Honors lecture focuses on liberal arts education

February 23, 2009

Nicolas Proctor, a History professor at Simpson College in Iowa, will present the McDaniel College Honors lecture, “Obscene, Unwanted, and Provocative: My Education in the Liberal Arts,” at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 26 on campus in McDaniel Lounge.

The lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, call 410-857-2293.

Proctor chose History after a thorough exploration of the liberal arts during his undergraduate studies at Hendrix College in Arkansas. He considered Art, English and then Botany. While studying abroad at Oxford University in his junior year, he was drawn to History because it seemed to be “the discipline that would be most helpful in figuring out why things were the way they were.” After a detour that resulted in an M.A. in diplomacy and international commerce, he took a year off before heading to Emory University where he returned to History, earning an M.A. and Ph.D. in American History with an emphasis on the 19th-century South. Currently Proctor is associate professor of History and chair of the History department at Simpson College, a liberal arts college in Indianola, Iowa, where he teaches American History and the Western Traditions sequence. He was awarded Simpson’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 2006 and received the Faculty Research Award in 2003.

In 2002, his book “Bathed in Blood: Hunting and Mastery in the Old South” was published by the University of Virginia Press. His current project, “Forest Diplomacy: War, Peace, and Land on the Colonial Frontier,” will be published by Longman Press as part of the “Reacting to the Past” series, a program in use at McDaniel and many other colleges that immerses students in historical events through role playing. Proctor is currently developing two different “Reacting” games. "Forest Diplomacy" explores the issues of war, peace, and land that divided Indians and colonists during the French and Indian War. "Kentucky, 1861" examines how the people of a pivotal border state deal with the secession crisis that led to the American Civil War. Other research and writing interests reflect his liberal arts focus and comprise a dizzying array of topics of interest including the development of Modern Art, U.S. intervention in World War I, the Chicago Democratic Convention of 1968, and the creation of Hollywood’s self-imposed production code. All of these will likely add to the growing body of “Reacting” games in production and development.

McDaniel College began the Honors Program in 1986 to provide a more challenging education for academically talented students. Honors students can deepen their study of the liberal arts while living in an environment that stimulates the exchange of ideas. The program offers extraordinary opportunities in curriculum, housing and extracurricular activities.