This past April, the University of Kentucky's Jewish Studies Program was lucky enough to host a lecture with renowned scholar and author Catherine Rottenberg. The talk, titled "The Making of an Icon: Black Harlem and the Jewish Lower East Side," concluded a series of special events hosted over the past year by the Jewish Studies Program.
Lecture of Jane Burbank and Fred Cooper
Internationally renowned scholar and activist Vandana Shiva visited the University of Kentucky to present her lecture on "The Future of Food" and to discuss the many challenges of global sustainability. Shiva has been the author of more than 20 books on sustainable agriculture, development, feminist theory, alternative globalization, and bioengineering.
This event was made possible through the generous sponsorship of the University of Kentucky College of Fine Art, College of Arts and Sciences, Department of History, Department of Modern & Classical Languages Literature & Cultures, UK College of Arts & Sciences Advisory Board and School of Art and Visual Studies.
New media and technology present us with an overwhelming bounty of tools for connection, creativity, collaboration, and knowledge creation - a true "Age of Whatever" where anything seems possible. But any enthusiasm about these remarkable possibilities is immediately tempered by that other "Age of Whatever" - an age in which people feel increasingly disconnected, disempowered, tuned out, and alienated. Such problems are especially prevalent in education, where the Internet often enters our classrooms as a distraction device rather than a tool for learning.
What is needed more than ever is to inspire our students to wonder, to nurture their appetite for curiosity, exploration, and contemplation. It is our responsibility to help them attain an insatiable appetite and pursue big, authentic, and relevant questions so that they can harness and leverage the bounty of possibility, rediscover the "end" or purpose of wonder, and stave off the historical end of wonder.
Tom Conley is Lowell Professor in the Departments of Romance Languages and Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University. Conley studies relations of space and writing in literature, cartography, and cinema. His work moves to and from early modern France and issues in theory and interpretation in visual media. In 2003, Dr. Conley won a Guggenheim Fellowship for his work in topography and literature in Renaissance France.