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Providence Public Lectures more important now than ever
Dr. Dennis Hiebert believes the Providence Public Lecture Series, which will take place this winter in Steinbach and Winnipeg, has never been as vital as it is now.
“The Oxford English Dictionary selected ‘post-truth’ as the 2016 word of the year,” he explains. “As appeals to emotion and personal belief rather than well-researched analysis become ever more influential in shaping public opinion, responsible scholarship that rises well above the public war of words is more important than ever.”
Hiebert, who teaches sociology at Providence and heads up its Public Scholarship Committee, will himself deliver a lecture as part of the Series, entitled “Climate Change: Human Causes, Consequences, and Responses.”
“Ideas have consequences, and beliefs, values and ideologies are the roots of human-caused climate change,” he says, briefly describing the contents of his lecture. “Now confronted with imminent food insecurity due to drought, severe weather, extreme heat and rising water levels, humans have begun to respond—tepidly. Will it be enough?”
Additional presentations will address physician-assisted dying, the social history of the Christian family, Bob Dylan (Did he deserve the Nobel Prize?), the relationship between First Nations and Manitoba business, our ideal future selves, and the monotheistic diversity of Christians, Jews and Muslims (Do they pursue the same God?)
The lectures, says Hiebert, provide a unique opportunity for members of the general public to access Providence scholarship.

“To stage public lectures in urban venues during the evening makes attending one easy and convenient,” he says. “As a service to our community, they are all about accessibility.”
There is something in it for the presenters, too.
Given that Providence professors typically engage younger students twice a week as part of classroom study, encountering more mature audiences who have come out precisely because a particular topic interests them can be refreshing.
“Even professors like to step out of the academic bubble and inhale the real world occasionally,” says Hiebert.
The 2017 Providence Public Lecture Series will run every Tuesday between February 7 and March 21 at the Steinbach Cultural Arts Centre and Saturdays between February 4 and March 18 at Winnipeg’s McNally Robinson Bookstore.
Start times are always 7:00 p.m., and admission is always free.

(Photo: Dr. Dennis Hiebert.)



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