Susan Cook to deliver March 15 Honors Council Lecture

BEMIDJI, Minn. (March 8, 2011) — The British Empire’s era of colonialization and expansion was closely related to the Royal Geographic Society’s global mission to advance geographic science. Susan Cook, assistant professor of English at Bemidji State University, will illustrate how two noted English authors opposed the empire’s colonial enterprise  as part of the University’s Honors Council Lecture Series.

Cook’s lecture, which is free and open to the public, will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 15, in Hagg-Sauer Hall 107 on the Bemidji State campus.

The Royal Geographic Society was founded in 1830 with the stated purpose of advancing geographic science in Britain and around the world. This geographic advancement became nearly synonymous with colonial expansion and the establishment of Britain as an imperial nation throughout the 19th century. The society reflected a wide-spread cultural interest in discovery, knowledge, mapping and incorporating space. These interests were reflected in both positive and negative fashion by Victorian novelists.

Cook’s lecture will focus on Thomas Hardy’s Wessex and Charlotte Brontë’s Villette, examining the way both of these fictionally named, but identifiable, English or continental locales are mapped at cross purposes to the mission of the society and the colonial enterprise. Hardy and Brontë map by renaming—an imperial gesture, but in each of their cases a subversive one.  Instead of reflecting geographic advancement, these authors critique the imperial nation from the inside out.

Cook is delivering the fourth of seven Honors Council lectures offered as part of the Spring 2011 schedule. The Honors Council Lecture Series is hosted by the Bemidji State University Honors Council. The council is the advisory group to the Honors Program comprised of 12 faculty members from all three of the University’s colleges. Student representatives also are elected to the council by their cohorts for one-year terms.

2011 Spring Honors Council Lecture Series schedule
March 15 – 7 p.m. – Susan Cook, English, “Naming Places and Displacing Names: The Counter-Imperialism of Thomas Hardy’s Wessex and Charlotte Brönte’s Villette.” Hagg-Sauer 107.
March 30 – 7 p.m. – Brian Donovan, English, “Platonic Solid: Plato’s Gorgias – 464b-465c, as a Cube.” Bridgeman 100.
April 12 – 7 p.m. – Chris Robertson, English, “Managing Apocalypse: A Cultural History of the Mormon Cricket.” Hagg-Sauer 107.
April 19 – 7 p.m. – Colleen Greer & Deb Peterson, sociology, “Caregiving ‘Talk’ and the Reproduction of Caregiving Inequalities.” Hagg-Sauer 107.

For more information about the Honors Council Lecture Series, please contact the honors program at (218) 755-3984.

About the Honors Council
The Bemidji State University Honors Council selects participants on a competitive basis for the University’s honors program. Honors program participants have the ability and desire to engage in academic challenges extending beyond their majors and the University’s liberal education requirements. These students can participate in the Honors Program, an interdisciplinary program of study culminating in an Honors thesis or project. As members of this community, honors students collaborate with a faculty advisor and the Honors Council to plan their studies and manage the responsibilities that correspond with the program’s freedoms.