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Eastern Kentucky University will take a fresh look at an age-old theme with its 2016-17 Chautauqua Lecture Series.

Sixteen distinguished scholars, critics, scientists, journalists, poets, artists and musicians will explore “Order and Chaos” throughout the academic year.

“We will examine the theme in relation to a wide and interdisciplinary variety of interests and approaches, including philosophy and psychology, national and global politics, personal struggles and cultural identities, artistic and musical expression, evolutionary theory and cosmology,” said Chautauqua Lecture Coordinator Dr. Erik Liddell. “Join us for a year of stimulating ideas, eye-opening explorations and engaging discussions.”

All lectures are free and open to the public and will begin at 7:30 p.m. in O’Donnell Hall of the Whitlock Building.

The first program in the upcoming series on Thursday, Sept. 1, will feature Nancy Nyquist Potter, author, philosopher and University of Louisville professor, addressing “Heroes, Mavericks and Psychopaths: The Virtue and Vice of Defiance.”

Potter has published extensively in feminist ethics and political philosophy as well as the interdisciplinary field of philosophy and psychiatry. Her current research focuses on the connections between theories of knowledge and ethics, with special attention to nosological and diagnostic issues, and on the relationship between voice, silence and uptake, particularly for patients living with mental illness.

Her newest book, “The Virtue of Defiance and Psychiatric Engagement,” was published recently by Oxford University Press and offers a “nuanced and complex look at defiance, taking seriously issues of dysfunction while mindful of social contexts in which such behavior may arise.” Her previous books include “Mapping the Edges and In-Between: A Critical Analysis of Borderline Personality Disorder” and “How Can I Be Trusted? A Virtue Theory of Trustworthiness.”

Potter has taught philosophy at the University of Louisville since 1995. She is a core faculty member of the University’s Interdisciplinary Master’s Program in Bioethics and Medical Humanities, an adjunct faculty member with Women and Gender Studies, and an associate with the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. She is a past president of the Association for the Advancement of Philosophy and Psychiatry and continues to serve on its Executive Council.

The remaining schedule for this year’s series follows:

Fall 2016

Thursday, Sept. 15 – “Celebrating 400 Years of Cervantes and Shakespeare,” special event featuring EKU faculty members Manuel Cortés-Castañeda, Ezra Engling and Kevin Rahimzadeh.

Thursday, Sept. 22 – Maria Hinojosa, award-winning journalist, executive producer of “Latino USA,” “A Latina Perspective on the Politics of 2016.” (Hispanic Heritage Keynote Address)

Thursday, Oct. 6 – Missy Jenkins Smith, Heath (Ky.) High School shooting victim, disability activist and author, “I Choose to Be Happy: Triumphing over Tragedy.” (Keynote Address for National Disability Employment Awareness Month)

Thursday, Oct. 20 – Gwynne Dyer, noted historian, journalist, columnist and author, “Don’t Panic!: ISIS, Terror and Today’s Middle East.”

Thursday, Nov. 3 – Joy Harjo, Mvskvge poet and musician, creative writing chair at the University of Tennessee, “Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings.” (Native American Heritage Keynote Address)

Thursday, Nov. 17 – Jeremy England, biophysicist, MIT, “Entropy and Irreversible Change: The Thermodynamics of Evolutionary Adaptation.”

Thursday, Dec. 1 – Christian Parenti, sociologist, author, professor of global liberal studies, New York University, “War and Development in the Age of Climate Change.” (International Studies Keynote Address)


Spring 2017

Jan. 23-Feb. 22 – national juried art exhibition on “Order and Chaos” theme, Giles Gallery, Campbell Building. Opening reception, Thursday, Jan. 26, 5-7 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 9 – Kishonna Leah Gray, Martin Luther King Jr. Scholar at MIT and founder/director of EKU Critical Gaming Lab, “Between Order and Chaos: Examining Black Resistance in the Digital Age.” (Black History Month Keynote Address)

Thursday, Feb. 23 – Ted Gioia, jazz historian, musicologist, columnist, pop culture critic, “The Dangerous History of the Love Song.”

Thursday, March 2 – Lisa Day, director, EKU Women and Gender Studies Program, “Order, Chaos and Gender: Women’s Art of the Italian Renaissance.” (Women’s History Month Keynote Address)

Thursday, March 23 – Steve Baker, author, critic, animal studies pioneer, professor emeritus of art history, Central Lancashire (United Kingdom), “The Disorderly Animal in Contemporary Art.” (Keynote Address for 3rd Biennial EKU Living with Animals Conference)

Thursday, April 20 – Lisa Randall, physicist and cosmologist, Frank J. Baird Jr. professor of science, Harvard University, “Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs: An Evening with Dr. Lisa Randall.” (7th annual Bruce MacLaren Distinguished Lecture)

Thursday, April 27 – John Inazu, Sally D. Danforth distinguished professor of law and religion and professor of political science, Washington University, “Confident Pluralism: Surviving and Thriving through Deep Difference.” (Keynote Address for First Amendment Week)

Any EKU colleges, departments, programs and offices interested in co-sponsoring lectures should contact Chautauqua Lecture Coordinator Dr. Erik Liddell at For more information about the series and speakers, visit