"The central question driving literary aesthetics in the age of the iPad is no longer 'How should novels be?' but 'Why write novels at all?" Garth Risk Hallberg must have a good answer to this question, because his novel, "City on Fire," all 900 pages, was one of the most anticipated books of 2015 and landed on many of last year's "best books" lists. The WashU alumnus returns to campus to talk about two subjects he knows well: the novel and New York City.
Whenever some violent lunatic snaps and claims some kind of warped justification for his murderous acts as a so-called Muslim warrior, it’s not his damaged childhood or the flood of assault weapons in America or the climate of unrelenting violence in our country that gets blamed – it’s Islam, an ancient, Abrahamic religion.” -- Arsalan Iftikhar
“It (a college education) changed everything for the family. It changed their economic position but it also changed their sense of the world; new possibilities opened up, there was more pleasure and leisure in their lives. There was also more innovation at work and at home. There was more value created for the economy and there was also just more of a sense of the possibilities of ordinary life for themselves, and they passed that along to their children.”
“Planetary science, and especially planetary geology, is never, ever boring. New discoveries roll in endlessly, enriching and ennobling the common heritage of humankind.” -- Bill McKinnon
"Hatred alone does not result in genocide. Sadly, there's a lot of hatred in this world. What galvanizes or transforms it into action is usually, maybe always, leadership."
In “The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals," Darwin showed that humans of every race, throughout the globe, express their emotions identically. For instance, we all cry when we’re sad and smile when we’re happy. Darwin claimed that this identity amounted to a “new argument” for all the races descending from a single, common ancestral stock. In his talk, Darwinian scholar Radick will track the origins of Darwin’s research that led to this conclusion and offer a better understanding of how and why he first began to collect evidence on emotional expression across the human races. It can also help us see exactly how Darwin’s scientific work reflected his lifelong hatred of slavery.
“We are doctors, for Christ’s sake, and I simply want to know what happens to the body during sex." -- Michael Sheen as WashU doctor William Masters in the Showtime TV series, "Masters of Sex."