Paideia 2014

The Greek word Paideia (Παιδεία) is difficult to translate, but denotes education in its broadest sense. For the ancient Greeks, this included philosophy, poetry, mathematics, physics, rhetoric, gymnastics, music, medicine, and many other disciplines.

The animating idea behind Paideia at Reed is to take a break from the rigorous classical curriculum and spend a week learning things you always wanted to know about but never had the time for. The history of punk. The birds of Oregon. Throat-singing. Bollywood dance. Underwater basketweaving. You get the idea.

Paideia also reverses the polarity of the traditional classroom and gives students the chance to be teachers. Whether you’re a wizard on the didgeridoo, an authority on Quenya, or a crack Python programmer, Paideia is your chance to lead a class and share your expertise with your fellow students.

Paideia is an exuberant celebration of Reed’s love of learning. Attendance is voluntary. The classes carry no academic credit. Any member of the community—students, faculty, staff, and alumni—can lead a class, and all are encouraged to take one. Bring your passion, your knowledge, your experience. Most important, bring your willingness to learn something new.

Public Events

Most Paideia events are intended for students, faculty, staff and alumni of Reed College. This year, public events include three shows by Dr. Demento. Admission for non-Reed community members is $5.

Dr. Demento’s Greatest Hits

Thursday, 1/23 | 8PM-10PM | VLH

"Fish Heads," "Dead Puppies," Weird Al, Frank Zappa, Tom Lehrer, Monty Python and lots more, audio and lots of stories and insights from the 40-year career of radio's king of Mad Music and Crazy Comedy.  Hear how it all began at Reed's own radio station, KRRC-FM!  Rated PG-13 for occasional uncouth language.

WMD Fire Show

Thursday, 1/23 | 9PM–10PM | Quad

Come see your friendly neighborhood fire troupe, Weapons of Mass Distraction (WMD), perform! Reed's student-run group promises an exciting evening of fire-filled stunts performed for your viewing pleasure. There will be candy.

Punk Rock From the Beginning

Friday, 1/24 | 8PM-10PM | Vollum Lecture Hall

Dr. Demento gave Paideia's first-ever punk presentation way back in 1977, when the Sex Pistols, the Clash and the Ramones were very new and very radical! He'll bring the story up to date with sounds and videos by the Dead Kennedys, the Beastie Boys, riot grrrls, queercore and many more.  Rated PG-13 for general outrage.

The Golden Age of Comedy On Records

Saturday, 1/25 | 8PM-10PM | Vollum Lecture Hall

What made Americans laugh in 1905? Or 1965? With dozens of rare examples from his mammoth collection of comedy recordings, Dr. Demento will show how spoken and sung comedy reflected the changes in American life and attitudes over the years. Rated PG-13 for occasional "dirty words" and for ethnic and racial humor that was perfectly acceptable in the past but may now be considered offensive by some listeners.


Questions and comments can be forwarded to the 2014 Paideia Committee members:

Mark Angeles, ’15: Czar 2k14 |

Blake Rosenthal, ’15: Czar 2k14 |

Julia Selker, ’15: Czar 2k13 |

Kristin Holmberg: Director of Student Activities |

Chris Lydgate, ’90: Reed Magazine Editor |

Darrell Schroeter, ’95: Associate Professor, Physics |