The University of Texas at Austin - Civitas Institute

Rescuing Socrates

What is the Value of a Liberal Education?

October 13
12:00 PM PHR 2.114 RSVP

Traditionally characterized by a rigorous engagement with the classics of Western thought and literature, this approach to education is all but extinct in American universities, replaced by flexible distribution requirements and ever-narrower academic specialization. Many academics attack the very idea of a Western canon as chauvinistic, while the general public increasingly doubts the value of the humanities. In this lecture based on his book Rescuing Socrates Dominican-born American academic Roosevelt Montás tells the story of how a liberal education transformed his life, and offers an intimate account of the relevance of the Great Books today, especially to members of historically marginalized communities.

Roosevelt Montás grew up in the Dominican Republic until at twelve years old he moved to New York City. He discovered the classics aged sixteen after rescuing a copy of Socrates from his neighbors trash, and went on to study at Columbia, where he is now Senior Lecturer in American Studies and English. His book Rescuing Socrates: How the Great Books Changed My Life and Why They Matter for a New Generation details his experiences as a student and teacher, telling the story of how the Great Books transformed his life and why they have the power to speak to people of all backgrounds. 

Co-sponsored with the Thomas Jefferson Center

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