UND’s AH! Talks Speaker Series welcomes Michael O’Rourke for lecture on Humanities Tuesday, Feb 10


Brian Johnson

Document Type

News Article

Publication Date


Campus Unit

College of Arts & Sciences


What : Lecture titled “Interdisciplinary Responses to Complex Problems: Are the Humanities Relevant?”

Who : Michael O’Rourke

When : Tuesday, Feb. 10, 4 p.m.; social with light refreshments; 4:30 p.m. presentation

Where : The North Dakota Museum of Art, University of North Dakota (UND) campus


AH! Talks welcomes Michael O’Rourke as its first presenter of the spring semester. O’Rourke, professor of Philosophy and faculty in AgBioResearch at Michigan State University, will challenge audiences to think more broadly about the role of the humanities in his presentation titled “Interdisciplinary Responses to Complex Problems: Are the Humanities Relevant?”

“It’s not obvious that a discipline like philosophy might have much to add (to a scientific discussion),” said O’Rourke. “But these issues will always involve people. We’re not robots.”

The past few decades have seen a growing emphasis on meeting complex problems with complex responses. These are often interdisciplinary responses, which require the integrated combination of disciplinary perspectives and can add both breadth and depth to our understanding of challenges like climate change, food security, and disease outbreaks.

Responses heavily tilt toward the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) disciplines, and O’Rourke argues the humanities provide an innovative space and integral role in research and policy responses to complex problems.

According to O’Rourke, scholars in the humanities have a significant role to play in the interdisciplinary implementation of responses to complex problems

“The humanities should right there, side-by-side, working shoulder to shoulder with the scientists,” said O’Rourke.

About AH! Talks

AH! Talks (Arts & Humanities Talks) is an Interdisciplinary Studies speaker series at UND. These presentations are designed to engage interdisciplinary thinking broadly and to be accessible to the larger community – bringing listeners to their own “AH!” moments as intellectual connections are made and our understanding of one another expands.

AH! Talks may address either enduring or emerging questions central to the arts and humanities or questions arising from other disciplines to which the arts and humanities might speak. In addition to presenting a major public event, external lecturers usually interact in smaller settings with faculty, graduate students and/or undergraduates.