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Spring 2004 Humanities Symposium
Sponsored by the Center for Public Humanities


How do people develop a sense of belonging? How is this expressed in culture and community life? Does belonging to a culture and a community depend on sameness or the overcoming of differences? When do the boundaries of culture and community replace belonging with alienation? How are the ideas of community, culture, and belonging related and how do they mutually reinforce identity? How have ideas about culture, community, and belonging changed over time? And how does the life and gospel of Jesus Christ challenge our notions of culture, community, and belonging?

These are the critical questions we invite the community at Messiah College to explore during the Spring 2004 Humanities Symposium. The Humanities Roundtable Advisory Board has planned this week-long symposium, with hopes that it will provide the campus with a public intellectual conversation that contributes to our common life together and to our understanding of the wider world.

Schedule of Events

Monday (8 March)  
4:00-5:00 Opening Reception

Location: Boyer Hall Atrium
5:00-6:30 In Search of a "Decent Society:" Christopher Lasch, Capitalism, and Community

Dr. Eric Miller
Assistant Professor of History (Geneva College)

Guest lecture co-sponsored by the Department of History and the Center for the Humanities on the 20th-century American historian and cultural critic Christopher Lasch’s community-based concept of a “decent society” in a world of capitalist competition.

Location: Boyer Hall 131
7:00-8:30 Writing and the Community: A Community of Writers” Open Microphone Readings

Department of English & The Minnemingo Review

As any writer well knows, writing sometimes appears to be an isolated act, but is in fact always a collaborative undertaking involving reading and rereading, writing and rewriting. The English department and the Minnemingo Review thus are sponsoring an open mic night designed to celebrate the community of writers already present and growing at Messiah, and to celebrate the connection of writing and reading to the development of our community. Students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to read their own poetry, fiction, or creative non-fiction, or to read favorite works through which they have found the written word encouraging their connections to others.

Location: Boyer Hall 131

Border Crossings: Immigration, Globalization, and Belonging

History Club Colloquium

Our intention is to address issues of hybrid identities and cultures as developed through cross-cultural interaction. With relation to this theme, we will consider the issues of immigration, globalization, and border crossings and their creation of a fluid sense of culture, community, and belonging.

Location: Boyer 130

Film Series: Man Without a Past

Screenings: 5:00 and 8:00, with a 6:45 discussion colloquium led by the Film Studies Program, which will consider the themes of culture, community, and belonging as they are explored in the film. This will take place at the conclusion of the first screening of the film.

Location: Parmer Cinema

Tuesday (9 March)  
4:00-5:30 Who Says It's Art? Exclusion and Inclusion in the Art-Historical Canon

Dr. Susanna Caroselli, Professor of Art History

This presentation examines challenges to the traditional canon of "great" Western art established by art historians and critics in the late 19th- and early 20th-centuries, particularly the ethical issues of inclusion/exclusion and the mutual effects of canonization and community building.

Location: Boyer Hall 130
4:00-6:30 The Danger of Belonging

Dr. Henry Venema, Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Respondent: Dr. Justin Barnard, Lecturer in Philosophy

A consideration of the following philosophical assertion concerning the relationship between
(1) self-identity and (2) belonging to a culture or community larger than the individual self: Identity, both personal and communal, is an act of closure and exclusion. Yet if we are called to love, such love must be open to the excluded, and break with identifying self closure. Hence, identity understood as belonging is dangerous and is in need of constant transformation by the openness of love.

Evil and Community: A New Theodicy

Dr. Robin Collins, Associate Professor of Philosophy
Respondent: Dr. Caleb Miller, Professor of Philosophy

A consideration of the interpersonal connections among human beings and with God that human suffering and evil make possible. This lecture explores whether or not evil and human suffering have a redeeming purpose or function after all.

Location: Boyer Hall 131
7:00-8:30 The Cultural Stories Foundation of Culture and Community

Dr. Felix Padilla
Libros Press

Guest lecture jointly sponsored by the Department of Modern Languages,
Alianza Latina, and the Center for the Humanities.

Individuals are rarely led to explore the origins of cultural and community values. An examination of cultural stories will offer an opportunity to begin this exploration. Important questions in this exploration are: Do you know the cultural stories that give meaning to your life? How do the cultural stories of today compare to those of the past? And which cultural stories can provide us with the images, symbols, and signs for living with love and compassion?

Location: Boyer Hall 131

Complex Identity versus Identity Complex

Nouveau Salon Student Colloquium

How do we use the Humanities to answer the "Who am I," "Where do I belong?" questions of personal identity? Often we feel obligated to choose a single community or cultural association for our sense of identity and belonging, yet the Humanities explore the possibilities inherent in a hybrid identity, with belonging found in multiple groups and voluntary associations. Areas to be discussed in this colloquium are: political identity/belonging, historical identity/belonging, gender identity/belonging, and cultural belonging/identity.

Location: Boyer Hall 130

Film Series: Rabbit Proof Fence

Screenings: 6:00 and 8:30, with a 7:30 discussion colloquium led by Sigma Tau Delta (English Honor Society), which will consider the themes of culture, community, and belonging as they are explored in the film.

Location: Parmer Cinema
Wednesday (10 March)  
4:00-5:30 Community and Noah's Ark: (Be)longing in Sacred Space

Dr. Crystal Downing, Associate Professor of English

This lecture traces the history of Ark iconography in order to argue for the phenomenological co-inherence between the architectural and textual spaces that define a community. For the symposium, Dr. Downing will include a section on the "sacred space" of Boyer Hall and how it symbolically contributes to the tradition of Ark representation.

Location: Boyer Hall 131

The Politics of Multiculturalism in the United Kingdom

Melissa Bell, Senior (Senior Politics Thesis Presentation)
Department of Politics

Too often, discussions of multiculturalism in the United States are blinkered by an American discourse that understands the concept as primarily pertaining to Black-White relations. Yet comparatively the debate over multiculturalism is richer and more complex, a discourse pioneered in Canada and Australia and which is now very much a part of academic theorizing about ethnic and race relations in the United Kingdom.

Location: Boyer Hall 231

El hombre que se convirtió en perro (The Man Who Turned Into a Dog)

A Short Play by Osvaldo Dragún
Convergencia: Messiah College's Spanish Theatre Group

Public performance of the short play by the theatre group, followed by a discussion of how student involvement in the play itself is a vehicle of belonging to the college community for some of the student actors, and how the Convergencia initiative serves as an example of "public humanities"

Location: Boyer Hall Parmer Cinema


Keynote Address
"The Cultural Manipulation of Community and Belonging: Advertising and Addiction"

Dr. Jean Kilbourne
Internationally acclaimed media critic and documentary filmmaker

Location: Hostetter Chapel
Complimentary tickets necessary. Contact The Ticket Office, Messiah College, 691-6036.

Thursday (11 March)
Our God, Our Bible, My Language: Representing Theology in Community
(Alternate Chapel)

Biblical & Religious Studies Department

This panel discussion will center on the role of language in representing and/or shaping our images of God and the Bible within the context of a faith community. Relevant questions may include: How does God-language function in faith communities such as congregations and colleges? How do such communities handle diversity in theological expression? What is the relationship between language, belief and (ultimately) belonging? Should a community’s own particular God-language move beyond biblical models or images? How are biblical and non-biblical images of God defined by language? Are so-called inclusive-language Bible translations "accurate"?

Location: Boyer Hall 336
Amish Professionals: What Happens to Community?

Dr. Paul Nisly, Professor of English

Dr. Nisly will present sabbatical research project findings: a survey of some Amish -- or formerly Amish --persons who had gone to college and had entered some area of professional service. For many the shift from a small, cohesive community to a larger, more loosely structured community brought both some gains, but also some considerable adjustments. The family, the church, and the individual are all affected by these changes.

Location: Boyer Hall 131

The Communication of Identity, Culture, and Community

Lambda Pi Eta (Communication Honor Society – Dr. Mary Holloway, advisor)

Three honor society students will reflect on identity, culture, and community in relationship to contemporary communication theory and their own personal journeys of faith.

Location: Boyer Hall 134

Belonging in the Community of the Word

The Writing Center's Student Colloquium

Panel Discussion: The Humanities is a community founded on the word. While other academic dis ciplines such as the sciences and creative arts have alternative means of expression, exchange and idea conveyance, the Humanities is defined and confined by the parameters of the written and spoken word. In such a community how is belonging defined? How do the Humanities compare to other communities of the word (Judaism, Islam, Christianity) and to what extent can Humanities communicate with and be informed by other word-based communities? Furthermore, to what extent does effective word-based community exist at Messiah College and how can this community be evolved and developed?

Location: Boyer Hall 138

The Communal Legacy of Pieism and Its Relevance Today

Dr. David Eller (Director, The Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies, Elizabethtown College)

Guest lecture co-sponsored by the Sider Institute for Anabaptist, Pietist, and Wesleyan Studies
and the Center for the Humanities.

Location: Boyer Hall 131

Students on the Edge: The Humanities Major and Interdisciplinary Study at Messiah

Jennifer Boyd (Humanities Major): Research Colloquium

Why did students choose the Humanities major and what did they hope to achieve? How have interdisciplinary concerns shaped their course of study? In what unique ways has their academic development benefited from the program? What special challenges do students face as they try to work out programs of interdisciplinary study? How would students like to see these challenges addressed? How do students envision the future of the Humanities Major? Ms. Boyd will present the results of her research among Humanities majors and then invite group discussion about these findings

Location: Boyer Hall 130

Film Series: Rebel Without a Cause (Parmer Cinema)
Screenings: 6:00 and 9:00, with an 8:00 discussion colloquium led by the Film Studies Program, which will consider the themes of culture, community, and belonging as they are explored in the film.

Location: Parmer Cinema
Friday (12 March)
Creating Community in the Humanities Classroom

Dr. Helen Walker, Associate Professor of English
Kate Quimby, Instructor of Communication

This colloquium is based on the underlying assumption that, even in the briefly-constructed and fragile community of the classroom of any given course in any given semester, a sense of belonging helps learning happen. The session also assumes that part of the teacher's responsibility for that semester-long class is to take the position of leader in creating safe space where inquiry (learning) can happen. We will center this experiential study around three themes: Preparation for Community; Relational Management as Part of Community Maintenance; and the Play/Work Continuum for a Balanced Community

Location: Boyer Hall 131

Visit the following pages for information from past Symposia:

2011 Spring Humanities Symposium

2010 Spring Humanities Symposium

2009 Spring Humanities Symposium

2008 Spring Humanities Symposium

2007 Spring Humanities Symposium

2006 Spring Humanities Symposium

2005 Spring Humanities Symposium

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