The Open Academy: Honors Professors in Conversation

Series Producer: Richard Armstrong

This iTunes University podcast feed houses our ongoing series of conversations and interviews with professors and authors.  Some of these conversations grow out of our curriculum at the Honors College, but many reflect the work and interests of our professors or visiting scholars who come to participate in the academic life at the College.

The series so far comprises:

1. Euripides' Children of Herakles.  Richard Armstrong interviews Artist in Residence and Center for Creative Work Director Dr. John Harvey about the production of Children of Herakles performed for the 2009 City Dionysia.  Harvey discusses several details of the production--such as choreography and acting style--and his translation, and reads a portion of the play. Music in this podcast comprises extracts from the original score written for the play by Richard Power.

2. Sophocles' Elektra. Richard Armstrong interviews University of Houston Classics Professor Casey Dué about the myth of Elektra and Sophocles' play centered on this famous Greek heroine.  Dué discusses in particular the role of lamentation in Greek society, and how this figures into her reading of the play. This is the first podcast related to our 2010 production of Elektra for the City Dionysia.

3. Willard Spiegelman.  University of Houston English Professor David Mikics interviews Willard Spiegelman about his latest book, Seven Pleasures: Essays on Ordinary Happiness. Spiegelman advocates for the exploration of pleasure in such activities as reading, walking, looking, swimming, and dancing. Spiegelman is Hughes Distinguished Professor of English at Southern Methodist University, the editor of the Southwest Review, and a prolific author. 

4. Poetry and War. Richard Armstrong interviews poet James Armstrong about the turn in his work from landscape to political poetry. The discussion traces the trajectory from a poetics of commitment to the land to one of social and political critique, with extensive readings from Armstrong's poems.  James Armstrong is Professor of English at Winona State University and author of Monument in a Summer Hat and Blue Lash.

5. Moral Responsibility: Does it exist?  Richard Armstrong interviews Honors College Professor Tamler Sommers on the philosophical debate surrounding moral responsibility. Do we have free will, or is this just an necessary illusion? Are the prison guards at Abu Ghraib responsible for their behavior? Sommers discusses his research into these questions based on his books A Very Bad Wizard and Relative Justice (forthcoming).