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Professor Edward Woell Chosen to Deliver Annual Hallwas Liberal Arts Lecture

August 16, 2016

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MACOMB, IL - Western Illinois University Professor of History and Director of Graduate Studies in History Edward J. Woell has been chosen to deliver the 14th annual John Hallwas Liberal Arts Lecture Wednesday, Aug. 31 and Thursday, Sept. 1.

The lecture, titled "The Public Sphere of Past and Present, and the Place of the Liberal Arts," will be presented at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 31 on the Quad Cities Campus, in rooms 103 and 104 of Riverfront Hall, and at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 1 in the University Union Grand Ballroom on the Macomb campus.

"I am very honored and humbled by being chosen as this year's Hallwas Lecturer," said Woell. "I see the lecture as a great opportunity to remind the University and the public at large why the liberal arts still matter. The past 15 years or so have been very difficult for most disciplines comprising the liberal arts, and so an event like the Hallwas Lecture on the Liberal Arts provides a chance for those of us who support these disciplines to take stock and recognize the vital role that we play in building a democratic society and advancing what my lecture will consider: a free and open public sphere. I like to think of the public sphere as a kind of 'canary in the coalmine' for democracy; if our public sphere begins to falter, it is a clear sign that our democratic way of life is in trouble as well."

Woell came to WIU in August 2003, after serving as an assistant professor at Marist College in New York; a visiting professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and an instructor at Cardinal Stritch University, also in Milwaukee, WI. He received his bachelor's degree in history from North Dakota State University; his master's degree in European history from the University of North Dakota and his doctoral degree from Marquette University in modern European history.

Woell's expertise is in 17th and 18th century Europe and he teaches course on the Old Regime, the Enlightenment and the French Revolution and Napoleon, in addition to graduate and undergraduate classes on historical theory and methods.

For more information about the Hallwas Lecture, visit

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