Thursday, October 8 at 7:30pm CT.
Great Questions in Government Community Seminar: We Hold These Truths
A series of discussions on fundamental issues related to US Democracy.
Dr. Dan-el Padilla Peralta – Princeton University
Friday, September 18 at 10am.
This talk takes as its theme homelessness and housing precarity. Its main focus will be on what Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey (and ancient and modern readers of Homer’s epics) have to say about homelessness—not only or even primarily as an isolated individual or familial experience, but as a structural condition that is rooted in the design of profoundly inequitable societies. My remarks seek to model how literary analysis of ancient texts can work to foreground and center contemporary social inequities.
A Dominican by birth and New Yorker by upbringing, Dan-el Padilla Peralta graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University in 2006 with a degree in Classics and a certificate in the School of Public and International Affairs. He was awarded the Daniel M. Sachs Class of 1960 Graduating Scholarship to read for the M.Phil. in Greek and Roman History at Oxford (2008); and earned a Ph.D. in Classics from Stanford (2014), generously supported by the Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellowship. After a two-year postdoctoral stint at Columbia University’s Society of Fellows, he returned to Princeton and is now an Associate Professor in the Classics Department. He is affiliated with the Programs in Latino Studies and Latin American Studies and the University Center for Human Values.
Padilla Peralta is the author of Undocumented: A Dominican Boy’s Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League (Penguin 2015) and Divine Institutions: Religions and Community in the Middle Republic (Princeton 2020); and he has co-edited Rome, Empire of Plunder: The Dynamics of Cultural Appropriation (Cambridge 2017). A staunch believer in the importance of public scholarship, he has written for and sits on the editorial board of the public-facing Classics journal Eidolon and has published pieces for The Guardian, Matter, Vox, the NYT, and Fabulist. His writing, teaching, and research are guided by a firm commitment to anti-racist principles.
Krishnan Venkatesh – St. Johns College in Santa Fe, NM
Thursday, April 2 at 5pm. ACC Highland Campus, Building 4000
Euclidean Geometry: Food for the Soul
What kind of thing is geometry, and what does it teach us? This talk will inspire you to the study, or further study, of Greek geometry by setting before you some easy propositions of great wonder and beauty. I’m going to argue that we can’t understand Plato without having undertaken Euclid, and also that kind of geometry established by Euclid, axiomatic geometry, is something like the spine to all western thought: no other culture had this, and it provides the intellectual success story that distinguishes the west. We will dwell on Euclid’s proof of the Pythagorean theorem as well as several delightful alternative demonstrations, in order to understand more clearly what is distinctive and interesting about the Euclidean way of thinking, which involves wit, poetry, and story-telling.
Dr. Fatemeh Keshavarz – University of Maryland, College Park
Thursday, November 14 at ACC Eastview Campus, Room 8500
Rumi, a Poet for the 21st Century
The presentation will open with general remarks on Rumi’s significant life events and the larger social and religious traditions which nourished him. It will then focus on the dimensions of his personal contributions which have turned him into a poet for all seasons. Multiple examples of his work in the original Persian and translation will be shared.
Dr. Roosevelt Montás – Columbia University
Thursday, March 28 at ACC Eastview Campus
…what kind of beings are human beings?’ or ‘what does it mean to be human?’ Can ancient texts shed light on this fundamental question?
-Dr. Roosevelt Montás
Human Freedom and the Meaning of Liberal Education:
the Case of Plato’s Meno
“What approach to education is most appropriate for beings such as we are? To answer this question, one must first propose an answer to the question ‘what kind of beings are human beings?’ or ‘what does it mean to be human?’ Can ancient texts shed light on this fundamental question? And can they, in turn, serve as the basis for the education of a being who asks such a question?”
Roosevelt Montás was born in the Dominican Republic and moved to New York City as a teenager. He attended public schools in Queens and then Columbia College, Columbia University, where he studied comparative literature and philosophy. In 2003, he completed a Ph.D. in English, also at Columbia, and began teaching in the faculty of the English Department in 2004. In 2008, he was appointed Director of the Center for the Core Curriculum, a position he held for 10 years. Currently, he is Senior Lecturer in American Studies. Roosevelt specializes in Antebellum American literature and culture, with a particular interest in American national identity. His dissertation, Rethinking America, won Columbia University’s 2004 Bancroft Award. In 2000, he received the Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching by a Graduate Student and in 2008 he received the Dominican Republic’s National Youth Prize. He teaches moral and political philosophy in the Columbia Core Curriculum as well as seminars in American literature and culture in the American Studies Program. Each summer, he teaches a course in political theory and citizenship to high school students through Columbia’s Freedom and Citizenship program. Roosevelt also speaks widely on the history, place, and future of liberal arts education.