Humanities Forum - The Liberal Arts: Beyond the Crossroads

Wednesday, September 11, 2013 ( 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm )

Location: Morton 324, Stevens Institute of Technology

[email protected]

September 11, 2013. "The Liberal Arts: Beyond the Crossroads"
A talk by Deborah Sinnreich Levi. 

This talk samples how literature has viewed technology from ancient times until the present, and asks more questions than it proposes to answer. What technologies are gateway drugs leading to the destruction of humanity? What technologies have enabled social progress? How have new technologies affected writers, readers and civilizations? And what do literature and professors of literature tell us about society, and what it means to be human? Writers as ancient as Socrates and Quintilian noted with horror that students are just not what they used to be. This talk is an idiosyncratic ramble through western literature and popular culture. Steve Jobs famously contemplated the intersection of technology and the liberal arts. How would he react to our world, the world he shaped, where it is possible not to even own one’s own face?

Deborah Sinnreich-Levi has been teaching literature and writing, and running academic writing programs for 33 years. She has written or edited six books and numerous articles about medieval literature and rhetorical practices. At Stevens, she has been honored as the recipient of both the Alexander Crombie Humphreys Distinguished Teaching Award and the Jess H. Davis Memorial Research Award. Some of her work, funded by the Engineering Information Foundation, has addressed improving the ability of engineers and scientists to communicate with lay audiences. In addition to her scholarly interest in literature, she is intrigued with the impact of technology on society, both in the real world and as depicted in literature.