Colloquium: Roundtable Discussion about the Humanities and Non-Western Religions

Date(s) - 01/16/2020
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

3108 JKB


Brigham Young’s injunction to Karl Maeser in 1875 that “You should not even teach the alphabet or the multiplication tables without the Spirit of God” suggests a linkage between all fields of inquiry and religious belief. Subjects directly tied to the Judeo-Christian religious tradition naturally become springboards for gospel-related discussions in the classroom. But what about topics outside this tradition—Islam, Buddhism, Confucianism, or Native American belief systems and their corresponding literatures, arts, and cultures—can they inspire instructors and their students to reflect upon their own faith? How do they do this? Brigham Young’s injunction, together with teachings in the Doctrine and Covenants to “seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom” (see 88:118 and 109: 7, 14) and to “become acquainted with all good books, and with languages, tongues, and people” (90:15) suggests a linkage between humanistic understanding and religions radically different from our own.

Join us for a dialogue with Francesca Lawson, professor of humanities and a specialist in Chinese ethnomusicology; Jim Toronto, professor of Arabic and Islamic humanities who researches Islamic religion, education and migration; and Mike Taylor, assistant professor of English who teaches and writes about Native American and First Peoples literature and culture, with Steve Riep, associate professor of Chinese and comparative literature serving as moderator. The format for the panel will encourage attendees to share their experiences making connections between disciplinary teaching (and research) and religious belief for ourselves and our students here at BYU, whether we explore world belief systems, linguistics, philosophy, digital humanities, or pedagogy.

Title: “Non-Western Beliefs and the Gospel: Promoting Humanistic Understanding in the Classroom and Beyond”

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