Colloquium Celebrates Interdisciplinary Research

ColloquiumThe Fireside Room overflowed with a scholarly audience on October 31 for Trinity’s first-ever Spenser Colloquium. Through the reading of research papers and light-hearted improvisation, students from five Trinity classes and three disciplines celebrated their recent study of The Faerie Queene, the epic poem by Edmund Spenser.

Dr. Bob Rice, professor emeritus of history, served as a spirited moderator. Rice explained the faculty’s goals for the colloquium: educational richness grown by student-faculty combined research, the taking up of texts with Christian hopefulness, interdisciplinary study leading to deeper understanding, and a faithful religious response to the world. Laughter and refreshments were added benefits.

ColloquiumDrs. Mark Jones, professor of English; Dr. Aron Reppmann, associate professor of philosophy; and Dr. Keith Starkenburg, associate professor of theology, worked throughout the summer to prepare their discipline-specific research papers in response to The Faerie Queene.

Their research challenged students to see the same work through three different lenses as they presented:

  • “Arthur and Socrates in Faerieland,” by Professor Reppmann
  • “Guyon, Knight of Temperance; or, Sir Not Appearing in This Poem,” by Professor Jones
  • “Calvinists Who Might Best Be: Edmund Spenser and a Reformed Habit of Being,” by Professor Starkenburg

“The colloquium was the sort of rich, interdisciplinary collaboration that I think could happen only at a place like Trinity,” said Dr. Jones said. “I was pleased to be part of a scholarly conversation involving faculty and students from three different disciplines—not to mention staff members who attended and participants from the Honors Program.”  

The event was funded through a collaborative initiative grant from the professional development committee, which hopes the event fostered deeper understanding through inter-disciplinary studies.