Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Stanley Hauerwas to be guest speaker on Symposium Day

Of the many guest speakers coming to Augustana on Sept. 17th for Symposium Day, the school will be welcoming Stanley Hauerwas, a christian theologian that has a personal, as well as an intellectual history here with with us as a college to help contribute with the theme of “Perspectives” this year.
The fall Symposium is an opportunity for faculty and students to have an alternative day of learning, where sessions take place that talk about certain topics most students are not normally exposed to on a daily basis. The inspiration for the theme this year ties into the Augie reads book, The Fire Next Time, written by James Baldwin, where it provides a number of challenges to different viewpoints to ethics and religion in humanity, according Jeffrey Ratliff-Crain, associate dean of curriculum and enrichment.
This year coincides with the 10th anniversary of Augustana College’s 5 Faith Commitments, adopted in May of 2004. These commitments try to honor the religious ties of our institution, but in an alternative way in which students can embody the goals of why this all matters.
“Hauerwas is an expert in faith across different faith approaches as a theologian,” said Ratliff-Crain, which made him an obvious choice in having him come as a guest.
Hauerwas was on the cover of Time magazine in 2001 for being named “America’s Best Theologian”. His biography, found on the school website, outlines how his search, in trying to understand the nature of Christian life, has led him to understand the narrative for Christian existence.
“(Hauerwas) is very outspoken and provocative… he gives us a reason to think about how our faith informs our sense of justice in this world,” said English professor David Crowe. “I would expect him to be bold, unapologetic, and he might even surprise and offend some people in a healthy way.”
Crowe has used Hauerwas’s readings in many of his classes in the past, and explains his reasonings behind including them by how he wants his courses to be existential and practical, in which Hauerwas manages to combine the two in a practical sense.
Another thing to look forward to listening to Hauerwas would be his stories of how he taught at Augustana back in 1969; he shares about his time he spent at Augustana in his book Hannah’s Child.
Religion professor Jason Mahn has known Hauerwas for over a decade, and explains about the time Hauerwas shared a story on how he was in the middle of a controversy when the Observer interviewed him about a new policy of whether the doors of co-eds could be shut to the different genders in the respective dorms. Mahn explained how Hauerwas dove into controversial subject matters only when he would be on the right side of these matters.
“I hope that when he’s here he will tell some stories, and that people won’t just think of those as entertaining and interesting, but as a really valuable way to think about identity,” said Mahn.

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Stanley Hauerwas to be guest speaker on Symposium Day