UHV Provost’s Lecture Series to delve into social justice in stories, pop culture
In the “Dark Knight” movie series, Batman doesn’t always follow the letter of the law when bringing justice to the villains terrorizing Gotham City.
While Batman usually is considered the hero, should people who take justice into their own hands be celebrated? That is one of the questions that will be
addressed in the next University of Houston-Victoria Provost’s Lecture Series on April 21.
“Unmasking The Faces of Social Equity” will explore how audience perceptions of social justice are tested and sometimes manipulated by the presentation of
heroes who exist on the fringes of social equity.
“Taking matters into your own hands, and the need and desire for vigilante justice, are fascinating topics that have appeared in stories for centuries,”
said Jeffrey Cass, UHV provost and vice president for academic affairs. “We thought this would make a riveting topic for our final lecture of the academic
The lecture will be from noon to 1 p.m. in the UHV University West Alcorn Auditorium, 3007 N. Ben Wilson St. The event is free and open to the public.
Leading the discussion will be Jacob Blevins, an English professor at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, La. Blevins works on various aspects of
comparative literature and literary theory. His research focuses on early modern literature and lyric poetry.
Blevins is the author and editor of five books and the editor of the comparative literature journal INTERTEXTS. His newest book is “Humanism and Classical
Crisis: Anxiety, Intertexts, and the Miltonic Memory.”
“Dr. Blevins will look at what happens when the desire for social justice bucks up against legal remedies,” UHV Associate Provost Uppinder Mehan said.
“He’s also interested in what happens when we begin to identify with people we might consider to be anti-heroes but who are, in one way or another, doing a
kind of justice.”
Mehan said the lecture especially will appeal to students studying English, criminal justice and psychology. The event also could be intriguing to fans of
the books “Paradise Lost” or the TV show “Breaking Bad.”
Mehan said what first intrigued him about Blevins was how he described social justice in 17th century English poet John Milton’s classic “Paradise Lost.”
Milton’s Satan character in the poems at times plays the narrative role of an anti-hero, a leading character who lacks traditional hero qualities. But
Satan still is understood to be the antagonist.
“Milton’s Satan has been a fascinating figure for centuries,” Mehan said. “Blevins’ examination of Satan is intriguing, and then he brings into the
discussion troubling figures from pop culture. Walter White’s character in ‘Breaking Bad’ is doing bad things, but the people who he’s up against are
Blevins is co-editing an interdisciplinary collection of essays about “Breaking Bad.” He also is editing the notebooks of 17th century theologian and poet
The Provost’s Lecture Series began as part of the university’s 40th anniversary celebration in 2013 as a way to bring more opportunities for scholarly
discussion to UHV. Previous lectures have included discussions about civil rights leader Casey Hayden, life and politics in South Africa, and Texas before
the Alamo. The series continued earlier this semester when political scientist Brad Roth discussed the U.S. involvement in the global war on terrorism.
“Dr. Blevins is our first English professor in the series,” Mehan said. “The fact that he’s interested in questions of equity and social justice makes him
a nice fit for the series.”
For more information about the event, contact Mehan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 361-570-4178.