DULUTH, MN - Randall Poole, an associate professor in the Department of History and Politics at The College of St. Scholastica, will speak about "The Defense of Human Dignity in 19th Century Russian Thought" at 3:40 p.m. Friday, Jan. 25, in room 4119, of Tower Hall on campus. Admission is free and open to the public. His talk is part of a monthly faculty colloquium lecture series.
Nineteenth-century Russian thought is perhaps most often associated with the radical intelligentsia, with ideologies such as nihilism and communism, and with the intellectual underpinnings of 20th century totalitarianism, Poole said. "Indeed that is part of the story," he said, "but only part."
"The Russian humanist tradition drew on common European sources such as patristic theology, Renaissance thought, and German idealism, but it developed them in new and striking ways," he noted.
This illustrates one of the central paradoxes of Russian intellectual history: that the tsarist autocracy gave rise to powerful theories-among the regime's liberal critics-of freedom, dignity, and justice. Disrespect for human values in practice (by the autocracy and also by its mirror image in the revolutionary movement) provided strong impetus for their theoretical defense. The Russian humanist tradition endures, transcends time and place, and forms a "usable past," Poole said-one that is valuable not only for Russians.
The faculty colloquium series, developed by St. Scholastica's School of Arts and Letters, highlights faculty research and creative projects. The presentation will last one hour that includes a 40-minute lecture followed by 20 minutes of questions and answers. Colloquium audiences typically include a mixture of students, faculty and community members.
The College of St. Scholastica is regularly recognized as one of the finest colleges in the Midwest. The 2013 "America's Best Colleges" survey by U.S. News & World Report magazine ranks St. Scholastica in the top tier of Midwestern universities. The Washington Post has rated St. Scholastica as one of the nation's 100 "hidden gems" among U.S. colleges and universities.