NORFOLK, Neb. – Paul Muncy loves that Northeast Community College is focused on vocational training and on the importance of careers, but the history instructor says the humanities also play a crucial role in occupational training where it includes developing one’s self.
“Certainly, within the humanities, there are jobs out there where people with associates’ and history degrees will be able to get work,” he said. “In my area, my corner of academia, it’s really about developing wisdom that can last a lifetime.”
As a way to help promote academic discipline, Muncy and other instructors at Northeast will host a series of Friday evening lectures during National Humanities Month in October that showcase the intellectual side of humanities as they relate to everyday life.
“It’s important to me that that voice doesn't get lost in our institution. And it’s also important to me that the town and this area sees (Northeast) as a hub, not just for vocational training, but for things like knowledge and fine and performing arts.”
Muncy began reaching out to his colleagues earlier this year to see if they would have an interest in developing the series. Instructors stepped up offering suggestions that range from the effects of comics books and graphic novels in society to understanding art to the origins of three popular holidays.
Muncy has a desire to develop a monthly lecture series on the first Friday or the last Friday of every month focusing on interesting topics. He is open to polling attendees on their interests and then seek out others to speak on various subjects.
“I do love the idea of having instructors from the College give these talks, but, hopefully as we develop it, we could bring in other lecturers. It is about trying to connect with the rest of the community and make this a retreat for the intellect of people who want to have that stimulation.”
Two lectures will open the series on Fri., Oct. 1. In “Why Bother with the Humanities,” Northeast English Instructor Tom Elliott will focus on how the humanities play a role in nearly every aspect of life, whether people realize it or not. In “Pow! Boom! Whack!: When Humanities Attack,” Jason Elznic, English instructor, will speak on the intersection between graphic novels and modern American mythmaking.
On Fri., Oct. 22, Rose Kathleen Lohr, an award-winning artist and Northeast adjunct faculty member, will deliver a lecture on the visual arts in “How to Look at Art: The More You Know, the More You See.” She will take “a fun look” at the necessity of expanding the definition of art as well as the importance of context.
Muncy will close the month-long series on Fri., Oct. 29, with his lecture, “Of Ghouls, Gobbles, an Elves: The History of Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.” He will begin in the world of the ancient Romans and Celts and follow the holy days through the Medieval Period with the evening concluding in 19th and 20th century America.
On Fridays, Oct. 8 and 15, Norfolk Community Theatre and Northeast Community College will participate in their own version of the performing arts with the staging of the comedy, “Noises Off.”
Muncy said, “I talk to my students constantly that what we're really doing is trying to develop wisdom. We have all these experiences of other human beings; they've made mistakes, so we don't have to. And even more so, history is fascinating because it's almost like laboratory conditions for studying the human condition. It really is a chance for us to try to understand what it means to be human and that allows individuals to pick up where they fit into the human experience.”
All lectures will be held from 7-8:15 p.m., in the Union 73 Coffee Shop on Northeast’s Norfolk campus. The lectures are free and open to everyone. The coffee shop will be open during the event.
Muncy wants people who desire intellectual stimulation in their lives to attend and make a night of it.
“I'm really hoping that this is a dinner and a movie or a live theatre type of event where people can go out for an evening and come away from it learning something new.”