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From the Colloquium, September 2013: Lilly Graduate Fellows Edition

Since 2006, the Lilly Fellows Program Director has published a “From the Colloquium” column about four times per year.  The idea behind this column is to share some of the common readings from the colloquia of the Lilly Postdoctoral Fellows Program and the Lilly Graduate Fellows Program.

Common readings and group discussion have been integral to the Lilly Fellows Program’s (LFP) fellowship programs from their start over twenty years ago.  First with the Lilly Postdoctoral Teaching Fellowship program at Valparaiso University starting in 1992 and then with the Lilly Graduate Fellows Program in 2008, Fellows have encountered readings intended to engage Christian thought and practice as they intersect the tasks of teaching and scholarship that make up the work we do in the academy. The readings address these issues on both the personal and institutional level, examining our individual practices as scholars as well as those of our academic institutions (with, of course, a special emphasis on those institutions of higher learning that connect to a church-related mission).

Once a year, we focus on the readings that the three active cohorts of Lilly Graduate Fellows discuss.  These Fellows are in their first three years of Graduate school, each semester, the Lilly Graduate Fellow cohorts select readings that cluster around a particular theme.

So, without further ado, here are some of those readings.

The third cohort of Lilly Graduate Fellows, which began graduate school and the program in fall 2010 and who just completed their three year program, read and discussed materials focused on the theme “Scholarship as a Christian Vocation.”  Many of the readings came from classic authors such as William Perkins, Ignatius of Loyola, Christine de Pizan, Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, John Wesley, George Herbert, and are bound together in William C. Placher’s Callings: Twenty Centuries of Christian Wisdom on Vocation, a great reference for primary readings on the subject.  The cohort also read Paul J. Griffith’s commentary on The Song of Songs, George Marsden’s classic work, The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship, essays by Charles Taylor (“A Catholic Modernity?”) and Rosemary Luling–Haughton (“Transcendence and the Bewilderment of Being Modern”), both in A Catholic Modernity?: Charles Taylor’s Marianist Award Lecture, edited by James Heft. Members of the cohort also brought selections from their own disciplines, including the following:  selections from Jaroslav Pelikan, The Vindication of Tradition and John Henry Newman, “What is a University?”; Blessed William Joseph Chaminade, Letter to the Retreat Masters; Stanley Hauerwas and Ralph Wood, “How the Church Became Invisible: A Christian Reading of American Literary Tradition” (Religion and Literature, 38:1, Spring 2006); selections from Tracy Fessenden, Culture and Redemption: Religion, the Secular, and American Literature; Darin Davis and Paul Wadell, “Tracking the Toxins of Acedia: Re-envisioning Moral Education,” in The Schooled Heart: Moral Formation and American Higher Education, Beaty and Henry, eds.; selections from Joseph Pieper’s classic, Leisure: The Basis of Culture (a work that has circulated among both fellowships for some time); selections from Thomas Chesnes and Samuel Joeckel (eds.), The Christian College Phenomenon; Eric Voegelin, “The Gospel and Culture,” in Voegelin, Published Essays, 1966-1985; Patrick Colm Hogan, “Literature, God, and the Unbearable Solitude of Consciousness” in Journal of Consciousness Studies, 11: 5-6, May-June 2004; Alvin Plantinga, “Advice to Christian Philosophers”; selections from Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed; Bruno Latour, “‘Thou Shall Not Freeze-Frame’ or How Not to Misunderstand the Science and Religion Debate” in Science, Religion, and the Human Experience, ed. James D. Proctor; selections from Terry Pratchett, Unseen Academicals; selections from W. S. Merwin, “La Pia”; and selections from Erec Rebillard, Christians and Their Many Identities in Late Antiquity, North Africa, 200–450 CE.

Graduate Fellows Cohort 4, whose members completed their second year in the program, read books in fall, 2012, focused on the theme “Realism and Calling,” and spent the semester reading through Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov (Pevear translation), which a number of the Graduate Fellow cohorts have done over the summer for summer conferences or across a semester (a number of cohorts have done the same with Augustine’s Confessions and one of the three books from Dante’s Divine Comedy–especially Purgatorio).  Accompanying their reading of The Brothers Karamazov were: Eleonore Stump, “Second-Person Accounts and the Problem of Evil” (Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia, Vol. 57, 2001); Rowan Williams, Dostoevsky: Language, Faith, and Fiction; Rowan Williams, Ponder these Thing: Praying with Icons of the Virgin, and Ralph Wood, “Ivan Karamazov’s Mistake: A Re-Reading of the Grand Inquisitor” in First Things, Dec. 2002.  The Fellows especially enjoyed the two works by Rowan Williams, both of which have been enjoyed by other Graduate Fellows cohorts.  In spring, 2013, the fourth cohort focused on the theme, “Being a Teacher/Scholar as a Way of Life and as a Calling.”  Readings included: St. Augustine, The First Catechetical Instruction; Stephanie Paulsell, “Writing as a Spiritual Discipline” and Paul Griffiths, “Reading as a Spiritual Discipline” in Gregory Jones and Stephanie Paulsell, eds. The Scope of our Art (two works that have become classics with the Postdoctoral and Graduate Fellows); Susan VanZanten, Joining the Mission; Bonnie Miller-McLemore, “Contemplation in the Midst of Chaos” and Paul Wadell, “Teaching as a Ministry of Hope,” both in Jones and Paulsell, The Scope of our Art; several essays in Teaching as an Act of Faith, ed. Arlin Migliazzo; excerpts from John Henry Cardinal Newman’s The Idea of a University; Aaron Posner “My Name is Asher Lev” (a play adapted from the novel by Chaim Potok), and Andrew Delbanco, College: What It Was, Is and Should Be, which the Postdoctoral Fellows have also read and enjoyed.

Graduate Fellows in Cohort 5 began their three-year fellowship last fall.  As have several of the cohorts, Cohort 5 began the program by focusing on the theme of “Hospitality” in fall, 2012.  Many of the primary source readings from the Christian theological tradition on the subject of hospitality came from Amy G. Oden, And You Welcomed Me, and Benedicta Ward, Trans., The Desert Fathers.  These readings meshed with Christine Pohl, Making Room, Augustine’s Confessions, The Rule of Benedict, the film, Of Gods and Men, and selections from Kathleen Norris, Acedia and Me.  The cohort also worked through the Psalms using John D. Witvliet and Martin Tel, eds. Psalms for All Seasons: A Complete Psalter for Worship.  In the spring, the cohort focused on the theme, “The Intellect and Affections, ´beginning with a favorite of the Graduate Fellows, James Elkins’ Pictures and Tears, in which Elkins grapples with the way the academic study of art history affected his engagement of art at intellectual and emotional levels.  The cohort continued to work through Confessions and other works of the early church while also reading selections from Jean Leclercq’s The Love of Learning and the Desire for God.  The works by Benedictines and Kathleen Norris anticipated their first conference at Saint John’s Abbey and University in Collegeville, MN.

Posted by Joe Creech

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