[UPDATE] Public Intellectuals Lecture Series (Fall 2015)

full name / name of organization: 
Carleton University


The Public Intellectuals Lecture Series has just wrapped up a successful spring lineup featuring four fantastic, well attended lectures. We are now planning a second series for the fall.

The Public Intellectuals Lecture Series aims to create a bridge between scholars in the Arts and the general public. While the complex ideas these scholars help develop have important, real world applications to the way we understand and interact with each other, they are often couched in jargon and confined to the journals and lecture halls of the academic sphere. This lecture series will offer a venue and format in which scholars can present these ideas to the public in an accessible manner.

Each lecture will use a popular culture example to explain a critical term, question, or controversy. These pop culture examples could include a bestselling novel, a TV Show, a pop song, a celebrity controversy, or a social media phenomenon. The examples will give the audience a frame of reference, allowing it to better understand the ideas the scholars are presenting. Presenters will avoid academic jargon whenever possible, and will rely heavily on paraphrasing, rather than quoting from dense theoretical texts. The goal of each lecture is to help the audience understand the critical ideas using a popular culture example and everyday language to describe those ideas.

For example, a lecture titled "Agency and Game of Thrones" might examine the way scholars use and understand the term "agency" using characters from the popular television series as examples. Likewise, "Is Fifty Shades of Grey a Feminist Novel?" could use the popular novel as a way to introduce different feminist perspectives. Finally, "Roaring Fireworks: Katy Perry and the Neoliberal Self" would use Katy Perry's music to examine what neoliberal values are and how they influence everyday decisions.

This series is more than a novelty. It offers members of the general public a chance to continue their pursuit of lifelong learning by connecting them with scholars and complex ideas in an accessible, non-threatening forum. These ideas have the potential to transform the way individuals think about themselves and their community. It also allows scholars an opportunity to share their work with a wide audience and become part of the broader community in a meaningful way.

Lectures will take place at the main branch of the Ottawa Public Library at 120 Metcalfe St. The fall series will be four lectures, the first taking place in late September, followed by two lectures in October, and ending with one lecture in mid-November.

Proposals should be 300-500 words. The best proposals will present a clear description of the critical term/question/controversy and identify a single popular culture text that the presenter will use to teach the critical term/question/controversy. Proposals should also use the same simplified language that the lecture will use. A short biography of the presenter (50 words) should accompany proposals.

Send proposals to the series curator, Andrew Connolly (andrew.mark.connolly@gmail.com). The extended deadline for proposals is August 18.