Messiah College

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Keynote Address: Dr. Wendy Wright

February 19-27, 2006

Imagination is a profound force in human life, and as such a tangible object of humanities-based study. Imagination gives birth to creative works that enrich our lives with aesthetic inspiration and beauty (e.g. literature, film, and the arts). It also enables innovative works of the intellect that cause humans to see and interact with the world in new ways (e.g. research discoveries in science, technology, theory, as well as entrepreneurial endeavor). Imagination opens the way to visionary and prophetic works of extravagant hope (e.g. the ideals of faith, love, reconciliation, peace, and service). And imagination also fuels the sinister works of human fear (e.g. racial, ethnic, and religious bigotry, hatred, and the demonizing and destruction of those different or unknown). Indeed, we even see the power of imagination by its absence, when the failure of imagination leads to dehumanizing social policy, intellectual and ideological insularity, religious idolatry, and unjust violence.

The 2006 Spring Humanities Symposium provides an opportunity for the Messiah College community to explore the many aspects of imagination as a driving force in human life. The Center for Public Humanities’ Executive Committee has planned this Symposium with hopes that it will provide the campus with a public intellectual conversation that contributes to our common life together and to our understanding of the wider world.



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