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Lecturer to discuss being human in transformative times

February 26, 2008
Public scholar and award-winning author Michael Bérubé will explore how scientific theory, neurology and disability studies have transformed what it means to be human and whether that transformation connects to the focus and scope of the humanities in his lecture, “The Humanities and the Limits of the Human,” at 7 p.m., Feb. 28, in Armstrong Hall on ASU’s Tempe campus.

Bérubé, the Paterno Professor in English Literature and Science, Technology and Society, and co-director of the disability studies program at Pennsylvania State University, is the 2008 Distinguished Lecturer for the the Institute for Humanities Research in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at ASU.

“Bérubé recognizes that the definition of what it means to be human is changing,” says Sally Kitch, director of the institute. “As an interdisciplinary humanities scholar, he recognizes that such changes will inevitably affect the study of humanities fields.”

Bérubé is nationally known for his passion about the humanities and liberal arts education, demonstrated in his book “What’s Liberal About the Liberal Arts? Classroom Politics and ‘Bias’ in Higher Education,” which rebuts the idea that American universities are overwhelmed with liberal bias and argues for students’ rights to free and open inquiry.

Bérubé is the author of six books, including his 1996 prize-winning memoir, “Life as We Know It: A Father, a Family and an Exceptional Child,” which chronicles the Bérubé family’s life with a child who has Down syndrome.

The Institute for Humanities Research Distinguished Lecture is free and open to the public, but reservations are required. For seating, call (480) 965-3000 or e-mail More information can be found online at at A dessert reception and book signing, where Bérubé’s books will be available for purchase, will follow the lecture.