The CMU Winter Lectures is an annual public lecture series that seeks to highlight the arts, science, humanities, and interdisciplinary studies at CMU and to foster dialogue between these disciplines and the Christian faith.
January 25-26, 2011 Resonance, Receptivity and Radical Reformation
Dr. Romand Coles, McAllister Chair in Community, Culture, & Environment at Northern Arizona University.
Laudamus Auditorium, 500 Shaftesbury Blvd.
January 25, 11:00 AM– The Wild Peace (not) of John Howard Yoder
January 25, 7:30 PM – Mirror Neurons, Receptive Resonance,and Radical Democracy
January 26, 11:00 AM – Radical Education Reform: Resonance and Engaged Pedagogical Practice
Rom Coles has long approached politics as dialogical exercise of giving and receiving. He is especially interested in questions of radical democracy, theology, philosophy, pedagogy, and grassroots community action. His Winter Lectures will explore these themes in relation to two entwined pathways of philosophical-practical inquiry.
The first pathway focuses on patterns and practices of affective resonance as they enable and disable receptive ethical and political relations and community power across lines of difference. Coles will suggest that the attempt to engender such resonance and receptivity is in many ways at the heart of John Howard Yoder’s pathbreaking work on nonviolence. These themes will also be examined from the perspective of neurobiological work, especially recent developments in the study of mirror neurons.
The second path of inquiry concerns questions of pedagogical political practices, or liturgies, through which our capacities for resonant receptivity might be cultivated. Drawing on his recent work in Northern Arizona, Coles will present numerous examples of engaged pedagogical practices—liturgies of transformation—in relation to sustainable local agriculture, food justice, water rights, grassroots democracy in elementary school education, immigration, alternative energy and community building, post-carbon cooperative economic transitions, public spaces, post-colonial relationships with Navajo and Hopi peoples, and so forth. His lectures will thus work the intersections between highly theoretical reflections and deeply specific thinking in relation to the nitty-gritty work he has been doing in daily organizing, and, quite literally, digging in the ground of Northern Arizona.
Biography: Romand Coles is the Frances B. McAllister Endowed Chair and Director of the Program for Community, Culture, and Environment at Northern Arizona University. After teaching political theory for twenty years at Duke University, driven by Adorno’s claim that ‘to want utopia is to want substance in cognition’, Coles ventured to NAU in a last-ditch effort to learn how to think in relation to many of the specific challenges, opportunities, and peoples in his new home on the Colorado Plateau. He is the author of many books and articles at the intersection of political theory, philosophy, theology, and political practice. Among his works are, Self/Power/Other: Political Theory and Dialogical Ethics; Rethinking Generosity: Critical Theory and the Politics of Caritas; Beyond Gated Politics: Reflections for the Possibility of Democracy; and (with Stanley Hauerwas) Christianity, Democracy, and the Radical Ordinary: Conversations between a Radical Democrat and a Christian.