Hillsdale’s sociology program is partnering with the philosophy and religion departments to present a lecture by Kevin Aho, professor of philosophy from Florida Gulf Coast University, on how the negative treatment of shyness indirectly contributes to favoring the outgoing personality.
The lecture will be held Monday, Oct. 8 at 4 p.m. in Lane 214. Aho, who specializes in existentialism, phenomenology, and the medical humanities, will be discussing the social construction of the conception of self and how the view of shyness in psychiatry can contribute to the construction of self in diagnoses of mental illness. He will also be discussing how the diagnosis indirectly privileges assertive, outgoing, and extroverted personalities – the ideal American characteristics.
“In America, he thinks we privilege being an extrovert,” said Professor of Philosophy and Culture Peter Blum, who also serves as director of sociology and social thought. “And he thinks that that has had a profound effect on this tendency to more and more treat shyness as a kind of illness.”
Juniors Joanna McCool and Phoebe Crow said they are looking forward to the talk. For McCool, it relates to her personally.
“I’m a sociology major, and I’m also a shy person myself,” she said. “I think it would be interesting to get a perspective from a sociological standpoint.”
Crow said the topic is important to her as well.
“Especially seeing as most of us are trying to find our places in the world as young adults, I think it’s important to understand some of the structures of our society,” Crow said. “I think everyone stands to learn something from this lecture.”