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Archive for the 'Humanities' Category

Journey of thousands of miles

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

Bernardo Michael

Colleagues and friends Jim LaGrand, professor of American history, and Bernardo Michael, associate professor of history and director of The Center for Public Humanities, talk about Michael’s journey from his home country of India to Messiah College, a place that wasn’t even on his radar screen when he began looking for a teaching position after completing his doctorate.

Michael, after several interviews at Messiah, was impressed with how the College seemed to be “moving with a sense of vision and intentionality.” He joined the faculty in 2001, and in this Listen Up! podcast recounts his journey of thousands of miles and his affection for the Messiah College community.
In this photo, Michael hosts students and alumni in his home for a weekly time of sharing food and fellowship.

Nurturing a passion for genealogy

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

As a young child, Henry Louis Gates was introduced to a cabinet full of scrapbooks chronicling major events in the life of his family and community. One scrapbook, containing the obituary of Jane Gates, sparked in Gates a desire to uncover his genealogical roots.

According to the obituary, Jane Gates was “an estimable colored woman.” As a young boy just nine years old, Gates didn’t know what the word “estimable” meant, but the phrase stuck with him and later that night, he pulled his red dictionary off the shelf and looked the word up. Estimable, meaning deserving of admiration or respect, seemed well-suiteHenry Louis Gates interacts with audienced, Gates thought, to define a woman who was a slave until 1865 and then purchased the Gates family home in Cumberland, Maryland in 1870.

So intrigued by this “estimable” women of his family’s past, Gates began interviewing family members and tracing his family tree.

With this family tale, an evening of storytelling and sharing facts and stats about genetics and genealogy was underway. Gates, visiting Messiah as the keynote lecturer for the spring humanities symposium and the Centennial, presented an informative, entertaining lecture to a large, captive audience in Brubaker Auditorium on Feb. 25

What Gates learned from exploring his own family tree and from a serious case of what he coined “Alex Haley’s ’Roots’ envy” inspired his hit PBS television series, “African American Lives.” The program identifies prominent people from various ethnic backgrounds and uses a combination of genetics and genealogy to uncover greater depths of their family history. The results can be surprising, said Gates, as sometimes family myths that have been passed down for generations are debunked.


Hoverter Course launches graduates into learning for life

Thursday, November 4th, 2010
Hoverter Course 2009 graduates
The 2009 graduates of the Hoverter Course.

“My brain was fuzzy from chemotherapy,” explained Linda Porter about why she pursued the opportunity to participate in Messiah College’s Hoverter Course. “And, because of the Course, my curiosity was sparked, my perspectives loosened, and I was changed in many ways.”

Porter was one of 11 students whose life was positively impacted by the 25-week Hoverter Course, an intensive humanities program sponsored by the College’s Center for Public Humanities and made possible by the generous support of the Hoverter Foundation.

Course graduates earned three Messiah College credits for successfully completing classes taught by Messiah College faculty in writing, communication, critical/ethical thinking, creative arts, and history/civics.


Keynote Speaker asks ‘Who’s Afraid of American Religion?’

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

Alan WolfeMessiah College’s sixth annual Humanities Symposium held Feb. 23-27 explored the concept of Faith in the Public Square, drawing members of the college and the community into dialogue with one another regarding such topics as the loss of faith in capital markets, the relationship between faith and social justice, and social networking’s role in building organization/public relationships. Hosted by faculty and student panels, sessions throughout the week allowed for vibrant discussion on these and other topics.

The keynote address of this year’s Symposium sought to answer the question “Who’s Afraid of American Religion?” Dr. Alan Wolfe, Director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life and Professor of Political Science at Boston College, presented the keynote speech in Brubaker Auditorium Feb. 26, answering the title question within the first five minutes by saying, “A lot of people.” Unpacking this statement, he said that the outspokenness of the religious right has created a similarly ardent reaction from the nonreligious sector. This reaction frequently manifests itself as fear of a looming theocracy in the United States, said Wolfe. What scares the nonreligious public, he said, is “not only religion, but religion linked to politics.”