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UIC News Tips
University of Illinois at Chicago Office of Public Affairs (MC 288)
601 S. Morgan St., Chicago, IL 60607-7113, (312) 996-3456, www.uic.edu/depts/paff

April 11, 2001 Contact: Anne Dybek 312-996-8279; adybek@uic.edu


The University of Illinois at Chicago will serve as the battleground for the growing debate over what constitutes the canon of great books. At issue are the divergent attitudes between conservatives who hold the traditional great books in high regard and progressives who feel that the current canon is often racist, sexist, and exclusionary of minorities and non-Western literature.

Exploring the use of great books as tools for dialogue, resistance and dissent will be the subject of a two-day conference held at UIC, "The Idea of the Great Books: Canon and Community, On and Off Campus." The conference, open to the general public, will take place April 26-27 at the UIC Institute for the Humanities, Room B2 (lower level), Stevenson Hall, 701 S. Morgan St.

"As an urban institution, UIC, along with the English department, need to consider what role the great books play in the curriculum," said Lennard Davis, head of the English department. "How do books like those of Toni Morrison weigh against those of Dickens or Homer?"

The conference will bring together presenters from a range of disciplines and professions, including literature, history, cultural studies, education, publishing and politics. This forum will provide an opportunity for provocative debate and discussion. Ilan Stavans from Amherst College will provide the keynote address.

For registration, contact Becca Kopf at (800) 222-5870, ext. 237. Registration closes April 12. See the attached conference schedule. The first two sessions on Thursday and the last two sessions on Friday are free. Registration is $75.00 ($15.00 for students) to attend all other conference panels and events.

The Great Books Conference is co-sponsored by UIC's English department and the Great Books Foundation, which promotes the reading of great books in groups around the country. For more information about the conference contact Lennard Davis at 413-2203.

Thursday, April 26

11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.


12:30-1:15 p.m.

Plenary Session-Ilan Stavans, Amherst College, keynote speaker

1:30-3:30 p.m.

"The Problem of the Great Books." David Neidorf, St. Mary's College of
California; Paul Trout, Montana State University; Stanley Corkin, University of Cincinnati; Phyllis Frus, University of Michigan

4-5:45 p.m.

"The Great Books as an Educational and Social Movement." Sidney Hyman, author; Jonathan Freedman, University of Michigan; William Noble Haarlow, University of Virginia

"Publishing and Selling the Great Books: Readers, Bookstores, and the Publishing Process." Andre Bernard, Harvest Books/Harcourt Brace, editor-in-chief; Max Rudin, publisher, Library of America; Peter Temes, president, the Great Books Foundation

Friday, April 27

8:30-10:15 a.m.

"The Changing Canon." Kamila Kinyon, University of Chicago; John Knapp, Northern Illinois University; Andrew McKenna, Loyola University of Chicago

"Great Books and Educational Activism." Jim Malarkey, Antioch University; Maricarmen Martinez, University of Puerto Rico; Amy Thomas, University of Chicago; Steven Werlin, Shimer College, Waukegan, Ill.

10:45 a.m.-noon

"Canons and National Culture." Andrew Wachtel, Northwestern University; Richard Esbenshade, University of California, Santa Cruz and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Ronald Schindler, scholar

"Greatness, Otherness, and Inclusion." Olivia McDonald, Trinity Episcopal Cathedral; Edward Pasko, Purdue University; Mike Riley, Saint Mary's College of California; Curtis White, Illinois State University

12:15-1 p.m.

Lunch. Remarks from Peter Temes, president, the Great Books Foundation

1-1:45 p.m.

"Great Books Without the Canon." Lennard Davis, University of Illinois at Chicago; Gary Brasor, National Association of Scholars

2-3:45 p.m.

"The Great Books and Educational Practice." Gerald Graff, University of Illinois at Chicago; Cindy Rutz, University of Chicago; David Neidorf, Saint Mary's College of California

- UIC -


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