Throughout 2017, University of Lynchburg will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Westover Honors Program through lectures and other events. The program began with fewer than 30 students, and in the past 15 years a resurgence in interest has grown the program to more than 160 honors students.
The celebration begins with a special lecture series featuring the following events. Each lecture begins at 7 p.m. in Hopwood Auditorium.
Read more about Westover Honors’ history and our 30 year celebration in the University of Lynchburg magazine, Spring 2017 edition!
February 1 – “A Matter of Honors”
by Dr. Julius Sigler
March 1 – “Wandering Uteruses and the Fountain of Youth: The medicalization of women’s bodies past and present”
by Dr. Laura Kicklighter
This talk examines the ways in which the social construction of disease and deviance has influenced the medical treatment of women over time. Medical conceptions of women’s bodies have focused on their reproductive organs and their roles as wives and mothers. Beginning with the identification of “hysteria” by Hippocrates (4th century BCE) and continuing through the Victorian period to the 21st century, Dr. Kicklighter traces the connection between women’s bodies, social expectations, and medicalization.
March 29 –“From Sherlock Holmes to Sherlock: Cultural Values and the Digital Humanities”
by Professor Rachel Willis ’15 MA
This talk examines the myriad ways in which Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes reflects differing values across time and cultures. The character’s adaptability allows him to shape shift from a Victorian gentleman into various forms, such as a drug-addict doctor or a high-functioning sociopath. Throughout these iterations, Sherlock Holmes becomes a cultural representative that highlights existing social structures and values, something that is especially clear in the BBC’s Sherlock. By analyzing Sherlock‘s characterization of important characters and its innovative use of technology, Professor Willis will explore how Holmes is as well suited to the Digital Age as he is to the Victorian era.
April 13 – “Building Bridges to the Fifteenth Century: A Renewed Vision of Education”
by Professor Tracy Lee Simmons
“It’s all Greek to me.” Where does this old joke come from and what does it mean? Whence does our idea of the Humanities arise? Why are we still made to read books that apparently have little to do with the world we live in? Is “progress” in the field of education inevitable? Is the “classical” form of instruction merely reactionary or can it produce a healthy counter-culture for the life of the mind? Professor Simmons will trace some of his twenty-year journey of discovery along these paths and explore ways in which a centuries-old method of intellectual and spiritual formation called classical education can still have relevance in the age of Twitter and Trump.
September 13 – “Don’t Practice Biology If You Reject Evolution”
by Dr. Nancy Cowden
In some circles it is commonplace to hear people quip that they do not believe in evolution, but requests for the observer’s details meet with little substantive response or views attached to faith traditions. This talk examines evolution as a scientific theory, details mechanisms of heritable change over time, and indicates why; whether we like it or, not all of us participate in biological evolution.
October 19 – “The Rise of Populism in France and the United States: Le Pen and Trump”
by Dr. Edward DeClair
According to some, advanced industrial democracies are under siege due to a rise of far-right populism. Brixet in Great Britain, the election of Donald Trump in the United States, and the rise of the far right in such European democracies as the Netherlands, Hungary, Austria, and France portend a shift in the democratic firmament. Recent elections in some democracies seem to underscore this argument while elections in others serve to undercut such a conclusion. The current political climate in France and the United States are two such case studies with many striking similarities as well as some rather stark contrasts. This lecture will explore the success of Trump in the United States and the failure of Le Pen in France.
November 9 – “George and Ira Gershwin: Brothers Who Achieved the American Dream and Transformed American Musical Culture”
by Professor Naomi Amos
The Gershwin brothers were both the most remarkable composer-lyricist team of the1920s and 30s. While George and Ira were a brilliant duo, they were as different as could be in terms of their distinctive personalities and lifestyles. They began their lives in the immigrant ghetto of the east side tenements of New York City; by the 1930s, they were among the Hollywood elites. Together, they created a body of work that was sophisticated and innovative in terms of popular music, musical theatre and films. In addition, they ventured into traditional “classical” music genres, by melding all aspects of American musical culture, from popular song, to African-American blues, to jazz. The results were astounding and original. From Rhapsody in Blue to Porgy and Bess, they broke barriers and created controversy. They were adored and they were ridiculed. Most important, they developed a distinctively American musical identity. Their works resonated with broad audiences in the 1930s and have grown in popularity over the generations and across the world.
Drysdale VIP Room, Speech to follow at 7 in Hopwood Auditorium
“The Sincerest Form: Imitation and Condemnation in Satire”
by Dr. Beth Savage
Eighteenth-century actor and mimic Samuel Foote earned the nickname “the English Aristophanes” for his biting satire, which tested the bounds of what was appropriate on the stage and infuriated the most powerful members of his society. His imitations of well-known citizens, as well as of other actors, were beloved by audiences and feared by the objects of his mockery. This talk will discuss the power of satire and, specifically, comic imitation, to change public perceptions of the satiric object. Living in a political age when Sean Spicer can be described as “going full Melissa McCarthy” in a press conference, and when a Dominican newspaper can accidentally publish a picture of comedian Alec Baldwin as President Donald Trump, we are in a unique position to understand the role of the mimic in intimidating and redefining those in power.