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Abraham Lincoln Forum for the Liberal Arts

Past Hannibal Lectures

Past Hannibal Lecture Series



Richard Meier: Writing at the Time of Sappho
Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019

What happens when a contemporary poet encounters an ancient one? Richard Meier, writer in residence, will discuss Writing at the Same Time Of Sappho. 

Professor Charlotte Thomas, Mercer University: The Philosophic Feminine in Plato’s “Republic” 
Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019

In Book IV of Plato’s Republic, Socrates considers the role of women and children. Socrates calls this new inquiry, which dominates the central books of the Republic, the Female Drama. This inquiry is a departure from the conversation about the city and the soul (in Books II-IV and Books and Books VIII and IX of the Republic). It is tricky to find Plato’s teaching for moral psychology in the middle books of the Republic, especially Books V and VI, but this is exactly what Prof. Thomas is going to try to do.

Prof. Fatih Harpci: Interfaith Immaculate: Mary in the Bible and the Quran
Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019

Being the personal and unique bearer of the Word of God in Christianity and Islam, Mary holds a unique place of reverence in these two monotheistic religious traditions. The Virgin Mary has functioned as a bridge between Christianity and Islam. The given representation of Mary in both scriptures indicates possible influences of one tradition’s heritage upon that of the other. In the misunderstandings and stereotypes that affect our society today, Mary’s distinctive personality and pious life might help us understand one another better.


Dr. Michael Brent: Rousseau’s “Discourse on Inequality”
Apr. 4, 2019
“Each one began to consider the rest, and to wish to be considered in turn; and thus a value came to be attached to public esteem. Whoever sang or danced best, whoever was the handsomest, the strongest, the most dexterous, or the most eloquent, came to be of most consideration, and this was the first step towards inequality, and at the same time towards vice.” This lecture will explore the pivotal role that recognition plays in the development of inequality and vice in Rousseau’s Second Discourse.

Prof. Brian Schwartz: Descartes “Discourse on Method”
Mar. 21, 2019
René Descartes may rightly be called one of the founders of the modern scientific project — the attempt to understand nature through the simple interactions of its most fundamental units. This presentation will examine Descartes’ criticism of the tradition he engaged, his proposal for an alternative scientific method, his rhetoric in support of this new approach to science and philosophy, and what this may all mean for us today — and tomorrow.

Prof. Kristen Drahos: Gospel of Luke
Nov. 8, 2018
This talk looks at the radically inclusive vision of Luke’s Gospel with respect to those on the margins. Women, the sick, and the outcast all receive special attention as this gospel author challenges his community to rethink their relation to all who live on the fringes of society.

Dr. Paul Diduch: Plato’s “Republic”
Oct. 8, 2018
By examining one of the most memorable episode’s from Plato’s “Republic,” where in book two, the goodness of justice is criticized by Socrates’ interlocutors. It will show how their worries about justice are, in part, the consequence of the popularization of natural philosophy—and how Socrates responds to these criticisms by attempting to put justice on a natural or rational footing.


Prof. Brendan Cook: Homer’s “Odyssey”
Oct. 10, 2017
Translation is never easy, and translating a poem is all but impossible. At Carthage, students in the Western Heritage program explore Homer’s “Odyssey” through the 1951 translation of Richmond Lattimore. This lecture explored the strengths and weaknesses of Lattimore’s version by comparing it to a very different English “Odyssey,” the 1724 rendering of Alexander Pope.

Prof. Virginia L. Emery: Plato’s “Republic”
Oct. 10, 2017 
In Plato’s “Republic,” when Socrates delays relating to Glaucon the “Noble Lie” to be told to the citizens of the utopian city they are imagining, he explains his reluctance in part by blaming the strangeness of his story on the fact that it is a foreign tale, one that came from Phoenicia (modern Lebanon).


Prof. Donald Russell: Shakespeare and Ovid
Feb. 23, 2017
By examining “The Tempest,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and “Hamlet,” we discover three distinct ways in which Shakespeare makes use of Ovid’s “Metamorphoses” in telling intricately layered stories centered on the human condition.

Prof. Annette Duncan: “The Revolutionary Nature of Luke’s Gospel”
Nov. 3, 2016
Into a culture fraught with injustice and oppression, the Gospel of Luke brings a message: the good news of hope through Jesus for the downtrodden, the discounted, the forgotten. Join us as we explore the revolutionary nature of his words — words that dismantle barriers of race, class, gender, and religion in his day, and that offer a challenge to ours.

Prof. Paul Ulrich: “Entering Plato’s Republic
Oct. 20, 2016
Plato’s “Republic” is well known for its visions of a truly just community and an individual whose life transcends petty concerns. But Plato does not start at a high elevation. He pulls the reader in at the ground-level, and perhaps in doing so, he shows us something about the human desire to bring to life the inspiring pictures he presents us.

Prof. Virginia Emery: “Constructing Narrative: Tales of Ancient Egypt”
Sep. 26, 2016 
Humans from around the world and from all time periods tell stories, but do their stories have much in common? What makes a story popular, both in its own time and for all times? Millennia before Homer’s “Iliad,” the ancient Egyptians were writing about what was important to them. What kinds of stories did the ancient Egyptians tell? How have these stories been used to reconstruct a narrative of ancient Egyptian life and culture centuries later?

Past Hannibal Lectures

Prof. Sam Stoner: “Inequality, Race, and the Human Condition: Reflecting on Rousseau on Du Bois”
May 5, 2016
The parallels between J.J. Rousseau’s “Discourse on the Origin and the Foundations of Inequality Among Men” and W.E.B DuBois’s “The Souls of Black Folk.” How do questions regarding race and inequality illuminate the human condition? How should we approach such questions today? How are social and political problems rooted in abiding tensions within the human soul?

Prof. Katharine Keenan: “The Culture of Callipolis: A Structuralist Reading of Plato’s Republic”
Oct. 15, 2015
The structural patterns underlying this utopian city and modern analogues as an illustration of the structuralist theory that cultural systems of thought may determine the whole organization of society.

Prof. Joseph McAlhany: “When Two Go Together: Homer, Sappho & Bashō in between”
Oct. 1, 2015
An exploration of how ancient Greek poetry and Japanese haiku teach us about the importance of our everyday encounters with other people.

Prof. Katharine Kennan: “The Struggle for Existence: Marx, Darwin, and the Emergence of Human Consciousness”
April 16, 2015
The difference and similarities between Marx’s theory of Historical Materialism and Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, and how they both changed the way we think about the human species as a whole.

Prof. Kathryn Davis: “What Virgil Sees in Dante’s Divine Comedy
Feb. 26, 2015
The role Virgil plays as Dante’s guide through Inferno and Purgatorio, all the way to the Earthly Paradise.  

Baylor University Prof. Julia Dyson Hejduk: “The Liberal Arts and Virgil’s Aenied: What Can the Greatest Text Teach Us?”
Nov. 6, 2014
As the Classic of Classics and the bridge between pagan antiquity and the Christian era, Virgil’s “Aeneid” stands at the center of the humanities’ Great Conversation. Yet this poem of Empire, with its flawed hero and its ambivalence toward divine and temporal power, raises more questions than it answers about the nature of human history. Reflecting on centuries of readers’ deeply emotional relationships with the “Aeneid” (including her own), Dr. Hejduk discussed how even today the “greatest text” can provide companionship and inspiration on our life’s journey.

UW-Madison Prof. Barry B. Powell: “Homer, First Poet of the West”
Sept. 18, 2014
Prof. Barry B. Powell is the Halls-Bascom Professor of Classics Emeritus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A world-renowned expert on Homer and the origins of the Greek alphabet, he has just published the exciting new translation of Homer’s “Iliad” that Carthage is using in Western Heritage I. As a prolific author, he has published an astonishing number of seminal works on Homer, Greek history and culture, Classical Myth, and the Greek alphabet. Prof. Powell’s visit was sponsored by the Classics Department, the Great Ideas Program, the Western Heritage Program, and the Division of Interdisciplinary Studies.

Yuri Maltsev: “The Many Faces of Marxism”
April 30, 2014
Economics professor Yuri Maltsev will speak about the many ways in which Marxism has been reinvented and repackaged into ideologies that often conflict – from social democracy to Leninism, from Trotskyism to national socialism, African socialism and Maoism. Prof. Maltsev’s experience with Marxist economic theory is personal as well as academic. Before defecting to the United States, he worked as a member of a senior economic team tasked by Mikhail Gorbachev with creating the history-making reforms of perestroika.

Michael McShane: “The Life of Cordelia in Shakespeare’s King Lear”
March 12, 2014
Michael McShane, associate professor of Great Ideas and philosophy, presents a talk titled “The Life of Cordelia in Shakespeare’s King Lear.” A young woman named Cordelia dies violently in Shakespeare’s “King Lear.” Audiences have functionally rejected her shocking death; critics agonize over it. To think of Cordelia’s death, one must see her life. It is almost invisible, but Cordelia does live fully, although not for the 18 years — or whatever — of her animal existence. She lives — really lives — for all of one gorgeous, terrifying moment. Framed in the drama is Cordelia’s minute-short lifespan. It burns with intensest vitality. The gods themselves stand awed by her transcendent humanity. Cordelia achieves more human life in one crisis moment, perhaps, than many of us will manage across our whole allotment of 78.7 years. Then Cordelia is a hero.

Dimitri Shapovalov: “Listening. Reading. Music.”
Feb. 27, 2014
In this talk, Carthage music professor Dimitri Shapovalov asks what it means to listen to music. For some time now, the particular manner of listening to music, advocated by Roland Barthes and other scholars, has been rather oddly linked to the experience of reading texts. How is listening to music like reading? When we listen to music, to what extent are we encouraged to visualize it? to think of it as a plot? as an image? Remarkably, the manner of listening to music as a kind of reading has received widespread recognition in the 20th century American higher education, which means that this is how we often teach our students to listen — at Carthage and beyond. Is this a desirable way to experience and promote listening? What, if anything, is amiss here?

Wendy Doniger: “The Logical Paradox of Hindu Creation Myths”
Beginnings and their Ends: An East/West Dialogue
Dec. 5, 2013
Creation myths tackle the problem of the ultimate origin of it all, of the beginning of life out of non-life, at three different basic levels: creation of the universe, of the human race, or of the individual human being, the embryo. What sort of origins do we regard as “our” origins? A consideration of Hindu and Biblical approaches to this question reveals the hidden assumptions built into both of them. Prof. Doniger is the Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions in the Divinity School of the University of Chicago. She also holds appointments in University of Chicago’s Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations, and the Committee on Social Thought. Her courses in mythology address themes in cross-cultural expanses, such as death, dreams, evil, horses, sex, and women; her courses in Hinduism cover a broad spectrum that, in addition to mythology, considers literature, law, gender, and zoology. Prof. Doniger is the author of many books, among them “Other People’s Myths: The Cave of Echoes; Splitting the Difference: Gender and Myth in Ancient Greece and India; The Hindus: An Alternative History” and a translation of the Kama Sutra.

Christian von Dehsen: “What Went Wrong at Galatia? Getting Into the Mind of Paul”
Oct. 31, 2013
Prof. von Dehsen is a professor of religion at Carthage. Could St. Paul’s understanding of the very meaning of Christianity evolve over time? What dialectical pressures could have occasioned such a shift in his mind? By reading Paul’s letter to Galatians through the lens of his later letter to the Romans, Prof. von Dehsen hoped to show that Paul’s own concept of the meaning of the defection of the Galatian believers and the larger impact of the Christ event matured over time, and only came to a fuller, more comprehensive, understanding when confronted by the challenge of trying to address similar questions anticipated from the dual audiences in Jerusalem and Rome who thought that Paul “had some ‘splainin’ to do.”

Leonard Muellner: “How to Get Halfway Home”
Sept. 19, 2013
Leonard Muellner, Ph.D. is a professor of classical studies at Brandeis University. He is the author of numerous books and articles on the Homeric epics, director of publications at Harvard’s Center for Hellenic Studies, and one of the driving forces behind “The Homer Multi-text Project,” a digital endeavor that works to document the multiform, oral performance of the Homeric epics.

  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2021), a designation given to only 25 percent of four-year schools.

    • The Tower, Carthage’s newest residence hall, provides some of the best views on campus — if not in the Midwest! In addition to #carthageviews of the lake from seven stories up, residents enjoy suite-style living and two floors of shared campus spaces for gaming, cooking, group meetings, or quiet studying. Learn more about all housing options.

    • You’re going to need brain fuel. Grab a morning coffee and a snack and Starbucks or Einstein Bros. Bagels. Later, meet friends at “The Caf,” where the specials change daily but the staples are constant, or swing through “The Stu” for wings, a burrito, or a sub. A new option, Carthage Cash, even covers some off-campus meals.

    • More than 90% of Carthage alumni report that they have secured a job or are continuing their studies six months after graduation. Visit The Aspire Center.

    • 91% of employers say critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills matter more than your major when it comes to career success. Learn more about how the liberal arts prepare you for a successful career.

    • Lots of schools wear the four-year label. Carthage stands behind it. More than 90% of Carthage graduates earn their degrees in four years. Learn more

    • Oscars. Emmys. Tonys. Golden Globes. The playwrights we’ve brought in have them. Each year, the Carthage Theatre Department commissions an original script by a renowned playwright for its New Play Initiative. Carthage students then work with the writer to stage it. 

    • Carthage has ranked as a top Fulbright producer for four of the past five years. Read about Carthage Fulbright winners.

    • Things look new at Carthage because they are. Our science center, student union, athletic and recreation center, and numerous residence halls have all been constructed or newly renovated in the last 15 years.

    • Carthage offers majors, minors, and concentrations in more than 50 areas of study, from marketing to neuroscience, nursing to music theatre.

    • Our Summer Undergraduate Research Experience offers select students a research budget, one-on-one mentoring with a professor, and 10 weeks of analyzing, deciphering — and getting paid.

    • So the lake is kind of a focal point, but there’s a lot more to love about our campus — like the fact that our more than 80-acre campus is also an arboretum and wildlife sanctuary. Focused on keeping campus lush forever, we plant between 50 and 75 new trees every year from a variety of species.

    • Carthage was founded in 1847. That’s more than 170 years of leaders, makers, and go-getters going out and going forth. Read more about Carthage’s rich history.

    • More than 90 percent of students receive financial aid. Carthage awards more than $20 million in scholarship and grant assistance. That includes $5.5 million in competitive scholarships in business, mathematics, science, languages, the fine arts, leadership, and overall academic strength. Learn what’s available.

    • Abraham Lincoln was an early Trustee of the College, and U.S. Secretary of State John Hay was a Carthage alum. The two still have a proud place on our campus. Spend some time with them in our Sesquicentennial Plaza. On warm days you’ll find professors leading their classes here.

    • Come to Carthage; hear yourself think — think … think …
      Legend has it that Sesquicentennial Plaza holds a perfect echo. Just stand with both your feet on the “1847,” face Straz, and start talking. “You’re the only one who can hear you, but you’ll be crystal clear,” promises English and theatre alumna Mikaley Osley.

    • Our Great Lake provides Carthage students with some amazing views. Think classes on the beach, lake views from the lab, and sunrises from your dorm room. “I love waking up in the morning with the sun shining off the lake. Nothing compares to the view in the morning,” recalls biology and neuroscience major Ann O’Leary.

    • Carthage awards up to 35 Presidential Scholarships each year, which range from $25,000 up to full tuition. Learn more.

    • For a full decade, NASA has selected Carthage students to conduct research aboard its zero-gravity aircraft. Lately, the stakes have risen. A team of underclassmen is grinding to prepare a tiny but powerful Earth-imaging satellite for launch to the International Space Station. Learn more about the space sciences at Carthage

    • Carthage is the only college or university in the Midwest where every freshman takes a full-year sequence of foundational texts of the Western intellectual tradition. Learn about Intellectual Foundations.

    • With a student-faculty ratio of 13:1, your professors will know who you are. They will also know who you want to be — and how to get you there. Meet our faculty.

    • There are more than 130 student organizations on campus, from Amnesty International to Fencing to Frisbee, Chem Club to Stand Up Comedy. See how easy it is to get involved.

    • True story: There are more than 27 art galleries, a dozen museums, and nine theatres within 25 miles of Carthage. Some highlights: The nationally recognized Racine Art Museum, the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Learn more about our location.

    • What’s better than one professor? Two professors. What’s better than two professors? Two professors from totally different fields teaching a single class. There’s debate. Discussion. Differing perspectives. This is where the magic happens. That’s why every student takes a Carthage Symposium.

    • You can’t hide here — not with only 17 other students in the classroom with you. That’s going to be rough some mornings. But later, when you’re able to argue your point of view thoughtfully, express your opinions succinctly, and meet challenges head-on, without fear … Yep, you’ll thank us.

    • Carthage is ranked in the Top 5 in the country for student participation in short-term study abroad. Every J-Term, hundreds of students travel all over the world on faculty-led study tours. Imagine a month in Sweden, Rome, Cuba, Senegal, India, Japan …