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8:41 am
Thu September 20, 2012

Scholars at Hallwalls begins Friday

Academic fellows at UB's Humanities Institute share their expertise in a series of talks scheduled for scattered Fridays at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center.

The Scholars at Hallwalls talks are "targeted toward a general audience," said Professor Carrie Bramen, Executive Director UB Humanities Institute.  

"The lectures are about 40-to-45 minutes and are not targeted toward professionals in that field. You don’t need to be an academic or have a PhD to understand what’s happening," Bramen told WBFO and AM970 News.

The opening discussion on Friday at 4pm, "Nathaniel Bowditch and the Science of Business in the 19th Century," will be offered by Tamara Thornton.

A name unknown to most modern audiences, Bowditch was a "self-made man" who earned 19th Century success in business and science, Bramen said.

Bowditch's life, according to Bramen, offers lessons into the "issue of class mobility." Those lessons may be particularly poignant when viewed through today's economic realities.

"The training one gets in the Humanities is precisely to tackle these bigger questions," Bramen said.

The Humanities, Bramen believes, "offer a qualitative training in how to answer problems, beyond numbers, beyond data."

Still, current economic realities may be have the effect of reducing the value placed upon the Humanities.

Bramen worries that there is "growing pressure" that may result in making the Humanities the domain of elite universities.

Future talks form Scholars at Hallwalls will touch upon several subjects, including literature, history and philosophy.