Campus COLL 300: Themes

Among the criteria adopted for the Campus COLL 300: "bring the world to W&M" through instructional content and significant involvement of students and faculty with COLL 300 campus visitors - a fruitful experience of disorientation that allows students to see their own lives in broader perspective.

The faculty have charged the Fellows in the Center for the Liberal Arts with determining semester-long themes for the campus COLL 300. These themes help to guide and focus subsequent faculty proposals for that semester's three campus COLL 300 visitors and provide a shared experience for students.

Theme for Fall 2018

Bodies That Matter  Whether exploring the complex interactions of celestial forces or contemporary questions of social justice, scholars recognize that all bodies exist within broader systems that create parameters of possibility for their significance and action. Fundamental questions include, how do some bodies exert disproportionate force? How are bodies conceptualized differently in distinct contexts across the globe? What chain reactions in knowledge, power, or organization ensue when new bodies are introduced into existing systems? How do bodies transform their surrounding environments? And how can scholars stimulate recognition of overlooked, undervalued, or alienated bodies? 

Theme for Spring 2019

Ceremony  Ceremony occurs in many forms and arenas, spanning the natural and cultural, the secular and sacred, and grounding the legitimacy of authority. The performance of ceremony expresses the accepted social order – and can mark transitions in that order – for individuals, groups, and nations. Ceremonies may include religious rituals, such as baptism, marriage, and pilgrimage, and state rites, such as the inauguration of political leaders and the execution of criminals. They may vary in scale from large public rites, such as the commemoration of important historical events or the opening of a new city shopping mall, to small private ceremonies, such as the celebration of a wedding anniversary or a funerary ritual.

Theme for Fall 2019

Movement/Migration  Movement and migration are at the center of how we understand human and nonhuman life. Often, this is in the realm of significant physical migration of individuals or communities from one land to the next. Almost always, they shift cultural dynamics in unexpected ways. Movements and migrations are constantly taking place in realms beyond the human, as well – from the makeup of the nonhuman environment as it confronts climate change, to the patterns of migratory animal species, to discoveries in gene therapies and information science. Closer to home, we see movements and migrations unfolding in university curricula and our very approach to (inter)disciplinary inquiry.

Theme for Spring 2020

Scale  The notion of scale is intrinsic to how we understand the world and our place in it. The scale of interactions between people varies across space, evolves over time, and profoundly influences how we relate to each other, to cultures, and to our environment. How do changes in the breadth and speed of global communication influence languages and cultures? How do scientists use small-scale laboratory experiments to solve large-scale global problems? How do small grassroots movements evolve into major forces for cultural change around the world? From the local to the global, the microscopic to the macroscopic, and the personal to the collective, Scale informs our experience and our efforts to effect change.

Future Themes

We invite faculty members to consider proposing future campus COLL 300 themes. The next round of proposals will be announced in Fall 2019.

Ideally a theme should have sufficient breadth to provide points of entry for all the academic disciplines across Arts & Sciences. The semester courses attributed as COLL 300 will integrate both the theme and the public events presented by our COLL 300 visitors.

Fellows evaluate theme proposals in relation to the goals established for COLL 300: global or cross-cultural aspects, intellectual appeal across Arts & Sciences, and potential for integrating provocative and engaging COLL 300 visitors.