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Mary L. Thomas Lecture Series to feature University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Professor Dov Cohen

The Department of Sociology and Anthropology has announced that Dov Cohen, the next speaker in the Mary L. Thomas Lecture series, will present “Honor, Dignity, and Face” March 14 at 4:00 p.m. in Ming Hsieh 122.

Dr. Cohen is Professor of Psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he also serves as Principle Investigator at the Culture and Social Behavior Lab. His research addresses such topics as culture, religion, language use, violence, moral judgment and self-perception. He has coauthored or coedited a number of influential books, including Culture of Honor: The Psychology of Violence in the South and The Handbook of Cultural Psychology.

The talk will address how cultural differences affect the way people make moral judgements and handle interpersonal disputes. People might belong to one of three distinct cultures – honor cultures, dignity cultures or face cultures – each with very different approaches to morality and social behavior. Cohen considers the interaction between these cultural systems, individual personalities and concrete social situations. He uses these interactions to explain such puzzles as why there is more violence in the South than the North and why the behaviors that indicate trustworthiness in one country might indicate dishonesty in another.

The lecture series has been made possible with funds from the Mary L. Thomas Endowment. Established by a generous gift by alumna Mary L. Thomas in 1992, the Mary L. Thomas Endowment supports the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and the Department of English to support lectureships, colloquia, symposia or seminars alternating biennially between both departments. For the 2015-16 academic year, the Department of Sociology and Anthropology will be hosting a series of lectures celebrating the launch of its new Sociology doctoral program with a focus on culture.

The talk is being co-sponsored by the Department of Psychology as part of its annual colloquium series.

For more information, please contact Jason Manning ( or Katie Corcoran (