USD Sociology Professor to Present 65th Annual Harrington Lecture

VERMILLION, S.D.—Jack Niemonen, Ph.D., presents “The Perils of Postmodern Pedagogy” at the 65th Annual Harrington Lecture at the University of South Dakota on Tuesday, Sept. 26, at 7 p.m. at Farber Hall in Old Main.

Niemonen is a professor of sociology who joined the faculty at USD in 1989. His talk will offer a critique of what he calls postmodern pedagogy, a collaborative approach to education inspired largely by the work of Paulo Freire, a Brazilian educator who published "Pedagogy of the Oppressed" in 1968. Niemonen will call upon his research on race and class issues to explain why he is critical of the emancipatory potential of postmodern pedagogy and why this educational approach’s attacks on traditional teaching methods, particularly lectures, are not fully justified.

In his nearly three decades at USD, Niemonen has taught courses such as Social Problems, History of Sociology, and undergraduate and graduate sections of Race and Ethnic Minorities, Sociology of Work, Sociology of Family, and Social Stratification. His research interests focus on issues related to class and race. His latest book project is entitled "Where Do We Go from Here? Evangelical Christian Perspectives on Race, Religion, and Society." Niemonen earned his Ph.D. in sociology from Michigan State University in 1982.

Named in 1966 in honor of Elbert Harrington, professor of speech and dean of the College of Arts & Sciences (1945-1970), the lecture is an annual event featuring a distinguished professor with long-standing service to the College of Arts & Sciences. Each year a faculty committee in Arts & Sciences recommends to the dean the name of a faculty member to deliver the Harrington Lecture. The faculty member must be a teacher and scholar, and the lecture must be non-technical, blending insight into liberal education with the faculty member’s work as a scholar. A reception will be held immediately following the lecture.


USD's College of Arts & Sciences offers students a top-notch undergraduate liberal arts education in the humanities, social sciences and sciences as well as graduate programs that have earned USD distinction as a research university by the Carnegie Foundation. The college's more than 22,000 alumni include famous journalists, Hollywood screenwriters, novelists, a Nobel Prize winner, South Dakota governors, attorneys, physicians, justices of the state Supreme Court, distinguished university faculty and international humanitarians.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 205 undergraduate and 73 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 17:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 17 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Michael Ewald
USD News