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Belmont University | Belief in Something Greater

Humanities Symposium


17th Annual Humanities Symposium
September 17-24, 2018

"The Present and the Future of the Past”


It is a common saying that we should use the narratives of the past to make sense of our world today and to improve our future. Whenever the relevance of the past is discussed, questions like, “Why does the past matter?” and “How can we know who we are if we don’t know who we were?” quickly come to mind. Postmodern ideas suggest that the past has no distinctive or definite meaning; it simply offers endless possible interpretations. Others study history mainly to uncover its flaws, and weaknesses, focusing on the past as trauma rather than as growth. Still others look at the past with nostalgia, regarding it as more appealing than a frightening future.  

By examining and (re)contextualizing the past, presenters will discuss how versions of the past are communicated in society through a multiplicity of institutions and media, including school, government ceremonies, public displays, popular entertainment, art, and literature.