Bates announces Community Humanities Seminars for Lewiston, South Paris high school students

The Bates College Office of Admissions, with a grant from the Maine Humanities Council, will offer two Community Humanities Seminars for 30-40 intellectually curious and motivated high school students. The two groups, one based in Lewiston at Bates College and the other based in Paris, Maine, will meet one evening per week for five weeks.

With the 2000 Community Humanity Seminar theme of “War and the Human Condition,” participants will read and discuss several books, including Homer’s “Iliad,” Michael Shaara’s “The Killer Angels,” Erich Maria Remarque’s “All Quiet on the Western Front,” Viktor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning” and Bobbie Ann Mason’s “In Country.” Questions to be explored include “What is heroism?” “What is honor?” “How do we come to terms with death and other limitations of the human condition?” and “What are we as a nation willing and not willing to fight for?”

“Our aim is to encourage student engagement with literature by reading and discussing five texts of enduring stature,” said Karen Kothe, associate dean of admissions at Bates and co-director of the program with James Carignan, dean of the college. “We also hope to foster the idea of year-round education through low-cost, grassroots, community-inspired efforts, without placing additional burdens on the public school system.”

Each seminar group will be directed by a professor or administrator from Bates paired with a teacher or administrator from the Lewiston and Oxford Hills school systems.

High school students from the South Paris area who wish to apply for Community Humanities Seminars should contact Karen Kothe as soon as possible at 207-786-6001/ or this Interested high school students from the Lewiston-Auburn area should contact Shawn Lambert, chairman of the Department of English at Lewiston High School, at 207-926-5996. The Paris-based seminars will be held weekly on Thursdays beginning July 20. The Lewiston seminars will be held weekly in Pettengill Hall, Bates College, on Thursdays, also beginning July 20.

Bates College has provided a grant of $1,000 for book purchases as well as leave for Kothe to administer the program and lead seminar discussions in Paris. The Maine Humanities Council has provided a $3,000 grant to support this pilot program.

The Maine Humanities Council is a statewide, private, nonprofit organization whose mission is to engage the people of Maine with the power and pleasure of ideas. The council’s programs and the projects that it supports through grants are intended to encourage a deeper understanding of ourselves and others, to foster wisdom in an age of information and provide context in a time of change.

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