Ideas and Culture Forums Accentuate New Liberal Arts Curriculum
Converse College held the first in a new series of Ideas and Culture Forums on Monday, October 30 in Hartness Auditorium with a presentation by Dr. Byron McCane, Associate Professor of Religion and Philosophy, on “Women, Archaeology, and the Bible.” The forums, which are designed to bring the Spartanburg and Converse communities together to examine topics that impact larger society, are a supplement to the new Ideas and Culture course that has recently replaced Western Culture in Converse’s required general curriculum.
In the first forum, Dr. McCane examined biblical teachings concerning the lives of women and demonstrated how archaeology can be used as an exploratory tool to supplement our textual knowledge about their lives. He explained how historians and philosophers glean a much clearer picture of what everyday life was like, especially that of domestic work, by studying the ancient evidence left behind in homes and cities. McCane also referenced an exclusively female panel of biblical scholars, including noted archaeologist Dr. Carol Meyers of Duke University, who suggest that the biblical representation of women may be harsher and more negative than was reality, given the context in which the Bible was written. McCane shared archaeological insight on the importance of women’s work to their ancient society, suggesting they had more autonomy and authority than previously believed.
Ideas and Culture supports an important component of Converse’s master plan: to maintain a superior quality of academic programs that uniquely meet the educational needs of women. By expanding students’ exposure to the great ideas and works that shaped our culture into two semesters of study, rather than one semester of the previous Western Culture curriculum, the Converse education becomes more firmly rooted in the liberal arts. The public forums were created to compliment the course, as a means for students and the community to trace out specific issues from the class.
Other forums in the 2000-2001 series include “Women and the Problems of Politics in Herodotus” on Tuesday, November 28; “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who’s the Fairest of the All? – Women in Art and the Art of Women” on Thursday, March 1; and “The Most Romantic of All the Arts: How Beethoven Invented Our Musical World” on Tuesday, April 10. All forums will be at 7:30 pm in Hartness Auditorium and feature a guest lecturer from the Converse faculty.