Experts gather at Mount Holyoke to consider water's crucial role in human life

03/15/05

'The Place of Water in the World: Ritual, Beauty, and the Environment' scheduled for March 31-April 2

Two dozen leading artists, scientists, scholars, writers, and activists from around the world will gather at Mount Holyoke for a three-day symposium March 31-April 2 exploring the political, environmental, and cultural meanings of water.

Dai Qing, a journalist who has been outspoken in her opposition to her Chinese government's plans for the Three Gorges dam project; Gay Tischbirek, coordinator of the International Institute of Women in Engineering; and acclaimed experimental filmmaker James Benning are among those who will be taking part in "The Place of Water in the World: Ritual, Beauty, and the Environment."

The symposium, the concluding event of the spring series "Water Matters: Survival for the Twenty-First Century," is free and open to the public. Sponsors include the Harriet L. and Paul M. Weissman Center for Leadership and the Liberal Arts, the Center for Global Initiatives, the Center for the Environment, the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, the Dean of Faculty's Office, and many departments and programs on campus.

This public exchange explores the relationship between water and place in shaping human existence and survival. Within a framework of visual renditions of water, the symposium addresses the following questions: What is the place of water in our physical and metaphysical lives? How do sacred and profane uses of water flow together or diverge in the world?

"We want to inspire the Mount Holyoke community to see water differently," said Karen Remmler, codirector of the Weissman Center and professor of German studies. "Instead of taking water for granted, we hope that facing the finiteness of water will give us new insights on its role in all aspects of life. We also want to explore the cultural aspects of water in this series."

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Don't be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson