President's Lecture Series


Michael Bérubé: "Disability and Democracy"


Michael Bérubé

Document Type

Metadata Only




Mills Godwin Jr. Building - Auditorium

Lecture Series

President's Lecture Series


Michael Bérubé discusses his son who has Down's Syndrome and his son's education process, then discusses some ideas about how the theory and practice of democracy affects the concept of inalienable human rights.

Bérubé is the Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Literature at Pennsylvania State University, where he teaches American literature, disability studies, and cultural studies. He is the author of several books on cultural studies, disability rights, liberal and conservative politics, and debates in higher education. From 2010 to 2017, he was the Director of the Institute for the Arts and Humanities at Penn State; from 1997 to 2001 he was the founding director of the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities. He was the 2012 president of the Modern Language Association, and served as vice president from 2010–2011. He served two terms on the National Council of the American Association of University Professors from 2005 to 2011, and three terms on the AAUP's Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure from 2009 to 2018. He was a member of the International Advisory Board of the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes for two terms, 2011-2017. Bérubé was named a University Scholar for research at the University of Illinois in 1995 and was awarded the Faculty Scholar medal for research from Penn State in 2012.

The son of Maurice Berube (now Eminent Scholar Emeritus and Professor Emeritus of Educational Leadership at Old Dominion University),Bérubé was born and raised in New York City. He attended Regis High School.He received a B.A. in English from Columbia University in 1982 and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Virginia, where he studied from 1983 to 1989. Bérubé held a professorship in the English department at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign from 1989 to 2001, where he was affiliated with the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory and the Afro-American Studies and Research Program. In 2001, Bérubé moved to Penn State for the then-newly created Paterno Family Professorship in Literature, from which he resigned in the wake of the Penn State child sex abuse scandal.

Media Type


Run Time

67:00 min


A 1/2" VHS copy of this lecture is available in the Special Collections & University Archives Department of Old Dominion University Perry Library. Call #: LD4331.A57 2001j

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