"Faculty Works," a new series of informal presentations by Syracuse University humanities scholars, gets under way at the SU Humanities Center with an inaugural event featuring Edward F. Mooney, professor of religion and philosophy reading from his latest book, "Lost Intimacy in American Thought: Recovering Personal Philosophy From Thoreau to Cavell" (Continuum International Publishing Group, 2009).
The presentation is Tuesday, Dec. 1, at 12:30 p.m. in the Leonard and Ruth Sainsbury Library on the second floor of the SU Humanities Center. This event-and all others in the series-is free and open to the public, and is preceded by a light lunch at noon. For more information, call 443-7192.
Gregg Lambert, Dean's Professor of the Humanities, says the monthly series is designed to highlight faculty scholarship in a fun, relaxed environment. "We will feature readings from faculty essays, chapters, poetry and short stories, as well as related audio and visual material," says Lambert, who also serves as founding director of the SU Humanities Center and as principal investigator of the Andrew W. Mellon Central New York Humanities Corridor. "My hope is that that these presentations will trigger interdisciplinary conversations that continue well beyond the events themselves."
Mooney, whose scholarship lies at the intersection of religion, philosophy and literature, has published eight books and dozens of chapters, articles and essays. "Lost Intimacy" casts new light on a strand of American philosophical writing by Henry David Thoreau, Henry Bugbee, Stanley Cavell and others.
"These writers used literature and autobiography to convey what it means to be human, emotionally speaking," says Lambert. "Ed's book examines contemporary American thought through the lens of intimate, transformational writing."
"Lost Intimacy" continues a polemic that Mooney began in his last book, "On S reon Kierkegaard: Dialogue, Polemics, Lost Intimacy, and Time" (Ashagte Publishing Company, 2007), about the role of the humanities. "We have in the humanities a place for discovering voice, for hearing testimony, confession and eloquence, for writing out a self, for letting oneself be read by texts and thus transformed, for probing that fugitive murmur, the soul," says Mooney. "The passages I share will highlight this spirit of intimate exchange and mutual recognition."
Lambert has high hopes for "Faculty Works," inspired by the success of the short-lived "Humanities Coffee Hour" from two years ago. "One of the goals of the SU Humanities Center is to bring people together for focused discussions and for special meetings and events," he says. "I think there's room on campus to be substantive without being stuffy or formal."
Mooney will be followed in February by English professor Bruce Smith, who will read from his latest book of poetry.