Cornell hosts lecture by Phi Beta Kappa Visiting ScholarMay 12, 2003
MOUNT VERNON — A University of Pennsylvania political scientist will speak at Cornell College as the Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar at 11:10 a.m. Thursday, May 22, in Hedges Conference Room of The Commons. Admission is free.
Rogers Smith will lecture on “The Political Importance of Stories of Peoplehood,” which covers the religious, ethnic and historical myths and narratives of the origins and characters of political communities.
“I’ll discuss Geoffrey of Monmouth’s tale of King Arthur and other kings of Britain in his 12th-century ‘History of the Kings of England’ as a story of peoplehood,” Smith says. “I’ll also discuss North Korea’s current invocation of the myth of Tan’ Gun, the legendary divine founder of the Korean nation, and President Bush’s inaugural address, which centered on what he termed the ‘American story’ and argued that its ultimate author was God.”
During his two-day campus visit, Smith also will visit politics and sociology classes and dine with students and faculty. This year the Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Program made available 14 distinguished scholars to visit member campuses. The purpose of the program is to allow an exchange of ideas between the visiting scholars and the resident faculty and students, contributing to the intellectual life on campus.
Smith teaches American constitutional law and American political thought, with special interests in issues of citizenship and racial, gender and class inequalities. He is the author or co-author of four books: “The Unsteady March: The Rise and Decline of Racial Equality in America”; “Civic Ideals: Conflicting Visions of Citizenship in U.S. History,” which was a finalist for the 1998 Pulitzer Prize in history; “Citizenship Without Consent: The Illegal Alien in the American Polity”; and “Liberalism and American Constitutional Law.” He is currently completing “Stories of Peoplehood: The Politics and Morals of Political Memberships.”
From 1980 to 2001 Smith taught at Yale University, where he was the Cowles Professor of Government and received the Yale College Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Prize. He has been awarded fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies and Yale. Under a two-year Carnegie Corporation grant, he is researching a book to be titled “Civic Horizons: Achieving Democratic Citizenship in Modern America.”
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