Events celebrate Thomas More’s Utopia

Fisher Reads will celebrate the 500th anniversary of Thomas More’s “Utopia” with events throughout the fall semester.

By Bridget Carney, Staff Writer

Throughout the Fall semester, Fisher Reads will be presenting a 500th Anniversary Celebration of Thomas More’s Utopia, a Latin book originally published in 1516. Thomas More was a lifelong friend of St. John Fisher. While he was a significant literary icon, he also had a great impact on philosophy, politics and religion during his time and beyond.

“Reading Utopia is important because it is a radical book for its time,” said Dr. Linda MacCammon, Director of the Ethics Minor Program. “Thomas More was challenging the power structure and value system of Tudor society and challenging his readers to see life through a very different lens. More’s audacity and moral courage would eventually cost him his life.”

The first event will kick off Friday, Sept. 30 from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. in the Skalny Welcome Center, where Father William Graf will lecture about “Thomas More and St. John Fisher: A Tale of Two Saints.” Another panel discussion, “Utopia at 500: An Interdisciplinary Discussion” will follow next Tuesday, Oct. 4 in Lavery Library from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.

The following Tuesday, Oct. 11, another panel discussion will take place, “Life Without Lawyers, A Utopian Alternative,” located in the Wilson Formal from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Another panel discussion will take place at the Golisano Academic Gateway on Wednesday, Oct. 19 from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., and will talk about “Thomas More’s Utopia: The contemporary Relevance.” The series of events will conclude the following Thursday in the Basil Auditorium from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., and the film, “A Man for All Seasons,” will be shown, which will be followed by a panel discussion.

“The “Fisher Reads” faculty selected Utopia because 500 years later the topics covered in the book are just as relevant today,” said MacCammon. “Poverty, war, greed, religious intolerance, human rights and political corruption are perennial problems that students must grapple with in their personal and professional lives. Like More’s original readers, Utopia offers them an opportunity to envision an alternative way of life and learn from it.”

The month-long celebration is sponsored and supported by the Department of Economics, the Ethics Minor Program, Lavery Library, the Department of Philosophy, the Department of Religious Studies, The Visual and Performing Arts Program and the Fisher Reads Faculty. All events are free and open to all students as well as the public. Anyone in attendance at these events is encouraged to live tweet, using the hashtag #MoreUtopia.

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