Praise Be to Ecological Advocacy
The 2023 Fall Ducharme Lecture, featuring Dr. Jordan Loveridge, Associate Professor of English and Communication, was delivered in the Knott Auditorium on Sep. 27. It was titled “Praise Bee! Or What Medieval Rhetoric Can Teach Us About Ecological Advocacy” and nearly half the auditorium, about 250 seats, were filled with students, faculty and staff all wanting to hear the unique lecture.
Loveridge joined the Mount as a dual Communication and English faculty in fall 2017. His Ph.D. is in Writing, Rhetoric and Literacy and his expertise is in the history of medieval rhetoric, mainly in the 12th and 13th centuries. His lecture went into the details of this time period, especially the Aberdeen Bestiary, a manuscript from Medieval England that has short descriptions of many different real and imaginary animals from the 12th century.
“It was a huge honor, and I’ll admit that I was a little bit surprised. I was encouraged by my colleagues to give it a shot and submit the proposal,” Loveridge stated. Something that could be a little less known is that his lecture was planned before the Ducharme Lecture in spring 2023. “Professor Dudley and I actually submitted our proposals at the same time and were chosen alongside each other, so the next two Ducharme Lectures, spring 2023 and fall 2023 were both planned in late 2022,” Loveridge added.
Loveridge and the audience were welcomed by Dr. Bryan J. Zygmont, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, and a prayer was offered by Dr. Layton M. Field, Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of Missions Initiatives. Associate Professor of English Dr. Jack Dudley introduced the audience to Loveridge. “The other day, another faculty member and I were saying how impressed we continue to be by the quality of the Mount faculty by both their dedication to teaching and remarkable research they undertake. Dr. Loveridge embodies this quality of our faculty. He is a dedicated and popular teacher, a widely respected scholar and serves as the Director of our writing center.”
After his introduction, Loveridge dove into the main topic of his lecture. It mainly focused on bees and how they relate to rhetoric and our society, and that in the Aberdeen Bestiary, bees were shown as noble symbols of nature. He compared the way people saw bees back then to how they see them today. His idea for the lecture came from looking up online medieval manuscripts, specifically the aforementioned Aberdeen Bestiary. It also came from the courses he taught, mainly the Classical Rhetoric and Rhetoric and Poetics courses, and through discussions with students in those classes.
Loveridge stated that the main thing he wanted people to take away from his lecture was “what it ended with, we can’t rely on ceasing scientific progress to solve our problems and that there are specific disciples that are best suited for each problem. I also wanted to show the importance of animals, mainly bees of course. Finally, our cultural side can’t be innovated away, it is a part of our society.”
His lecture was about a topic that one wouldn’t really stop to think about and a topic that only he would understand perfectly, making it a unique one in the lineup of Ducharme Lectures, funded by the generous gift from Raphael Della Ratta (C’92) that the Mount has offered since fall 2014.
Dr. Loveridge delivering his lecture
Photo by: Christian Myers