For Immediate Release — February 9, 2005


Mary E. McCrank

Media Relations Officer

(585) 245-5516



GENESEO, N.Y. — A visiting humanities professor will deliver a lecture about Theodor W. Adorno — the philosopher-musicologist who coined the term Culture Industry — in the second annual Phi Beta Kappa Lecture at the State University of New York at Geneseo.

Richard Leppert, Fesler-Lambert Chair in the Humanities at the University of Minnesota, will deliver his lecture, "Music ‘pushed to the edge of existence’: Adorno, Listening, and the Question of Hope," at 8 p.m. Monday, Feb. 21, in the MacVittie College Union Ballroom. It is free and open to the public.

Adorno (1903-69), one of the most important philosophers and social critics in Germany after World War II, was known for his sustained critique of the dystopian social role of what he famously termed the Culture Industry, and its impact on music. He argued that capitalism fed people with the products of a so-called Culture Industry to keep them passively satisfied and politically apathetic. Popular culture was identified as the reason for people’s passive satisfaction and lack of interest in overthrowing the capitalist system.

Leppert also will present a talk earlier in the day for Geneseo students, faculty and staff titled, "Music, Modernity, Nature and Paradise." The lecture considers music by Wagner, Puccini, The Ronettes and Laurie Anderson, as well as the question of musical invocations of nature and social utopia. This free talk is at 11:30 a.m. in Brodie Hall 356A.

Leppert’s visit is part of the Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Program and is co-sponsored by the Geneseo Phi Beta Kappa chapter, Alpha Delta of New York. Last year, the college inducted its first group of students into the new chapter. Phi Beta Kappa is the nation’s best known and most significant honor society.

Geneseo is the first non-doctoral undergraduate institution within SUNY to house a Phi Beta Kappa chapter, and one of only 270 colleges and universities in the nation to have a Phi Beta Kappa chapter.

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