“McMahon is an expert in intellectual history. More recently, he’s been investigating broad questions and issues that cut across historical time periods. He looks at particular ideas and tracing how they develop over the course of Western civilization,” said Scott Breuninger, Ph.D., a professor in the history department.

McMahon will talk about idea of genius, which his recently published book, Divine Fury: A History of Genius, focuses on. He discusses the concept and origin of the concept of genius and how it has changed over time.

McMahon went to the University of California, Berkeley and received his Ph.D. from Yale. He is currently the Mary Brinsmead Wheelock Professor of History at Dartmouth College. In April 2016, McMahon was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in the field of Intellectual and Cultural History.

The Schell Lecture is sponsored by the USD history department and named after Dean Herbert S. Schell (1899-1994), who served the University of South Dakota and the State of South Dakota for more than 40 years. The lecture honors his service by spreading knowledge of history throughout the campus and community to which he was devoted. History department faculty are responsible for choosing a speaker whose research holds interest and importance to the department as well as the public. The lecture is free and open to all.

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