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Heyman Center Examines Nobility (Leadership), Civility in East and West

The Heyman Center for the Humanities is conducting a three-week workshop series, "Nobility (Leadership) and Civility," through June 10, chaired by Pierre Force, Singer Professor of Contemporary Civilization and Chair of the Department of French and Romance Philology; James Mirollo, special lecturer and PAAR Professor Emeritus of English and Comparative Literature; and Andrew Nathan, Class of 1919 Professor of Political Science and chair of the political science department.

Workshops meet Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. on the second floor of the Heyman Center and are open to interested Columbia faculty by prior invitation.. The series is funded by a Mellon foundation grant to help faculty develop a multicultural sequence in the College's Core Curriculum, which provides students with wide-ranging perspectives on significant ideas in literature, philosophy, history, music, art, and science.

The series began with an exploration of work by Western writers, such as German sociologist Norbert Elias, Irish novelist James Joyce, political philosopher John Rawls, Russian poet Varlam Shalamov, critic and author Lionel Trilling, and essayist Virginia Woolf.

During the session on writer Arthur Miller, the discussion focused on "Death of a Salesman" and "Tragedy of the Common Man," and how Miller took Aristotle's idea of tragedy and applied it to a modern salesman.

In early June the focus will shift to the East and include works by scholars such as Iranian poet Forugh Farrokhzad, Indian playwright Girish Karnad, Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz, Indian economist Amartya Sen, among others.

Nearly 40 faculty members are participating in "Nobility (Leadership) and Civility," including: Akeel Bilgrami, Johnsonian Professor of Philosophy and Director of Heyman Center for the Humanities; Richard Bulliet, professor of history; Robert Hymes, Carpentier Professor of East Asian Studies, Chair of EALAC; David Johnston, Joseph Straus Professor of Political Philosophy; Mary McGee, dean of students and associate dean of faculties at the School of General Studies; and Andrew Nathan, Class of 1919 Professor of Political Science.

Beginning on June 7, William T. de Bary, provost emeritus, John Mitchell Mason Professor Emeritus and Special Service Professor in East Asian Languages and Culture, will lead three days of discussion focusing on the works by Japanese and Chinese writers and scholars, such as Ueno Chizuko, Oe Kenzaburo, Mishima Yukio, Tan Junyi, Fang Lizhi and Li Xiaojiang.

This is the fourth summer that "Nobility (Leadership) and Civility" has been offered. Each summer, the series has focused on these concepts but in different time periods. Previous segments included explorations of Eastern and Western texts from classic antiquity, medieval and Renaissance and the 19 th century and generated course materials that were subsequently offered as interdepartmental seminars for juniors and seniors. .

For more information about the workshop, contact the Heyman Center at heymancenter@columbia.edu.

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Published: Jun 1, 2005
Last modified: Jun 10, 2005

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