MADISON VAUGHN ’21
It is common to hear about undergraduate robotics competitions and science fairs on a daily basis, but what about conferences in the humanities? A year and a half ago, Professor Julia Assaiante submitted a proposal to the Mellon Foundation for Trinity College’s very first Undergraduate Arts and Humanities Symposium.
On Saturday, November 10, students from Connecticut College, Wesleyan University, and Trinity College along with participants from other schools such as Yale University, University of St. Joseph and University of Connecticut will have the opportunity to present a project based off papers from past classes in the arts and humanities. Along with these presentations, students will hear an introduction from Tim Cresswell, Trinity’s Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs, and a concluding keynote speech by Yale professor Maurice Samuels about Anti-Semitism in France.
With Assaiante’s proposal, she was able to receive funding for three years. Each year’s symposium will be held at a different college – Trinity College this fall, Wesleyan University next year, and Connecticut College the following year. Trinity’s will be held in Mather Hall, using several of the Terrace Rooms. Assaiante hopes to have around 50 students from Trinity and expects another 40 to 50 from the other schools within this area. She hopes for a great turnout for this very first Arts and Humanities Symposium and hopes to establish this symposium as something Trinity continues in years coming.
This symposium acts as a “spotlight for the arts and humanities” as Assaiante said. It allows student participants to see that there is an audience for their type of work, and it shows them just how important their work is outside of the context of the classroom. The Arts and Humanities play a vital role in our self-understanding, fostering and critiquing of cultural values and the creative expression of those values, “particularly in challenging times, and I hope that students are able to understand this and truly see the value of their own work” says Assaiante.
The deadline to apply to participate in the Humanities Symposium is Sunday, September 30. Due to the short deadline, Assaiante would recommend students to use an older paper to shape into a 10 to 15 minute presentation. To apply, one must submit a paragraph proposal about their project to either Assaiante herself or to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Too often, the excellent work students do in their courses remains confined to a particular course or seminar, when it should be understood as part of a much larger scholarly conversation. By having events such as the Arts and Humanities Symposium, students are able to present their work in a professional setting, in front of peers and professors from other institutions. This is ideal for students considering graduate school, but it is also good practice for any professional endeavor. I truly hope this shines a spotlight on the important work being done by our students in the arts and humanities,” says Assaiante.
MADISON VAUGHN ’21