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.

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