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Frankenstein Comes to Life through World Philosophy Day

November 8, 2018

St. John Fisher College’s annual celebration of World Philosophy Day will commemorate Mary Shelley’s classic novel, Frankenstein, with a series of lectures and film screenings taking place Thursday, Nov. 15 and Friday, Nov. 16.


The novel, which marks its 200th anniversary in 2018, remains a pop culture staple and topic of conversation among philosophers and ethicists. This year, six events during World Philosophy Day will explore themes within the novel and screen two wildly different films based on the gothic horror. Free and open to the public, all events take place in Golisano Gateway Midlevel.

Keynote Address: “Frankenstein: A Touching Story”
6:15 to 7:15 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 15
Dr. Raymond D. Boisvert, professor emeritus, Siena College; Introduction by Dr. Ann Marie Fallon, dean of Fisher’s School of Arts and Sciences

“Mad scientist,” “dangerous, violent creature”—these are the images associated with the film versions of the Frankenstein story. The novel tells a different, more complicated tale. One overlooked dimension: the importance of touch. The novel explores what it is like never to have been hugged and what it is like for touch always to be associated with blows delivered in anger. How should we think of touch? What have psychologists said about it? Why have philosophers privileged sight and hearing over touch? The talk will explore how Mary Shelley’s novel gives touch its due and, in so doing, provides some lessons for a reevaluation of this too-often minimized sense.

Film Screening: “Frankenstein” (1931)
7:30 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 15
This classic film stars Boris Karloff and Colin Clive

Lecture: “Frankenstein as ‘Hideous Progeny’: Women, Childbearing and Mary Shelley’s Experiences with Motherhood”
9:05 to 10 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 16
Delivered by Dr. Lisa Jadwin, professor of English

Lectures: “Frankenstein and Research Ethics” and “Piecing Together Voice: Representations of Women in Frankenstein”
10:10 to 11:05 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 16
Delivered by Dr. Tim Madigan, professor and chair of philosophy, and Maria Stojanova-Montoya, English major

Lecture: “Artificial Intelligence and Frankenstein”
11:15 a.m. to 12:10 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 16
Dr. Barb Lowe, associate professor of philosophy, and Dr. Linda MacCammon, associate professor of religious studies

Film Screening: Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)
12:20 to 2 p.m.
This popular comedy stars Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, the Wolfman, Dracula, and the Frankenstein Monster.

World Philosophy Day events are sponsors by the St. John Fisher College Visual and Performing Arts Minor, Departments of Philosophy and Religious Studies, and the William and Helen Cavanaugh Chair of Catholic Studies.