Annual Lecture


The Annual Lecture, usually given during the fall semester, is one of the general, college-wide events sponsored each year by the Humanities Center. Its distinguished guest is invited to lecture on the basis of his or her expertise on the subject of that year’s Humanities Center theme.


September 23, 2016, 3:00 – 4:30 PM, JFSB B192 (Education in Zion Theater).

Gregg-LambertThe BYU Humanities Center’s welcomes Dr. Gregg Lambert from Syracuse University, as our Annual Lecturer which will be held on Friday September 23, 2016. Dr. Lambert is Dean’s Professor of the Humanities and director of the Central New York Humanities Corridor.

The title of his presentation will be: “Philosophical Fundamentalism Today”

In this lecture Professor Lambert will address the resurgence of explicitly Christian themes and authorities in Contemporary Continental Philosophy, drawing upon many of the arguments from his recent book: Return Statements: The Return of Religion in Contemporary Philosophy (Edinburgh University Press, 2016).

Read a write-up of this lecture.


March 11, 2016 3:00-4:30 p.m., JFSB B192 (Education in Zion Theater).


Nicholas Mirzoeff

Nicholas Mirzoeff, Professor of Media, Culture and Communication at New York University

As part of our exploration of this year’s annual theme, The Work of Art, we looked at how the humanities influence not only academia, but the world outside the university. Our theme, then, demanded that we stretch to include the work of art in the world. Professor Nicholas Mirzoeff ’s research has been seminal on questions of what the work of art and, more broadly, visuals do in the world. Dr. Mirzoeff is a professor of media culture and communications at New York University, and his work is motivated by a strong sense of ethics as well as aesthetics. His current project, on the Black Lives Matter movement, addresses how art and photography inspire public action. His lecture focused on the visual commons, and on how objects available to the public gaze influence political and social thought, and where we fit into that commons both as consumers and producers of art.

Read a write-up of this lecture.



October 17, 3:00-4:30 p.m., JFSB B192 (Education in Zion Theater).


K. David Harrison headshot 200


David Harrison, Swarthmore Collegue.

“Disappearing Languages”


“My journey as a scientist exploring the world’s vanishing languages has taken me from the Siberian forests to the Bolivian Altiplano, from a fast-food restaurant in Michigan to a trailer park in Utah. In all these places I’ve listened to last speakers — dignified elders — who hold in their minds a significant portion of humanity’s intellectual wealth.

“Though it belongs solely to them and has inestimable value to their people, they do not hoard it. They are often eager to share it, sometimes because they find so few of their own people willing to listen. What can we learn from these languages before they go extinct? And why should we lift a finger to help rescue them?” [K. David Harrison, The Last Speakers: The Quest to Save the World’s Most Endangered Languages]

Harrison addressed these questions in the lecture he delivered at BYU October 17, 2014.




February 21, 2014, 3:00 p.m., JFSB B192 (Education in Zion Theater)




Simon Critchley, Hans Jonas Professor of Philosophy at the New School for Social Research.

“Tragedy’s Philosophy”



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Preceding Events:

Friday, December 6th. We will hold the first of our seminars planned in conjunction with the visit of Simon Critchley. The subject of the seminar is Critchley’s 2012 book  The Faith of the Faithless: Experiments in Political Theology. We will hold the second seminar with Critchley on Thursday, February 20th (room and time TBA).




October 12, 2013, 4:00 p.m., JFSB B002




Geoffrey Galt Harpham, Director of the National Humanities Center

“Finding Ourselves: The Humanities as a Discipline”



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