'Relational Dialectics': Professor Emeritus Alan Lerstrom to give Luther Emeriti Colloquium April 11

Investigating the dynamic tension in our relationships, Luther College Professor Emeritus Alan Lerstrom will present the lecture, "Relational Dialectics" at Luther's Emeriti Colloquium at 3 p.m. Thursday, April 11, in the Mott Room of the Dahl Centennial Union on Luther's campus.

The lecture "Relational Dialectics" is open to the public with no charge for admission.     

When describing an intimate long-term relationship, people often emphasize the ideals of closeness, certainty and openness. However, close friendships, family and romantic relationships rarely follow a direct path toward these goals because within our continuing relationships we also need some autonomy, novelty and privacy. Lerstom will address the ongoing dynamic tensions, the unified opposites of predictability/novelty, autonomy/connectedness and openness/closedness.

"These contradictions in our desires and needs can be viewed as opposites that tug and pull, much as Dr. Doolittle’s 'pushmi-pullyu,' a unicorn like beast with one body and two heads facing opposite directions, was constantly struggling to move along a path," Lerstrom said. 

While people may fear tensions and contradictions in relationships, the 1996 research of Baxter and Montgomery urges people to acknowledge the opportunities they provide because "bonding occurs in both interdependence with the other and independence from the other."  

Lerstrom taught in the communication studies department at Luther College from 1988 to 2011. He received a bachelor's in speech from Illinois State University and returned for a master's degree in theatre. He later completed a Ph.D. program in communication studies at the University of Kansas. Lerstrom has written for state, regional and national journals and served on the National Communication Association, the Central States Communication Association and the Iowa Communication Association.

A national liberal arts college with an enrollment of 2,005, Luther offers an academic curriculum that leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree in more than 60 majors and pre-professional programs. For more information about Luther visit the college's website: http://www.luther.edu.