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Groves to Reflect on Sabbatical Work in Humanities Colloquium

Randy GrovesFerris State University’s Randy Groves, a professor of Humanities in the College of Arts, Sciences and Education, plans to discuss his sabbatical travels and recent research in a presentation titled “Comparative Civilization and Memetics” on Thursday, April 14.

Groves’ discussion, reflecting on his Fall 2010 travels, will be held in Music Center Room 122 from 11 to 11:45 a.m. He will speak about three presentations he made to Asian audiences during his sabbatical, including “Chinese Lessons,” given in Osaka, Japan; “New Directions in the Humanities: Memetics,” given in Busan, South Korea; and “Visual Memetics: Ancient and Modern,” given in Bangkok, Thailand. The event is free and open to the public.

“We have a colloquium series where people report what they are doing; in this case reporting on the academic work I’m doing around the world,” Groves said. “It’s not something everyone is going to know about.”

Groves will summarize each of his three presentations and reflect on their main points during his Ferris colloquium. He hopes other Ferris faculty will attend his presentation to understand his work and bring his research into their classrooms.

Groves was able to visit countries he teaches about in his classroom and hopes his peers take his new research into their own classes as well.

“It’s my view that we need to start teaching our students about the non-western world, because we live in a more global world now. It’s really important for students to know what China and India’s cultures are like,” Groves said. “Even in the working world, students will be dealing with these cultures. There’s not going to be a way around that.”

The term “memetics” refers to the study of social information and its transmission, which offers new ways to look at cultures. Groves explained the term “meme” as a “hot button” concept, an idea in a culture that may catch on within the general population. A “hot button” could be anything from a viral idea to a new way of marketing.

“It contributes to our understanding of culture,” Groves said. “It’s important for students to know about other parts of the world.”