August 30, 2011

Welcome to Themester 2011

Themester, a portmanteau term that combines ”theme” and “semester," is a semester-long , multi-disciplinary discussion of the important issues of our time.  Spearheaded by the College of Arts and Sciences, the University’s cradle of a liberal education, Themester seeks to create responsible, informed, and civil dialogue on what are, in some cases, controversial or highly political topics.  In 2009, the first year of the initiative, Themester considered evolution, diversity, and change. Last year, partnering with the IU Office of Sustainability, we examined the myriad issues related to sustainability.  This year the program focuses on one of the most pressing concerns that a citizenry faces: “Making War, Making Peace.”
The issues of war and peace are not merely academic. Students today will face questions of war and peace throughout their lives. This semester the College and its partners invite IU students and the Bloomington community to examine the human causes and consequences of war and the ongoing project to create peace.  We aim to promote thoughtful dialogue about the impact of war on individuals and societies, and to reflect upon the cultural significance and artistic representations of war and peace.
The list of participants this year is long. It includes the American Folklore Society, Union Board, IU Art Museum, IU Department of Theatre and Drama, IU Cinema, Cardinal Stage Company, Bloomington Playwrights Project, the and Bloomington Early Music Festival.  The opportunities for exploration are equally robust. We will explore war profiteering, restorative justice, the role of war-related imagery in today’s culture, and many other topics. Along with scholars in such fields as economics, philosophy, and biomedicine, we will be visited by such luminaries as former secretary of state Madeleine Albright, author Tim O’Brien, and political cartoonist Garry Trudeau.
The Themester events calendar lists nearly 100 events all exploring some aspect of “Making War, Making Peace.”  We hope you join us.
Stephen Watt
Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education
IU College of Arts and Sciences