Melissa Vanden Bout

Assistant Professor of Philosophy

Education

Ph.D., Boston College, Boston, Massachusetts, 2013
M.A., Boston College, Boston, Massachusetts, 2005
B.A., Trinity Christian College, Palos Heights, Illinois, 2000

Associated Academic Programs

Philosophy

The process of transition is often a frightening one. But for Dr. Melissa Vanden Bout, who spent her childhood moving from one Navy base to another, the practice helped mould her into the person she is today.

For example, when her family was stationed at Yokosuka, Japan, she found that at first “the colors and tastes were all wrong to our Western eyes and palates, and the very sounds of the language hit our ears like gunfire.”

The transition was sometimes difficult, but Vanden Bout eventually adjusted to her surroundings, and is now grateful for the repeated challenges to the assumptions of her own culture. She has much to say about cultural diversity and acclimation.

“Much of the adjustment period in a new context is a matter of learning the new language, and in cases in which the cultural differences are more pronounced, in learning to adjust for differences in ideas and values,” she said. “This is a sort of translation, not just in the sense of word for word, but in the sense of metaphor for metaphor, recognizing the need for adaptation to a new context.”

Her myriad experiences speak to the nature of philosophy. “I understand philosophy to be a matter of asking big questions, and attempting to answer them,” she said. “Our experiences, varied though they are in time and place and culture, lead us to ask the same enduring questions about meaning and identity, knowledge and certainty, happiness and justice.”

Courses

Aesthetics
Philosophical Perspectives in Worldview
Philosophical Perspectives on Vocation

Person, Health, and Bioethics
Topic: Philosophies of Social Justice

Papers Published and/or Presented

“Being Human: Aquinas and the Embryo.” Boston College Philosophy Forum, May 2007.

“Aquinas, Aristotle, and Happiness.” Guest lecture, Philosophical Perspectives class, Boston College, March 2007.

“C. S. Lewis on Stories, Truth, and Myth.” Guest lecture, Interim class, Trinity Christian College, January 2001.

“Poetry is the House That Geoff Built: Geoffrey of Vinsauf on Crafting Good Poetry.” Presented at the St. Francis Undergraduate Literary Conference, University of St. Francis, March 1999.

“Camelot and the True Kingdom.” Presented at OPUS, Trinity Christian College, April 1999.

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+ Expertise

The process of transition is often a frightening one. But for Dr. Melissa Vanden Bout, who spent her childhood moving from one Navy base to another, the practice helped mould her into the person she is today.

For example, when her family was stationed at Yokosuka, Japan, she found that at first “the colors and tastes were all wrong to our Western eyes and palates, and the very sounds of the language hit our ears like gunfire.”

The transition was sometimes difficult, but Vanden Bout eventually adjusted to her surroundings, and is now grateful for the repeated challenges to the assumptions of her own culture. She has much to say about cultural diversity and acclimation.

“Much of the adjustment period in a new context is a matter of learning the new language, and in cases in which the cultural differences are more pronounced, in learning to adjust for differences in ideas and values,” she said. “This is a sort of translation, not just in the sense of word for word, but in the sense of metaphor for metaphor, recognizing the need for adaptation to a new context.”

Her myriad experiences speak to the nature of philosophy. “I understand philosophy to be a matter of asking big questions, and attempting to answer them,” she said. “Our experiences, varied though they are in time and place and culture, lead us to ask the same enduring questions about meaning and identity, knowledge and certainty, happiness and justice.”

+ Courses, Publications & Research

Courses

Aesthetics
Philosophical Perspectives in Worldview
Philosophical Perspectives on Vocation

Person, Health, and Bioethics
Topic: Philosophies of Social Justice

Papers Published and/or Presented

“Being Human: Aquinas and the Embryo.” Boston College Philosophy Forum, May 2007.

“Aquinas, Aristotle, and Happiness.” Guest lecture, Philosophical Perspectives class, Boston College, March 2007.

“C. S. Lewis on Stories, Truth, and Myth.” Guest lecture, Interim class, Trinity Christian College, January 2001.

“Poetry is the House That Geoff Built: Geoffrey of Vinsauf on Crafting Good Poetry.” Presented at the St. Francis Undergraduate Literary Conference, University of St. Francis, March 1999.

“Camelot and the True Kingdom.” Presented at OPUS, Trinity Christian College, April 1999.

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