Beginning in the late 16th century in France and Italy, artists, intellectuals, political figures and much more came together regularly to discuss the most influential works and ideas of their day. Salon gatherings had participants who entertained each other with new music, brief theatrical performances, sardonic letters, but more often than not these gatherings were opportunities to discuss important literary works, political rumblings or consider the efficacy of scientific breakthroughs. All Salons were based on the understanding that the participants were intellectually informed and were active participants in the world of ideas that surrounded them. To that end, the Judith K. Winn School of Honors has decided to establish a Salon, the Bergen Salon. The Bergen Salon will hold monthly events where faculty, administrators and students engage in discussion on academic and intellectual pursuits of our day. The Bergen Salon will be a Socratic discussion where participants will have read an assigned text, perhaps a literary text, a philosophical essay, an article on a recent scientific advance, or an essay on a cultural trend or a significant historical event, to name but a few.

Events and readings for Fall 2020


  • Bergen Salon I – COVID-19 – Wednesday, September 23, 2020, 2:00pm-3:00pm.  The panel discussion will be hosted by Professor Seamus Gibbons, Director of the Judith K. Winn School of Honors, and will feature three of Bergen‘s esteemed faculty:
    •  Dr. Ilan Ehrlich, History, will offer his expertise on how Covid has impacted Central and South America and on what we may have learned from past pandemics.
    •  Dr. Jessica Datema, Composition & Literature, will discuss what artists are saying about our sense of time during a pandemic.
    •  Dr. Barbara Davis, Biology and Horticulture, will share with us what we can look forward to with regards to a vaccine.

    In preparation for our discussion, the panelists would like you to familiarize yourself with the articles found here https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1Wogv0Gfxn6p11kJTr-iBWr1bcfwlt_A1?usp=sharing.

    Bergen Salon II  – Presidential Election – Thursday, October 15, 2020, 2:00pm-3:00pm.  The focus of the discussion will be on the Electoral College. We will focus our discussion on why the founding fathers of the United States decided on an Electoral College? Does the Electoral College still serve a modern United States? Should we eliminate the Electoral College and simply have a Popular Vote? What else might we change if not the Electoral College?

    The Salon will be hosted by Professor Seamus Gibbons, Director of the Judith K. Winn School of Honors, and will feature a panel consisting of:

    •   Dr. Alan Kaufman, English
    •   Professor Lisa Mayer, Legal Studies
    •   Ignacio Leon-ManningBergen Student

    To prepare yourself for this discussion, the panelist wishes you to familiarize yourself with the following articles found here https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1zUml57PZEvrWMFvYozQEcoeQkwghrptJ?usp=sharing.

    Bergen Salon II
    I –  Black Lives Matter – Thursday, November 12, 2020, 2:00pm – 3:00pm via Webex.  The Judith K. Winn School of Honors and PTK invite you to the final Bergen Salon of the fall semester. Our final panel discussion will be on the current Black Lives Matter movement. Our panelist will discuss the significance of this movement, its connection to American cultural, institutional and historical eras. The panelist would like you to be familiar with the article, “Letter to My Son” by Ta-Nehisi Coates, or if they are familiar with his book, Between The World and Me, that is even better.

    • Moderated by:
      • Professor Seamus Gibbons, Director of JKW School of Honors

      Conducted by:

      • Dr. Lou Ethel Roliston, Chair of English
      • Professor Maureen Ellis-Davis, Sociology
      • Genesis Capellan, Student Representative & PTK President

Events and readings for Spring 2020:

  • Bergen Salon I – Melville – Thursday, February 13, 2020, 12:30pm-1:30pm, Room: C-313. This Salon discussion will be led by Dr. Alan Kaufman and Dr. Andrew Tomko, Composition and Literature. Moby Dick by Herman Melville Reading
    The discussion will be on Herman Melville’s most famous work, Moby Dick; we will also delve into Melville’s lasting influence on American Literature – some 200 years since his birth. A familiarity with Moby Dick is helpful for this Salon.

All readings are available on this webpage and also available on Library e-reserve under: JKW; Password: honors. Readings can also be obtained by emailing us at honors@bergen.edu.  Any questions, please call 201-879-5003.

The Salons are co-sponsored by the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, http://bergenptk.com/.

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