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Spring 2010 Humanities Symposium
Feb. 22 – March 1, 2010

Memory in classical definition is a simple repository of experiences, both individual and communal. Recollections of these memories reinforce individual and social identity and make the past meaningful. However, memory is changing; it shifts over time. Remembering and forgetting are processes that reinforce, appropriate, suppress, and reinterpret the past. From a rhetorical perspective, memory bears witness, informs judgment, and gives voice. Marcel Proust’s account of how a petite Madeleine could send someone back to childhood memories established notions of involuntary memory (also called “Proustian memory”). Henri Bergson understood memory not as a collection of fragments


and images of the past, but as an active agent that makes judgments in the present. Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. evoked powerful stories about the color of memory in his exploration of DNA mapping and African-American family histories. But, how do we actually remember? How are individual memories different from communal memories? How are communal practices invented and when do they become memorable traditions? Who controls what is remembered and what is believed? How does memory shape artistic expression or political power? These and other issues will be explored in the 2010 Humanities Symposium.

Henry Louis Gates lecture will proceed tonight

This evening's lecture by Dr. Henry Louis Gates will proceed as scheduled at 8 p.m. in Brubaker Auditorium, Eisenhower Campus Center. Free tickets are required and will be available at the door. Campus personnel will be working diligently to respond to the weather conditions predicted for this evening, and all guests are asked to use appropriate caution when traveling to and around campus.

A final decision regarding whether the book signing will proceed will be made at the event, pending evaluation of current weather conditions.

Any status changes to this announcement would be communicated via the College's emergency hotline at (717)691-6084

Genetics and Genealogy
Keynote Address | Brubaker Auditorium | Thursday, Feb. 25 | 8– 9:15 p.m.
Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute
for African and African American Research at Harvard University

Learn more about Dr. Gates

Monday, Feb. 22
Opening Reception
Howe Atrium, Boyer Hall | 3:45–4:30 p.m.
Welcome and Opening Remarks by Bernardo A. Michael, director, Center for Public Humanities (4:20 p.m.)

: “Messiah College’s First 100 Years — An Exhibition”
BIC Historical Library and Archives (lower level of the Library)
open from 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. during the Symposium.

: “Bygone Times and Bedrock” and “Grantham’s
Pre-historic Landscapes”
Oakes Museum of Natural History
open every day of the symposium from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Andrew Henry, Dr. David Pettegrew, Advisor (History)
Thematically, these exhibits are designed to show how Messiah’s campus has changed over the decades, introduce some fascinating artifacts, and provide little-known facts about the rock formations beneath Messiah College.

: “Celebrating Messiah’s Multicultural Century”
Fireplace Alcove, Larsen Student Union, as well as posters and
banners across campus.

Based on personal interviews and archival research, this exhibit helps the campus and extended community to better understand the history and stories of Messiah College’s alumni of color.

Student Colloquia
: “Remembering Messiah College, 1940–1990
—An Oral History”

Boyer Hall 131 | 4:30 – 5:15 p.m.
Elizabeth Kay and Miriam Fiorentino, Dr. James LaGrand, Advisor (History)

Individuals who attended Messiah College from the 1940s to the
1990s will be interviewed about their social experiences, particularly their most prominent memories of this aspect of student life. In addition to exploring the process of cognitive memory (why some events are remembered more than others), Elizabeth Kay and Miriam Fiorentino will also address the challenges, opportunities, and rewards that come with collecting oral history and preserving memory through it.

Student Colloquia
“Memories Entrenched: Reflections on
Archaeological Fieldwork in Cyprus, June 2009”

Boyer Hall  131 | 5:15 – 6 p.m.
Caitlin Babcock, Rebecca Savaria, Rachel Skotnicki, Courtney Weller, Dr. David Pettegrew, Advisor (History)

Concurrent Faculty Lecture Series: “How Memory Flirts
with Honesty”

Boyer Hall 131 | 7–7:45 p.m.
Dr. Larry Lake (English), Elrena C. Evans

Writer Elrena Evans is the author of an essay in the Random House anthology Twenty Something Essays by Twenty Something Writers
and is coeditor of Mama, Ph.D., a set of essays by women about family and education. Evans will read from her work and discuss the difficulties inherent in writing personal essays, especially the challenges of selecting facts that may be difficult for friends and family to read. She has a particular interest in the role of memories in all writing.

Concurrent Faculty Lecture Series
: “Poetry and Memory”
Boyer Hall 131 | 7:45 – 8:30 p.m.
Dr. Matthew Roth (English)

Dr. Matthew Roth will read poems (mostly his own) that specifically address memory. This is a common theme in his work and for most poetry since the Romantic age.

Concurrent Faculty Lecture Series
: “Revolution in Stained
Glass: American Theology and Memory at the Washington
Memorial Chapel in Valley Forge”

Boyer Hall 134 | 7–7:45 p.m.
Professor Matthew Hunter (Biblical Studies /Agapé Center)

The Memorial Chapel is a functional Episcopal parish and a shrine to George Washington and early American heroes. Professor Hunter will discuss American Civil Religion as a “liberation theology for the Liberated” and the ongoing process and importance of memory construction at this church. Of particular importance are renewal rituals, the sanitization of violence in the collective memory, the progressive politics of inclusion (especially for women and African and Native Americans), and the attempt to form a national community of consensus at the Chapel.

Concurrent Faculty Lecture Series
: “Making Sense of Memories:
Messiah’s Centennial, Latin American Dictators, Scrapbooking, and
Social Justice”

Boyer Hall 134 | 7:45–8:30 p.m.
Dr. Sheila Kraybill Rodriguez (Modern Languages)

How could these topics possibly be related? Our memory of an event is like a snapshot, capturing and freezing a specific moment in a particular light. To explore how events are framed, some photos from the recent Mexico Cross Cultural Course will be examined. Historical examples from the Spanish Conquest and Nicaraguan Revolution illustrate how historical memory can be controlled, framed, or even distorted. Finally, in Messiah’s celebration of history and the search for ways to frame its future, we should ask, “Who’s in the picture?”

: “Remembering Montgomery”
Boyer 137 (Parmer Cinema) | 9 p.m.
Dr. Robin Lauermann (Politics), Reconciliation House/Dr. Richard Crane (BRS), Rev. Nathaniel Gadsden, Civil Rights Activist

The HBO film “Boycott” offers a creative dramatization of the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott, usually considered the birth of the Civil Rights Movement. This film enables viewers to explore the ways which Americans remember the Civil Rights Movement. Our collective memory of these events has transformed — and continues to transform — the ways we view historical and contemporary racial differences in our society. Unlike documentaries, this movie, based upon Stewart Burn’s Daybreak of Freedom, focuses on the personal and collective actions and internal struggles of the leaders of this pivotal event in our history. Discussion will follow with the Rev. Nathaniel Gadsden, who participated in the Civil Rights Movement in Harrisburg.

Tuesday, Feb. 23

Faculty-Student Colloquia: “Remembering Seems Wise”
Boyer Hall 131 | 4–4:45 p.m.
Dr. Jean Corey (English) and Students of Ethnic Literature class

Author Toni Morrison explains that when the Mississippi River floods, it is “in fact not flooding; it is remembering. Remembering where it used to be…and is forever trying to get back to where it was.” Morrison goes on to compare this same impulse to writers, “remembering where we were, what valley we ran through, what the banks were like, the light that was there and the route back to our original place. It is emotional memory—what the nerves and the skin remember as well as how it appeared. And a rush of imagination is our flooding.” A panel of students will explore the intersection of memory and imagination in the work of several contemporary authors from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds and the ways their texts complicate, revise, and expand our notions of memory, lament, community, and hope.

Faculty-Student Colloquia
: “The Risks of Memory:
How Memoirs can be Dangerous”

Boyer Hall 131 | 4:45 – 5:30 p.m.
Dr. Larry Lake (English) and Students

Memoir as an art form attempts to capture personal history and present it clearly, yet is challenged by the inherent risks of violating personal and family privacy, misrepresentation of the contexts of previous actions, and the blurring effects of time and distance. Three students who have taken Dr. Lake’s Literary Nonfiction Workshop will each read a short excerpt from a personal essay and explore how they negotiated these risks in recalling and writing this material. The discussion will be informed by the panelists’ study of the works of risk-taking memoirists as Lauren Winner, Mary Karr, Kathleen Norris, Lee Martin, and Tobias Wolff.

Concurrent Faculty Lecture Series
: “Memory, History, and Ancestry in the Formation of Family Identity”
Boyer Hall 131 | 7–8:30 p.m.
• “Memory Believes Before Knowing Remembers: Family Memory and Historical Knowledge when Ancestry is Lost on the American Frontier,” Dr. Joseph P. Huffman (History)
• “‘Crushed Glass:’ Memory, History, and Identity in a South Indian
Family,” Dr. Bernardo A. Michael (History)

Memory and history are two overlapping yet distinctive means of accessing the past. Both represent powerful ways of searching for, remembering (or forgetting), and finding meaning in the lost events and people of the past, yet they also have their limitations and frustrations. Dr. Huffman and Dr. Michael seek to understand how memory and history inform the attempt to access family ancestry and how, in particular, the presence or absence of memory raises a host of questions pertaining to the enterprise of writing family histories. They will share experiences of loss and recovery in their attempts to trace the histories of their families in the U.S. and southern India.

Concurrent Faculty Lecture Series
: “The Memory of Social Systems”
Boyer Hall 134 | 7–7:45 p.m.
Dr. John W. Eby (Sociology)

Social systems remember. They do so by incorporating events, perceptions, and actions into structures that live on far beyond their initiation and even long after they are discontinued. No generation starts with a “clean slate,” but with one already written full with culture and social structure. Every individual is born not only into a particular setting defined by social understandings of gender, race, ethnicity, and religion, but also into a structure where social class and existing social institutions define opportunity. Every institution and organization has a repertoire of skills and inhibitions that affects its ability to resolve conflict, innovate, face challenges, grow, etc. Even God said to “visit the iniquity of the fathers upon the children of the third and fourth generation.” Yet the good is passed on, too! Three reasons why attention should be given to social memory will be discussed: to understand, to compensate, and to reconcile.


Film-Discussion: “Missing Pieces: Memory Malfunction”
Boyer Hall 137 (Parmer Cinema) | 9 p.m.
Dr. Heather Hostler (Psychology)

The film "Memento" presents the issue of memory formation and memory loss in a fascinating context--cinematically, culturally, clinically, and behaviorally. This forum will explore memory from a psychological perspective and will ask attendees to grapple with challenging questions of identity, personhood, and meaning after viewing portions of the film. This movie is rated R for violence, language, and some drug content.


Wednesday, Feb. 24

Faculty-Student Colloquia: “Structural Chaos: Crafting a
Memory of Adrian E. Wilson”

Boyer Hall 131 | 4–4:45 p.m.
Francis Eanes ’09 and Dan Webster ’09, Dr. Helen Walker (English)

Author James Carroll posits that “to be made in God’s image is to do this: arrange memory and transform experience according to the structure of narrative [because] the story is what saves us.” The chaos that results from our memories can be controlled by words on a page. Narrative is the medium in which Francis Eanes and Dan Webster preserved the most chaotic incident of their lives: the death of their friend, Messiah student Adrian Wilson, in 2008.

Faculty-Student Colloquia
: “Jogging the Memory: Using Social Media and Physical Presence to Strengthen Organization-Publics Relationships,”
Boyer Hall 131 | 4:45–5:30 p.m.Dr. Nance McCown (Communication) and Students
Memory can be fleeting, especially in light of today’s never-ending information overload. Because of this, organizations must compete vigorously to build strong relationships by maintaining a “top-of-mind” presence with their publics. Many organizations are using social media as yet another avenue to reach publics, but how effective are their efforts? Past research indicates that online efforts must be supported by offline efforts for maximal return on investment, and that people engage more readily in online relationship building and donating if they have experienced an in-person connection with the organization in some way. Students in the Fall 2009 Public Relations Campaign class researched this issue for offcampus client CURE International. Results formed the basis for planning and implementing a public relations campaign to launch CURE’s new child surgery sponsorship program.

Faculty Lecture Series
: “Remembering our Beginnings: The Brethren In Christ Church and Messiah College”
Boyer Hall 131 | 7–8:30 p.m.
Dr. E. Morris Sider (History)

The College and the supporting denomination were virtually one and the same in the earliest years. The beginning of the College was in large measure tied to the changing cultural outlook of the supporting denomination.

"A Common Hymnal for both College and Church"
Boyer Hall 131 | Immediately following lecture.

Karen Durbin, Minister of Music and Worship, Grantham Brethren in Christ Church

Following Dr. Sider’s lecture, attendees will sing hymns and songs from the first hymnal of the Brethren in Christ Church with notations. These are the same hymns that both early students and congregants sang. Worshipping together was part of the cultural dynamic at work in the denomination when the College began.  Refreshments provided.

: “Remembering Dismemberment: Colombian Stories of Displacement”
Boyer Hall 137 | Parmer Cinema | 9 p.m.
Dr. Kim Yunez (Modern Languages), Dr. Reid Perkins-Buzo
(Communication), Lagan Sebert and Sandra Sampayo (filmmakers)

Documentary filmmaking brings issues like that of the internally displaced people of Colombia into the public discourse. The documentary film “Busco Personas: The Faces of Colombia’s War” attests to the fact that towns were destroyed and families decimated by armed groups, and it does so by featuring the voices of the displaced. Why are there so many displaced people in Colombia? How might people who have lost everything pass along a sense of their own history and identity to the next generation? Filmmakers Lagan Sebert and Sandra Sampayo will be present to talk about the process of making “Busco Personas.”

Thursday, Feb. 25

Alternate Chapel: “Remembering Through Technology”
Boyer Hall 237 | 9:45 –10:30 a.m.
Grace Park, Hannah Faye Zarate, Dr. Eugene Rohrbaugh
(Computer Science)

YouTube can be used to capture historic moments in the lives of people and communities. The capturing of memory through technology can be a way to give voice to communities of color. Hannah Faye Zarate and Grace Park will use their personal stories as Asian/Pacific Islanders at Messiah College to capture how they remember in this new age, how they have used media and YouTubing to capture in film what is important to them, how they face racial tensions here on campus,
and how they are agents of change in racial reconciliation.

Keynote Address
: “Genetics and Genealogy”
Keynote Address of the Symposium and second keynote address of the
Centennial Year | 8 – 9:15 p.m. | Brubaker Auditorium
Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr.

See box below for details.

Book Signing with Dr. Gates

9:15 – 10 p.m. | Eisenhower Campus Center Commons
Friday, Feb. 26

Friday, February 26

Plenary Session
Boyer Hall 131 | 4:00-5:30 p.m.
Talk-back session on the keynote address and the Symposium theme
panelists:, Dr. Jean Corey (English), Dr. James B. LaGrand (History), Dr. Peter Powers (School of the Humanities), Dr. Emerson Powery (Biblical Studies), and Dr. Paul Rego (Politics)

Refreshments provided.

Monday, March 1
Student Colloqua: “Remembering Tragedy: A Comparison of
Columbine and Nickel Mines”

Boyer Hall 131 | 4-4:45 p.m.
Benjamin Voran, Dr. James LaGrand, Advisor (History)

Benjamin Voran will address how two recent school shootings — Columbine High School (1999) and Nickel Mines Amish school (2006) — have been remembered in markedly different ways by two very different communities. He will explore how several factors, including religion and social class, have contributed to ways of remembering tragedy.

Student Colloquia
: “The Forgotten Presidents”
Boyer Hall 131 | 4:45-5:30 p.m. | Melinda Maslin, Tommy DeShong, Rachel Skotnicki, Dr. James LaGrand, Advisor (History)
Which American presidents should be remembered and for what? This student group will present the findings of their survey of Messiah College students, faculty, and staff on these questions. They will discuss how school, documentary films, popular non-fiction books, and various forms of popular culture have shaped how we either remember or forget various presidents.

Faculty Lecture Series: “Messiah College’s Changing
Identity, 1970-2000”

Boyer Hall 131 | 7:00-7:45 p.m. | Dr. Paul W. Nisly (English)
As Dr. Nisly has been interviewing, researching, reflecting, and writing about Messiah College’s last 35 to 40 years he has sensed that a “meta-theme” is the issue of identity as the College has grown and changed. Who were we, who are we now, what are we becoming? Size, academic climate, religious affiliation, changes in the profile of the faculty, a more diverse student body, the five-school structure, a challenging economic climate — all these and more affect our identity.

Faculty Lecture Series
: “Messiah College’s Forgotten Landscapes”
Faculty Lecture Series | Boyer Hall 131 | 7:45-8:30 p.m.
Dr. David K. Foster (Biology and Environmental Science)

The natural history of our community and how it has shaped us will be reviewed. This history includes geological formation of Messiah’s as well as some of the notable non-human residents that share this location. Dr. David K. Foster will also speak about earlier human presence in this area and how their understanding of their place in the world shaped what we have come to call “natural.” Also explored will be how memory of the past shapes our future and what this site will
forever reveal about our relationship to the Creator.

Henry Louis Gates Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University
Messiah College Humanities Symposium Lecture “Genetics and Genealogy”

Feb. 25, 2010, 8 p.m. | Brubaker Auditorium, Eisenhower Campus Center
Henry Louis Gates Jr., Ph.D., will deliver the second keynote lecture of the Centennial year and the keynote address for the Messiah College Humanities Symposium.

Dr. Gates is editor-in-chief of the Oxford African American Studies Center, the first comprehensive scholarly online resource in the field of African American Studies and Africana Studies, and of The Root, an online news magazine dedicated to coverage of African American news, culture, and genealogy. In 2008, Oxford University Press published the African American National Biography. Co-edited with Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, it is an eight-volume set containing more than 4,000 biographical entries on both well known and obscure African Americans. He is most recently the author of In Search of Our Roots (Crown, 2009), a meditation on genetics, genealogy, and race, and a collection of expanded profiles featured on his PBS documentary series, “African American Lives.” His other recent books are America Behind the Color Line: Dialogues with African Americans (Warner Books, 2004), and African American Lives, co-edited with Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham (Oxford, 2004). Immediately following the lecture, audience members are invited to attend a public book signing by Dr. Gates in the Eisenhower Campus Center. This event is open to the public. Seating is by ticket only; no charge.

For tickets, call the Messiah College Ticket Office at 717-691-6036. Please visit for details on when tickets are available.

View a PDF of the Symposium schedule.

Visit the following pages for information from past Symposiums:

2011 Spring Humanities Symposium

2009 Spring Humanities Symposium
2008 Spring Humanities Symposium
2007 Spring Humanities Symposium
2006 Spring Humanities Symposium
2005 Spring Humanities Symposium
2004 Spring Humanities Symposium

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