Buell, Dean of the faculty and Professor of Religion at Williams College, will present a talk entitled “To Be One is Always to Become With Many: What Ancient Christians Can Teach Us About the Future of the Human.” The talk is part of the Future of Being Human lecture series. It is sponsored by Dr. Jennifer Glancy, McDevitt-Core Professor, and the McDevitt Center.

How might wrestling with ancient materials help transform contemporary understandings of the human and perhaps even change practices of how we are human? Both the biological category of microbes and the ancient notion of pneuma suggest the radical vulnerability of all creatures, including human ones, a vulnerability that both exhila­rates and terrifies but above all requires a response.

Denise Buell, Ph.D. received her doctorate from Harvard University. A historian of early Christianity, her wide-ranging research interests include critical race and gender theory, religion and cultures of imperial Rome, and religion and science. At Williams College she teaches courses on women’s and gender studies, the development of Christianity, and ghosts in the study of religion. Buell is the author of Why This New Race: Ethnic Reasoning in Early Christianity and Clement of Alexandria and the Rhetoric of Legitimacy.

To learn more about Denise Buell, we suggest watching this brief talk entitled “This is Not a Ghost Story: Rethinking Resurrection:”

New Lecture Series Entitled The Future of Being Human Launched

Dr. Jennifer Glancy (McDevitt-Core Professor) and the McDevitt Center at Le Moyne College announce the launch of a new public lecture series entitled The Future of Being Human.

In light of ecological crisis, rapid technological change, and widespread social alienation, what is the future of being human? Theologians, philosophers, biologists, political theorists, and fiction writers will be among those who engage the question of what it means to be human in the twenty-first century in this multidisciplinary lectures series, to be inaugurated in Spring 2015 and continue through Spring 2017.

Schedule of events for Spring 2015:

???????????????????????????????????????????????????Extreme Humanities
William Robert, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Religion, Syracuse University
5:30 p.m., Tuesday, February 3
Panasci Family Chapel

Edges are engaging.  They’re where things get really interesting.  When human beings reach their edges, touch their limits, extreme things happen: things like ecstasy, transgression, bliss, dissolution.  How might we make sense of such extreme experiences?  What might they teach us about being human?

dunnLessons From the Human Heart
Rob Dunn, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biological Sciences, North Carolina State University
5:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 24
Panasci Family Chapel

Most of the important discoveries likely to heal your heart come from basic biology.  Fungal taxonomy, evolution, and the biology of rare monkeys have more to do with saving the heart of someone you love than do innovations in surgery, transplants or even the biology of heart cells.

dbuellTo Be One is Always To Become With Many: What Ancient Christians Can Teach Us About the Future of the Human
Denise Buell, Ph.D., Dean of the Faculty and Professor of Religion, Williams College
5:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 31
Panasci Family Chapel

How might wrestling with ancient materials help transform contemporary understandings of the human and perhaps even change practices of how we are human?  Both the biological category of microbes and the ancient notion of the pneuma afford occasions to explore what happens when we cannot presume the boundedness of any creature.  The radical vulnerability of all creature, including human ones, both exhilarates and terrifies, but above all requires a response.

gsaundersA Reading by George Saunders
George Saunders
5:30 p.m., Tuesday, Apr. 28
Grewen Auditorium with live streaming to the Curtin Special Events Room, James Commons and Reilley Room

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