This year, I’m delighted to be doing an important “side gig” endeavor as a 2022 “Fellow in Ideas” at Harrison Middleton University (HMU), an online university devoted exclusively to the exploration of Great Books and Great Ideas. Those selected as Fellows contribute reviews and essays to HMU’s publications and join in various discussion groups.
So far, my participation has included:
- Writing an essay, “Ahab Rages and Odysseus Weeps: Trauma as a Core Concept for Humanistic Inquiry,” published on the HMU blog;
- Reviewing a book, Zena Hitz, Lost in Thought: The Hidden Pleasures of an Intellectual Life (2020), published in HMU’s Dialogue newsletter;
- Taking part in discussions about major films.
I look forward to taking part in more HMU activities to round out my fellowship experience during the fall.
Harrison Middleton University is a unique educational entity. Its strongest intellectual roots trace back to Great Books of the Western World, a series of books first published by the Encyclopedia Britannica in 1952, comprised mostly of full works by selected authors of the Western canon. HMU has obtained national accreditation through the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). Whereas many DEAC-accredited members are for-profit institutions emphasizing vocational preparation, HMU is a non-profit, online university devoted solely to the liberal arts.
HMU’s work is especially needed during a time when independent inquiry, liberal learning, and the Great Books are on the decline in much of standard-brand higher education and under attack from the social and political extremes. It is a gift to be a year-long visitor to this stimulating, intelligent, and welcoming community.