Humanities Symposium 2017

Students shared their research in the 2017 Humanities Symposium. Carl Sederholm opened the symposium with a few remarks regarding the importance of writing to further human understanding. 

PROVO, Utah (Mar. 24, 2017) —Symposiums offer important opportunities for scholars to share their research and compare with one another. For the 2017 Humanities Symposium, Carl Sederholm, department chair of the BYU Department of Comparative Arts and Letters, opened the symposium with a quote from Kenneth Burke:  

“Imagine that you enter a parlor. You come late. When you arrive, others have long preceded you, and they are engaged in a heated discussion, a discussion too heated for them to pause and tell you exactly what it is about. In fact, the discussion had already begun long before any of them got there, so that no one present is qualified to retrace for you all the steps that had gone before. You listen for a while, until you decide that you have caught the tenor of the argument; then you put in your oar. Someone answers; you answer him; another comes to your defense; another aligns himself against you, to either the embarrassment or gratification of your opponent, depending upon the quality of your ally’s assistance. However, the discussion is interminable. The hour grows late, you must depart. And you do depart, with the discussion still vigorously in progress.” 

Sederholm likened Burke’s experience as a writer to each of the humanities students contributing to the conversations in their fields. Session topics included comparative studies, classics, art history and literature. One student’s paper from each panel was selected by the moderator and associated faculty as the best in their section, for which the students received a chocolate bar and a certificate of achievement.