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School of Humanities to Host Seventh Annual Symposium on ‘Debate, Dissent and Dialogue’

Featured lecturers include Michael Bérubé, Daniel Frick and Masood Raja
HUM-symposium-logo_08[1].gifAs part of Belmont’s year-long programming to celebrate the 2008 Town Hall Presidential Debate, the School of Humanities will be hosting its seventh annual symposium Sept. 7-15 based on the topic “Debate, Dissent and Dialogue.” Focusing on the nature of argument and language in discourse, especially political, the symposium will feature talks by Family Professor in Literature at Pennsylvania State University Dr. Michael Bérubé, Marshall College Writing Center Director Dr. Daniel Frick and Belmont alumnus and current Kent State University faculty member Dr. Masood Raja.
The Humanities Symposium seeks to fulfill the classical definition of what a symposium should be: a gathering of friends for the purpose of intellectually stimulating conversation on a matter important to humanity, time and place. More than 20 academic lectures and special events will be held during this year’s eight-day symposium, including the viewing and discussion of two recent films, the William Wilberforce biopic Amazing Grace and the Edward R. Morrow-inspired Good Night, and Good Luck.
Assistant Professor of English Dr. Bonnie Smith, who also serves as director of Belmont’s Writing Center and helped with symposium planning, said, “Debate, dissent and dialogue are three quintessentially human activities relevant to the life of our students and community not just in the ‘here and now’ of an election year. Rather, debate, dissent and dialogue are acts of compassion essential for members of a free society. Our symposium will invite deeper conversations about the nature of debate, suggest that dissent is a patriotic deed, and provide opportunities for students, faculty and staff to dialogue on an array of issues related to film, philosophy, literature, politics, history and language.”
HUM-symposium-Michael-Berube.jpgBérubé—who will speak Thurs. night Sept. 11 and participate in a panel on Fri., Sept. 12—is the author of six books to date as well as the editor of The Aesthetics of Cultural Studies and, with Cary Nelson, of Higher Education Under Fire: Politics, Economics, and the Crisis of the Humanities. He has written more than 150 essays for a wide variety of academic journals such as American Quarterly, the Yale Journal of Criticism, Social Text and Modern Fiction Studies as well as more popular venues such as Harper’s, the New Yorker, Dissent, The New York Times Magazine, the Washington Post, the Nation and the Boston Globe. His book Life As We Know It was a New York Times’ Notable Book of the Year for 1996 and was chosen as one of the best books of the year by Maureen Corrigan of National Public Radio.


Dr. Daniel Frick is Director of the Writing Center and adjunct professor of English at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He teaches courses in rhetoric and American fiction, and his book, Reinventing Richard Nixon: The Cultural History of an American Obsession, has just been published by the University Press of Kansas.
Belmont alum Dr. Masood Raja moved to the United States in 1996 after resigning his commission in the Pakistan Army. He teaches in the English department at Kent State, and he specializes in Postcolonial Literature and Theory with a special emphasis on the Literature of South Asia, the Islamic world and global responses, popular and literary, to the neoliberal globalization.
For a complete listing of all events in this year’s symposium, click here to visit the online program.
About the 2008 Town Hall Presidential Debate
The 2008 Town Hall Presidential Debate at Belmont University is made possible through the generosity of our lead sponsors, Hospital Corporation of America, Jack C. Massey Foundation, The Metropolitan Government of Nashville & Davidson County and the State of Tennessee. Additional support is provided by AT&T; Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell and Berkowitz; Bank of America; Bridgetone Americas; Bridgestone Americas Holding, Inc.; Pat and George Bullard; Dell, Inc.; Dollar General Corporation; Earl Swensson Associates, Inc.; Enterprise Electric, LLC; Fifth Third Bank; First Tennessee Bank; The Frist Foundation; Gaylord Entertainment; Interior Design Services, Inc.; Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce; Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau; Nissan North America; Partnership for Chronic Disease; Purity Dairies, Inc.; Reliant Bank; Sherrard & Roe; The Tennessean; Walker, Tipps & Malone; Waller, Landsden, Dortch & Davis, Zycron, Inc.