The College has chosen Civics and Civility as its theme for the 2019/2020 academic year.
In our current climate, this theme may bring to mind the extent to which our civic discourse has strayed from a former expectation of respectful restraint and polite adherence to social norms.
But there’s much more to unpack here. We’ll delve into our rights and duties as civilians, with an eye to building our students’ civic understanding and agency. We’ll also parse the very notion of civility. How is it defined, and who is defining it? How have demands for civility been used historically to maintain a status quo that has not served all citizens equally? What are the ethics around conforming to civility – and of breaking with civility’s norms?
African-American artists who have examined some of these questions – even as their work was being ignored by narrowly-focused curators and critics – will give our students and the entire community much to contemplate when Young, Gifted and Black opens the OSilas Gallery’s new season. Drawn from the highly-regarded private collection of Bernard Lumpkin and Carmine Boccuzzi, the exhibition features both emerging and established artists, such as Mickalene Thomas, Kerry James Marshall and Kara Walker.
As a Christian, I try to look to categories that matter. The good, the beautiful and the true are right and necessary focal points in dispiriting times. I take inspiration from Concordia’s good community of friends and neighbors, the beauty of campus renovations that will fuel the careers of our students’ futures, and the great truths I see our students pursuing as they embark on the next chapter in a lifetime of learning.
Best of blessings in Jesus Christ,
The Rev. John Arthur Nunes, PhD