Curt Whitaker is Associate Professor of English at Idaho State University, where he has taught Renaissance literature since 2001. A native of Nevada, he attended UC Davis as an undergraduate and completed a Ph.D. in English at UCLA. He has published on the Renaissance poets Herbert, Milton, and Marvell; his teaching and writing frequently address questions about nature and the relationship between science and religion.
Idaho State University, Dept. of English and Philosophy
921 S. 8th Ave., Stop 8056
Pocatello, ID 83209
phone: (208) 282-2742
Birding with Shakespeare
Birds have long played a special role in literature, myth, and religion, suggesting as they do a special connection between the terrestrial world and the heavens above. Shakespeare's plays and poems are especially rich in bird imagery, with owls, ravens, eagles, sparrows, and even the mythical phoenix appearing in some of his most memorable lines. But however much we may think we "know a hawk from a handsaw" the way Hamlet does, Shakespeare's understanding of birds as well as nature in general was very different from ours today. This talk will explore what we can learn from Shakespeare's view of birds.
Science and Religion: Renaissance Origins of a Modern Debate
Discussion concerning the question of intelligent design is a recent example of the fraught relationship between science and religion. Such charged exchanges have been with us since the beginning of modern science, however, when Renaissance thinkers such as Copernicus and Galileo introduced ways of seeing the world that challenged the theology of their times. Is science a threat to religion? This talk will examine how some of the greatest literature of the Renaissance responded to this question, and how these responses might give us some perspective on science and religion today.
Presentation needs: PowerPoint set-up and a room capable of being darkened. Speaker will bring his own laptop.