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Sheldon Solomon to give annual Carey Memorial Lecture

  • Special guest Dr. Sheldon Solomon, professor of psychology at Skidmore College to present on September 17.

Posted on August 26, 2014

Sheldon Solomon, professor of psychology at Skidmore College, will examine the human fear of death during his presentation, “Afraid of the Dark: Humanity at the Crossroads,” at the fourth annual James W. Carey Memorial Lecture.

His presentation is set for Wednesday, September 17, from 7-8 p.m., in Loosemore Auditorium on the Pew Grand Rapids Campus.

Solomon’s presentation will provide an overview of cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker’s ideas and empirical work surrounding the idea that the uniquely human fear of death gives rise to potentially paralyzing terror that is managed in ways that foster war, climate instability, economic inequality and epidemic levels of psychopathology.

“These are arguably the most pressing problems confronting humans in the 21st century,” said Solomon. “If they are not addressed in short order, we may be the first form of life responsible for our own extinction.”

The James W. Carey Memorial Lecture is being presented by the Communication Studies major program,  Psychology Department, School of Communications, Institute of General Semantics, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Provost’s Office.

Carey, who died in 2006 at 71, was an important cultural historian and theorist of communications and an influential teacher of journalists.

For more information, contact Valerie Peterson, professor of communication studies, at

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