Four ACU Honors students gave faces to evil, victims of discrimination and even the person of Jesus Christ in their presentations at the Great Plains Honors Council 2010 Conference on Friday and Saturday.
Joshua Alkire, Katherine Sinclair, Megan Faver-Hartline and Margaret Moore traveled to Tulsa, Okla., to show their work to other Honors students and faculty from the six states within the GPHC’s region. Presentations from every branch of study are crafted around each year’s theme; 2010’s theme was The Art of the Critique.
Joshua Alkire, senior English and family ministries major from Abilene, received a Boe award for his outstanding work. He was one of eight to receive a plaque and cash prize this year for outstanding work, according to gphc2010.com.
Alkire examined portraits of Christ through the eyes of a fictional Portuguese Jesuit, Sebastião Rodrigues, the lead character in Shusaku Endo’s Silence Alkire said Rodrigues’ perception of Christ changes as he observes persecuted Japanese Christians, who were being pressured to renounce their faith by stepping on a picture of Christ.
Alkire said he didn’t understand Rodrigues’ obsession with Christ’s face until he saw the symbol of Christianity, called a fumie, for himself.
“It’s a small piece of blackened wood, dirtied from so many people stepping on it,” Alkire said. “The face of Christ in Japanese art during the 17th century is this humiliated, worn-down Christ.”
Margaret Moore said she was happy to be able to tell the story of the disgraceful captivity of Japanese-Americans during the 20th century. Moore, sophomore education youth ministry major from Houston, presented on the “retirement camps” America established during World War II.
A young man’s corruption was symbolized in a painting of his own face in Katherine Sinclair’s presentation The Monster Within: The Role of Roman Catholic Concepts of Sin in The Picture of Dorian Gray. Sinclair, senior English major from Abilene, said she identified with the themes in the novel.
“Dorian Gray doesn’t really realize the terrible things he’s doing to everyone,” Sinclair said. “That’s just human nature.”
Sinclair said compiling this scholarly publication was the first time she felt her writing wasn’t simply a reiteration of something she read before. The ability to be able to think through and present one’s own ideas is essential to any communicator, Sinclair said.
Alkire agreed the preparation for graduate school and career was the most valuable component of his experience, even in comparison to the $200 he won as part of the Boe award.
“I counted up the hours I spent revising it, and I think I got a little over minimum wage,” Alkire said. “It’s still better than you get on most papers.”