The Invitational Lecture in the Humanities

The Invitational Lecture in the Humanities is a semi-annual event in which a prominent member of the Brown University faculty considers pressing issues in the humanities, issues of importance to scholarship and to the world at large. This occasion gives the university and the community an opportunity to learn from our most distinguished colleagues, many of whom have more regular opportunities to speak off campus than at Brown.

December 2, 2015
Invitational Lecture in the Humanities
Humanities in the World
"Working for Your Bread:  The Value of the Humanities"
5:30 - 7:00pm

‘Working for your bread’ is a phrase drawn from Kierkegaard, and it signals (for him) a kind of timeless balance between effort and reward, a balance that is often skewed in real life but exists in the ‘soul.’ The expression also designates a form of ‘compensation’ which – today – seems in jeopardy for students who work in the Humanities.  Speaker Arnold Weinstein, Edna and Richard Salomon Distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature, argues that the phrase – the connection between effort and reward – defines the very nature of humanistic knowing, the kind of ‘experiential knowing’ that we get from literature and art, which is radically at odds with the ‘information-culture’ of our time. Many classic texts center on just this drama:  data exploding into experience.

This event is part of the Pell Humanities Initiative in Rhode Island to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Invitational Lectures from 2006