UT Welcomes International Scholar Michael Bérubé

Daily Dose  |  10/11/2017 11:00 am

Having served as past speaker of the nearly 30-year tradition of the Richard M. Summers Memorial lecture, Dr. Michael Bérubé returns to Toledo for a two-day visit of active engagement with University faculty, students, and members of the public. He tours the Museum Campus and One Way or Another, an exhibition on view, in the Center for the Visual Arts Gallery, of art by adults “with special needs,” meeting with guest curator Brian Kavanaugh and gallery director Brian Carpenter. He serves as guest instructor in two classrooms for two different departments (Political Science and Public Administration as well as English Language and Literatures). He gives an interview to writers for The Mill, a literary magazine edited by graduate students in English here at The University of Toledo.
In addition, Dr. Bérubé is giving two public talks. He presents an evening lecture at 5:30 pm on Thursday, October 19, entitled “The Humanities and the Advancement of Knowledge,” followed by a reception in the Law Center’s SLK Lounge. He also participates in a “Brown Bag” conversation starting at 12 noon on Friday, October 20, about one of his recent publications The Secret Life of Stories: From Don Quixote to Harry Potter, How Understanding Intellectual Disability Transforms the Way We Read (NYU Press, 2016).
Dr. Bérubé is the Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Literature at Pennsylvania State University, where he has taught since 2001 and, prior to that, taught for twelve years at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Born in New York City, Bérubé earned a BA (1982) from Columbia University, and an MA (1986) and PhD (1989) from the University of Virginia, all three degrees in English.
From 2010 to 2017, Dr. Bérubé served as director of Penn State’s Institute for the Arts and Humanities and from 2012 to 2013, he was the President of the Modern Language Association. He is the author of over a dozen books, including the award-winning biography, memoir, and philosophical inquiry into disability issues, Life as We Know It: A Father, A Family, and an Exceptional Child (Vintage, 1998). He followed it up, last year, with Life as Jamie Knows It: An Exceptional Child Grows Up (Beacon, 2016).
For his Thursday evening talk, “The Humanities and the Advancement of Knowledge,” Dr. Bérubé argues that there is no widely accepted public rationale for new research in the humanities. The speaker challenges the notion that this kind of research is finding a secure institutional home in North American academe, despite his own lifelong commitment to the defense of the humanities and the university institutions making such work possible — like the book The Humanities, Higher Education, and Academic Freedom: Three Necessary Arguments co-written with Janet Ruth (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015). He discusses the role of humanities centers and institutes in fostering interdisciplinary humanities research.
For the Friday brown bag conversation, the audience will be encouraged to dialogue with Michael Bérubé about The Secret Life of Stories: From Don Quixote to Harry Potter, How Understanding Intellectual Disability Transforms the Way We Read (NYU Press, 2016), a radical and critical contribution to American Studies, Literary Studies, and Disability Studies. The conversation will take place in Room 1005 on the first floor level of Carlson Library.
Thanks to the Disability Studies Program, the Department of English Language and Literatures, the Department of Art, the School of Interdisciplinary Studies, and the Roger Ray Institute for the Humanities, in the College of Arts and Letters, twenty-five copies of the book will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis in an effort to encourage a vital conversation. A call for participation has gone out to faculty and students in these programs willing to read as much in advance as they can and planning to attend the event as well as participate in the conversation.
For anyone interested in learning more about Michael Bérubé, here are a few links:
Both Thursday and Friday events are free and open to the public. Parking permit requirements will be waived in lots appropriate to the venue, e.g., on Thursday, you may park in Lot 12, around the Law Center. Please stay tuned for further details about parking in relation to Friday’s Brown Bag Conversation at the Carlson Library, in Room 1005.
Sponsors of Michael Bérubé’s visit include — in addition to the Roger Ray Institute for the Humanities — The College of Arts and Letters, the School of Interdisciplinary Studies, the School of Visual and Performing Arts, the Department of English Language and Literature, the Disability Studies Program, and the Department of Art. We are grateful for the use of facilities in the College of Law.

Public Lecture by Michael Bérubé, PhD
Thursday, October 19, 2017, at 5:30 pm
“The Humanities and the Advancement of Knowledge”
McQuade Law Auditorium, Law Center
The University of Toledo Main Campus
1825 W. Rocket Drive, Toledo, Ohio
A Conversation with Michael Bérubé, PhD
Friday, October 20, 2017, at 12 Noon
“The Secret Life of Stories”
Carlson Library, Room 1005
The University of Toledo Main Campus