Honored Faculty Speaker
sean Lewis, PH.D.
Welcome to the New Middle Ages
Tuesday, April 19 at 3:30 p.m.
We tend to think of human culture and civilization in terms of linear progress. Our Veritas courses at Mount St. Mary’s University certainly unfold in this manner, taking us from ancient Athens to the 21st century by way of clearly defined, discrete historical periods. This clear framework is quite useful, even necessary for mature thought about who we are and the culture we inhabit. Culture, however, is far more complex than we might think, and it does not inevitably “progress” in a straight line. Building on observations made by Christopher Dawson, Alasdair MacIntyre, and Umberto Eco, and drawing on evidence from historical linguistics, semiotics, and current events, this lecture will argue that we are, in fact, living not in the “Modern” world, but in a new Middle Ages. Despite our technological marvels, cultural structures have shifted—and are continuing to shift—in medieval directions, and evidence for this claim will be found in both social and artistic expressions. What do the new Middle Ages look like? Come and find out.
Dr. Sean Gordon Lewis is an assistant professor of English at Mount St. Mary’s University. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Dallas, and holds an M.St. in English (650-1550) from The University of Oxford, and a Ph.D. in English literature and certificate in rhetoric from The Catholic University of America, where he also taught and served as the assistant director of the writing program. Before coming to the Mount, Dr. Lewis was assistant professor of humanities at Wyoming Catholic College, where he taught such diverse subjects as literature, history, rhetoric, and music history. A medievalist, he is currently working on a study of different epistemologies in the works of Geoffrey Chaucer, and has a forthcoming article on Wendell Berry’s Hannah Coulter and the epic literary tradition. Dr. Lewis is thrilled to be a part of the Mount community, and honored to be this year’s honored faculty speaker.