Letter Announcing 2007-2008 Copeland Theme

Submitted by Bette Abrams-Esche

August 2007


Dear Colleagues,

On behalf of the Copeland Committee, I write to announce the theme of the 2007-2008 Copeland Colloquium and to invite proposals for themes for the 2008-2009 colloquium, which will be due in the Office of the Dean of the Faculty by October 15, 2007. This year’s colloquium will be the first under the program’s new interdisciplinary theme-based organization, and we hope that this format will encourage wide engagement throughout the Amherst community.

Last fall, the Copeland Committee reviewed proposals for the 2007-2008 Copeland Colloquium and selected the theme of Art and Identity in the Global Community. This topic was proposed by a group of faculty as the outcome of cross-disciplinary discussions on “the ways in which artists and scholars are revising notions of community identity as well as aesthetic conventions in response to new developments in media and migration.” Rowland Abiodun, Rhonda Cobham-Sander, Christopher Dole, Leah Hewitt, Carol Solomon Kiefer, Manu Mukasa, Marisa Parham, Christian Rogowski, Helen von Schmidt, and Wendy Woodson, representing seven different academic departments and the Mead Art Museum, are the sponsors and organizers of this upcoming Copeland Colloquium. They have invited a group of five artists to campus for the colloquium, most to be in residence for both semesters of the academic year.

We now invite proposals for consideration for the yearlong Copeland Colloquium for 2008-2009. Each proposal, which should be sent to the Office of the Dean of the Faculty, should have a minimum of three faculty theme group members from at least two academic departments and should include a brief description of the theme, along with an explanation of its appeal to colleagues in different disciplines, and a budget for programming. A theme, which will be chosen for its intrinsic merit and capacity to interest different faculty constituencies, will be selected by mid-November. If applicable, the names of potential Copeland Fellows may be included in the proposal.

Once a faculty group’s theme has been selected, that group becomes responsible, with support from the Office of the Dean of the Faculty, for setting the intellectual direction of the program during the year in which the theme is explored. The group is encouraged to consider inviting one or two Copeland Fellows, choosing the remainder from among the nominations from the Amherst Faculty and/or through a national or international fellowship competition. The theme group is also expected to assign from among its members one or two Faculty Sponsors for each fellow. The sponsors will be available to the Copeland Fellows as advisors and mentors and will facilitate the fellows’ interaction with other faculty members and with students. Faculty Sponsors will also provide workspace for the fellows, as well as limited administrative services through their departments.

In the interest of consolidating and reducing the burden that committee work places on the Faculty, our colleagues on the Faculty Research Awards Committee have agreed to take on the selection of the Copeland theme each year. Relieved of this responsibility, the Copeland Committee will now dissolve.

We on the Copeland Committee are excited about the new direction of the program and look forward to seeing it unfold in the years ahead.

Best wishes,

Carol Keller, for the Copeland Commitee
Maria Heim
Arthur Zajonc