East Georgia State College’s Annual Convocation was held last week. Students, faculty and staff gathered at the Luck F. Gambrell Center Auditorium on EGSC’s Swainsboro campus Thursday, September 5, 2019 at 11 a.m.
This year’s Convocation text was Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. The book explores themes of censorship and the freedom of thought and was chosen by the faculty and staff of East Georgia State College at the conclusion of the Spring 2019 semester.
The speaker for this year’s Convocation was Dr. Robert M. Woods, a recognized scholar on the writings of Ray Bradbury, specifically Fahrenheit 451. He was honored to serve as a member of the Board of Advisors of the Center of Ray Bradbury Studies for five years. He began teaching at Faulkner University nearly twenty years ago. Having earned a Ph.D. in Humanities from Florida State University, he created and chaired the Great Books Honors College for over fifteen years. He currently serves as Lecturer and Fellow for the MA/PhD in Humanities at Faulkner.
At convocation, Dr. Woods spoke on Book Burning Without Kerosene: The Real Dangers of Anti-Intellectualism. In the lively and engaging lecture, Dr. Woods explored the rich texture of Ray Bradbury's dystopian masterpiece Fahrenheit 451, asking the question “Is it possible that the greatest danger facing books and learning is not a strong-arm government of the left or right but a mass culture that subversively undermines the reflective life of the mind?” Carefully considering earlier versions of Fahrenheit 451 and some related short stories, Dr. Woods proposed that the modern classic is about a great deal more than censorship.
“It is about book burning. It’s about book burning without kerosene,” said Dr. Wood in his speech. “It’s about book burning in a way that is so subtle and subversive that it sneaks up into our everyday life and we find out later that our world has been dumbed down by the gadgets that distract us from thinking and being together.”
EGSC was honored to have Dr. Woods in Swainsboro for this annual event, which is free and open to all members of the public each year. If you missed the event, you can watch the entire program on the EGSC YouTube channel at https://youtu.be/acYMw_IrwG8.