University of Scranton to Host Author Discussion

Roosevelt Montás, Ph.D., author and senior lecturer in American studies and English at Columbia University, will present “Liberal Education for Human Freedom” at the Sondra and Morey Myers Distinguished Visiting Fellowship in the Humanities and Civic Engagement Lecture on Thursday, Feb. 10, at The University of Scranton. The lecture, sponsored by The Gail and Francis Slattery Center for Ignatian Humanities, will begin at 5:30 p.m. at Moskovitz Theater DeNaples Center.

At Columbia University, Dr. Montás teaches “Introduction to Contemporary Civilization in the West,” a year-long course on primary texts in moral and political thought, as well as seminars in American Studies including “Freedom and Citizenship in the United States.” He served as the director of the Center for the Core Curriculum at Columbia College from 2008 to 2018. He is also the director of the Center for American Studies’ Freedom and Citizenship Program in collaboration with the Double Discovery Center.

Dr. Montás speaks and writes on the history, meaning and future of liberal education and is the author of “Rescuing Socrates: How the Great Books Changed My Life and Why They Matter for a New Generation” (Princeton University Press, 2021).

“‘The West’ as a category is, of course, itself problematic … the banners of “Western civilization” and “Western culture” have been used to give cover to imperialist, racist and colonialist agendas and to justify the subjugation and exploitation of “non-Western” people. But the term is also used to describe something more legitimate: a large and porous cultural configuration around the Mediterranean Sea, with strong Greco-Roman roots, that served as the historical seedbed for the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, the Scientific Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, and much of what is called ‘modernity,’” wrote Dr. Montás in an opinion piece published by The Chronicle of Higher Education on Nov. 16, 2021. “While the European continent figures prominently, the tradition incorporates defining elements from non-European sources like the Arab world, ancient Egypt and North Africa, and even the East. It is a tradition rife with fissures, where overturning the past is preferred to venerating it. Loose and fractured as this tradition of contest and debate is, key aspects of the modern world emerge from it. The tradition matters not because it is Western, but because of its contribution to human questions of the highest order.”

Dr. Montás earned his bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. degrees from Columbia University. His research specializes in Antebellum American literature and culture, with a particular interest in American citizenship.

For the lecture, the University will follow current health and safety guidelines as outlined in the Royals Back Together plan, which include the wearing higher grade masks (e.g. N95, KN95 or KF94) or double masking (e.g. a cloth mask worn over a surgical mask) in indoor spaces on campus.

For more information about the lecture, contact Matthew Meyer, Ph.D, professor of philosophy and faculty director of the University’s Gail and Francis Slattery Center for Ignatian Humanities, at