The University of Chicago News Office
Oct. 22, 2002 Press Contact: Josh Schonwald
(773) 702-6421

Jonathan Lear to give keynote address on “The Battle for Hearts and Minds” at Humanities Open House

Print-quality photo:
Jonathan Lear
Jonathan Lear

Additional Contact:
William Orchard
(773) 702-3175


At this year’s University of Chicago Humanities Open House, dozens of free public lectures should show that there’s no such thing as “mere” rhetoric. During the day-long event on Saturday, October 26, scholars will report back from far-flung fields in the battle for hearts and minds. Jonathan Lear, the John U. Nef Distinguished Service Professor in the Committee on Social Thought, the Department of Philosophy, and the College, will provide ancient insights on how myth and truth, education and propaganda shape a generation when he delivers the keynote address on “Plato on the Battle for Hearts and Minds” from 11 a.m. to noon.

In “Compassion and Terror,” Martha Nussbaum will discuss the value of compassion and ask whether it can go too far when it’s only for people like us.

Gwin Kolb will show how Thomas Jefferson’s rhetoric helped ensure the Declaration of Independence’s acceptance and thus the birth of the United States.

Helen Mirra will talk on the way cheaper, simpler technology let people challenge the limits of TV and gender in “Early Video Activism: In the kitchen, and at the 1972 Republican Convention.”

Michael Silverstein will question the recent buzz about genetics in language: what does our rhetoric do when we say languages are “related” and have “families?”

Greeks and Romans argued about slavery, according to Elizabeth Asmis, but did they have an idea of human rights?

Jerrold Sadock will examine the controversy around a “low-class” ethnic speech style that marked people as coming from the Ghetto: Yiddish, which he suggests calling “German Hebonics.”

And Theo van den Hout will look at an early society’s communication overload in “Miles of Clay: Information Management in the Ancient Near East.”


The Open House will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the University of Chicago Campus. For registration, locations and a complete program, go to or call (773) 702-3175.
Last modified at 01:55 PM CST on Friday, September 12, 2003.

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