School of Arts and Sciences

HHS Symposium Features Historian on Witch Hunting and Students' Research Work

Monday, April 29, 2013

Pictured is a psychology student discussing her research poster. | Photo by Amanda Dabbs

Approximately 90 students, faculty and guests were part of Point Park University’s Fourth Annual Humanities and Human Sciences Symposium held on campus April 19.

The symposium began with student poster sessions on various areas of psychological study, followed by a keynote presentation on the topic “Persecution, law and the origins of modernity: A lecture on the history of witch hunting.” Then students from a variety of majors across the University presented their original research projects and gave readings of creative work in poetry, nonfiction and fiction.

“The symposium is a great experience because it allows us to showcase the work we’ve done as well as see each other’s work,” said Kristen Montgomery, a senior psychology major.

Department of Humanities and Human Sciences faculty Robert Alexander, Ph.D., Karen Dwyer, Ph.D., Robert McInerney, Ph.D., Jehnie Reis, Ph.D., Brent Robbins, Ph.D., Robert Ross, Ph.D., Megan Ward, Ph.D., and P.K. Weston, Ph.D., moderated a total of 55 student presentations falling under the following categories:

  • Imaginations and Ruminations on the Short Story
  • Novel Inventions: Technology and Literature
  • Queering the University: A Radical Empathy for our Community
  • Senior Seminar in English: Gender, Politics and Religion
  • Causing and Preventing Harm
  • Educational Perspectives
  • Perspectives on the Creative Process
  • What is an act of kindness? A phenomenological dialogue
  • Senior Seminar in English: Identity Formations
  • Environmental Perspectives
  • Space, Power and Play: Contemporary Struggles in the Social Sciences
  • Readings in Creative Nonfiction

“I really like the symposium because it brings together all the different types of academic programs across the University in a dynamic way,” explained Robert Novia, senior psychology major.

The symposium's keynote speaker this year was Laura Stokes, Ph.D., assistant professor of history at Stanford University.

“Laura added a level of historical rigor and expertise with her talk. The students enjoyed the opportunity to interact with a scholar who is a rising star in her field and passionate about what she does,” remarked Reis.

In addition to giving an overview on persecution and witch hunting in Early Modern Europe, Stokes captured the audience’s attention with an historical perspective on demonology and torture.

“She made some interesting parallels to how we think about outsiders today, and I later spoke with students who found that really insightful,” said Ward.

For junior English/creative writing major Jesse Padjune, the symposium helped her connect with other students and gain valuable experience presenting her work.

“The symposium was a wonderful opportunity for students to share their enthusiasm about their academic fields. It was exciting to see them so invested in the work they’ve been doing this year,” said Reis.

For more information about majors offered in the Department of Humanities and Human Sciences, visit the department’s landing page.

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