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Skidmore to host inaugural humanistic inquiry symposium

March 20, 2018

Skidmore will host the inaugural symposium on humanistic inquiry March 23–24. The theme is "metamorphosis."

Martin Puchner
Martin Puchner

The symposium will begin at 3 p.m. Friday, March 23, when guest keynote speaker Martin Puchner will present "Storytelling from the Tablet to the Internet" at the Tang Teaching Museum. Puchner is the Byron and Anita Wien Professor of Drama and of English and Comparative Literature at Harvard University and the founding director of the university's Mellon School of Theater and Performance Research.

Puchner's most recent work, The Written World: The Power of Stories to Shape History, People, Civilization (Random House, 2017), explores his interests in the intersection of literature, history and geography, as well as the transformational impact of the written word, which supports the symposium's theme of metamorphosis. Skidmore faculty presentations and performances will follow directly after, as well as a book signing by Puchner and a reception concluding at 7 p.m.

On Saturday, March 24, Skidmore faculty talks on metamorphosis will resume at 9 a.m. at the Tang. There will be time for questions and conversation throughout the day. All symposium events are free and open to the public.

"Our goal for the spring symposium is to encourage the exploration of the nature of change. What is the story behind a transformation?" said symposium co-founder and Barbara Black, professor of English. Symposium co-founder Michael Arnush, professor of classics, said that "throughout the symposium, the group will theorize transformation and conceptualize change, speculating on its mechanisms, its causes and effects, the value we attach to it, its potential terror as well as its thrill."

Skidmore faculty are currently developing an ongoing forum for humanistic inquiry, with a mission to pursue and share the intellectual work of the Skidmore community and to allow faculty to connect across departments and disciplines. They will present papers or participate in panels and performances in conjunction with the symposium.

The potential creation of a more formal structure will support the intellectual vitality of Skidmore College by providing public opportunities, often in the form of residencies, speaker series, salons, and symposiums-as well as new modes of research, inquiry and engagement.

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