Congratulations to Dr. Mark Hlavacik for the publication of his first article as a UNT faculty member entitled, "Imagining Moral Presidential Speech: Barack Obama's Niebuhrian Nobel." Dr. Hlavacik coauthored the article with Dr. Joseph Rhodes of the University of Nevada Los Vegas and it just appeared in the fall issue of Rhetoric & Public Affairs.
Dr. Hlavacik's article joins an ongoing scholarly conversation about Barack Obama's 2009 Nobel lecture, "A Just and Lasting Peace." Awarded less than a year into his presidency, Obama's Nobel Peace Prize created an international controversy over its prematurity. Examining the lecture Obama delivered in acceptance of the award, Dr. Hlavacik and Dr. Rhodes argue that the Obama's remarks are best evaluated in light of their explicit origins in the thought of America's most important 20th century protestant theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr. Reconsidering the address as an attempt to engage the audience's "moral imagination," Dr. Hlavacik and Dr. Rhodes conclude that Obama's "Nobel Prize lecture passed Niebuhr's test." The president "boldly faced the hard truths of collective action, pointed toward the highest ideals of Christianity, and spoke with the humility that is only possible from a paradoxical attitude toward history."