The past as prologue

Anita Allyn, "Laissez-faire," 2013, digital video
Anita Allyn, “Laissez-faire,” 2013, digital video

Prior to the start of the academic year, the students, faculty, and staff who serve on the College’s Cultural and Intellectual Community Program Council (CICPC) select an interdisciplinary theme around which courses and programs are developed that will engage the campus community in discussion and exploration of the topic. This year’s theme is “Constructing the Past.”

“The past is known by the memories of it, individual and collective,” CICPC members said in a statement announcing the theme. “It is defined by professional historians, everyday people, governments, private corporations, and all kinds of groups, agencies, and institutions. It is not a ‘fixed’ series of events that all would agree on if only the evidence were before them. Constructing the past is something we all do, every day of our lives. Yet various conflicting definitions of the past are not all ‘equal.’ Whatever definitions come to prevail affect us all. To say it is a timely topic would be an understatement.”

Incoming freshmen explored the topic of constructing the past through their summer reading assignment, Jonathan Katz’s The Big Truck that Went By: How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster; and as part of the CICPC thematic programming, Katz will speak on campus for Community Learning Day on October 2. Fans of the arts will want to see Dialogue Past, Present, Future: TCNJ Faculty Exhibition 2013, on display in TCNJ Art Gallery through October 10. The show features recent works that explore the theme.

Click here for more information on these and other thematic programs.

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