2023: Displacement and Belonging
When the Emperor was Divine by Julie Otsuka
Keynote Speaker: Julie Otsuka
" An American Story: War, Memory, and Erasure"
2022: The Left Hand of Darkness
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin
Keynote Speaker: Jeff VanderMeer
"Landscape Change and the Long Road Ahead"
2021: The Nickel Boys
The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Antoinette Jackson, Professor and Chair of the Department of Anthropology, University of South Florida
"Links in a Living Chain: Race, Resistance, Resilience"
2020: The Wounds of War
Theater of War: dramatic reading of Philoctetes by Sophocles
text: Redeployment, by Phil Klay
Keynote Speaker: Phil Klay
"War, Literature, and the Long Road Home"
2019: Exit West, by Mohsin Hamid
Keynote Speaker: Mohsin Hamid, international best seller and award winning author
"Rite/Rights of Passage: Migration and Movement in Exit West"
2018: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Maurice Wallace, University of Virginia
"Good Religion and Bad Faith in the Age of Abolition: Frederick Douglass' Afro-Evangelicalism"
2017: Reflections on World War I
Selections from Mary Borden's The Forbidden Zone and select American, British and Canadian solider poems.
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Christopher Capozzola, Professor of History, M.I.T.
"Citizenship in Crisis: Centennial Legacies of First World War"
“Apology” in The Trial and Death of Socrates by Plato translated by G. M. A. Grube Third Edition.
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Sara Monoson, Northwestern University
"Socrates in the Vernacular"
Eugene Ionesco's "Rhinoceros"
Keynote Speaker: Susan Rubin Suleiman, Ph.D. the C. Douglas Dillon Professor of the Civilization of France and Professor of Comparative Literature, Harvard University
"Why Do We Laugh at "Rhinoceros"?"
Henry David Thoreau's Walden
Keynote Speaker: Jeffrey Stout, Ph.D., Professor of Religion, Princeton University
"Walking in Our Sleep: Conformity and Transformation in Thoreau's Walden"
2013: "Letter from Birmingham Jail"
Martin Luther King's "Letter from Birmingham Jail"
Keynote Speaker: J. Kameron Carter, Ph.D. Duke Divinity School
"The Post-Racial Blues: Martin Luther King's Jailhouse Intervention"
Keynote Speaker: Jeffrey Henderson, William Goodwin Aurelio Professor of Greek Language and Literature at Boston University
"Lysistrata Through the Ages"
Mary Shelley, Frankenstein; or The Modern Prometheus
Keynote Speaker: N. Katherine Hayles
"Frankenstein and Media-Specific Analysis"
2009: Communing with Food
Michael Pollan, The Omnivore's Dilemma
Keynote Speaker: Lynne Rossetto Kasper
"American Cuisine: A Revolution and an Identity Crisis"
2008: Judge, Judge Not
William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure (2007)
Keynote Speaker: Albert Braunmuller
"Justice, Law and Mercy in Measure for Measure"
2007: Urban Spaces, Urban Voices
Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, (1961)
Keynote Speaker: James Howard Kunstler
"The Long Emergency and the Destiny of Cities"
2006: What Would You Die For?
Perpetua's Passion (2005)
Keynote Speaker: Terry Waite
"What Would You Die For?
2005: Searching for a Self
Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God
Keynote Speaker: Ruthe T. Sheffey
"Janie's Mythic Heroic Quest in Their Eyes Were Watching God"
2004: The Horror
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, (1902)
Keynote Speaker: Jeffrey Tayler
"Return to the Jungle?"
2003: Post Human?
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World (1932)
Keynote Speaker: Francis Fukuyama
"Will the New World of Biotechnology be Human?"
2002: Crossing Boundaries
Tracy Chevalier, Girl with a Pearl Earring (2001)
Keynote Speaker: Tracy Chevalier
"Less is More: Turning Vermeer into a Novel"
There was no 2001 symposium as the event was switched from the fall to spring semester.
2000: Poverty Perceived
Jacob Riis, How the Other Half Lives: Studies Among the Tenements of New York (1890)
Keynote Speaker: Michael Katz, Sheldon and Lucy Hackney Professor of History, University of Pennsylvania
"Was Jacob Reis Right? Housing Reform and Child Saving as Solutions to Poverty"
Toni Morrison, Paradise (1998)
Keynote Speaker: Toni Morrison, Professor of Humanities, Princeton University; Nobel Laureate and Pulitzer Prize Winner
"The Language of Paradise"
1998: West Meets East
Shusaku Endo, Silence (1969)
Keynote Speaker: Van C. Gessel, Professor of Japanese Literature, Brigham Young University; Endo translator and playwright of stage versions of Endo's works
"Can God Speak Japanese?: Reflections on the Fiction of Endo Shusaku"
Plato, Lysis (1969)
Keynote Speaker: Father James McEvoy, Dean, Faculty of Philosophy, St. Patrick's College, Maynooth, Ireland; Scholar of the history of friendship and love from antiquity through the Middle Ages
"From Pagan to Christian Friendship"
1996: Culture and Tradition
Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart (1969)
Keynote Speaker: Simon Gikandi, Professor of African and Latin-American Literature, University of Michigan
1995: Bearing Witness
St. Luke The Book of Luke (ca. 75 A.D.)
Keynote Speaker: Jaroslav Pelikan: Professor of History, Yale University; President of the Academy of Arts and Sciences
"Luke/Acts: The Believer as historian/The Historian as Believer"
1994 (Autumn): Utopia
Thomas More, Utopia (1517)
Keynote Speaker: Richard Marius, Professor of English at Harvard University, and biographer of Thomas More
1994: Creator, Creature, Creation
Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (1818)
Keynote Speaker: Steven Jay Gould, Harvard University, Professor of Zoology and author of numerous books
"Creator, Creature, Creation"
Martin Luther King, "Letter from Birmingham Jail" (1963)
Keynote Speaker: James Farmer, civil rights leader and co-founder of CORE
1992: Discovering America?
Bartolome de las Casas, The Devastation of the Indies (ca. 1545)
Keynote Speaker: George Winius, Latin-American historian
1991: Ideology: Practice and Theory
Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto (1848)
Keynote Speaker: Christopher Lasch, cultural critic & scholar of the history of ideas
1990: Man and Nature
Henry David Thoreau, Walden (1854)
Keynote Speaker: Alfred Kazin, critic and scholar of American letters
"Man & Nature in Walden"
1989: Illusion and Reality
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness (1902)
Keynote Speaker: Czeslaw Milosz, Poet and Nobel Laureate in Literature
1988: Human Suffering
Elie Wiesel, Night (1958)
Keynote Speaker: Elie Wiesel, Nobel Laureate-the Peace Prize
Epictetus, The Encheiridion (The Handbook) (*ca.100 A.D.)
Keynote Speaker: Vice Admiral James B. Stockdale
1986: (Report on Humanities in Education)
William Bennett, To Reclaim a Legacy (1985)
Keynote: William Bennett