The Columns

Eric Klinenberg Opens W&L’s Questioning Intimacy Series

— by on September 1st, 2017

“Almost anyone, at any age and from any walk of life, is curious about intimacy in some form or other. This is relevant to all of us.”

Eric Klinenberg

The first visiting speaker in Washington and Lee University’s yearlong “Questioning Intimacy” interdisciplinary seminar series is  lecturer and social scientist Eric Klinenberg. His talk will be Thursday, Sept. 14 at 4:30 p.m. in Stackhouse Theatre, Elrod Commons.

The title of the lecture, which is open to the public, is “The Sociology of Connection: From Going Solo to Modern Romance.”

Klinenberg is a Professor of sociology, public policy, and media, culture and communications at New York University. Known as a lively speaker, Klinenberg has appeared on the Bill Maher show and NPR’s “This American Life” and has written for Rolling Stone.

His speech will cover two of his most notable works, which includes, “Going Solo” (2013) and his book “Modern Romance” (2016), a New York Times bestselling collaboration with comedian Aziz Ansari.

Questioning Intimacy is a yearlong seminar series that strives to explore intimacy in its various forms. The seminar is organized around a series of six visiting speakers chosen for the discipline they represent and the perspective they bring to W&L’s study of intimacy. Each of the speakers is a leader in his or her field. Four W&L faculty members teamed up to plan the series.

“I think the great thing about this series is that it is engaging at a gut level, and can be interesting for all disciplines,” said Karla Murdock, professor of psychology. “Almost anyone, at any age and from any walk of life, is curious about intimacy in some form or other. This is relevant to all of us.”

The three public lectures in the fall provide occasion for reflection on the meaning, experience, future and value of intimate life. In addition to Klinenberg, speakers include poet and literary critic Susan Stewart and evolutionary psychologist Zanna Clay. Three public lectures in the winter/spring will explore these themes in applied or practical settings. These speakers include urbanist Charles Montgomery, legal scholar Anita Allen, and pediatric oncologist and divinity school professor Raymond Barfield.

In addition to attending public talks by each speaker, W&L students, faculty and staff may register to join a core group of committed seminar participants. Seminar participants will meet throughout the year to attend luncheon discussions with the speakers, with student participants assuming leadership roles. Seminar participants will also participate in additional meetings to discuss the issues raised by the speakers and the topics they address.

The Questioning Intimacy series speaker dates and times are as follows:

Interested participants can apply here.