Phillip Wegner

Hartwick Hosts Scholar for Lecture on Romantic Comedy

April 27, 2012

On Thursday, May 3 at 7 p.m., Hartwick College will welcome Phillip Wegner, who will present a lecture titled "'The Great Sea Voyage that Marriage Can Be': Repetition, Love, and Becoming Human in 50 First Dates". The lecture will be held in Eaton Lounge, Bresee Hall, on the Hartwick College campus. This event is free, and the public is invited to attend.

Wegner's talk will consider the following questions: can Hollywood romantic comedies tell us about the possibilities of human existence? Even more, can they teach us about the ultimate prospects for collective human happiness? Building on the pioneering insights of philosopher Stanley Cavell, Wegner will argue that what Cavell called the classic film "comedy of remarriage" indeed opens out onto such important matters.

Wegner will focus on the recent Adam Sandler/Drew Barrymore movie, 50 First Dates. Here, the pattern of repetition so characteristic of the genre is amplified (as seen also in the Bill Murray classic, Groundhog Day) and becomes a figure for the work of fidelity and invention at the heart of authentic human bonds. More than this, Wegner sees the film as engaged in genuinely Utopian storytelling, making it a "must see" for anyone interested in the problem of how we, as clever primates, might live life otherwise, and thereby, perhaps, become truly human subjects for the first time.

Wegner is the Marston-Milbauer Eminent Scholar and University Research Foundation Professor in the Department of English at the University of Florida. He is the author of two books: "Imaginary Communities: Utopia, the Nation, and the Spatial Histories of Modernity" (University of California, 2002) and "Life between Two Deaths, 1989-2001: U. S. Culture in the Long Nineties" (Duke University, 2010). Wegner has volumes forthcoming on contemporary science fiction and on the work of America's foremost Marxist cultural theorist, Fredric Jameson. He also serves as president of the Society for Utopian Studies.

This event is sponsored by the Hartwick College 2011-2012 Human Question Campus Theme and the Department of English and Theatre Arts. For more information, contact Dan Morse, Coordinator of Sustainability Programs for the Pine Lake Institute for Environmental and Sustainability Studies, at or 607-431-4666.

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Hartwick College is a private liberal arts and sciences college of 1,500 students, located in Oneonta, NY, in the northern foothills of the Catskill Mountains. Hartwick's expansive curriculum emphasizes a uniquely experiential approach to the liberal arts. Through personalized teaching, collaborative research, a unique January Term, a wide range of internships, and vast study-abroad opportunities, Hartwick ensures that students are prepared for the world ahead. A Three-Year Bachelor's Degree Program and strong financial aid and scholarship offerings keep a Hartwick education affordable

Contact: Christopher Lott
Phone: 607-431-4030