SPOKANE, Wash. – Gonzaga philosophy Professor Douglas Kries, and Peter Tormey, editor of the Gonzaga University News Service, will collaborate to present “IRELAND: Two Lectures” on March 2 and March 9. Both lectures are free and open to the public and begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Jepson Center’s Wolff Auditorium.
On March 2, Kries will discuss “What Tocqueville Saw in Ireland in 1835: Photographs from his Footsteps.” Tormey’s March 9 lecture is titled, “Irish American Identity: Perspectives of an Immigrant’s Son.”
French political thinker Alexis de Tocqueville, known primarily for his work “Democracy in America,” visited Ireland and kept a daily record of his travels before writing the second volume of “Democracy.” After his death, the journals were discovered among his papers by his friend and travel companion Gustave de Beaumont. Kries has studied the journals and written scholarly articles about them. With his wife Sheila, Kries has visited and photographed many of the places in Ireland that Tocqueville discusses in his Irish travelogue. Kries will discuss informally the highlights of Tocqueville’s travels, and in particular Tocqueville’s reflections on faith, famine, poverty and democratic politics as he witnessed their interactions in Ireland.
Kries is the former Bernard J. Coughlin, S.J., Professor of Christian Philosophy at Gonzaga and teaches in the philosophy department. He earned a doctorate from Boston College in 1988, and bachelor’s degrees in philosophy and theology from Seattle University in 1982.
Ireland’s former President Mary Robinson said, “Emigration is not just a chronicle of sorrow and regret. It is also a powerful story of contribution and adaptation.” Tormey’s informal March 9 presentation will draw from his research and personal experience as a first-generation Irish-American to discuss the roles of faith, family, and humor in Irish-American culture. His father, William “Bill” Tormey, left Ireland and its beleaguered economy in 1948 at age 24 in hopes of prosperity in America. Tormey also will discuss Mary Robinson’s perspective regarding an international Irishness irrespective of physical geography but united by shared cultural values.
Tormey is a writer, leadership scholar and former regional editor at United Press International (UPI). He earned a doctorate in leadership studies at Gonzaga, and has taught for Gonzaga’s Master of Organizational Leadership program and communication studies department. His 2014 book, “The Thursday Speeches: Lessons in Life, Leadership and Football from Coach Don James,” about his coach at University of Washington, has been reviewed by newspapers including The Seattle Times and has earned top reader ratings. He directs the Gonzaga News Service.