Elon professor explores pride, humility in latest book

The latest book by Shawn Tucker, a professor in Art & Art History Department, is "Pride and Humility: A new interdisciplinary analysis," published by Palgrave. 

Elon Professor Shawn Tucker has recently published “Pride and Humility: A new interdisciplinary analysis,” a new book that explores the nature of pride and humility.

The scholarly work by Tucker, an associate professor of art at Elon, is published by Palgrave and presents an interdiscplinary examination of the topic. It follows a course Tucker developed at Elon with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities. 

“What I tried to do,” explained Tucker, “was bring together insights from literature, philosophy, the visual arts, religious studies and the social sciences to present a useful and viable description of pride and humility.”

Tucker’s analysis incorporated literature from Homer, Dante, Shakespeare, Ralph Ellison and Alice Walker, works of art by Paul Cadmus, Aaron Douglas and Ambrogio Lorenzetti, as well as contributions from thinkers like Machiavelli, Martin Buber, C.S. Lewis, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and David Foster Wallace. 

The book comes from a seminar taught by Tucker at Elon titled “Pride, Humility, and the Good Life” that he developed after receiving a 2010 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The grant funded the creation of an “Enduring Questions” course that would address a fundamental and important question. Tucker’s course addressed the nature of pride and humility and how they may or may not contribute to the good life.

Tucker is grateful to the National Endowoment for the Humanities for the grant, and to Elon for its support through the entire process.

“Elon provided time for me to develop the course, time to develop the book, financial support to see its publication, and an ideal working and teaching environment,” he said.

Finally, Tucker thanked the many students who participated in the class. “The book’s last chapter,” he said, “would not be possible without the help of students who suggested that the course deal with Alice Walker’s novel The Color Purple. The last chapter brings all of the book’s ideas together, and that would not have been possible without insights from great students in the class.”