USD's Gasque to present 47th Harrington Lecture Thomas J. Gasque, professor of English at The University of South Dakota, will present the 47th annual Harrington Lecture at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 28, in Farber Hall of Old Main.
In his lecture, entitled, "The Power of Naming", Gasque will discuss both how people relate to each other through names and how power exists in giving names.
According to Gasque, power is defined as an ability to control other people and the environment.
"We relate to people and the world largely through the names we use for them. We either learn the names that already exist, or we express power by giving names. Anyone in a position to give names is in a position of power," said Gasque, who has been involved in a name study for nearly two decades.
"Naming power can be seen, for example, in how we name our children, how we give names to the places we live in, and how we use nicknames to define those people we like or dislike," he said. "This power also involves denying names, ranging from changing them for personal or political reasons to refusing to address a person as he or she expects to be addressed or by 'forgetting' a name."
For five years (1988-92), Gasque served as editor of Names, the official journal of the American Name Society, which publishes articles on names of all sorts (both U.S. and internationally). He is serving as vice president of the American Name Society. (an international academic organization).
Gasque, who has taught at USD since 1968, teaches English literature at all levels with an area of specialty in medieval literature. He has also taught courses in name study and in the Lewis and Clark expedition. He earned a Ph.D. at the University of Tennessee � Knoxville (1970). His wife, Alice, is also a professor of English at USD.
The lecture series is named in honor of the late Elbert Harrington, a former dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor emeritus of communication. Sponsored by the USD College of Arts and Sciences, the lecture series is an annual event featuring a distinguished professor who has served the University and College for 15 or more years.