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Dedicated Semester: Fontbonne University

We launched the first Dedicated Semester in Fall 2007 with the topic of Judaism and its Cultures. Ten years later, the tradition of the Fontbonne Dedicated Semester is still going strong.

Current Dedicated Semester

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2017: We, Myself and Why? Exploring Identity | Kevin Eiler & Janelle Julian

Ask someone the question, “Who are you?” and you are bound to be met with a quizzical glance. But the question is fair - how much do we know about ourselves? How much do we care to know?

One hundred years ago, Fontbonne College didn’t have an identity, it was an idea waiting to be born. Today, Fontbonne University has forged its identity through the Sisters of St. Joseph while the personalities occupying its campus are constantly in flux. Catholics and non-Catholics, believers and non-believers, Americans and non-Americans have all walked through its doors.

You are more than just a number. You are more than just a face. You are a thumbprint, a unique identity in this ever-changing community. Behind each face is a complex identity, one worth asking the deeper questions:

  • What is the nature of the self?
  • What do gender, race, and class have to do with identity? 
  • Is a corporation a person?
  • How is identity changed, challenged or threatened by emergent technologies?
  • What does it mean to say we are created in God's image? 
  • How is identity cultivated in the population we serve?
  • Is identity avowed or ascribed? How does profession impact identity?
  • How do we negotiate multiple identities?

Upcoming Dedicated Semesters

2018: The Family  Past, Present, Future | Deborah Phelps & Mary Beth Ohlms

Catholic Social Teaching suggests the family is the most important social institution, the basic building block of humanity. This Dedicated Semester takes a broad, interdisciplinary perspective on practical, theoretical, and political topics related to families. It will offer opportunities to examine the history of the family and its role in education, religious formation, socialization, economic structures, and emotional development. We’ll explore traditional, changing, and families of choice and the challenges they face now and in the future. 

2020 Vision: Image, Perception, and Ways of Seeing

“The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled.”
– John Berger, Ways of Seeing

Images surround and influence us on a daily basis, and yet we are seldom taught ways to read visual culture. In this semester, we will explore the visual image in a variety of contexts: from art to advertising, technology to aesthetics, from religious vision to the selfie. How does what we see shape what we know? How does it guide and misguide us? How do images persuade? What makes them so powerful? How do we define what is beautiful or ugly, and when or why should we? What does it mean when we say a leader is a 'visionary' in his or her field? How can we use images to serve the common good rather than to reduce it? What can the science of sight illuminate about human perceptions and limitations?  How does visual perception, or impairments in visual perception, shape development in psychology, education, and beyond? How is the visual privileged or marginalized? What do we mean when we speak of 'our image'? 

Outreach & Archives

Rebecca van Kniest's picture
Rebecca van Kniest
Library 102
Taylor Library

What IS a Dedicated Semester?

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The tradition of the Dedicated Semester began in the fall of 2007 with a campus-wide exploration of Judaism. Each fall, the Fontbonne University sponsors a different subject for the semester. With cooperation from schools, divisions, departments, and programs across the university, our campus community explores a new theme. Academic departments contribute courses that are the core curriculum of  the Dedicated Semester, which is also supported by a variety of co-curricular activities and events.

Learn more:

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Jack C. Taylor Library • 6800 Wydown Blvd. • St. Louis, MO 63105
Proudly sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet.
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