Image from poster for Lisa Darien's Faculty Lecture

Hartwick Announces 2017-18 Faculty Lecture Series

November 1, 2017

Hartwick College Associate Professor of English Dr. Lisa Darien will present “’The Wise must exchange maxims:’ Wisdom as Weapon in Medieval England and Iceland,” the first installment of the 2017-18 Faculty Lecture Series. The event will take place on Wednesday, November 1 at 12:20 p.m. in Eaton Lounge, Bresee Hall, on the College campus. The lecture is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

“All too often we scorn the proverbial, valuing originality over the tried and true,” Darien said. “But in Medieval Europe, proverbial wisdom was treasured: collected, memorized, exchanged.”

Darien’s presentation explores the wisdom tradition in Anglo-Saxon England and medieval Iceland. Not only do poetic collections of proverbs survive in both Old English and Old Norse-Icelandic, but traditional wisdom also pervades the literature from Beowulf through the Elder Edda.

Her research, however, demonstrates some significant differences between the Anglo-Saxon and Norse traditions. Whereas in Anglo-Saxon England, the proverbial is used to support the development of hierarchies in an increasingly centralized nation-state, in Iceland the wisdom tradition is used to assert personal power, to battle not with swords, but with wit.

Darien is in her 17th year at Hartwick. In the past, she has served as Chair of the Department of English and Theatre Arts as well as Chair of the Women and Gender Studies Program; she was also named a Winifred D. Wandersee Scholar-in-Residence in 2004-5. Besides her current research on wisdom literature in Anglo-Saxon England and Medieval Iceland, she has particular interests in Beowulf, gender in Middle Ages, and nineteenth-century medievalism.

She mentors students’ research into these and many other topics, for which they have been recognized with awards such as the Duffy Family Ambassador Fund Scholarship for international research projects and the Freedman Prize in Theatre Arts. In recent years, she has led students to Moravian College in Pennsylvania to present papers about their research at the annual Undergraduate Conference in Medieval and Early Modern Studies in December. Last fall’s cohort saw a record nine Hartwick students presenting on topics drawn not only from English, but also from art history, philosophy, theatre arts, and history.

Darien earned her PhD from University of California, Berkeley in 2002, and holds a B.A. from Queens College, City University of New York.

Throughout the Faculty Lecture Series, Hartwick professors discuss recent research in their fields, focusing on physics, politics, religion, art, economics, biology, psychology, and more. The presentations take place on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays throughout the academic year. The next faculty lecture will take place Friday, November 29, 2017 at 3:30 p.m., presented by Visiting Professor of Sociology Dr. Elena Chernyak.

For more information on the Faculty Lecture Series, contact Dr. Amy Forster Rothbart, associate professor of political science, at 607-431-4865 or