Dr. Allan Chapman delivers annual lecture, Sept. 24

Professor Allan Chapman of the University of Oxford, lead lecturer on Bemidji State University’s Eurospring Program, will be presenting his annual lecture to the Bemidji community on Sept. 24.

From Wadham College of Oxford University in England, Chapman presents an annual fall program at Bemidji State while on campus to discuss Eurospring, Bemidji State’s oldest international study program which is offered during the spring semester.

Chapman’s 2013 lecture, titled “Ghosts and the Victorians,” will begin at 2 p.m. in the East Beaux Arts Ballroom in Bemidji State’s upper Hobson Memorial Union.

Why were 19th-century people so fascinated by ghosts and spirits? After all, science, steam, and electric light should have abolished spooky ideas, shouldn’t they? But no, the ‘Victorians’, in Great Britain, Europe, and in the rapidly expanding USA were intrigued by them. From writers such as Edgar Allan Poe to scientific investigators; from celebrity mediums, such as the Scottish-American Daniel D. Home, to “ghost shows” in popular music halls; from America’s Fox sisters and the table-rappers to eminent church leaders and the learned Society for Psychical Research.

Where did this fascination for the ghostly come from, in this first industrial age? And why, with all our modern technology, does it still persist today?

Eurospring originated in the mid 1970s, and over the decades hundreds of Bemidji State students have taken advantage of the benefits that international study brings through the program.

Chapman has been with Eurospring from its inception, and his involvement has been one of its strongest components. His annual lecture is considered one of the highlights of the academic year at Bemidji State.

The main lecturer for Eurospring, he is the author of “Mary Somerville and the World of Science.” He has made two television series, “Gods in the Sky” and “Great Scientists,” and has been featured on several BBC radio discussions on history.

He has served as visiting professor in the history of science at Gresham College, a 400-year-old London institution of considerable academic prestige, and received an honorary doctorate from the University of Central Lanchashire.

Chapman was invited by the Danish government and the Danish Crown to write on Danish scientific connections with China from 1600 to the present, and also was invited to lecture in Copenhagen in 2006 at the Nils Bohr Institute as part of the same project.

International Program Center, (218) 755-4096, international@bemidjistate.edu.