The spring Arts and Humanities Symposium at Hope College on Friday, Feb. 13, will explore “The Postindustrial City,” featuring scholars from multiple disciplines discussing the impact of the discourses of race, religion and ethics, rapid urbanization and decline, and other modern phenomena on the city.
The symposium will take place from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in Cook Auditorium in the De Pree Art Center. The public is invited, and admission is free.
The purpose of the symposium is to bring to important and timely topics an interdisciplinary conversation that displays the academic disciplines at their best. Each academic discipline equips its practitioners with particular skills and training that, when juxtaposed to other disciplines, can provide the best solutions to the problems society faces.
The event will be divided into three one-hour sessions, labeled strophe, antistrophe and epode after the three parts of the ode in ancient Greek drama. Each session will feature a primary presentation followed by a response and a question-and-answer period. Those attending are welcome to come and go throughout.
The first hour will feature “Idlewild in the Shadow of Chicago and Detroit as Post-Industrial Cities, 1915-1965,” by Ronald J. Stephens, who is a professor of interdisciplinary studies at Purdue University and author of the books “Idlewild: The Rise, Decline, and Rebirth of a Unique African American Resort Town” and “Idlewild: The Black Eden of Michigan.” The response will be by C.J. Kingdom-Grier, who was born and raised in Idlewild and is the associate director for admissions and assistant to the president for racial initiatives at Western Theological Seminary, as well as pastor of worship and arts at Maple Avenue Ministries.
The second hour will feature the address “The New Democratic Imagination and Robocop: Detroit and Labor in the 1980s,” by Austin Gorman, a visiting assistant professor of English at Hope whose scholarly focus is on the relationship between post-war literature and film and political economy from 1948 to the present. The response will be by Anna-Lisa Cox, who is a non-resident Fellow with The Hutchins Center of Harvard University, and is an active historian, writer and lecturer on the history of race relations in the 19th century Midwest. Cox is author of the book “A Stronger Kinship: One Town’s Extraordinary Story of Hope and Faith,” about Covert, Michigan, published by Little, Brown and winner of the Michigan Notable Book award.
The third hour will feature “The Gardens of Industry,” an illustrated presentation by Steven Nelson, who is an associate professor of art at Hope and a photographer whose recent work has included studies of abandoned industrial sites in Michigan that are being reclaimed by nature. The response will be by Gregory Bassett, a lecturer in philosophy at Hope whose research has focused on questions at the intersection of ethics and epistemology, such as the weakness of will and the relationship between action and desire.
A 10-minute break will follow each session. There will also be a post-symposium reception from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.
The De Pree Art Center is located at 160 E. 12th Street, on Columbia Avenue at 12th Street.