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From the Colloquium, Graduate Fellows Edition

Since 2006, the Lilly Fellows Program  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. These works can be of great value for mentoring programs or faculty development projects at different campuses (or to add to your own reading lists).

Common readings and group discussion have been central to the Lilly Fellows Program’s (LFP) fellowship programs from their start twenty-nine 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. Here are some of those readings.

Members of the Eighth Cohort of Lilly Graduate Fellows, who began graduate work in fall, 2015, addressed the topic, “Scholarship as a Christian Vocation” in fall, 2017, and the topic, “Scholarship, Secularization, and vocation as a Calling,” in spring, 2018. The Mentors for the Eighth Cohort are Patrick Byrne of Boston College and Susan VanZanten of Valparaiso University. To grapple with the fall topic, the cohort read: Paul Griffiths’ commentary on The Song of Songs, selections from The Secularization of the Academy edited by George Marsden and Bradley Longfield, Marsden’s The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship, Bernard Lonergan, “Sacralization and Secularization,” Michael Hamilton, “The Elusive Idea of Christian Scholarship, Charles Taylor’s essay “A Catholic Modernity” and Rosemary Luling Haughton’s “Transcendence and the Bewilderment of Being Moder,” both in James Heft, ed. A Catholic Modernity?: Charles Taylor’s Marianist Award Lecture, Flannery O’Connor’s “Everything that Rises Must Converge,” James V. Schal’s “What is a Lecture?” and short selection from his On the Unseriousness of Human Affairs, G.K. Chesterton’s “Introductioon to the Book of Job,” and musical selections:  Gabriel Fauré, Requiem, VI: “Libera me, Domine”; Johannes Brahms, Ein Deutsches Requiem, VI: “Denn wir haben hie keine bleibende Statt”; and Gustav Mahler, Symphony No. 2, “Resurrection”, V: Finale, “Aufersteh’n.”  In the spring, the cohort read selections from William Placher’s Callings—a work often used by the Fellows—Walter Miller’s A Canticle for Liebowitz, Patrick J. DeNeen’s “Against Great Books,” selections from Dorothy Day’s The Long Loneliness, Selections from Emmanuel Falque’ “The Metamorphosis of Finitude,” Peter Coviello and Jared Hickman, “Introduction: After the Postsecular,” Khaled Furani, “Is There a Postsecular,” and Douglas Koskela’s Calling and Clarity. At their final conference, they discussed Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead.

The members of the Ninth Cohort of Lilly Graduate Fellows, who completed the second year of their fellowship and who began their graduate studies in the fall of 2016, have been mentored by Douglas Henry of Baylor University and Gretchen J. Van Duke of The University of Scranton. The themes for the year was “Strangers and Sojourners: Learning, Telling, Teaching, and Reaching for Truth.” Rather than a single “spine text” and accompanying articles, the cohort focused on three works: Dorothy Day’s The Long Loneliness, Paul J. Griffiths’ Intellectual Appetite, and Thomas Merton’s The Seven Story. Griffith’s work in Intellectual Appetite—essentially an interrogation of intellectual pursuit from a Christian theological lens—has long stimulated intense debate among graduate fellows. Though many disagree with his arguments, they nevertheless offer, to many of us, an important opportunity to examine some of the most central claims about the “creation of knowledge”—an ideal at the heart of the academic enterprise. At their summer conference, the Cohort examined the theme, “Marked By the Sign of the Cross: Living Blessed Lives in the Midst of Faith and Doubt” by reading biblical texts on the story of Abraham and Sarah and the complex person of Peter, along with some Psalms illustrating the wide range of biblical accounts of hardship and uncertainty. They also discussed C. S. Lewis’s A Grief Observed, Immaculée Ilibagiza’s Left to Tell, and they screened the film Of Gods and Men. They also discussed Ron Hansen’s Exiles, Flannery O’Connor’s prayer journal, and the poetry of Denise Levertov.

The members of the Tenth Cohort of Lilly Graduate Fellows, who began graduate school and the program in fall 2017, read and discussed materials focused, in the fall, on the theme “Hospitality” and in the spring on the theme, “Intellection and Affection OR Keeping the Body and Soul Together in Graduate School.”  The Tenth Cohort’s mentors are Lisa DeBoer of Westmont College and John Ware of Xavier University of Louisiana. For the theme of “Hospitality,” the Tenth Cohort read Kathleen Norris’ Acedia and Me, Amy Oden’s And You Welcomed Me, Christine Pohl’s Making Room, John Witvliet and Martin Tel, Eds., Psalms for All Seasons, The Rule of Benedict, Augustine’s Confessions, Sayings of the Desert Fathers (trans. Benedicta Ward), and they viewed the film, Of Gods and Men. To address the spring’s theme, they read James Elkin’s Pictures and Tears, which examines the role of emotion in scholarship, Tom Stoppard’s play, Arcadia, Simone Weil’s Waiting for God, and TaNehisi Coats’ Between the World and Me. For their annual summer conference, cohort members read and discussed George Eliot’s Middlemarch.

Posted by Joe Creech





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