Hamner will give a Hallwas Liberal Arts Lecture

Hamner will give a Hallwas Liberal Arts Lecture

September 14, 2022


MACOMB/MOLINE, IL – Western Illinois University is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the annual John Hallwas Liberal Arts Lecture. This year, WIU Professor Emeritus John Hall gave a talk on “Liberal Arts Education in Times of Crisis,” and events will continue through October with WIU Professor of English, Everett Hamner, delivering “Welcome to Spaceship Earth: Reimagining Climate Action Via Popular Culture”. at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 6 at WIU-QC Riverfront Hall, room 111.

“The stories we understand to live shape our choices a lot — around climate destruction, as well as other pressing social issues,” Hamner said.

The lecture series began in 2003 after WIU’s College of Arts and Sciences program launched an effort to slow declining public interest related to broader education and concerns about the negative impact on democracy and social engagement. Since the beginning of the initiative, many WIU professors have given impactful lectures.

Hamner’s lecture will dive into how the stories we tell and hear can weaken or strengthen our responsiveness to measurable physical realities. Its aims are to draw on a wide range of liberal arts traditions and to inspire academic and non-academic audiences for broad and urgent climate action. The central idea? That we can only move beyond endless delays and partisanship by consciously choosing stories compatible with a livable future. Our emotions are key here: in the face of the facts of our situation; neither cynical fatalism nor naïve optimism will suffice.

“What we can imagine strongly shapes the reality we create. If you are an engineer, a supply chain manager, a teacher, a consultant, a farmer, you name it, you have an idea of ​​future conditions that constantly affect the risks you “I’m willing to take. Yes, we use hard data and we need to use it a lot more. But on the spacecraft we call Earth, we also rely heavily on popular cultural narratives, for better and for worse, consciously and unconsciously,” Hamner said.

Hamner has been an English teacher at WIU since 2008. Prior to his time at WIU, he earned his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa after earning degrees at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, MD, and Regent College in Vancouver. As the English Language and Liberal Arts and Science (LAS) Program Coordinator at WIU-Quad Cities, Hamner strives to serve students preparing for work and graduate programs across a wide range of of fields, including education, professional writing and publishing, museum studies, counseling and social work, and various fields of communication and public relations. As a scholar, Hamner’s expertise lies in the relationships of literature, film, and popular culture to science, religion, and politics, with a particular interest in genetics and climate change. His book, “Editing the Soul: Science and Fiction in the Genome Age,” helped launch a new Anthropocene series at Penn State University Press in 2017, and he regularly publishes in public outlets like The Los Angeles Review of Books.

Recently, Hamner’s writings have moved from the bioengineering of individual human beings to a much larger scale of human transformation, a pattern he calls “climate destruction” or “earth system sabotage.” Beyond his teaching and writing, his interests include advising the Interdisciplinary Society of English and the Arts (IDEAS) and coaching high school baseball for the past three years.

After the half-hour media discussion, the event will include a conversation with members of the public, as well as light refreshments.

The event is free to the public and will be available live. A link will be provided closer to the event.

Posted by: Lexi Yoggerst ([email protected])
University Communications and Marketing Office

Angela C. Hale