Harrison Middleton University
The Raven
Gertrude Stein
astronomical clock
Rachel Carson

Category: Culture

We’re excited that you’ve joined the conversation! At HMU, we want to continue the great authors’ conversations in a contemporary context, and this blog will help us do that. We look back to Aristotle and the early philosophers who used reason and discourse to gain wisdom and now we endeavor to do the same every day.


June 7, 2024

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

I have always had a difficult time separating myth and fairy tale. They seem similar to me, and in fact, according to historian, critic, and writer Marina Warner, they do share similarities. They often incorporate flat characters. Plots do not need to be elaborate. Both tend to be from oral traditions. Additionally, they frequently include the intervention of a meddlesome character such as the gods (in the case of myth) or witches and magicians (in the case of fairy tale).

 » Read more about: Fairy Tales According to Marina Warner  »

November 17, 2023

Thanks to Chad Greene, a 2023 Fellowship in Ideas recipient, for today’s blog. 

            Of the classes I teach at my community college, the closest to a Great Books class is a course called “Masterpieces of World Literature” that the English department offers every fall. In this class I ask students to apply frameworks of shared inquiry that I have learned from taking Great Books classes for my professional development to our readings of classics such as the Epic of Gilgamesh of Sîn-lēqi-unninni,

 » Read more about: Classics and Comics: Ancient Content – and Advice – in a Modern Form  »

July 28, 2023

Thanks to Dave Seng, HMU alumnus, for today’s post.

To read the previous post in this series, visit hmu.edu

In our last post we looked at the importance of questions and why self-reflection as individuals and a society is important. It seems part of the human situation to ask questions in order to better understand who we are and how to navigate the world. In our discussion series,

 » Read more about: Can AI Have Human Rationality?  »

July 21, 2023

Thanks to HMU Alumnus, Dave Seng, for today’s blog post.

I recently participated in the fall discussion series, What the Greeks can Teach us About AI.  The series focused on four Greek plays — Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus; and Herakles, The Bacchae, and Medea by Euripides.  The discussions were insightful and explored many fascinating questions related to the human condition and societal concerns centering around technology and artificial intelligence (AI). 

 » Read more about: Can AI Help Us With Important Human Questions?  »

June 30, 2023

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

Back in the 90s, I spent a lot of time watching ESPN. Back then, I thought that Dan Patrick and Stuart Scott were untouchable. Fast forward a few decades, and although I no longer watch much television, I still occasionally enjoy listening to the Dan Patrick Show. I don’t listen so much for the sports news as the light-hearted attitudes,

 » Read more about: Practice What You Preach  »

Dore Rabelais Physeter

June 23, 2023

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

To all the “honest drinkers” – as Rabelais would have it – congratulations! We made it to the final post in this series on Rabelais. Hopefully the various connections have enriched your experience of what is often considered difficult reading. Today’s blog concludes with Book Four, which means that it is up to you to make modern-day connections for Book V.

 » Read more about: Reading Rabelais, Part IV  »

June 16, 2023

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

For me, reading Rabelais was slow going. Crawling through the text, however, brought moments of joy as I saw strains of other, later works. The past few blogs attempted to highlight some of those connections as a way to bridge the gap between Rabelais and contemporary students. I’m not sure what the best way might be to introduce students to his work,

 » Read more about: Reading Rabelais, Part III  »

May 26, 2023

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

Last week’s blog (https://hmu.edu/2023-5-19-reading-rabelais-part-i/) used Rabelais’s Gargantua and Pantagruel as the foundation to connect with contemporary works. Today’s blog continues in the same vein, connecting the old with the new. As I said before, however, Rabelais is not easy reading. The language feels foreign, even after translation. He prefers large, often obscure words, and includes anatomical puns whenever possible.

 » Read more about: Reading Rabelais, Part II  »

May 5, 2023

Thanks to Chad Greene, a 2023 HMU Fellow in Ideas, for today’s blog.

Sitting side-by-side on the top of my desk in the faculty office at my community college are two printed publications that contain the same story told through sequential art, “The Black Panther!” written by Stan Lee and drawn by Jack Kirby. On the left is a stapled comic book, a facsimile copy of the “floppy” Fantastic Four #52 published by Marvel Comics in 1966.

 » Read more about: From a Comic Book Hidden Under Desks to a Trade Paperback Displayed on Desks: Review of Penguin Classics Marvel Collection Black Panther  »

April 28, 2023

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

Our recent Quarterly Discussion spanned thousands of years, jumping from a play by Aeschylus to a short story by Jhumpa Lahiri. We began with Aeschylus’s “Suppliant Maidens” and then transitioned to  the short story “When Mr. Pirzada Came to Dine” by Lahiri.

In Aeschylus’s play, a group of fifty (or so) women attempt to flee forced marriages to their cousins.

 » Read more about: April Quarterly Discussion Review  »

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