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Archive for the 'Humanities' Category

Resilience, sustainability and the humanities: Majora Carter encourages community development and resiliency

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

“True resiliency is not about surviving; it’s about thriving,” said Majora Carter during Messiah College’s annual Humanities Symposium Feb. 26-28. Carter, an urban revitalization strategist and keynote speaker for the symposium, spoke about the idea of resiliency and community development, and their positive implications on society. A South Bronx native, Carter has a passion for creating social cohesion and economic diversity in underdeveloped communities.  Her dreams have created amazing realities for many people in the South Bronx and beyond. (more…)

Alumna Kim Lawton `85 shapes PBS’ religion coverage

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

At the Reunion Celebration Banquet during Homecoming Weekend, communication alum Kim Lawton ’85 humbly accepted the Distinguished Alumna Achievement Award. Each year, the office of alumni and parent relations salutes alumni who have made exceptional contributions to society or Messiah College. In particular, the Distinguished Alumna Achievement Award recognizes a lifetime of vocational accomplishment that reflects the mission of the college.

Currently working in Washington, D.C., Lawton serves as managing editor and correspondent for PBS’ “Religion and Ethics Newsweekly,” a news-magazine format show that she helped to start in 1997. “We recognized that there was a need in mainstream media for coverage of religion that was intelligent.” The program, which reaches 275 stations, highlights the importance of religion in politics and people’s lives without advocating a particular religion. (more…)

Student pursues passion for the Civil War at summer internship

Monday, September 30th, 2013

Messiah College student Elizabeth MotichThis past summer, senior humanities/history major Elizabeth Motich had the opportunity to travel back in time to the year 1863 through an internship at the Gettysburg National Park. During this time, the nation found itself in the midst of perhaps the most violent and utterly tragic time in national history—the American Civil War. Through this internship, Motich encountered distant Civil War history brought back to life through the small, yet significant, town of Gettysburg. One hundred fifty years ago, this town marked the site for the most significant and tragic battle of the Civil War, resulting in a tremendous amount of soldier causalities and great civilian unease. In fact, on the solemn morning of July 4, 1863, civilians of this town awoke to find the bodies of thousands of soldiers, either dead or wounded scattered across the town acting as a somber token of the previous night’s events. Residents quickly assumed the roles of nurses and grave diggers as homes became hospitals and fields became cemeteries. (more…)

Relating the humanities directly to the progression of individuals, America

Monday, February 25th, 2013

On February 21, Messiah College warmly welcomed Geoffrey Galt Harpham as the keynote speaker for the College’s annual Humanities Symposium. Harpham currently acts as the president and director of the National Humanities Center in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina – the only institute in the world dedicated completely to the humanities. After being trained as a literary scholar, Harpham released several books, one of which guided his lecture at the Symposium. Among the many issues addressed in his book, “The Humanities and the Dream of America,” Harpham mainly focuses on how the humanities were formed and what role the American academy played in its formation.

Harpham began his lecture, “Melancholy in the Midst of Abundance,” by taking his audience back to a post-World War II America. Before this time, people viewed the humanities simply as a waste of time since, as they believed, nothing beneficial could result from such studies. However, following the war, American citizens began to experience a change of heart regarding the humanities. Instead of being viewed as a waste of time, they felt as if the humanities could represent the crowning achievement of a nation which just prevailed in war. This nation would build itself on such a foundation of economic, political, and social power, that citizens could turn their attention towards the humanities. People of this day started viewing a pursuit of the humanities directly related to the progression of the nation and of mankind. This new appreciation of the art guided the American academy and led to works such as the Harvard “Redbook”.

According to Harpham, the Harvard Redbook was an influential work that supported the spread of the humanities. In fact, this book was known to be a symbol of renewal as it revolved around the idea of cultivating the humanities and society as a whole. Harpham also spoke about the stances made in the Redbook on the goals of education. According to the book, education should produce unity and character in American society, but the most important aim is for education to cultivate a proper vision of humanity; one in which citizens are unified by wisdom – creating what Harpham coined as “the whole man.” But, just what is the “whole man?” As Harpham described, whole men are those who appreciate the arts and humanities, and those who are reflective and curious about such topics. In addition, these men possess freedom as well as a strong sense of citizenship. This, in essence, is the purpose of education: to produce whole men and women. And, by achieving this goal, it was believed that one could experience a freer and more abundant life.

In today’s society, it is important to remember how the study of the humanities was formed and shaped by our nation’s past. In addition, as Harpham stressed, it is equally important to realize where the humanities is headed and to aid in its advancement. According to Jimmy Carter, the former president whom Harpham quoted multiple times throughout his lecture, “We must stress how limited our sense of national purpose is, indeed how imperiled our civilization is, if the humanities are exiled to a peripheral role of irrelevance.”

Story by Jessica Kern `15.

History student creates Hershey mobile app

Monday, February 11th, 2013

For most people, Hershey, Pa. means delicious chocolate, thrilling amusement park rides and the philanthropist Milton Hershey. However, for Megan Keller ’13, the real story lies deeper than the tourist attractions and candy bars. The story of Hershey, engrained in its rich history, provides a deeper look at the industrious workers that brought this town its fame. Keller found a way to intertwine this story and her Messiah College education to develop and produce a mobile application that narrates a historical walking tour through downtown Hershey.

As a history major with a social studies certification, Keller took many classes that challenged her to engage in public history, a process that makes history more accessible to an average person. For her public history class last fall, Keller was challenged to consider an exhibit that would bring history to anyone. Keller knew she could take it one step further than doing something traditional and expected like building a Colonial exhibit. (more…)

The Chosen Road: Students write bios of Messiah Village residents

Monday, July 9th, 2012

Writing a person’s biography can be a form of service, an assignment and even a gift. Combining a desire to improve her students’ writing skills with a desire to encourage multigenerational relationships, Helen Walker, an associate professor of writing at Messiah College, created a unique first-year seminar course. The Chosen Road, offered for the third consecutive year and the fifth year overall, brings together two very different generations through the act of writing. (more…)

iPad experiment

Monday, April 16th, 2012

You might not expect a historian of Medieval and Renaissance Europe to be among the first educators at Messiah College to volunteer to lead a pilot project exploring the impact of mobile technology—in this case, the iPad—on students’ ability to learn. But that’s exactly what happened.

Joseph Huffman, distinguished professor of European history, and the eight students in his fall 2011 Intermediate Latin course exchanged their paper textbooks for iPads loaded with the required texts, relevant apps, supplementary PDFs and a Latin-English dictionary. The primary goal was to advance the learning of Latin. The secondary goal was to determine whether the use of the iPad improved, inhibited or did not affect their ability to learn a foreign language. (more…)

Modern treasure hunt

Monday, March 19th, 2012

Just a few miles south of Messiah College, a 244-year-old farm is the site of an archaeological dig involving Messiah students, young participants in the Oakes Museum Curator Club, and older adults from nearby Messiah Village’s Pathways Institute for Lifelong Learning. The treasures from this effort aren’t simply the artifacts buried beneath the ground.  The great value, according to the dig directors, is in collaboratively exploring regional history, answering real research questions and adopting keen problem solving skills.

David Pettegrew, a professor in the Department of History, and Ken Mark, director of the Oakes Museum of Natural History, are overseeing the dig at the Stouffer Farm, a York County property dating back to 1767. The dig has been underway since fall 2010. (more…)

The book: transformational and transformed

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

This year’s Humanities Symposium, which took place from Feb. 20-25, was centered on the theme “The Transforming Book.” This topic proved apropos in an era when there is uncertainty about the future of the printed book as we know it.

Throughout the week, various faculty and student panels and colloquia explored the transforming and transformational role the book has played and continues to play. There were presentations on subjects ranging from Don Quixote to six-year-olds’ interactions with e-books.

The week’s most anticipated event was the symposium keynote address. On Feb. 23, Anthony Grafton, Henry Putnam University Professor of History and the Chairperson of the Council of the Humanities at Princeton University, delivered the symposium keynote address, entitled, “The Book: Its Future and its Past.” He began his lecture by quoting the first sentences of A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, emphasizing that at this point in the history of book, we “are going straight to heaven and straight the other way” in terms of the future of the book. (more…)

Civility in a fractured society

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

Speaking on the role of civility in public life, chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities and former Iowa congressman James Leach delivered the keynote lecture Feb. 25 in Hostetter Chapel during the Spring 2011 Humanities Symposium, sponsored by Messiah College’s Center for Public Humanities. Leach’s lecture “Friendship in the Public Sphere: Civility in a Fractured Society” highlighted the symposium’s theme of friendship.

“Basic civility is how people interrelate in society,” said Leach, who served 30 years in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Regardless of intelligence, says Leach, everyone can learn something from one another because each person has a unique experience and perspective to share. Civility requires the ability to understand the views of others and come to a compromise.

During the lecture, Leach offered the audience 10 “two-minute crash courses in American public life” in which he covered such topics as political science, psychology, journalism, sports and physics. As part of his psychology “crash course,” Leach explained that when one person has a different view than another, each person thinks the other is immoral. In all areas, he said it was crucial to be able to put oneself in another person’s shoes.

Friendship that reaches across ideological and political difference means not just politeness, but an openness to listen, learn from and even collaborate with those with whom one disagrees. In the public life of a democracy, in particular, such friendships–when seen in their public expressions of courtesy, curiosity in the other person’s views and decency in the treatment of one another– builds up the republic and sets an example for the best in citizenship. Civility as a virtue equates to not only “good citizenship” but also a state of mind refined by a liberal education. As a result, Leach’s keynote address about civility as a form of public friendship proved beneficial to the audience both as citizens and as members of a liberal arts community.

Other symposium events held during the week of Feb. 21-25 included the chapel “Spiritual Friendship: Sowing an Ethic of Love,” the film series “The Wooden Camera: Friendship in Post-Apartheid South Africa,” guest lecture series “Literary Friendship: Henry James and Edith Wharton” and many other lectures and faculty-student colloquia.

Story by Sarah Fleischman’13.