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Renowned author and social critic headlines Visiting Professorship in Ethics at ASU’s West campus


January 03, 2007

Richard Rodriguez, a 1997 George Foster Peabody Award winner for his PBS “NewsHour” essays on American life, will present “The Two Great Pronouns of America: Ambition and Loneliness in the American Soul”  Wednesday, February 7, at Arizona State University’s West campus. 

The public lecture is provided by the John M. and Hellen S. Jacobs Endowed Visiting Professorship in Ethics and is free to the public.

“America is a nation that has taken the first-person singular pronoun, the ‘I’, further than any culture has dared,” said Rodriguez, who is a contributing editor for Harper’s Magazine, U.S. News & World Report, and the Sunday “Opinion” section of the Los Angeles Times.  “The ‘I’ has been the source of our creativity and our originality as a nation, but it has also brought great loneliness.  Religion, education, the family – these aspects of our lives are constructed on the communal pronoun, the ‘we’. 

“As Americans we are divided in our desire and not always able to resolve the tension between these pronouns.”

Rodriguez will explore this split and the potential for a possible reunion of the pronouns during his February 7 appearance in La Sala, University Center Building, on the West campus, 4701 West Thunderbird Road.  The program begins at 7:00 p.m.

The 62-year-old native of San Francisco has been compared with such literary figures as Albert Camus and James Baldwin.  In addition to his Peabody recognition for outstanding achievement in broadcast and cable – one of television’s most prestigious honors – Rodriguez has earned the Frankel Medal from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the International Journalism Award from the World Affairs Council of California.  He has appeared regularly on the PBS program “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer” since 1996, contributing nearly 100 of his thought-provoking columns for the show.

Rodriguez received a B.A. from Stanford University, an M.A. from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in English Renaissance literature from the University of California, Berkeley, and attended the Warburg Institute in London on a Fulbright fellowship.