2008-2009 Scott Center Events

“Saying Grace: Food and the Life of Faith”

Lunch and discussion with Norman Wirzba

Friday, April 24, 2009
12:30 p.m.
Axinn 229

Norman Wirzba is Research Professor of Theology, Ecology, and Rural Life at Duke University. Prior to that he chaired the Philosophy department of Georgetown College. He is the author of The Paradise of God: Renewing Religion in an Ecological Age, and Living the Sabbath, and editor of The Essential Agrarian Reader: The Future of Culture, Community, and the Land. He is currently working on two books: a theology of eating, and an agrarian manifesto for an urban world. His lecture “Saying Grace” is based upon his book project on the theology of eating. It will examine the importance of gratitude and having a clear understanding of the gift of food.

Pizza will be served.

Presented by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, and co-sponsored by the Chaplain’s Office, the Department of  Religion, and the Program in Environmental Studies.


Pleasant Dreams

A One-Man Performance by Robin Hirsch

Yom Ha Shoah: Holocaust Remembrance Day
Sunday, April 19, 2009
8:00 p.m.
Mead Memorial Chapel

Robin Hirsch is a writer and performer, and the owner of the Cornelia Street Cafe in Greenwich Village where he produces some 700 shows a year. In 1996, a year after the publication of his Holocaust-related memoir, Last Dance at The Hotel Kempinski, he was visited in his cafe by the director of the Berlin Jewish Festival, who invited him to perform. Pleasant Dreams traces the complicated journey which this visit set in motion, a journey back through the grave, through many graves, to the city where his family first saw life. It is one of the stories in his current memoir-in-progress, The Whole World Passes Through - what happens to a wandering Jew when he finally stands still and opens the door? The door may open, all sorts of celebrities and civilians may pass through, but the shadow of a larger history still looms.

Robin Hirsch was born in London during the Blitz to German Jews who had fled Hitler. He is a former Oxford, Fulbright and English-Speaking Union Scholar who has acted, directed, taught and published on both sides of the Atlantic.


Our Miserable Future: Life in An Ever-Expanding Universe

lecture by Dr. Lawrence Krauss

Monday, April 13, 2009
7:00 p.m.
216 McCardell Bicentennial Hall

The past decade has witnessed one of the greatest revolutions in the past 100 years in our understanding of the universe, and also produced one of the biggest outstanding mysteries in physics. In particular, our picture of the future of life in the Universe has changed in totally unexpected ways, as Dr. Krauss will describe.
Lawrence M. Krauss is Foundation Professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration and Physics Departments, and Co-Director of the Cosmology Initiative and Director of the exciting new Origins Initiative at Arizona State University. Until 2008 he was Ambrose Swasey Professor of Physics, Prof of Astronomy, and Director of the Center for Education and Research in Cosmology and Astrophysics. Krauss received his PhD from MIT in 1982 and then joined the Society of Fellows at Harvard University. He was appointed as a professor of physics and astronomy at Yale University in 1985, and then joined Case as Chair of Physics in 1993, a position he held until 2005. During this period he built an internationally ranked research center, and created such novel new programs as the Physics Entrepreneurship Masters Program. The author of 7 popular books including international bestseller, The Physics of Star Trek, and the award winning, Atom, and his newest book, Hiding in the Mirror: The Mysterious Allure of Extra Dimensions from Plato to String Theory and Beyond. Krauss is also a regular radio commentator and essayist for newspapers such as the New York Times, and appears regularly on television.

Presented as part of the project “Pathways to Flourishing: A Dialogue of Science, Religion and Politics at Middlebury College.” Sponsored by The Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life, the Department of Physics, the Academic Enrichment Fund, Ross Commons, and Metanexus.

To see the entire recorded lecture, please click here.


“Faith and The Modern World: The Catholic Church in Secular Society”

lecture by Paul Baumann

Tuesday, April 7, 2009
4:30 p.m.
220 McCardell Bicentennial Hall

Paul Baumann is a leading Catholic intellectual and editor of Commonweal magazine.  He will speak on Catholics and Modernity and, more broadly, on the role that faith plays in a modern, secular world. “You cannot write as many anti-abortion editorials as I have and not become pretty alienated from the liberal consensus. On the other hand, you cannot write as many editorials about sexual abuse in the church or about the history of Catholic anti-Semitism as I have without becoming alienated from certain Catholic claims to authority and virtue.” He comes to the conclusion that this conflict and tension is, in the end, constructive and necessary.

Sponsored by the Middlebury College Newman Club and the Scott Center for Spiritual & Religious Life.


College Convocation Series:

“Redefining Environment,” with John Francis

Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Mead Memorial Chapel
7:00 p.m.

John Francis, Ph.D., known the world over as the Planetwalker, spent 17 years in silence and 22 years without riding in motorized vehicles after witnessing an oil spill in San Franciso Bay. He will discuss how the current environmental crisis is a reflection of world-wide social and economic inequity and that any attempt to resolve the crisis must not only address the scientific issues, such as climate change and deforestation, but also the humanitarian issues. From peace and justice to everyday civility, Dr. Francis contends that our connection to the earth as well as to each other is at the heart of the environmental crisis.

Copies of Dr. Francis’s book, Planetwalker (published by the National Geographic Society, 2009) will be available for sale at the event.  Dr. Francis will autograph books following his lecture.

The College Convocation Series represents an effort to bring together all members of the College community to reflect upon topics of broad intellectual and cultural importance.

Sponsored by the Environmental Studies Program, The Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life, the Office of Institutional Planning and Diversity, The Department of Religion, the Academic Enrichment Fund, Ross Commons and Metanexus.


Middle East Challenges to the Obama Administration

David Makovsky
Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2009
12:30 p.m.
216 McCardell Bicentennial Hall

Dr. Makovsky is Director of The Washington Institute’s Project on the Middle East Peace Process, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies.  His commentary on the peace process and the Arab-Israeli conflict has appeared in Foreign Affairs, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, and many other publications.  Before joining The Washington Institute, Mr. Makovsky was an award-winning journalist who covered the peace process from 1989-2000. He is former executive editor of The Jerusalem Post and was diplomatic correspondent for Israel’s leading daily Haaretz. Now a contributing editor to U.S. News and World Report, he served for eleven years as the magazine’s special Jerusalem correspondent.

Sponsored by Middlebury College Hillel, The Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life, the Jewish Studies Program, the Middle East Studies Program, and the Rohatyn Center for International Affairs.


Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories:

The Obama Administration and

Opportunities for Positive Change

Lecture by Mitchell Plitnick , Director of Outreach, B’Tselem USA
7:00 p.m., Tuesday, December 2, 2008
216 McCardell Bicentennial Hall

B’tselem — The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories — was established in 1989 by a group of prominent academics, attorneys, journalists, and Knesset members. It endeavors to document and educate the Israeli public and policymakers about human rights violations in the Occupied Territories, combat the phenomenon of denial prevalent among the Israeli public, and help create a human rights culture in Israel. They are based in Jerusalem and opened their first office in the United States in Washington, D.C. this past fall.  For more information, visit B’tselem’s website at http://www.btselem.org/

Co-sponsored by Middlebury College Hillel, The Islamic Society of Middlebury College, The Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life, and the Middlebury Chapter of the National Scholastic Honor Society for Students of Hebrew Language and Culture.


(above: Rescuer Andre Trocme with children in Le Chambon, France, 1944)

“Rescuers During the Holocaust: Their Challenge to Citizens Today”

Lecture and film screening by Pierre Sauvage

Wednesday, November 5, 2008
7:00 p.m.
Dana Auditorium

A child survivor of the Holocaust and an Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker, Pierre Sauvage is the President of the Chambon Foundation, which he founded in 1982. His 1989 documentary “Weapons of the Spirit,” explored the French village of Le Chambon during the Nazi occupation, where 5,000 Jews were shelter by 5,000 Christians. Sauvage and his parents were among the rescued. The Chambon Foundation was the first nonprofit educational foundation committed to communicating the necessary and challenging lessons of hope intertwined with the Holocaust’s unavoidable lessons of despair. Mr. Sauvage is currently working on a documentary about Varian Fry, an American teacher and journalist who traveled to France in August 1940 on behalf of the Emergency Rescue Committee with the assignment of bringing some 200 well-known intellectuals in imminent danger of arrest (including Marc Chagall and Max Ernst) to safety in the United States. Fry left only when deported by French authorities. He was posthumously awarded the first annual Rohatyn Global Humanitarian Award this past May.

Assistive listening devices will be available for those with hearing impairments.

Sponsored by the Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life with assistance from the Rohatyn Center for International Affairs, the Holocaust Film Fund, Middlebury College Hillel, The Religious Life Council, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, and the Department of Religion.


(left: Displaced women are seen in the Otash IDPs camp on the outskirts of Nyala, South Darfur, Sudan on Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2007. Associated Press)

Tents of Hope:  A Community Action for Darfur

Join us on three consecutive Saturdays in September (starting Sept. 13) to help paint a canvas

wall tent that will be part of a huge rally on the National Mall in Washington in November, and will then be shipped to Africa to be used as classroom space in a refugee camp.  Learn what steps you can take to help stop the genocide in Sudan.

(right:  Community members paint the tent at the Middlebury Farmer’s Market, September, 2008.)


Charles P. Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life
46 South Street
Middlebury, VT 05753