College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Liberal Arts Matters


2009 - 2010 Groups

The First Sunset: Interdisciplinary Conversations on the Biblical Creation Stories

Students often enter university courses with presuppositions informed by their religious heritage. The academic study of the Bible, biology, philosophy, and many other topics can present challenges for such students. Our group will provide an opportunity for conversation that includes participants from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds including biology, philosophy, theology, and Biblical studies, as well as a variety of religious beliefs or lack thereof. It will also provide biology faculty with exposure to academic perspectives on the creation stories in Genesis, addressing both historical critical and theological issues, in a way that may be useful as they seek to help students whose religious questions might stand in the way of their fully engaging aspects of the academic study of biology.


  • The Lost World Of Genesis 1, by John H. Walton
  • The Priestly Vision of Genesis 1, by Mark S. Smith
  • Beyond the God Delusion: How Radical Theology Harmonizes Science and Religion, by Richard Grigg

Faculty Participants:

James McGrath, Travis Ryan, Chris Hess, Marva Meadows, Carmen Salsbury, Stuart Glennan, Brent Hege, and Brad Matthies.

The Body in Art / Body and Art

The body has become an increasingly significant concept in recent years.  It is more and more experienced as a changing and changeable entity, subject to transformative artistic, medical and technological practices such as tattooing, cosmetic surgery, prosthetics, and life extension technologies, for example. Our group will read books offering a theoretical reflection on the use of the body in art.


  • Extreme Bodies: The Use and Abuse of the Body in Art, by Francesca Alfano Miglietti
  • Posthuman Bodies, edited by Judith M. Halberstam and Ira Livingston
  • Body Art / Performing the Subject, by Amelia Jones

Faculty Participants:

Elizabeth Mix, Susan McGuire, Sholeh Shahrokhi, Gabriela Muniz, and Sylvie Vanbaelen.

Representing Difference: Class, Race, and Sexuality

In coordination with the launch of the new Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies major and planned visits by three nationally renowned authors to campus this semester, this reading group is dedicated to examining the representation of identities of difference.  Analyzing contemporary constructions of difference in a variety of media and from a number of intersecting critical frames such as class, race, sexuality, and gender, we hope to gain valuable insights into the politics of representations and embodied experiences of difference.


  • They Must Be Represented: The Politics of Documentary, by Paula Rabinowitz
  • In A Queer Time and Place: Transgender Bodies, Subcultural Lives, by Judith Halberstam
  • Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times, by Jasbir Puar

Faculty Participants:

Terry Carney, Elise Edwards, Betsy Erbaugh, Lee Garver, Terri Jett, Allison Harthcock, Elizabeth Mix, Sholeh Shahrokhi, Ann Savage, Ageeth Sluis, Brynnar Swenson, Kristin Swenson, and Vivian Deno.