Project Description

We are proposing to develop and to oversee the presentation at Sewanee of a dual-purpose Symposium on “Imaginative Education: Cultivating A Sense of Place.” It would take place in late August of 2015, prior to the start of most classes. Offered in collaboration with the Berry Center of New Castle, Kentucky, the Symposium’s main purpose would be to enrich the educational substance and appeal of the overall instruction we can offer students toward the start of our Finding Your Place (FYP) course on “Discovering a Sense of Place.” Toward this end, the Symposium would feature presentations by Mary Berry, executive director of the Berry Center in New Castle, Kentucky, Leah Bayens, Director of the Berry Farming Program at St. Catharine College, Norman Wirzba, Professor of Theology, Ecology, and Rural Life at Duke University, and by personnel from Sewanee slated to offer complementary practicum and other sessions, as well as a public reading by Mary’s father, the renowned author and cultural critic Wendell Berry. One benefit to be expected from such presentations is the opportunity for first-year students to gain exposure to the distinctive educational philosophy of Wendell Berry and to appreciate that which both Wendell Berry and Norman Wirzba understand to be the contemporary relevance of an “agrarian vision. ”

Project Alignment with the Collaborative for Southern Appalachian Studies

The proposed Symposium, offered in conjunction with Sewanee’s FYP,
is altogether consistent with the place-based emphasis set forth in the Call for Proposals from the Collaborative for Southern Appalachian and Place-Based Studies. It is noteworthy, too, that the Symposium’s involvement of Wendell Berry and Mary Berry would focus particular attention on lands, livelihoods, and communities associated with Southern Appalachia.

Final Report