Civility-inspired Humanities Symposium starts Monday

While the 11th annual Humanities Symposium may give many opportunities for convo credit – 33, to be exact – co-chair and English professor David Curtis said there is more to the week of events starting Monday than simply a series of lectures and panels.

The symposium’s theme this year is Civility and its Discontents, which stems from the freshman common book, “Civility: Manners, Morals, and the Etiquette of Democracy. “

Like to the last Presidential election year, the committee wanted a topic that could provide context for political debate and dialogue. Since starting to plan the event last year, the symposium’s co-chairs created a theme that would achieve that and tie in to the overall university theme and First Year Seminar concept.

“We won’t just address civility, but the value of incivility and when things break down,” Curtis said. “We’re going to explore aspects of people having to work and live together and what happens when it all breaks down.”

Events discussing civility will occur for a full week, starting with a plenary address on September 24 and through the week until the wrap up panel on the following Monday.

For people only able to attend a few events, Curtis suggested seeing the “folks from off campus” even though he said. there is some great “local talent” from Belmont departments.

Some of those guest lectures will include Remziya Suleyman’s discussion of immigration through her own experience as a Kurdish refugee and anti-immigrant legislation that has been passed in several states. She will speak in Beaman A&B Wednesday afternoon at 3 p.m.

Dr. Fred Evans from Duquesne University will also speak at an event entitled “Citizenship and Public Art: The Political Aesthetics of New York’s 9/11 Memorial” Wednesday night at 7 p.m. in Beaman A&B.

The following night will be this year’s First Year Seminar lecture, where Common Book author, columnist and Yale professor Stephen L. Carter will discuss the concept of civility, politics and law. This event, like many others, will be academic lecture convo credit. It starts in the Curb Event Center Thursday at 7 p.m.

As always, all of the featured speakers including Carter, Sulyeman, Evans and Troy University professor Clifford Lee will speak again at the Symposium Speaker’s Panel Friday at 10 a.m. at Beaman A&B.

The next day, community service convo will also be offered on one of the final days of the Symposium. Students can sign up to participate in various community service projects through Hands on Nashville. Curtis hopes the day will “put some ideas of civility into practice.”

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