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Philosophy Speaker Series Begins with 'Thinking through Shakespeare'

Posted: April 1, 2016

The Buffalo State community has the chance to view philosophy through a Shakespearean lens during “Thinking Through Shakespeare: Finding a Model for Philosophical Literary Criticism,” a talk to be held on Monday, April 4, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. in E. H. Butler Library 210. It is free and open to the public.

Erik Schmidt (left), associate professor of philosophy at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, is delivering the talk as the first in the Jim Grunebaum Speaker Series in Philosophy.

Grunebaum, who retired in 2005, joined the Buffalo State philosophy faculty in 1971, directed the All College Honors Program (now the Muriel A. Howard Honors Program) from 1987 to 1999, and earned the State University of New York Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1997.

A generous donor to the college, Grunebaum remains active in the department colloquia and Ethics Bowl. A couple of years ago, he decided to endow a speakers series, and it came to fruition this academic year. Having a Shakespearean scholar as the first speaker dovetailed nicely with the School of Arts and Humanities’ celebration of the 400th anniversary of the playwright’s birthday.

John Draeger, associate professor of philosophy, met Schmidt in graduate school and knew his research wove philosophy with Shakespeare, ethics, and literature, said Jason Grinnell, chair and associate professor of philosophy. Schmidt has written on such topics as “What is the Philosophical Significance of Performing Shakespeare?” and “False Gaze: Othello and the Threat of Deceptive Truth.”

Securing Schmidt to give the inaugural talk in the series was a happy coincidence, Grinnell said, adding, “Jim Grunebaum, who made the series possible, is an ethicist and Shakespeare fan.”

Grinnell noted that this talk is not meant to be a technical philosophical discussion, but one intended for a general audience. Students, faculty, staff, and the community at large are invited to attend.

“Jim’s endowed gift made it possible for us to bring in higher profile philosophers on a yearly or biyearly basis,” he said. “We believe this series will be a valuable contribution to intellectual life on campus.”

For more information, contact the Philosophy Department at (716) 878-5136.


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