Editor’s note: This is part of a series of stories exploring what Gordon professors are up to in between semesters. 

Tom Brooks

Gregor Thuswaldner

Five Gordon professors will return to Austria July 9-August 13 for the second annual symposium of the Salzburg Institute of Gordon College with the University of Salzburg. Co-directors of the Institute, Thomas Brooks, professor of music, and Gregor Thuswaldner, associate professor of German and linguistics, along with Susan Brooks, professor of music, Jim Zingarelli, professor of art, and Pamela Thuswaldner, adjunct professor of German, will also teach in the summer school program, which includes classes, tours and the international symposium. Here’s how Thuswaldner and his team of organizers described their call for papers:

Making Sacrifices: Visions of Sacrifice in European Culture                                                                       University of Salzburg, Austria; July 31, 2012

Much like Italian premier Mario Monti did at the beginning of December, politicians are increasingly calling on citizens to make sacrifices for the future of their countries. Such public invocations of sacrifice place politicians and their constituents in a state of tension at least partly because of the difficult and often contradictory connotations of sacrifice. Sacrifice, a concept of religious provenance deeply embedded in European culture, can mean to offer for destruction and to make amends, to hurt and to heal, make whole, or sacred. Such oppositions at the heart of sacrifice make it a dangerous and much-fraught concept, as well as a fruitful and powerful one in numerous spheres of culture.

This year’s symposium of the Salzburg Institute of Gordon College is dedicated to investigating notions of sacrifice as they appear at important junctures of European culture, past and present. The following questions, among others, will be considered:In what ways does sacrifice form a key theme in European literature, art, and thought? How have concepts of sacrifice taken shape in those historical and contemporary situations where sacrifice has become a particularly important, urgent, or contested matter? How have the meanings of sacrifice shifted (and how may they yet shift) as a result of the circulation of related notions between different spheres of activity? (For example, what meaning is gained, lost, or otherwise changed when a religious notion of sacrifice is transposed into philosophical conceptuality, a political principle or a key value of fiscal reform? As for the inverse, what do avowedly religious understandings of sacrifice owe to ancient and modern legal, political, and philosophical invocations of sacrifice?) Finally, how has sacrifice been envisioned within various Christian, Jewish, and Muslim traditions and how might the notions of sacrifice belonging to these traditions be profitably compared?

This interdisciplinary symposium appeals to scholars of various disciplines (the humanities, sociology, philosophy, literature, history, political science, religious studies, theology). Please send abstracts for papers in German or English by June 15, 2012 to salzburg.symposium@gordon.edu. Presentations should not exceed 20 minutes. Select contributions will be considered for publication in an edited collection.