A note to the Middlebury College Community from Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty Andi Lloyd:

On behalf of the academic administration, I am happy to announce that the topic of next Nicholas R. Clifford Symposium will be “The ‘good’ Body.”   The symposium is named after Nicholas Clifford, who taught history at the College from 1966 to 1993 and who in his many years as a member of the faculty and administration cultivated critical inquiry on our campus.  The symposium is scheduled for Thursday, September 24, through Saturday, September 26, 2015.

Bodies play a large role in defining our public and private identities. Beliefs, access, and cultural values impact the ways in which we use our bodies. Beliefs, access, and cultural values also impact the way others react to the ways in which we use our bodies.  This symposium will explore central liberal arts questions: What counts as a “good” body, who has one (or doesn’t), under what circumstances, and why? And who decides? The many different answers to these and related questions affect every body in our Middlebury community and beyond. Technological, medical, and environmental changes over the years directly affect bodies, shaping concepts of worthiness, beauty, health, and function. Broader contexts also matter. Cultural forces, systems of power and privilege, and time and place all contribute to the meanings of “good” and “body” as well as “good body.”

 Recognizing recent events of racialized violence, as well as the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA),  “The ‘good’ Body” symposium will invite participants to reflect on the ways in which body politics have played out in their lives on and off the campus of Middlebury College.  The symposium will engage with Universal Design (UD) and Universal Design for Learning (UDL).  These principles support an expansive learning community and seek to dismantle environmental, curricular, and pedagogical barriers in order to enable every body greater access to education and community.   The symposium will include a variety of activities, most notably a performance by ShepparddeS Company, consisting of artists Baraka de Soleil and Alice Sheppard.

The symposium is being organized by Christal Brown, Scotty Hardwig, and Tzveta Kassabova of the Dance program; Susan Burch and Ellery Foutch of the American Studies Program; Roberto Lint Sagarena of the Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity and American Studies Program; Anson Koch-Rein of the Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies Program; and Erin Quinn, director of Athletics.

The preliminary plans point to what will surely be one of the highlights of the 2015-2016 academic year.  If you would like to join in the planning of “The ‘good’ Body” symposium, please contact Christal Brown (christal@middlebury.edu).)