The Keston Center for Religion, Politics, and Society proudly presents “Combating God and Grandma: Soviet Anti-Religious Policies and the Battle for Childhood,” featuring Baylor’s own Dr. Julie deGraffenried, Associate Professor of History. The lecture will be held Thursday, April 14, 2016, at 3:30 p.m. in the Michael Bourdeaux Research Center located on the third floor of Carroll Library. This event is free and open to the public.
Dr. deGraffenried’s presentation will examine the anti-religious campaigns of Soviet authorities through the eyes of a child and consider the conflicts between state and family and between tradition and modernity, focusing on the children affected by these policies. “The Soviet Union gives us a case study to explore and think about state efforts to regulate and/or eradicate religion,” said deGraffenried. “In this day and age, when religious freedom (or the lack of it) has become front-page news, historical examples can provide insight into current issues.”
This event is co-sponsored by the Baylor Department of History and the McBride Center for International Business. For more information, please visit baylor.edu/library/godandgrandma or call (254) 710-1571.
The Keston Center for Religion, Politics, and Society promotes the research, teaching, and understanding of religion and politics in communist, post-communist, and other totalitarian societies. Mark your calendar and welcome your colleagues to join you for this timely and engaging presentation.
One of the civil rights movement’s most respected figures, Dr. Vivian believes there is no separation between civil rights, faith and ministry, because “racism is a moral issue.” He and other ministers founded Nashville Christian Leadership Conference which organized the city’s first sit-ins in 1960 and led the first march of the Civil Rights Movement. A movie screening of Selma will be shown at 3:00 pm in Waco Hall.
Free tickets are available at S.U.B. & Waco Hall before the event.
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
“Books smell like old people.” Maybe that explains why most teenagers these days are avoiding them so ardently. I came across that eye-opening rationale last week in an arresting article by journalist David Denby, who wondered if teenagers ever read seriously any more. He discovered the answer was no, and it was a teenager in New Haven who delivered that reaction typical of many in today’s generation.
“Reading has lost its privileged status,” Denby writes, so much so that “few kids are ashamed that they’re not doing it much. The notion that you should always have a book going — that notion, which all real readers share, doesn’t flourish in many kids.” Reading literature for pleasure is a declining pastime among younger people, and that has much in common with the plight of the arts in our current culture. Many people simply act as though neither activity is worth the effort. What’s most to blame is the materialism that is so characteristic of our culture.
While a few people clearly understand that reading literature can be a transformative experience, the problem is proving that to a society that demands measurable results. Standing in the way is “the American notion that assertions unsupported with statistics are virtually meaningless.”
How do you accumulate statistics when what literature, and the arts more broadly, give is immeasurable? How do you make a case for something profoundly spiritual in a culture that is increasingly materialistic? That’s the $64,000 question these days. (It’s OK if you have to look up that reference.)
That’s why interacting with art and literature is not within today’s idea of education, which for most people means science, technology, engineering and mathematics. No less prominent a person than the current president angered some people two years ago by remarking that the country doesn’t need a lot of people going to college and getting degrees in art history when they could be doing something practical like working in manufacturing. And then when he backtracked and apologized, one of the people currently campaigning to get his job immediately criticized him for apologizing.
“We need more degrees that lead to jobs,” Marco Rubio tweeted.
So in a materialistic, practical society, why go see a play when the television is right there? Why go listen to an orchestra when you’ve got the mp3, or you can YouTube the New York Philharmonic from the couch? And who has time for a 20-minute symphony anyway? Why ought we to care about George S. Kaufman or Jackson Pollock? Why read “Moby Dick” or “Ulysses” or “Ode on a Grecian Urn”? None of that will help you get a job.
Last Sunday morning, already worried by this matter of vanishing readers, as I listened to a fine orchestra play a hymn I started wondering where tomorrow’s oboe players are going to come from.
Why on earth would a young person in so materialistic a culture as ours devote the time and effort required to master an instrument? From where will come the encouragement to press through the difficulty of mastering the oboe? (By the way, I have students whose parents instruct them not to major in history even if they love it — I can’t imagine what they’d say to the kid who wanted to be an oboe player.)
Thankfully, the wisdom of youth is not completely squelched by the shortsightedness of materialism. So we still manage to have oboe players, history majors and all those other inquisitive, gold souls who somehow manage to do something as countercultural as pick up a paintbrush, a musical instrument or, one can hope, a book.
Baylor University’s Mayborn Museum Complex continues their Director’s Forum again on February 4th and 5th, 2016. Each year we highlight one of our museum’s permanent exhibits to provide more in-depth educational enrichment for our museum members, Baylor faculty, students, the community, and our staff. Reservations are strongly suggested because of limited seating.
This year our lecture series will highlight our Historic Village, specifically our Planter’s House, Tenant House and the Cotton Plantation culture in Waco at the turn of the twentieth century. We are hosting Dr. Watson Arnold with a series titled “The Rise and Fall of the Cotton Culture.” Dr. Arnold has custom fit a presentation for our 2016 Director’s Forum. Our goal is for these lectures to be educational: however, the entertainment factor is important as well and Dr. Arnold certainly fits that bill!
Today, we remember the ten students of the 1927 Men’s Basketball team who lost their lives’ in a train-bus crash on January 22, 1927. Of the Immortal Ten is Mr. William Penn Winchester, a senior originally from Waco, whom majored in both History and French.