The College of Arts and Sciences is launching CAS Inquire, a program that gives Huskers the chance to connect with college thought leaders and other inquisitive students to discuss ideas, built around a collegewide series of public lectures.
Guy Reynolds, professor of English and women’s and gender studies, opens the series on Sept. 10 with “The Rise of the Machines — And How We Can Resist Them: British Novels of the 20th Century.” The lecture, which is free and open to the public, is at 5:30 p.m. in the Nebraska Union Auditorium.
The theme for 2019-2020 is “The Rise of the Machines,” which Reynolds traces to the late 19th century.
“I examine four writers — George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, J. R. R. Tolkien and Tony Burgess — who all reacted, with fascination and horror, to the vortex of technology and destruction that had brought a ghastly halt to the benign technological progressivism of the 19th century,” he said. “The lecture touches on many novels that undergraduates will be familiar with — ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ ‘Brave New World,’ ‘1984’ and ‘A Clockwork Orange’— but then places them in this new context.
“I explore the various ‘machines’ that sit at the center: Sauron’s crazed world of heavy machinery and industrial domination; Huxley’s fascination with a biological re-engineering of society; ‘1984’s’ remarkable forecasting of an invasive information society; Burgess’s interest in how a fragile selfhood might be brutally remodelled by psycho-medical conditioning.”
The series includes five lectures in five disciplines, followed by a panel discussion with all the speakers in March.
CAS Inquire students take specialized courses, help with facilitating the program, and enjoy additional benefits. They can apply, or be nominated by faculty, for the program.