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 Spring 2022:

Bergen Salon I –Meet Me at the Library: The President and the Bergen Community Discuss Significant Books –
Thursday, February 3, 2022, 12:30pm-1:30pm
On Campus: Room S-134

Panelists:  President of Bergen Community College, Dr. Eric Friedman; faculty members, Dr. Tobyn DeMarco (Philosophy) and Professor Seamus Gibbons (English); and student, Ryo Murao (Honors Association Co-President)

The Salon will discuss the following texts: The Clouds, a Play by Aristophanes;  The Voyage of the Beagle, by Charles Darwin; Interpreter of Maladies, by Jhumpa Lahiri; A Different Mirror, by Ronald Takaki.  This discussion will celebrate the myriad of ways how the journey of interdisciplinary curiosity engages, enlightens, and defines us, and how these books and others like them allow each of us to explore and enrich many paths.
Finally, to properly enjoy this Salon, please click on the following texts for your reading pleasure: “Interpreter of Maladies” by Jhumpa Lahiri and “A Different Mirror” by Ronald Takaki.
Bergen Salon II – A conversation about Between the World and Me – Wednesday, February 16, 2022, 2:00pm-3:00 pm
On Campus: Room C-324
Panelists: Dr. Lou Ethel Roliston, Co-Chair of the Common Read Committee and student Teresa Petrazzuolo, Co-President of the Honors Association
This discussion is a conversation based on Between the World and Me – a 2015 nonfiction book written by American author Ta-Nehisi Coates. It is written as a letter to the author’s teenage son about the feelings, symbolism, and realities associated with being Black in the United States

Bergen Salon III – Roe v. Wade: Before and After – Wednesday, March 23, 2022, 1:45pm-3:00pm
On Campus: Room S-134
Panelists: Professor Lisa Mayer, Esq. and Christine Eubank, PhD
Discuss past, present and future of reproductive rights legislation.  Sponsored by the Judith K. Winn School of Honors

Bergen Salon IV –  Censorship and Book Banning – Tuesday, April 26, 2022, 12:30-1:00pm
On Campus: Room TBD
Panelists:  Professor Seamus Gibbons, Dr. Mina Ahn, Dr. Katherine McGivern, Dr. Andrew Tomko, and Ms. Anna Gergen
School districts across the country are banning books and censoring information at an alarming rate. What consequences await if the bans are allowed to continue? What does our history tell us about this process? And from the bans, what conclusions can we draw about democracy both at home and abroad? Join us for a discussion about these pressing topics at the fourth Bergen Salon of the semester.  Sponsored by the JKW School of Honors.


Events and readings for Fall 2021:

Bergen Salon I:  –  Covid: from Pandemic to Endemic – Tuesday,  September 28, 2021, 12:30pm-1:30pm
On Campus: Room S-134

All faculty, staff and students are invited to join the Judith K. Winn School of Honors and Phi Theta Kappa for a discussion of the current situation with Covid-19.  We have brought back our panelists from last September’s Salon on Covid for an update. Dr. Barbara Davis (Biology) will discuss predictions of when COVID-19 may become an endemic rather than a pandemic disease and variables that may affect the course of the disease; Dr. Jessica Datema (Composition & Literature) will discuss literary and artistic views on how our sense of time has been reshaped in the last 18 months; Dr. Ilan Ehrlich (History) will share with us how other nations, particularly those in Latin America are dealing with this pandemic.  Recommended readings and resources below:

The podcast talks about how our interdependence has become an increasing priority due to the burgeoning challenges to humans, and to the “humanities,”  since the pandemic. It also discusses everyday life during the pandemic.

1. This podcast with Jenny Odell entitled “Nature art and burnout in the quarantine”

2. This article by Jenny Odell in The Paris Review discusses Emerson brings up the idea of how humans are interdependent upon one another time and space versus independent.

Bergen Salon II – Intertribal Native American Music from Powwow Music to Pop – Friday, October 15, 2021, 12:30pm-1:30pm
Virtual Event ONLY: Zoom Link –

All faculty, staff and students are invited to join the Judith K. Winn School of Honors and Phi Theta Kappa for a Zoom Lecture with ethnomusicologist Dr. John-Carlos Perea, Visiting Associate Professor of Music, University of California, Berkeley.  Dr. Perea will discuss his research on intertribal Native American music from powwow music to pop.  This event is provided by the Music department and Dr. Andrew Krikun.
Reading:  Music and Modernity Among First-Peoples of North America

Bergen Salon III – “Q & A: Current Topics on the Environment” – Thursday, October 28, 2021 2:00pm-3:00pm –
On Campus: Room S-134


What is happening to the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic? Why are wildfires continuously raging across the globe? Tornadoes more common in New Jersey? Answers to these and other questions concerning the environment will be addressed by Professor Robert Dill (Biological Sciences) in a Question and Answer Salon.

Bergen Salon IV – “College Read: Between the World and Me” – Tuesday, November 16, 2021, 12:30pm-1:30pm
On Campus: Room S-134 


This will be a discussion on some of the themes raised by the Ta-Nehisi Coates book, Between the World and Me – the College Read book for this academic year.  More Information:




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  Any questions, please call 201-879-5003.

The Salons are co-sponsored by the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society,