From Dean James A. Parente, Jr.:
I am delighted to introduce Nuruddin Farah and William Wimsatt as our newest Winton Chairs in the Liberal Arts. They are both superlative scholars and thinkers who will catalyze our academic community and who have demonstrated intellectual courage and the habits of the iconoclast throughout their careers.
Nuruddin Farah is a world-renowned Somali writer and playwright who will be in residence during the fall semesters of 2010, 2011, and 2012. The Department of English will serve as his host. In the words of English professor Charles Sugnet, "Nuruddin Farah questions all the oppressive stabilities, whether rooted in the family, the clan, the nation, or in the supranational claims of religion and political systems. He is a Somali writer, an African writer, an important voice in postcolonial modernism and speaks to our age in very compelling prose." While in residence, Farah will teach in the Creative Writing Program, and he will interact with high school students and high school teachers. Perhaps one of the most exciting aspects of his visit will be the opportunity to refine and stage a production of his new play, a Somali version of Antigone. We envision many collaborative partners in this production and close work with the Twin Cities Somali community.
William Wimsatt is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Chicago. Professor Wimsatt will be residence during the fall semesters of 2010, 2011 and 2012. The Minnesota Center for the Philosophy of Science and the Department of Philosophy will serve as his hosts. In his work, Wimsatt advances a philosophical approach that is radically different from the mainstream. In the words of his nominator, Philosophy professor Ken Waters, Wimsatt "rejects the idea that normative inquiry must rest on in principle considerations about ideals that can never be satisfied in practice. Instead, he believes that philosophy can involve normative, piecemeal inquiry into actual practices of science... In his view, science advances through approximations, errors, and biases, not despite them." While in residence, he will teach advanced undergraduate courses and graduate seminars; he will lead the Biological Interest Group seminar, and plan and participate in the Minnesota Center for the Philosophy of Science workshop. This fall he is teaching an upper division course in the philosophy of biology.
I look forward to the intellectual excitement and new ideas that Farah and Wimsatt will bring to our community. It is especially gratifying to me that we are able to have two Winton Chairs in residence at the same time, both committed for three year appointments, to enliven, enrich and challenge our college and university, and the broader community.
Visit our website to read more about the Winton Chair in the Liberal Arts.