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Norma Thompson of Yale University to Inaugurate “Millennial Classics” Series on Oct. 17

Co-sponsored by the Ogden Honors College and the Eric Voegelin Institute, her lecture will address the question “Can You Learn More from a Person or from a Book?”

Norma Thompson of Yale University will deliver the first lecture in a series on “Millennial Classics” on Monday, Oct. 17, at 3:30 p.m. in the Grand Salon of the French House at LSU.  Co-sponsored by the Ogden Honors College and the Eric Voegelin Institute, her lecture will address the question “Can You Learn More from a Person or from a Book?

Thompson is senior lecturer in the humanities and associate director of the Whitney Humanities Center at Yale University. Having received her B.A. from Bowdoin College and her Ph.D. in the committee on social thought at the University of Chicago, she is the author of three books: “Herodotus and the Origins of the Political Community: Arion’s Leap,” “The Ship of State: Politics and Statecraft from Ancient Greece to Democratic America” and “Unreasonable Doubt: Circumstantial Evidence and an Ordinary Murder in New Haven,” the last a memoir of her service on a murder jury in her home town and a meditation on the reasons they failed to reach a verdict.  She has taught in the Yale Directed Studies program, a year-long, three-course-per-semester sequence that provides “an intense interdisciplinary introduction to some of the seminal texts of Western civilization” in literature, philosophy, and historical and political thought.

“Hosting more frequent academic programs and collaborating with the Voegelin Institute are a central part of what I want to see at the Ogden Honors College,” said Ogden Honors College Dean Jonathan Earle. “It’s a privilege to kick off this series with a scholar who teaches in a program that, like the Honors College, provides a community in the midst of a large research university – a place where students can find the intellectual footing to allow them to take advantage of all the larger university has to offer.”

The “Millennial Classics” lecture series, this year, aims to explore the challenges and the benefits of introducing a new generation of readers to classical texts and to the truly radical experience of encountering great minds by reading their works and learning how to enter a dialogue with them. 

“When in college I first read what were then called ‘Great Books,’” said James Stoner, Hermann Moyse Jr. Professor and director of the Voegelin Institute, “I expected stuffy recitation of tired ideas. Instead, I found vibrant inquiry that challenged everything I took for granted.  Nobody likes all the ‘classics,’ and it sometimes takes hard work to crack them open, but they have proven a sure antidote against complacency and conformity, at least among those open-minded enough to read and reflect.”

Also lecturing in the series will be Anthony Grafton of Princeton University, on Jan. 30, 2017, and Michael Pakaluk of Catholic University, on March 31, 2017.  In addition, the Voegelin Institute is sponsoring student reading groups, providing free books to students who commit to reading and conversation outside of class, including Adam Smith’s “Wealth of Nations,” Karl Marx’s “Communist Manifesto,” John Stuart Mill’s “On Liberty” and Aristotle’s “Ethics.”

The LSU Roger Hadfield Ogden Honors College is a vibrant, diverse and prestigious community located at the heart of LSU. The Ogden Honors College provides students with a curriculum of rigorous seminar classes, as well as opportunities for undergraduate research, culminating in the Honors Thesis. Its focus on community service, study abroad, internships and independent research helps today’s high-achieving students become tomorrow’s leaders.

The Eric Voegelin Institute is a humanities and social sciences research institute, housed in the LSU Department of Political Science, devoted to the revitalization of teaching and understanding the great books of Western civilization in comparison with other traditions.  It honors the memory of one of LSU’s first Boyd Professors, a refugee from the Nazis who taught here for 16 years.

 

Contact Allison Howell
Ogden Honors College
225-578-0083
ahowell@lsu.edu 

or

James R. Stoner Jr.
LSU Department of Political Science
225-578-2538
poston@lsu.edu