The Center for Humanities and the Arts (CHA) is pleased to announce its theme for the 2007-2008 academic year, "Faith, Reason, Doubt." In conjunction with this theme, CHA will conduct a year-long faculty and graduate student seminar, host a series of lectures and public performances, and hold a Spring Colloquium. We invite all members of the CU community to join in an interdisciplinary conversation focused on the broad range of ideas that faith, reason, and/or doubt can take in our lives.
CHA solicits proposals for the following:
In addition, two faculty members will be invited to teach courses on CHA's theme: a Fall 2007 course for senior Honors students, and a Spring 2008 course in Farrand Academic Program. Faculty applicants interested in teaching either course should include a course proposal with a cover sheet indicating name, position, department, and course title; this sheet should include the following statement signed by the faculty member's chair/dean: "I understand that, if the applicant receives a Farrand Teaching Fellowship or teaches the Honors course, the course will be taught as part of his/her normal load.
Guest Speakers, Artists, Performers: CHA is interested in hearing from the CU community about distinguished visitors who would contribute to an exploration of our theme. We envision a series involving 5 to 6 speakers, artists, and/or performers. In addition, we solicit nominations (including self-nominations) of faculty at CU; one of our colleagues will be selected by CHA's Steering Committee to join our distinguished guests as part of the CHA Lecture Series. The selected faculty member will be offered a $500 research stipend to participate in the Lecture Series. Please send speaker suggestions to Michael E. Zimmerman, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The deadline for submissions is Friday, February 2, 2007 at 12:00 noon.
Applications and inquiries should be addressed to:
Michael E. Zimmerman, Director
Center for Humanities and the Arts
280 UCB / Macky 201
Tel: (303)492-1931 / Fax: (303)735-2624
To help members of the campus community to decide how they might participate in CHA's exploration of the theme, "Faith, Reason, Doubt," we offer the following thoughts on some of the many directions in which the topic might lead:
Around the world, religious fundamentalists from different faith traditions clash with one another, yet are often united in their opposition to a secular modernity that elevates reason above faith. At home, fundamentalists refuse to modify their religious views to accommodate evolutionary theory or stem cell research. Meanwhile, certain postmodern skeptics undermine the foundations of dogmatic religion and scientific rationality alike. Current conflicts over faith, reason, and skepticism are only the latest variants of debates that have occurred for centuries. As Augustine commented in his Confessions, faith cannot exist without its counterparts, reason and doubt.
The lives of millions in modernity have been improved by the scientific, industrial, and economic fruits of the rationality that drove the political separation of church and state. Although acknowledging such achievements, many people familiar with past and contemporary contests over faith and reason conclude that moderns may have also lost something important that skepticism about both faith and rationality cannot address. "Man does not live by bread alone," so we are told, and we ignore at our peril what William James called the universal "will to believe."
The humanities and arts have long played crucial roles in expressing, criticizing, hindering, and negotiating a range of historically shifting relationships among faith, reason, and doubt. In some philosophical and religious texts, faith manifests itself as a "reasonable basis for truth, dependent in some cases on logical rigor, whereas in other texts doubt and reason are eschewed in favor of revelation. In different times and places, the arts have described the agonizing doubt that arises when faith runs up against an apparently indifferent cultural or natural order.
The Center for Humanities and the Arts will spend the year exploring the ways that humanists, artists, and others, past and present, have contributed to differentiating and to showing the interrelation of faith, reason, and doubt.
To help members of the CU community formulate ideas, we offer the following examples of possible proposals: