Barry McNamara  |   Published March 06, 2019

Two Philosophers Walk Onto a Campus …

Philosophy talks by pair of Monmouth alumni celebrate legacy of legendary professor Samuel M. Thompson.

MONMOUTH, Ill. – This year’s Monmouth College Samuel M. Thompson Lecture will bring back to campus two former students of the legendary philosophy professor.

SAMUEL L. THOMPSON: Annual philosophy lecture was started to honor his teaching and writing. SAMUEL L. THOMPSON: Annual philosophy lecture was started to honor his teaching and writing.Ann Garry ’65 will deliver the Thompson Lecture at 7 p.m. March 18 in the Morgan Room in Poling Hall. The next day, Charles Courtney ’57, a past Thompson Lecturer who is returning to campus to hear Garry’s talk, will deliver a lecture on philosophy and social justice at 4 p.m. in the Pattee Auditorium of the Center for Science and Business. Both talks are free and open to the public.

A 1924 Monmouth graduate who served in his alma mater’s philosophy department for 46 years, Thompson earned a master’s degree and a doctorate in philosophy from Princeton University. Most notable among his publications were two popular textbooks: A Modern Philosophy of Religion and The Nature of Philosophy. Thompson died in 1983.

Garry and Courtney both followed Thompson’s career path, becoming philosophy professors.

Garry is professor emerita at the California State University, Los Angeles, where she was the founding director of the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexualities.

Courtney is professor emeritus at Drew University in Madison, N.J., and is former president of the U.S. chapter of The Fourth World Movement, a nonprofit organization which aims toward the eradication of chronic poverty through a human rights-based approach.

Garry’s Thompson Lecture is titled “Is Philosophy, Even Feminist Philosophy, Able to Do Intersectional Work?”

“One of Ann’s areas of research is intersectionality – thinking about race and gender and class and sexuality and age as not separate from each other, but intersectional,” said Monmouth philosophy professor Anne Mamary. “Each one of us has all those things, but they affect us differently depending on who we are.”

Mamary said Garry was “a logical choice” to become interim editor of Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy, when the journal experienced some controversy related to transgender issues. She held the post until earlier this year.

Titled “Tribe or Human: Must We Choose?,” Courtney’s talk will explore how “tribes” – such as Monmouth College’s Fighting Scots and Knox College’s Prairie Fire – can exist side-by-side without being in opposition to each other.

“We need multiple identities working together to make us both stronger,” said Mamary.

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