Noted Humanities Scholar Michael Bérubé to Lecture at UA

Dr. Michael Bérubé
Dr. Michael Bérubé

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Dr. Michael Bérubé, director of the Institute for the Arts and Humanities and the Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Literature at Pennsylvania State University, will present “The Value and Values of the Humanities” Feb. 26 as part of The University of Alabama’s Hidden Humanities lecture series.

The lecture will be held at 7 p.m. in room 205 of Gorgas Library on the UA campus. The event is free and open to the public.

The Hidden Humanities lecture series was founded in 2014 to bring nationally prominent scholars and writers to UA to discuss the so-called “crisis in humanities.”

Each lecturer is invited to address, head on, the positive contributions of the humanities to society at large.

In his lecture, Bérubé will survey the intellectual state of the humanities since 1980. He will focus on the decades-long debate about the status of universalism, asking not only what it means to think of all humans as “equal,” but also why so many scholars in the humanities have become skeptical of this ideal.

He is the author of seven books, including “Life As We Know It: A Father, A Family, and An Exceptional Child,” which was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year in 1996 and was chosen as one of the seven best books of the year by National Public Radio.

Bérubé formerly served as president of the Modern Language Association, the largest scholarly society of humanities scholars in North America. Prior to joining the faculty at Penn State, Bérubé served as director of the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

He received his master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Virginia and his bachelor’s degree in English from Columbia University.

The goal of the Hidden Humanities series is to challenge the widespread notion that the humanities ought to be a low priority in education. The lectures are intended to clarify the nature of the current debate over the importance of the humanities and shed new light on why intellectual disciplines at the heart of the modern university now appear to be so undervalued.

The Hidden Humanities lecture series is organized by UA’s College of Arts and Sciences, the University’s largest division and the largest liberal arts college in the state. Students from the College have won numerous national awards including Rhodes Scholarships, Goldwater Scholarships and memberships on the USA Today Academic All American Team.


Stephanie Kirkland, communications specialist, UA College of Arts and Sciences, 205/348-8539,


Dr. Russ McCutcheon, professor and chair of the department of religious studies, 205/348-8512,